Bike to Boardroom: How to Look Great After a Bike Commute

Joan Touchstone
May 6th, 2014

Crisp air, Mediterranean climates and a bounty of bike lanes. Ignore the hills, and San Francisco is a city built for cyclists. Here at Blanc & Otus, we have a loyal group of bike commuters – including myself – who pedal in daily. In addition to puddles, car doors and gusty winds, there’s another huge obstacle for our biker gang:

Helmet Hair. 

You see, in public relations, image is everything. You only get one chance at a first impression and prepare to distract if what’s atop your head is awry. In honor of Bike to Work Day, and as homage to the importance of protecting our hairstyles in addition to our skulls, we have five tips for looking great after a bike commute.

From bike to boardroom! L-R: Jennifer Smith, Joan Touchstone

From bike to boardroom! L-R: Jennifer Smith, Joan Touchstone

1. Trade wool for tactical gear

Every woman knows the secret to looking great while working out is fancy yoga wear. Why should your active commute be any different? Jen Smith swaps work-appropriate dresses and separates for workout-appropriate leggings and windbreakers for the commute to and from work.

An added bonus to her commuter gear? Jen is always ready to do some squats!

An added bonus to her commuter gear? Jen is always ready to do some squats!

The best place to stash your professional garb is folded neatly in a backpack.

2. Helmet-proof your hair

As someone who often rocks the curly locks, I can tell you from experience that there is a high margin of error for curls, which increases dramatically when anything comes in contact with your hair. Is it possible to avoid crushed, flat, wonky helmet hair? Yes.

My no-longer-secret formula involves twisting and pinning curls (one chunk on each side) so they’re safely twisted underneath my helmet. This protects the curl – and my skull.

Joan shares the secret to frizz-free curls post-commute

Joan shares the secret to frizz-free curls post-commute

Once the commute is over, it’s take, unstake and shake time. Take off the helmet, remove the bobby pins and give my hair a tousle and a light shake. A little bit of hairspray also adds volume and definition.

As for the men, resident commuter cyclist Bill Rundle recommends “loading on the wax,” ensuring his locks have an ample coat of styling cream to avoid the dreaded telltale helmet head.

3. Safety first!

No one looks good after getting in a tussle with a car or pothole. Being a bike commuter means being a defensive cyclist and paying attention to not just what’s right ahead of you, but also what might be turning in front of you down the road. Bike lights and bright gear as flashy accessories – coupled with lots of common sense – make a powerful fashion statement.

4. Protect your pant legs

Not only is an oily, ripped pant leg a major faux pas, it’s also a safety concern. Keep chains and pants separated using the tuck, the band or the roll.

Right sock over right pant leg protects your gear from your gears, as demonstrated by Bill Rundle

Right sock over right pant leg protects your gear from your gears, as demonstrated by Bill Rundle

5. Sweat-proof your ride

Slap on the deodorant before, and keep an extra stick at your desk in case of emergencies.

Bill also recommends the shirt swap. “I ride in wearing a t-shirt, and change into a button-down upon arrival.”

Workplace showers (like we have at B&O) come in handy for those with commutes on the athletic side, and baby wipes can be an acceptable alternative for a real shower.

Bonus Tip: Take a rain check

If it’s raining – which hasn’t happened much in 2014 anyway – consider your alternatives. Don’t have a car? Tap Uber, MUNI or Lyft.

There you have it, our best advice for looking professional after a bike commute. How do you rock your bike commute? Leave a comment or share a picture in your getup at @blancandotus.

About Joan Touchstone

Slightly obsessed with staying current on media and technology, Joan Touchstone brings her enthusiasm about what’s new, what’s interesting and what matters to B&O and its clients. When she’s not securing media hits or collaborating on inventive PR plans, you can find her running around the perimeter of San Francisco, baking gluten-free treats and on Twitter @joantouch.