Biking to Work (and why most don’t)

For the past two years I have biked to work in the Spring and Summer. I don’t do this every day, in fact, in a typical week I only ride my bike to the office a couple times. The two biggest reasons that I don’t ride on any given day are client meetings and my motorcycle. I’ve often thought that I should let go of one of my two-wheeled past-times, but haven’t been able to do so.

People are always interested when they hear that I ride my bike to work. Without fail, 90+% of people also follow that up by saying “I’d love to ride to work, but there aren’t showers at my office.” Neither do I. And guess what? I’m probably the most disgustingly sweat-prone person I know. I’m also a bit of a clean freak that takes multiple showers a day. If I can do it, anyone can. In fact, my wife realized that she had no excuse herself and sold her scooter and has been riding in to work almost every day this season.

Granted, I don’t have a 30 mile commute. But I still get to the office on most mornings dripping with sweat. In order to make myself presentable I have a collection of items that I keep in a drawer. I wear cool, quick-drying clothes (under armour, etc), and bring a change of clothes. If I really wanted to be efficient, I could just keep a change of clothes at the office rather than bringing stuff with me every time I ride.

Showering in the morning is probably the most important part. Some people are tempted to hop on their bike because it seems silly to shower right before getting sweaty. However, showering before you leave for work will make clean-up at the office significantly more effective. Once I get in, I rehydrate and sit in front of my fan for five minutes to start cooling down. Then I lock myself away in the handicap bathroom and clean up. I use very damp paper towels first, then wet ones, and I also use sensitive skin cleaners for my face. I hand wash my shorts, spandex, and sometimes the shirt I wore right in the sink. I also keep anti-perspirant and some hair product at work. I have a bottle of sports deodorizer that I spray on my clothes and shoes. Back at my desk, I put my desk fan on the floor and drape my wet clothes over it until they’re dry.

Keeping some extra basics at the office (underwear, socks, shoes, etc) minimizes the amount of stuff I need to bring with me in the mornings. All in all, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good system that works for me. Would an on-site shower make everything easier? Absolutely. But I’m a sincere believe that some people will always have an excuse. There is always a reason not to ride to work, to skip a lift, to sit on the couch, or take a weekend off. As much as I can, I try not to let excuses get in the way of things I think I should be doing. As Dan John says, “if it’s worth doing, do it every day.” If something isn’t worth doing, I don’t stress about it. If it is worth doing, I’m not going to let inconveniences get in the way.

Simple Sprinting Program

I’m still playing around with incorporating sprints into my lifting schedule. I enjoy doing them on the weekend, as a nice break from the daily grind and an excuse to get outside. For the sake of simplicity, here is the progression that I’ve been doing:

  1. Foam rolling and stretching at home
  2. Walk/jog one mile to the local track
  3. Stretch and loosen up
  4. Sprint 100 meters, walk 100 meters
  5. Sprint 200 meters, walk 200 meters
  6. Sprint 400 meters, walk 400 meters
  7. Suicides from 10 yards to 50 yards
  8. Walk home
Obviously it’s a very simple progression. It leaves me pretty gassed, but not to the point where I can’t walk the next day or it detrimentally affects lifting. As satisfying as DOMS can be, I don’t want to be in recovery mode for 3-4 days after a sprinting session. Each sprint is done at 100% and the only one I time is the 400 meter. My goal is still to get a sub 60 second 400 meter sprint. This progression probably isn’t the best for that goal. Realistically I should probably be focusing on performing 400 meter sprints if my goal is to get under 60 seconds. However, the ultimate goal with this is just to get outside, do something new, and push myself in ways that I can’t during the winter. It feels great and is definitely humbling to realize how slow/inefficient I have become over the years.

Barely walking, but still going at it…

It’s been a while, but I’m still keeping at it. I’ve recently incorporated bird dogs into my routine:

After tweaking my lower back (possibly a herniated disc) I had to pull back on some of my lower body movements and wanted to bolster some of my stability/back work with things such as bird dogs. I continued with rows, sand bag bench presses, and cycling sprints.

I’ve also started the PLP program as a supplemental item which I’ll expand on later. I’m now on day 12 (22 reps).

In more recent news, a bottle-opening injury has left my right hand relatively useless for the past few days. On Saturday I decided to get some sprints in. I walked a mile to the nearest high school track where a soccer game was going on. I found a grassy area and hill nearby and decided to take a shot at those. After ten sprints with minimal rest, I made my way back home. I knew I had pushed myself, but I honestly was feeling cheated. Between not being able to run a timed 400m sprint, and the fact that I haven’t done any sprinting for over a year, I was worried that I didn’t get enough done. The next morning my body made it very clear to me that I had managed to move it in ways that it was not accustomed to. A slow walk in the morning proved painful. Monday morning (two days later) I woke up at 5am to get in some squats, and found I was still in too much pain. As much as it hurts, and as much as it is shocking to have this much DOMS, it’s a great feeling to know that over the next few months I’m going to be able to continue to shock my winter-softened self with sprints. I’m still not sure if I’ll do it once or twice a week, but my ultimate goal is to get back to a sub-60 second 400m at >190 pounds bodyweight. In high school I was able to do sub-55 seconds at 155 pounds, so if I can approach that marker with an additional 40 pounds of weight on my frame I’ll be pretty content.