Voice from the Middle

Bicycling to Work

bikeI’ve always wanted to live close enough to my work to be able to bike there. The thought of leaving a smaller footprint on the earth by bicycling somewhere I go five days a week has appeal to me. Also appealing, is the drive at the busiest time of day is a major dislike of mine, so why not slow it down and enjoy the commute.

For the past year, I’ve lived within three miles of my work. Where I live, we celebrate May as Bike Month and are encouraged to use this month to bike to work. The perfect storm.

Day 1. May 1. It’s pouring. I do it anyway with slicker over my backpack and ball cap to keep the rain off my face. I do it. My jeans and underwear stay wet until noon. But. I did it.

Day 2. Beautiful cool morning. I feel like a kid riding to school. I notice how awake and good I feel at 9am.

Day 7. Flat tire on the way to work. Had to walk half of the way so late and sweating.

Day 10. Worked from home. Scared away by rain chances.

Day 15. F it. I drove.

Day 20-30. It was unseasonably hot. As in, hot at 7am hot.

I’m so glad I rode to work for Bike Month, but there were negatives. I sweat too much. The day’s first half hour was me mopping sweat off myself while I cooled down. It didn’t help that it is up hill the entire way to work. However, the ride home was relaxing and a great transition to my real life. Another negative is the time it takes to not only bike there, but secure your bike, change out of your bike clothes, and do it all over again at the end of the day.

The positives outweigh the negatives and I plan to continue riding to work regularly. I love how I felt at 9am. I really had gotten my heart pumping already and it was so easy to fit exercise into my life without it taking up a great deal of time.

Last summer, I spent two hours after work three days a week riding my bike to get in shape. This year, my daily shorter rides, but on more hills, got me in just as good shape and were much more enjoyable.

I got to know the neighborhood dogs. 🙂 I got to know the kids on their bikes riding to school. I smelled the Spring flowering bushes; felt every bump; and waved at people watering their flowers or walking their dogs.

I wish more people used the bike for transportation where I live. In my office building of nearly 3,000, mine is the only bike in the bent and scraped up bike rack. Compare this with say Copenhagen, Denmark, where 50% of the population bike to work or school daily. And, 90 percent of Denmark’s population own a bike while only 56 percent own a car.¹

I really didn’t wear makeup and couldn’t fix my hair.  I guess this is the reason more women don’t bike to work. It was freeing yes, but I do admit that I felt my professionalism could be considered compromised. If it was more accepted, I think it would change America’s beauty standards.

So with this past weekend being the official start to summer, plan to do something new these months to reinvent yourself just a little. And, be sure to let me know what those things are.

— Namaste


¹ City of Copenhagen, The Technical and Environmental Administration Traffic Department. Copenhagen City of Cyclists: Bicycle Account 2012. 2013.


By Debra Happe

Debra Happe is a writer and marketing professional based in Des Moines, Iowa. Debra does business, magazine, and freelance copywriting work. Specialties include science-based, environmental, and technological. Connect on LinkedIn for professional inquiries.

One reply on “Bicycling to Work”

HI, Debra! Thanks for stopping by my blog and liking my biking posts – Ink and National Bike Month. It’s always a pleasure to meet a fellow rider. I admire your heart in riding that first week with rain and a flat tire. Talk about bad luck! I am an old retired guy who rides every day. When I was working I tried biking to work, but I couldn’t hack it. I only lived a mile and a half away, but the ride was just long enough to get me feeling good and too short to really enjoy. I felt like the old ad for potato chips – ‘you can’t eat just one.’ I gave it up and walked it for my remaining years working. You seem to be in a good place mentally in terms of your exercise. That’s great. Keep it up. Remember, it’s a one day at a time deal. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day or two.


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