Comment of the Day: The Hot Mantra

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE HOT MANTRA “It hasn’t been ‘too hot’ to cycle comfortably for nearly six months. It’ll be reasonably comfortable for nearly two more, until we near the end of May. Summer will suck, but thousands will still be cycling. The same is not true for large swaths of the country which are currently sitting under feet of snow. Houston Summers are less inhospitable to outdoor activities than Winters are in many large cities; and our Spring and Fall are as good or better than most. The ‘it’s too hot’ mantra is tired, lame, and false. [jon, commenting on Designing Houston’s Bicycle Underbelly]

21 Comment

  • As a midwesterner and a long distance cyclist. I never had head stress incidents until I moved to Houston. I’ve lived here for 5 years now and my body cant handle a mid day summer ride for more than 15 miles. Now everyone’s body is different, I understand that… but I recall doing 100 mile rides in Chicago in the middle of summer with no negative or dangerous health issues arising mid ride.

    That being said, in your defense, I rarely rode in the middle of January in Chicago and I agree that ‘it’s too hot’ mantra is kind of lame.

  • Heat stress, not head stress.

  • it can often be a bit baffling at how difficult some folks make cycling out to be. i’m sure there’s tons of cycling grannies all over the netherlands parading through near-freezing temperatures right now just laughing at our pudgy faces.

  • That is right on. Yes Houston is sticky and hot during 3-4 months a year. The rest of the year is mostly fine (Spring and Fall are nice and our Winters tend to be mild).

  • But but but I’m a super important businessman and I can’t have wrinkled and sweaty pants at work and I never ride a bike on the weekends or at night because I might fall off and skin my elbow!

  • well said! Too many un-proactive people on here just wanting to view all the negative with everything out of their comfort zone.

  • Could not agree more. My husband bikes to work each day. When we lived in the northeast, this was not possible year-round: snow, ice, sleet, sub-zero wind chills. Many buildings have showers. Many employers offer benefits to those who don’t drive. Do you need a power suit? Change at the office. It’s not that hard.

  • Denial is not just a river in Egypt. It maybe comfortable to ride a bike for two weeks out of a year, but the rest of the time you will sweat. Unless you take a Hooker Shower at the office, like someone in the original thread suggested, you will be ostracized. The alternative of being in a comfortable climate controlled car listening to morning radio antics and sipping a coffee sounds much more appealing … dare I say a welcome personal time even.

  • You seem to have AMAZING insight into what other’s temperature preferences and personal circumstances are, going so far as to think that you have “proven” false the notion that bicycle commuting is impractical for all but a tiny minority of people in Greater Houston.

    In my office attire, my preferred temperature for biking is 40. Sure, I’ll bike in my leisure time when it’s in the upper 90s for 2-3 hours at a time, but not in my work clothes.

    Do you think most people bike to work in a bathing suit and a muscle shirt? I don’t want to pretend to speak for every Houstonian – but just going out on a limb here – I *think* my attire is pretty representative of what most commuters wear year-round, that is, only my hands and above the neckline are uncovered (with occasional short sleeves on Fridays).

    But hey, what do I know? I only see thousands of office-based commuters every single day.
    Maybe I’ve missed the bikers who are all lounging in the basement in their bike shorts (or alternatively, they were banished there because their odor is so offensive).

  • Also, cold doesn’t give you body odor. Sweating in heat does.

    And in most years in most U.S. cities, the snow is plowed from the streets very quickly, the snow on the sides melts soon after from a combination of salt and heating from blacktop pavement. Unless you’re talking about Aspen or Marquette or Juneau, there isn’t very much snow on the ground for very long – unlike the heat of Houston’s summers which is here pretty much every day for 5 months.

    If you look at the cities with the highest percentage of biking commuters, you’ll see it’s cities with either a major university or a moderate climate or both. The first reason people will bike is necessity – student “poverty” – and next is comfort.

  • Are you guys for real? Carry a suit to work with you on your bike…arrive to work later than you would if you drove…shower IF your employer provides these facilities…put on your suit.

    Meanwhile…1 hour later, you’re late for a meeting.

    It sounds much easier to just bike or jog after work.

  • @joel, excellent point. My grandmother who lived in the Netherlands cycled everywhere up until she was 86. No such thing as too hot, no such thing as too cold, no worries in the rain either.
    Of course, when we visited, we couldn’t open windows on opposite sides of the house. The consequences of this, we were told, was that we would get sick from the draft.
    I still visit relatives over there and it still astonishes me how many people choose to ride a bike as the sole method of transit. It’s amazing what a well built system of bike paths (and prohibitively expensive car ownership costs) will do to encourage healthy living.

  • if you work downtown just join the YMCA or another gym if your office doesn’t have a shower. I’ve found that the days I skated to work… I only needed to wake up 15 minutes earlier. I have my clothes in my backpack ready to go, wake up, splash water in my face, grab a quick bite, hop on the board and go. When I got to work (my old building had showers) I cleaned up there. My commute is only 3-4 miles, by car it takes 10 minutes, by board it takes 20 ish. I tend to clean up faster at the work showers than at home, plus i’m nice and awake.
    I’ll never commute daily by bike/board, but with a better network of trails/paths, I could definitely see myself doing it once a week.

  • @eiioi

    clearly you still do not get it. you DO need/have to make adjustments to your schedule if you ride a bike vs driving your car, soon you get adjusted to that though. But sense you dont get that, its a no brainer why you have been arguing this bike vs. car debate all along. Like I said before, it’s the people that think like you that keep us from moving forward into the future at the pace of the rest of the nation/world.

  • It all sounds idyllic, but the realities do get in the way. And it’s more complicated if you are a woman going to work: messed up makeup, sweaty helmet hair, etc.

    I know because, I worked for an employer awhile back who was trying to encourage alternate means of transportation for employees. There was some govt. sponsored day (in the early 90’s) So several of us who lived within 5 miles of work rode our bikes to the hospital where we worked. Showers were available to us. By the time we got there, showered, dressed, did the hair & makeup thing it was 9:00 (when we started @ 8:00)

    Then that day there was a surprising turn of weather–with a tornado warning. So those of us who rode bikes were dismissed @ 2:00 p.m. to get safely home.

    The whole experience was inauspicious and uninspiring!

  • Daily bike commuter here: commuting by bicycle’s not for everyone, and I don’t begrudge someone’s decision to drive when they could feasibly ride in; there are unfamiliar hassles associated with it that many people aren’t willing to put up with, even though they put up with different, familiar, and commonly-shared hassles by choosing to drive instead. But I will agree with the common “it’s too hot” trope being only seasonally true, at best. I keep a coat at the office and bike in a dress shirt, slacks and, most days, a tie. My ride’s a little over a mile each way—just short enough for me not to sweat, though I realize others are different and they’d be drenched halfway there—and for me it’s faster than driving, circling up the parking garage levels, and walking to my desk. This won’t be everyone’s situation. It’s bearable in the summers and great the rest of the year. If you’re riding briskly enough, the breeze is pretty nice. (Honestly, for me the threat of rain is the worst thing since I have to take a raincoat along just in case, followed by the gusty winds downtown and attendant construction dust.) But if I know I have to be in court or meet a client looking 110%, attempting to give the impression that I literally just finished getting dressed, I may drive in.But for me pros outweigh the cons. If you’re thinking about doing it, try riding in just on Fridays for a month or so. You’ll enjoy it!The weather’s not people’s biggest concern anyway; it’s the notion that you have to be a “cyclist” to ride a bike once you’re past age 12 or so, as if bikes are toys and not a tool for getting around.

  • @cg,
    Well, sInCe you put it that way, I’ll take it as a compliment. I didn’t realize I had that much power. Wow!

  • My experience is that the main impediment to biking in Houston is the cars, not the weather. Obviously, that is not everyone’s experience.
    I live close to where I work and am not a sweaty person in general. I can easily bike in the morning to work and be fine even in the summer. I do get sweaty biking home in the summer, but I’m at home at that point, so it doesn’t really matter.

  • So wait, I don’t even like to pee when there are coworkers in the bathroom, you want me to shower in front of them too?

  • @ John C. – get over it, we aren’t fascinated by your winkie, or your moobs, or whatever it is.

    @ Jason – OK, you’ve given me food for thought. I used to routinely ride my motorcycle to work downtown, getting out of the habit only because of the construction when every bloomin’ street was being rebuilt the last time, and my parking garage exit on Travis included having to deal with a combination of buses, pointy thingies, and gravel for several blocks…which just kinda took the fun out of it. And I wear a tie to keep the view clear as well.

  • Jason C has got it right. I dare one to try riding his or her bike to work. You may find that you actually ENJOY it. I do. Going to work becomes enjoyable.