Posted by: COSI | May 4, 2009

Bike to Work Day – I Did It!

I’ve biked to work dozens of times in the 2 years since we moved close enough that I can get to the bike trail. I’ve always done it on the weekends, though, when I could come in bike shorts and pretty much just remember to bring my security pass and key. I was never quite up to sorting out all the logistics of biking to work and dealing with suit, computer, showering, etc.

But the Bike to Work Week movement had caught on with our team and Jennifer Kramer was doing a good job making the pitch. I’ve been concerned about the general health of many of our team members and continually want to show how a 57 year old man can stay in shape as hopefully some type of role model. (I’ll write about the Chesebrough Challenge another time.)

I had to do it—finally sorting out the biking in to work and transforming from sweaty biker to clean , well dressed professional in the process… so the planning started last week.

Laid out a suit and all the rest I’d need to change into, shower stuff (remember the towel!), and brought it all into work last Friday. But I also generally have two heavy shoulder strap bags I lug back and forth from home—computer in one, files, reading materials, etc. in the other. How was I going to get that stuff in on the bike? By Sunday I started to panic a little as I’d still not sorted that part out.

So it was a dash to a sporting goods store just as they were closing to find an adequate backpack. Tough trying to gauge what would be big enough so my wife Dottie suggested I just buy several and try them out at home. Sure enough, it was the $100 one that I could cram everything into—not the $40 one! But my gosh—how heavy was the pack with everything crammed in?

Then there was the morning routine to deal with.

I’ve got to use a standard routine as I’m generally operating with too little sleep and the first hour is not my finest and sharpest hour of the day. Clothes go in one spot, wallet and keys another, etc. Get up, have the same routine and sequence including sitting in my special chair with heated back to loosen me up so I can operate for the day—particularly important if I’m going to be biking first thing.

Now I had to figure what biking clothes and such I needed in the morning—how cold was it going to be—shorts or long pants, did I have the water bottle set out by the door so I wouldn’t forget it, and about 6 other decision points it seemed. Finally went to bed thinking I might have sorted it all out, but still anxious.

Getting up this morning, though, my confidence was jolted first thing. Grabbing my wallet, I noticed that my belt rack had all the belts on it—darn, I’d forgotten to pack a belt on Friday! Then I realized I’d forgotten any shaving stuff—gotta shave quickly at home.

Crammed everything into the $100 backpack—looking longingly at the inadequate $40 one—I better make this more than one bike trip—and hoisted it up on my shoulder. Felt even heavier this morning than last night.
Onto the bike, and down the driveway—boy there’s more traffic on the roads over to the bike path than on the weekend. But it felt good to be moving.

Onto the Olentangy Bike Path by OSU and along the muddy, fast flowing river. Then the thought hit me—did I remember underwear when I packed everything up on Thursday evening!? Too far back in my memory to have certainty. Biked some more, worried some more, surprised I didn’t see hardly anyone on the bike path (although I know I missed the early surge).

Finally came upon other COSI team members biking in, waved and kept going (I bike as a workout since I’ve got such a crazy schedule that makes any workout routine tough to follow—didn’t want to be rude, but wanted to keep my pace). They finally caught me at an intersection and shared they’d been trying to catch up to me. Felt bad, then worried to myself some more about the underwear issue.

So with only a mile left I rode in with several team members, now realizing there were only 2 showers and I know we had at least 8 people signed up to ride. What kind of line up was there going to be, and was I going to be able to get ready in time for work?

We pulled in, moved all the garbage cans blocking the bike rack, and hoisted the heavy bike pack back up on my shoulder—ouch. I’d purposely ridden over our outdoor scale near COSI’s Big Science Park to see where my biking weight totaled –it registered 60 pounds over my personal weight and I think most of it was on my shoulder now.

I dashed up to the office, grabbed my clothes, dashed down to the shower—good, no one was in yet (we’ve got private showers that are kept lock—my key works—no need to go to security so I had a logistical advantage). How do you get hot water in this shower! (Finally sorted out at the end—quite invigorating before that point! 😉 ) Got the towel (good, remembered that)—oops no comb or brush. Fingers will have to do until I get back up to the office.
Finally in my office dashing off this blog. Had to make a point of writing about the Bike To Work experience—hoping to inspire others (and myself!) to keep it up.

After working all the logistics, spending $100 on a backpack, and finally figuring out how to get hot water in the shower, you better believe I’m going to do this again! The bike ride was the easiest (and certainly most rewarding part of all this).

And the underwear question—I wouldn’t tell you even if I did forget it! 😉



  1. Way to go!!! Let me just say you seemed cool as a cucumber on the bike path, none of us knew this was such an ordeal to you! I’m glad you’re encourage to continue and I’ll be using your enthusiasm as a reminder and inspiration that I need to continue also!
    May I also suggest some panniers for lugging your info – they clip onto a rack over the rear tire and easily clip on and off, and most come with a shoulder strap. It could ease the load off your back! Bike on!

  2. Great post, David. I’m convinced you are right – the ride itself is the easiest part, and certainly the most fun part. Kudos, sir.

    Question, though: We are compiling stories for a small book. Would you be interested in having your story published? I think people would be inspired that the CEO of COSI can cycle to work. Not to mention good PR for COSI.

    Let me know what you think.

    Austin Kocher

  3. No problem–if my fumbling around–but actually getting it done can be inspiring (or is that laughable 😉 — then go for it. I biked in again today–it gets easier as you get the routine down.

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