9 Reasons Why You Should Never Bike To Work

(photo by mitsu iwasaki)

I have biked everywhere within 4 miles of my apartment in the past 5 years, including every job I’ve had — I’ve never had to drive to work in Denver. I find riding a bicycle exhilarating, but that’s no reason for you to think you should. In fact, here are 9 reasons you shouldn’t bike to work. I’m sure you can think of others.

9. It’s too dangerous.

Can you imagine being out there on a bicycle with all these crazy drivers flying past you, nothing to protect you except a plastic and styrofoam shell on your head? You could get killed. The absolute best thing is to stay in the protective cage of your car, because no one’s ever been killed when they’re inside an automobile. Driving is safe.

8. You have to wear a tie to work. Or a suit. Or a skirt.

Not only that, it’s important to wear your tie/suit/business casual attire from the moment you leave your house in the morning until the moment you get home. There is no conceivable way you could leave some clothes at your office, and change into them after you ride your bike to work, two or three days a week. Plus, your suit/tie combination is so dialed, you can’t just spread your tie collection out over two locations. Where the hell is my cornflower blue tie? I need to see if it looks good with these shoes. And like there’s some way to ride a bike in skirt or a dress?

7. You have to go to the gym after/before work.

What, are you supposed to carry all your work materials and your gym clothes in a tiny little backpack on a bike? Please. I mean, what, bike to work, then bike to the gym, then get on the stationary bike for 45 minutes, and bike home? Ridiculous. What are you, Lance Armstrong?  I guess you could just ride your real bike, and stop going to the gym, but we’re Americans. We work out indoors.

6. You can’t show up all sweaty and smelly for your job.

It is a proven fact that once you have sweated from exercise, you can never recover until you get into a shower or  bath and rinse it off. Also a fact: Human sweat is comprised of more than 90% fecal particles, which is why you smell like a hog confinement instantly after you start exercising, and afterward, when the people next to you on the stairmaster are passing out like they’ve just been chloroformed. It’s not like you could take a shower at the office, after all, or use Action Wipes to wipe off when you get to work to mitigate that smell. Your co-workers will be all, “Bob, what the hell did you do, bike to work today? It smells like somebody’s gutting a week-old deer carcass in your cubicle.”

5. You don’t have the right bike for it.

The only bike you own are your Trek Madone, and your single-speed 29er, neither of which will work. You’d have to go out and buy a dedicated commuting bike, which start at, what, $1,200? Ask those day laborer guys who bike to work every day on secondhand Huffys and Magnas — they’re not cheap.

4. You can’t be wearing a bike helmet and messing up your hair before work.

Fact: Hair products are not portable, and are not designed for use outside of your home bathroom or a hair salon. And let’s face it: Your hairstyle is a work of carefully crafted art, not something that can be rushed in 5, 10 or even 30 minutes in some modern office restroom. You spend a long time on your hair, just like Tony Manero. You can’t just throw it all away on a bike ride.

3. The route from your home to your office would be suicide on a bike.

There are no bike lanes, no shoulders, no wide sidewalks, no nothing on the roads from your home to your office. What, are you supposed to find other roads to ride on, like lesser-traveled, lower-speed-limit roads through residential areas? Or detour way out of your way to get on a bike path? No thank you. You don’t have time for that shit.

2. What if it rains?

Yeah, Mr. Hardcore Bike Commuter, what if it rains? You’re supposed to just ride a bicycle home from the office through a downpour? What are you supposed to do when you get home, looking like a sewer rat?  This is a civilized society. Thanks to umbrellas, sprinting from your car to your office, and sometimes holding a newspaper above your head, you haven’t gotten wet outside of your shower since 2007. Next thing, someone’s going to tell you that you have to carry a rain jacket in your bike commuting bag — maybe pants too. What the hell is this, a backpacking trip? You’re just trying to get to work on time.

1. You would have to change your routine.

Please. Give up your 45-minute drive into work, the drive that energizes you for the day ahead? Give up interacting with all those other fun, friendly, courteous drivers on the freeway? Sitting in traffic? Road construction? Merging? Not a chance.


52 replies on “9 Reasons Why You Should Never Bike To Work

  • Stuart

    Your blog entries are hilarious and oh so true! It’s refreshing to hear from someone who is hardcore into the outdoors but isn’t pictured in a North Face ad putting up 5.15b FA’s but instead is a regular guy and weekend warrior.

    Keep up the great writing! I’ve read every entry and it made my day to see a new one in my inbox this morning.

    • Harrison Davignon

      What do mean true? If you work in a ware house, by yourself, new customers, who cares if your get sweaty on the way to work? Not everyone finds and stationary bike appealing. If you live close by everything, then bicycle riding can be wonderful. At least on your bicycle the air is circulating and not stagnate, like the fumes inside the cab of a vehicle( pollution gets succeed into you vehicle). Great from of exercise, money saver, connected to nature, relaxing.if you live alone, it does not mater what you look like when you get home, you can clean up. I agree this blog brings up good points, and i appreciate your opinion but still get real, I bicycle commute all the time so I know how be efficient and safe.

      • Ian

        Um… how did you NOT notice that this was satire? Right near the beginning it says, “The absolute best thing is to stay in the protective cage of your car, because no one’s ever been killed when they’re inside an automobile. Driving is safe.”

        Also, it is in the humour section.

  • alan

    The Saturday Night Fever clip cracked me up. I didn’t know Vinnie Barbarino’s name in that movie and had no idea what to expect when I clicked the link. Awesome.
    Also, #6 could have come from a series of direct quotes by my brother.

  • Will

    I’ll just add that right this moment, my corner cubicle neighbor is grunting in a bear-like fashion as he tries to ward off sleep. He’s a big man, and I’m sure riding to work in the morning would sap even more of his strength and energy, and he’d never make it through the day

  • jlt

    I can’t tell you HOW CLOSE TO HOME this hits, here in Seattle!!! hahaha!! Love it! (and according to most reputable sources I could find, “The Emerald City” is one of the top 5 healthiest & happiest cities of folks in the U.S. !! 🙂

  • Danny

    Although it’s not for everyone or everyplace, biking is not a terrible way to get around. I’m not going to hack away at everything that’s a off in this article. Still though, me and several of my friends (that I met on my bike) would tell you that biking to work has been the best decision we ever made. It’s how I found my favorite coffee shop, several friends, my newest and best boss, and my happy, fit girlfriend. And it’s only been 5 months since I started.

  • Nate

    Too funny. Here in Missoula, Montana biking is a way of life. While I can’t etch out an extra 2 hours a day because of my schedule and picking up my kiddo on a bike from preschool would be quite a feat, I do admire those who can!

    • JohnBerry

      Picking up kids no excuse. My Dad was lame from an auto accident, amnd had a little seat for me on the cross-bar of his bike – probably illegal now (this was the 1940s), but my mother had a real baby seat, with a “fence” all round it, on the back of her bike for my little bro.

  • mike

    Love it. I actually thought, ‘what a twat!’ when I started reading…… Then I realised haha. Any tips on suits? Im starting a teaching job in September and don’t want to give up my bike for buses and trains!

  • Jakob

    Great read and had to laugh a few times. I fully agree with you. I do have to say that while biking to work I’ve been almost hit twice so I didn’t laugh at your point 9. Southern California drivers just don’t care.

  • doug moore

    According to my co-workers, I am certifiably insane, out-of-my-mind, crazy. Living in Los Angeles and commuting to work is seen as a stunt, not a way of life. Your list sounds very familiar, I hear it from them nearly every day.

  • lisa

    Suits and work clothes: I take the train to work once a week, and bring 4 days worth of work clothes and lunches with me. On the way home I take home last week’s gear. 🙂

  • h4x354x0r

    Almost all my life. 150,000+ car miles displaced so far, and still pedaling strong. Years working with the same group of people, and they are still amazed I ride my bike sometimes. Heck yeah I rode today! I love to ride my bike!

  • John cook

    I have a 62 mile round trip commute to work and to get home. First have great lights so people in cars freak out and slow down. Ride with I eye clas mirror and my work has a shower so I shower at work. Carry in my cloths when I do not ride.

  • Dan

    This article makes me want to go ride. I like when people find out I own a car but still bike, they don’t know what to say, or look at me like i’m from another planet. I’m going to try some winter commuting this year.

    • Eaglerock

      One way to address this is to leave a bike rack attached to the trunk or hood of your car. My rack has been hanging off my trunk for about four years; it’s just not worth the bother to take it off when I’ll just strap it back on anyway.

      Of course, my car battery has drained completely six times in the last 18 months, because I don’t drive often enough to keep it charged, because I’m on bikes instead…so, YMMV.

  • Stormy

    Absolutely brilliant! One thing for sure, if I ever get a job which I won’t, I’m never riding my bike there. Thank you my one geared Yoda, may the force be with you.

  • Ryan

    Let’s have a moment of silence, for those stuck in traffic, on their way to the gym, to ride on a stationary bicycle.

  • Jason

    Sure would be fun where I live. Didn’t get above zero today. Windchill brought us down to -45F. Somedays the air temp is -45F….coldest I have seen is -64F. Throw in the feet of snow we get, roads that aren’t plowed, still dark at 8 a.m and dark again at 4:25 p.m. and the cold….I will pass.

  • Amanda

    I have seriously tried to figure out how I can start commuting by bike, I really enjoy being outside, enjoying the fresh air and getting some exercise!! Unfortunately, I live over 20 miles from where I work… we are living in a rental until we find the perfect house and that is something I would like to add to my wishlist “bikable distance to work”. *sigh* unfortunately we are looking at farmland and I don’t know if anything within a bikable distance from my work is large enough for a farm…

    • Matt

      Amanda, is there a way you could ride part of the way? Drive in to the edge of town, park, ride to work, ride back to the car, drive the rest of the way. If you had an old beater bike you could leave locked up where you park, that saves a bit of hassle.

  • ShanMan67

    Great article Brendan!
    As one who rides his bike every day to work I had to chuckle. Sunday evenings are when I drive my attire for the week to the office. With a busy schedule why not get a workout (11 miles/day) while commuting?

  • Suburan Prisoner

    I’ve looked at biking to work (it’s only 10 miles each way by steel can). A semi-safe route makes it a 20 mile commute each way, which means I don’t get to have a single meal with my family, including my two small children. But hey, it’s not like being a responsible parent is nearly as cool as being a bike commuter. I mean, who cares if I’m not there to raise my kids, at least I’m out riding my bike to work.

    • Average Jane

      Please keep eating breakfast and dinner with your kids because that *is* responsible parenting. It is, of course, a choice. You could also choose to preserve the environment by riding your bike to work so your kids will have the great outdoors to enjoy when they get to be your age. But I’m guessing by your tone that they are going to hate you no matter what you choose.

  • rednikki

    In a previous job, I was told I could not walk the mile to work because it made me smell bad. I was told that I was required to drive. I sweated a lot less walking to work than I ever have biking. As a result, I will not bike to work if I do not have a shower available at my destination.

  • Paul

    10. Bike to work ? Don’t be silly. I’m not fit enough to ride to work every single day of every week. What about all those exceptional circumstances: What if I needed to carry something bulky and heavy one day. What if it was really torrential rain and howling wind one morning. And what about those days the wind swings around so I get headwind there and back? Then, what if I live too far away – how can I possibly drive part of the way or ride in one direction and take the train in the other? You are being quite ridiculous.

    • Dallon V

      no definitely not ridiculous(unless your fking disabled)(fat doesnt count because you could change that) …whats ridiculous is you making all those excuses and convincing yourself that you cannot bike to work..keep being a whore to big oil…ive been biking everywhere since the deepwater horizon oil spill in the gulf of Mexico as to support that industry as little as possible…ive been through every situation you describe there aside from the being out of shape which is your own damn fault ne ways… get ur but in shape…whats too far? heard of getting started earlier? raining? try rain gear and goggles .. and they make racks for your bike to carry shit on and you can purchase large backpacks.. ive lived as far as 25 miles from my workplace and biked everyday and everynight.. carbon footprint bro..most 90 % of the time people are like oh i cant do that or i could never do that .. they are completely wrong .. they are just incapable of thinking out of that box they were born into…. its easy lets be lazy and not truely question the implications of such things like the amount of people driving cars at the current fuel technology and the negative impacts from such a thing…. and to the people with all the other excuses .. just imagine if there was no motor vehicle transportation? what would you do ? adapt im sure .. and what about the people using kids as an excuse.. i mean i totally understand but still youd think those people would be the ones wanting to preserve the future of the planet for their freggin kids… but that would require foresight. continue suckin on the tit of the oil corps. seee where it gets all of us in 20 – 30 years

  • Another Keith

    Nice article. Most of the comments in reply that list additional excuses for not riding add up to:
    10. The job and city that have been issued to me are in a terrible location, far from work, far from daycare, and/or far from nice weather. What, do you expect me to be the first person in history to change my job/daycare/school/residence in order to improve my health, my commute, my lifestyle, and/or my family’s health?!

  • paddypooch

    dude, bro, I can’t over-work my legs. will totally mess up my 5.10 onsight game (obvs only bolted 5.10s)…

  • AnthonyTheMastermind

    You don’t have to ride your bike everyday. It depends on weather, how far your job is, and how fit you are. I ride my bike to work almost everyday.

  • william higgins

    While chatting to a new co worker about commuting to work on my bike, he looked me straight in the eye and asked when I rec’d my DUI citation….

  • Not A Biker

    I’m not going to ride my bike to work because I don’t want to. How about that. I like being able to go wherever I want whenever I need to, to pick up groceries right after getting my kiddo from daycare, or to make a last minute lunch meeting, or to have more quality interactive time with my family. Make biking the easier option with bike lanes and better city planning and a number of other conveniences and maybe I’ll think about it. But I still probably won’t, because smelling at work and changing/putting on makeup/etc in a nasty bathroom is disgusting. Not an excuse, just an honest choice.

  • Tyler

    ^ I know what you mean. I love bike riding, but I’m skeptical when it comes to biking to work. I’d hate to show up all sweaty and gross and having to go to the bathroom everyday to clean up. I think I’d get sick of that. Not only that, but what if you work late? For me, I don’t get off work until midnight. Riding a bike here at dark would be very dangerous, especially here in the city. Crime is ridiculous.

  • Norman

    Since you are not intend to ride a bicycle to work.Make sure you keep your driver license. Try not to lose it .Otherwise you will have no choice but humping on a bicycle anyway. Even if you don’t like to do it.Make sure you follow all the procedures that will keep you from losing your driver license. Paying your child support is one of them.

  • Albert

    Thanks for the great suggestions! Options I see for my situation of 22 miles each way to work:
    1. Start off by riding to work ONCE a week.
    Pick the best weather day.
    2. Drive part way, then ride the other part and do it often.
    For example, drive to daycare, drop off the kiddo, then ride to work from there? More time? Yes, but I won’t take the time to go to the gym either…ugh. I could do my shopping after picking up junior and my vehicle on that second part of the trip.
    3. Find a reason to set boundaries for myself. Leave work on time to ride back to my car/house and make an excuse to include much needed exercise in my life.

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