by Jennifer Ramsay, LiveLighter ACT Campaign Manager

Business woman cycling

Like most adults, I know it’s important to be active every day for good health and that a great way to fit 30 minutes of activity into a busy life is to walk, cycle or even take the bus to work.

So when my partner and I made the decision to become a one car family (actually our second car made the decision for us), I decided to take up the challenge – and cycle to work.

However, I was concerned about my appearance. Could I cycle to work and look stylish, sophisticated and professional? Or realistically, could I at least maintain my current standard and look semi presentable?

Here are my tips for cycling to work and staying stylish.

1. Get the gear – all the gear!

When you consider that it costs nearly $9,000 to keep a car on the road each year some key items are justifiable. Consider:

  • A bike you love
  • Chain and mud guards
  • Basket and panniers (carry bags that attach to the rear wheel)
  • Headlight and rear light
  • Super comfy seat
  • Helmet (it’s hard to find something cool but it’s a legal requirement)

Some key clothing will also make cycling convenient and comfortable.

  • Slip on sandshoes – the kind that are stretchy so they’re quick to pull on
  • Light weight shirt and gloves for sun protection on hot days
  • Warm gloves and an ear warming head band for cold weather
  • Waterproof, full length mackintosh – it will really make rainy days manageable

2. Plan, plan, plan

Cycling to work does require some organisational effort and planning. Diarise the days you’re going to cycle and adjust your schedule so you can run errands on the days you have access to a car. Discuss back up plans with your family to deal with life’s uncertainties – like collecting sick kids from school.

Packing the gear you need and a healthy packed lunch the night before makes good sense too. If it’s easy to jump on the bike and set off for work – you’re more likely to enjoy it.

3. Emergency supplies

Keeping a small kit of inexpensive back up items at work can make the difference between looking like you fell into the office and looking professional.

  • A hair dryer for extra volume and to avoid ‘helmet hair’ (if you have a travel hair dryer you only use on holidays, this is perfect)
  • A small iron to keep you looking sharp
  • Extra toiletries including a lipstick, deodorant and hairspray
  • Black blazer to throw over any outfit for when you need a bit of polish

4. Take it easy

Try cycling to work at a comfortable pace. It might take a couple of extra minutes but it may mean you can wear the same clothes all day. Even cycling slowly counts towards increasing your physical activity levels and the associated health benefits.

5. Experience the benefits

The way you feel after cycling to work will outweigh any of your concerns about flat hair or forgetting high heels. I feel less stressed, more confident and happier on the days I cycle and I think the glow of good health is the most stylish tip of all.

For more ideas about how to fit more activity into every day check out our Be Active Every Day factsheet.