Today I commuted on my bicycle to work for the first time. I had been meaning to try it for some time, but just finally got motivated enough to begin. The process required me to leave a change of clothes beforehand at my local office, the only one close enough to home (six miles) to make this commuting idea practical. Then I had to remember to take all of my little tools to work with me on the bike: beeper, cell phone, ink pens, patient census cards, eyeglasses, and hospital ID. I wondered how I would get all of them into my jersey pockets until I remembered my Camelbak hydration pack hanging up in the closet. After taking out the bladder, I had plenty of room for these items in a convenient on-my-back solution.
So I was ready. I figured it would take between 20 and 30 minutes to get to work, but I was worried about the traffic, since for most of my other bike rides I am going at non-peak hours, either earlier in the day before driving to work or on the weekend.
Thus I started. Traffic was manageable and I had a pretty good shoulder to ride on for most of the commute until I got to the last mile or so when the road narrowed. There weren’t any problems, though, and I pulled up at my office building ready for the transition to the work day.
Unfortunately I had picked one of the hottest most humid Tennessee summer days to begin this venture. After I wheeled my bike into the office and parked it in the server closet, I went into the bathroom to change clothes. There the sweating began. When you’re on the bike you don’t notice sweat too much because the wind is flowing past. Once you stop, however, perspiration pours out. Did I mention that there wasn’t any shower at the office? I thought I could just wash off with a wet cloth. I didn’t smell too bad, but even after 20 minutes I was still soaked. The day was getting on, though, and I had to go to work. So I disgustingly pulled on my pants, shirt, socks and proceeded to work. At the very first nurses station, someone asked me what happened–that’s when I realized the back of my shirt was soaked through with sweat. On I went, and it was an hour at least before my perspiration output returned to normal levels. I just had to keep the shirt on until it dried. The trip home in the afternoon was fine, but when I got home and just pulled off my jersey, socks and shoes before jumping into the pool with the kids.
Two days later I did it again, only it was cooler and I didn’t sweat quite as much.
I felt great not driving for two work days out of the week. Now I just need to figure out a better system of hygiene!\