Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Bike Commute in the Summer and Keep Your Cool

Last week temperatures in New York reached the 90s. Undeterred, I bike commuted as usual anyway and got to work no sweatier than in other weather. Thus proving that I can make it in the peak summer hot weather, and that I don't need to waste money on a gym membership simply to shower before I go into the office. Here are my strategies for keeping cool:

* Go at a leisurely pace, even if it means your trip will be five-ish minutes longer. This is key.

* Carry your bag in a bike basket or panier rather than on your back.

* Wear as little clothing as possible, and make sure it is loose-fitting so you feel some breeze. Wear sandals instead of closed-toe shoes.

* Girls, wear your hair back. I pin my bangs back and keep my hair in a braided bun so it's not on my neck or back at all.

* I wear a bandana to absorb forehead sweat under the helmet. It works really well - sweat doesn't drip into my eyes while I'm riding and I feel noticeably less sweaty once I get to work. You could not wear a helmet, but that's not safe folks. This is what happens if you don't.

* Bring a change of clothes, hairbrush, deodorant, and washcloth

* When I get to work, I splash my face with some water and try to wipe down with a wet washcloth before changing into my office attire.

* Then wait. You may still feel gross, but that goes away in about a half hour.

* An added benefit of biking to work: While everyone else complains about subway fare hikes (to $104 monthly), I spent just $30 on subway rides during a summer month.

Do you have any other tips? Add them to the comments!


  1. Awesome article! I disagree with the sandals - it's much preferable to use hard soled shoes when biking (better on the feet). Just bring fresh socks.

    Awesome tip on the bandana! Being a guy I just bring a clean shirt and deodorant and change in the middle of the street like an animal :)


  2. so glad to hear that you're still bicycling. even in that intense heat last week - i don't think the dead of summer gets much worse.

  3. I agree with Pete on the shoes - unless you're just tooling around the neighborhood, wear good shoes - it's dangerous for your feet both for traction and if you get in an accident. Protect them like your noggin :)

    My suggestions - I just cut 10" off my hair and that helps, haha, but really? Carry water #1 and in the morning, leave early - a cool morning ride means you don't have to change clothes when you get in to work!

  4. I have a Montague folding bike so when the weather becomes truly unbearable (hot or cold) I take my bike onto public transit...

  5. Awesome! I just bought a road bike and am in love with it. I think the shoes depend on what kind of bike you have. I wear sandals with my mountain bike, but I couldn't on the road bike.

  6. Ha! I got spammed by "glenda regan" too!

    so glad you're still biking up a storm even in this hot weather, and that's all excellent advice. question for you- where in brooklyn do you guys live? i'm apt hunting right now and starting to think brooklyn might = better quality of life AND cheaper rent. but a long commute and i don't know how i'd do it with the dog/s. sigh.

  7. i was just looking into where to lock up my bike at work... but then walking works really well for me- so i may just stick with that lol. :)
    love the suggestions and funky pics of NYC!

  8. I liked the posts and cool layout you have here! I would like to thank you for sharing your experience and the time it took to post!! Two Thumbs up!

  9. Excellent article that will provide the a most of thing which i use in our regular life.