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.
Brendan Leonard is an editor, outdoorsman and author of The New American Road Trip Mixtape. He runs the site semi-rad.com.