Cycling to work actually takes less time than commuting like a normal person, I don’t faff around so much whilst getting ready (Candy Crush, Buzzfeed and enthralling stories on BBC Breakfast can really take up more time than you think they do) and I actually find getting the train/tube incredibly stressful (I sort of dislike people at that time in the morning, plus I always seem to end up as hot and flustered as I would cycling) . It also gets me somewhere I need to be, makes me feel less guilty if I don’t go to the gym and saves me around £40 a week.
….which unfortunately seems to magically disappear.
Having cycled to work regularly since I first moved to London (alternating with running depending on my current training plan) I’ve had my fair share of forgotten items and have learnt a few shortcuts, hints and tips that I HAD to share with you to make things that little bit easier.
- Pants, bra, tights, dress, jacket, shoes. Go through this routine EVERY TIME you pack your bag. Every time. Double check. Triple check! I cannot emphasise this enough. Luckily my office is very close to a New Look that opens at 8am, otherwise I would have found myself in some very very awkward situations. Although I have found that you can get away with a cardigan and no top if you have a nice enough scarf and a well placed security badge…..
- If you can afford it, have two makeup bags. One for your house, and a ‘travelling kit’ that you can keep in your bag or at work so you don’t have to spend time packing and repacking and forgetting essentials.
- French plaits are great for preventing helmet hair. Also do a surprisingly good job of not getting too sweaty during early morning bikram sessions.
- Speaking of which….it’s ok to blow dry the sweat out of your hair rather than wash it. Everyone does it. Quick blast of some dry shampoo and you’re set!
- If you do wash it, find a decent product which requires minimal styling. I swear by Toni & Guy Curl Defining Oil to just about keep things in check.
- Get a quick dry microfibre towel– I’m lucky in that we have a tumble dryer but these things work wonders!
- Miniature everything! It’s cheaper to buy the empty bottles (e.g. these from boots) and fill them up yourself, especially if your favourite doesn’t come in miniature.
- Pack the night before rather than the morning rush. See top of list for why this is important.
- The first time you see your manager getting changed it’s probably a bit awkward. It becomes less so. ish.
- Plan your breakfast – obviously you can’t bring in cereal particularly easily, but think about the options available (I’m a sucker for a bagel with peanut butter and a banana after a run commute) and if you can’t bring in anything – go grab some porridge!
- Test out your rucksack first to make sure it doesn’t rub – this is often quite difficult to test in a shop. I’ve got a Deuter SpeedLite 20 and I can actually fit my laptop in this if I need to. It does rub my neck though (which can look AWFULLY like a love bite) – but some vaseline solves the problem. If you don’t have to carry much, I’d think about a smaller one. My cycling rucksack is bigger. It makes me look a bit like a ninja turtle and when it’s full, I avoid turning round because it can wipe people out. But it means I can fit the kitchen sink plus two padlocks in there which is ideal.
- Plan ahead – e.g. is it easier for you to take your clothes in the day before so they are ready, rather than creasing them in a rucksack? Also, lay EVERYTHING out the night before. I swear by this for early morning exercise in general, but it really will make things more likely to happen.
- Some gyms have straighteners. This is genius. Some offices also have them! Get yourself a mini pair if you can’t live without them – perfect for sorting out fringes when you have blow-dried the sweat as discussed previously….
- Hope that the facilities team don’t decide to move your locker when you are away, then be unable to find the key and suggest you just ‘go to your desk and wait for an email’ when you have cycled in the rain, your trousers, shoes and makeup are in your locker and you have a meeting in 45 minutes….