I recently challenged myself on my bike. No, not a century, or some feat of strength bike ride – I challenged myself to wear something different to work on my bike commute. I sew, and I sew bike-friendly office clothing, because I am: A) too lazy to change clothes at work once I arrive and B) interested in looking fashionable on my bike, rather than like a stereotypical “cyclist.” To make my clothing “bike friendly,” I add reflective trim here and there, in the seams, on the shoulders, collars, wherever inspiration hits. Most people don’t realize my clothing is reflective until I point it out, and I work in an office full of bike advocates. If they can’t tell, no one else in the business world should be able to either.
But even though I have been sewing for a while, I didn’t know how much I had made, really, and whether or not it would be as office appropriate as I assumed. So I challenged myself to see how many days in a row I could wear something I’ve made to the office. I’m pleased to see I made it 13 days! Over the course of the three weeks I did this, the weather changed a bit, so since many of my garments are more summer appropriate, I had to work to find blazers that would not cover up the reflective trim, still look “corporate,” and be weather-appropriate. Overall, I was very pleased with my challenge, although it has made me think a bit more strategically about current and upcoming projects.
Not everyone has the interest or ability to make their own bike clothing, but everyone does have the ability to challenge themselves on how they bike, and what they wear. Obviously there will be some limitations: I have yet to find a pencil skirt that works on my bike and if my bike ride was 5 miles or more, I would probably wear something breathable under my shirts and jackets, or instead of, and change at work. But biking in street clothes is easier than you think – have you tried it?
Maybe your challenge has nothing to do with what you are wearing, but the route you take, or what else you do on your bike. Do you currently bike to work, but not to the grocery store? Try that a few times, and see how that goes. Maybe you bike to your favorite yoga class, but haven’t considered biking to meet friends for coffee (replicate or join in Chasing Mailboxes’s Coffeeneuring Challenge this fall!). Or maybe try trip-chaining a few times – bike from yoga to coffee with friends, then to the grocery store! Running errands by bike is an easy way to challenge yourself. And once you are used to biking to your favorite coffee shop in your favorite boots and skirt, well, biking to work dressed like that isn’t far off! How can you challenge yourself?
You can read more from Elizabeth on her blog, tinlizzieridesagain.