Commuting: Weeks 1 and 2

I am proud to announce that, so far, no one has killed me during my new rush hour commute. The prize for the best attempt goes to Fucko in the white car who, on Friday, made a U-turn from the outside left turn lane while I was in the inside left turn lane. He seemed confused as to why I honked at him.

During my first five years at Danger, my bike gear ritual was fairly simple. I wore my Helimot leather pants every day, along with a weather-appropriate jacket. I left a pair of shoes and a pair of jeans at work; when I got into the office, I’d grab the jeans, go into the restroom, change, and store the leather pants (and my bike boots) in the corner of my cubicle for the day. Reverse these steps for leaving work at the end of the day.

This worked very well when I was a programmer and only really ever wore jeans and sneakers. These days, though, I’m wearing nice jeans, other pants, or even sometimes — gasp — a skirt. I even have a couple of different pairs of shoes that I wear. So I needed a new gear routine.

Now, I leave the TourMaster soft luggage on the SVS all the time (I’ll need to figure something else out when the rain starts, but for now, this works perfectly). In the morning, I deposit my purse into one bag, and my shoes and any blazer/jacket into the other. If I’m wearing a skirt that day, that goes into the bag, too. My new FirstGear HT overpants go on over my jeans (or a pair of shorts, if skirt).

When I get to work, I take off the jacket and overpants and lay them on top of the bike temporarily. I take my purse out of the bag, put it on the ground, and shove my overpants into the newly-empty saddlebag. Shoes and blazer come of of the other bag; jacket (mostly) goes into it. My Daytona Ladystar boots won’t fit into the saddlebags during the day, but since I park in a badged-entry underground parking garage, I don’t worry about leaving them alongside the bike. I’ve got bigger problems if my coworkers resort to stealing my boots.

So now when I go upstairs to my cube from the parking garage, I’m wearing my clothes for the day, and am only carrying my helmet, tankbag, and purse. I could probably start leaving my tankbag on the bike during the day (for the same security reason as the boots), but I like keeping my helmet in my cube so that I know it hasn’t been kicked or knocked about accidentally.

Anyway, that’s my new routine. It’s working really well. I’m very pleased with the HT overpants, though the knee armor confusingly wants to wander up my thigh a little bit. I don’t mind much since it still covers the actual kneecap, but apparently my lower thigh will be more protected in an accident than my upper shin. *shrug*

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12 Responses to Commuting: Weeks 1 and 2

  1. Jamie C. says:

    You mean you don’t wear the skirt while riding??? 🙂
    While I haven’t ridden in a skirt, I have ridden in a dress… something every lady rider should experience at least once.

  2. Stephanie says:

    As one bizcasual victim to another, I must say that broomstick skirts rock. You just twist ’em up and throw them into the bag. (I’m currently using a backpack as all the bike gear has to go upstairs with me.)
    Anyway, you have my full empathy on the commute- doesn’t it seem that cars are getting even worse lately?

  3. Karl says:

    As much as I hate to encourage your gear fetish … do you remember that FirstGear suit that Ksann and I have? The Tron one? It’s *perfect* as a commuter suit.
    You put on your bizcaz clothes, or at least the crushable portions, climb into the suit, and ride off to work. When you get to work, you just shuck the suit… it’s faster than Superman changing, because you just take your boots off, unzip the suit, and step out of it like a new butterfly leaving the cocoon. And on top of that, it’s got great protection. I know they make them in XS, and they might fit you … or helimot could probalby alter it to fit you.
    Blazer and shoes can go in a tankbag. That way you don’t have to deal with leaving non-waterproof luggage on the bike… that Marsee tankbag I gave you with the VFR is perfect for that (but beware that it’s water resistant, and most certainly not waterproof if it gets soaked) because it’s magnetic; grab and go.

  4. colin says:

    i use a givi topcase for commuting.
    my single topcase holds nearly as much as two soft saddlebags, yet locks, is waterproof, and is “lane sharing” friendly.
    yeah, it looks goofy. but there’s a certain utilitarian, function-over-form beauty to it as well.
    perhaps one of your side cases would be big enough, mounted on a rear rack?

  5. carolyn says:

    Yeah, a topcase really would be perfect — I’ve thought that many times. Unfortunately, getting yet another Givi and rack system isn’t in my budget right now. 😉
    When it starts raining, I’ll more than likely just take off the soft luggage and put on the Givis. Overkill, for sure, but I know they’re 100% waterproof. 😉

  6. Stephanie says:

    If you do get the Givi rack, let us know- we STILL have that extra top box taking up half our linen closet.

  7. wookiee says:

    A lot of the parking garages around here specify “no motorcycles” and I’m not sure why. We’re moving across downtown next week and I’m fearful I won’t be able to ride to work.

  8. Jamie C. says:

    Bike-hostile garages are usually that way because it’s too easy for a bike to slip in around an automatic gate or through a pedestrian entrance, and since you can’t put your ticket on the dash if you don’t have a dash, there’s no way to tell if a bike is there legally.
    Talk to the manager of the garage and ask. If you get a monthly permit, your license # can be given to the security guard (or whoever patrols) so they won’t worry about it.
    Most managers are willing to make exceptions to the “no motorcycle” policy for regular customers, so talk to them. Even if they won’t, at least you’ll find out why.

  9. Jamie C. says:

    Bike-hostile garages are usually that way because it’s too easy for a bike to slip in around an automatic gate or through a pedestrian entrance, and since you can’t put your ticket on the dash if you don’t have a dash, there’s no way to tell if a bike is there legally.
    Talk to the manager of the garage and ask. If you get a monthly permit, your license # can be given to the security guard (or whoever patrols) so they won’t worry about it.
    Most managers are willing to make exceptions to the “no motorcycle” policy for regular customers, so talk to them. Even if they won’t, at least you’ll find out why.

  10. Jamie C. says:

    Sorry for the double post; I got a timeout on submitting and hit Retry.
    Anyway, Carolyn, JC Whitney has two “trunks” that are universal fit for motorcycles. I’ve been considering one for my KLR; bolt one onto your Serow (we could probably rig up an attachment) and you could use that for commuting…

  11. Laura says:

    I leave all my work shoes at work under my desk, all the time, it’s one less thing to lug back and forth. I don’t bring a purse anymore, I have a backpack with the multitude of absolutely essential things I might decide I need during the day. I got tired of carrying a purse, paperwork, my lunch, a whole bunch of separate crap. Now it all goes into this truly fine REI backpack with 4 or 5 separate compartments and separate pockets in the compartments. If I wanted a purse to keep my wallet in when I go out to lunch or something, I could keep one at work but I just carry my wallet. I wear everything I can under my gear and when I get to work, I take the backpack out of my locking trunk, take any clothing out of my side bag, then lock my helmet up in the trunk and wear everything else inside. At my desk I take off my jacket, pants & boots, put on my work shoes and I’m all set…except for the 10 minutes in the bathroom dealing with the helmet hair. 🙂 I gave up on skirts unless I’m caging it.

  12. Yosh says:

    I’ve got an extremely flexible wardrobe of shirts and slacks made from a blend of rayon and lycra and the like that I can wear under all of my gear as they DON’T WRINKLE!
    I’ve found all of my work clothes from stores like NYC & Co., Limited and Limited Express, Target and just keep building on the simple peices I have now.
    A lot of the clothing is machine washable as long as you use the delicate cycle and a color-safe liquid detergent (the new Cheer for darks is WONDERFUL btw!!!)
    Also, I leave a few pairs of shoes, a hair brush, some make up, and other toiletries at work in the office or coat room so I don’t have to lug anything extra around.
    hth! 🙂

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