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Ten Commandments of Bicycle Commuters

Inspired by the recent post “Drivers’ Ten Commandments“, Moe and I came up with a set for bicycle commuters. Think of it as a revised, more irreverent version of the Cyclist’s 10 Commandments as published by the League of American Bicyclists:

1. Thou shall not ride on the sidewalk. The sidewalk is for amateurs.

2. Never ride the opposite way. You may crash against real bike commuters.

3. Obey all traffic laws when and where you can. It is really embarrassing to get a ticket on a bike.

4. Always carry a mini-pump. Calling your wife or walking the bike really sucks.

5. Thou shall wear a helmet. If you value anything contained between your ears, it’s the smart thing to do.

6. Thou shall carry repair tools. Even if you never break down, you might be able to help someone else in need.

7. Thou shall remain visible. Make your “Technicolor Dreamcoat” out of bright colors, lights, blinkies and reflectors.

8. Thou shall not stink! Keep a spare deodorant at work.

9. Avoid angry confrontations. A little calmness goes a long way towards changing a motorist’s mind.

10. Thou must smile. Remember, you’re on a bike, not stuck in traffic!!

Dealing With The Heat

Summer is rapidly approaching in many parts of the world, but it’s already made its appearance here in Florida. We’ve had summer-like temperatures for well over a month now, and with the recent tropical storm that passed through, humidity levels are ranging from 50% to 80%. That’s sticky!

How does a commuter combat the ravages of heat and humidity? Before I begin — know this: you cannot win against hot, humid conditions. A commuter can only hope to avoid the worst of the effects and come out only slightly withered.

First, and most importantly, hydrate. Drink plenty of water before, during and after a ride, no matter how short. Include sports drinks with electrolytes if you are a heavy sweat-producer.

Second, consider a change of clothes. Some commuters can get away with casual clothing at work, but for those of us who may need to have a more professional appearance, wearing a t-shirt or jersey and shorts and changing when getting to work is the only recourse. A pressed shirt and tie don’t look professional if there are huge sweatstains under your arms and on your back!! If you have to carry a change of clothes, consider panniers rather than a backpack or messenger bag and your back won’t get as sweaty.

Third, have your backup deodorant ready at work. Keep it in your desk and swab that stuff on liberally. Remember, your coworkers already think you’re crazy for riding; the last thing they need is to get a whiff of your sweaty, post-ride nastiness.

Fourth, try powdering “your boys” (or “girls”, as the case may be) before and possibly after your ride. Things tend to stick together less with a liberal coating of baby powder or cornstarch, if you get my drift…

Finally, give yourself some extra time to get to work — get there a few minutes early and find an out of the way place to “chill” for a few minutes before you have to get changed into your working duds.

It’s hot out there, kids — take care, try these tips and with a little luck, you’ll arrive in style. Your coworkers might never even know you rode to work!