Greg LeMond famously quiped that cycling “never gets easier, you just go faster.” Rivendell’s Grant Petersen paraphrased LeMond in his bicycle commuting tips when he wrote, “Riding never gets easier, you just go faster, but the effort remains about the same.”
I spent 15 years of my life with a faster bike commute. Each year, I had a new personal best for the time trial home. I wore sport-specific gear — bike shoes, bike socks, bike shorts, bike jersey, bike gloves — to improve my performance and wick away the sweat and I carted my work clothes to and from the office every day.
A few years go I began a radical experiment: I wore my normal work clothes to the office. I discovered something that LeMond and Petersen didn’t know about: you can go slow on a bicycle! The secret to the no sweat bike commute is to take it easy.
If your bicycle commute is much more than about four or five miles this may not work as well for you, but for those of you with short commutes, it’s okay to slow down and enjoy the ride. Your cyclist friends may sneer at the “Fred” appearance, but your bike commute is evidence that you already don’t care what your colleagues think of you.
Go ahead and give the no sweat bike commute a try and let me know what you think.