2018 Update: We still think this is a great discussion on how to stay professional while biking to work — but you may also want to check out our more recent discussion on how to commute to work on a bike.
Reader S wonders if her refreshing bike ride to and from the office is harming her professional image…
I ride my bike to work and struggle to look professional and yet arrive at the office safely at the same time. I’ve started keeping my clothes at work, and so now, I frequently wear leggings and sneakers and then run to my office to change before anyone notices. Other times though, I need to go out for dinner or a client meeting after work, and it can be annoying to have to “change” into my sneakers afterwards so that I can bike home.
What do I do? Should I just start riding the subway? I love biking because it’s fast and refreshing, but I wonder if it’s unprofessional.
I’m really curious to hear what the readers have to say here. I applaud Reader S’s effort for a healthy lifestyle, and I’m kind of envious that her situation is such that she can bike to work. That said… you don’t have to do it 100% of the time to get the effects, and I think some days (such as, say, when you have a client dinner) you should plan to take other means of transportation to work, whether it be by subway or car (or if the distance is short enough, perhaps even walking). To me, that seems to be the easiest answer — what do you do otherwise, travel by car back to the office, then change, and then bike home? Take your bike with you to the client dinner? The latter just sounds a bit extremist — and inflexibility is usually not a good thing.
If there is another person at your office who bikes to work — preferably a superior — ask them how they’ve done it through the years; it’s a great way to bond and get a mentor or at least a friend in the upper echelons.
I’m curious, readers — have you biked to work? Do you have opinions on others who bike to work? How have you (or they) made the activity appropriate for a professional woman? What are YOUR best tips on how to stay professional while biking tow ork?