My Patient Husband’s bicycle

I blame Calvin and Hobbes: my Patient Husband wants to bike to work.

The reason we moved from Angeltown to Angelborough was his commute. The simple act of uprooting our lives, doubling our mortgage, throwing away a third of our things and getting an ulcer having to deal with many, many stupid mortgage officers and a couple of stubborn attorneys reduced his commute by 90 miles a day.

Well, now it’s time to pay the piper. It would be great exercise to bike to work. Great for the environment. Wouldn’t it be cool. The whole world would love him.

I said, How are you going to get all your things to work? Your lunch? How will you change into clean clothes after biking ten miles? Can you even bike ten miles? How are you going to make it through That Intersection in Northtown?

My Patient Husband had all the answers to this: he Googled them up. I’m not convinced. Because all the answers boil down to, “Well, they say *this* but I’m not sure how it would work out.”

This morning, he said, for example, one website says to keep a change of clothes in the office. Sounds nice, right? For one day. Then what? His office fits a desk, a filing cabinet and a tiny book shelf. A wardrobe? Not so much. There’s a fitness center on the jobsite, and he could keep toiletries there, but what about his towel? Shouldn’t that get laundered every so often?

So I said, here’s what you do. You call Zoots.

I didn’t need to go any further: he was already laughing. (Zoots is a dry-cleaner that delivers.) But since I can’t refrain from running a joke into the ground, I went on.¬†

I said, you wear clothes on Monday, then call and have them picked up at the end of the day, biking home in your biking clothes. On Tuesday, they bring them back, and while the delivery guy is there, you say, “Wait a minute,” and you strip out of your clothes and put on the clean ones, and have him take away the dirty ones.

The downside: his office mates will think he only owns two sets of clothes.

He said, “I could keep two spares there,” but I pointed out that the whole aim of this was not to have extra clothes in his office at all, since he has no room.

Yeah, we’re still working out the logistics of the bike thing. But the first hurdle will be the purchase of a bike. And next, as my Patient Husband points out, he needs to remember how to ride one. Finally, I need to get over my fear of him being sideswiped or doored by some malicious driver. Guess which one will be the hardest?


  1. Katriina

    We get a lot of bikers (year round) in Minneapolis, MN. They usually ride with a backpack and thats where all their stuff goes. Work clothes should fit fine in a standard backpack, you might have to leave work shoes at work though.

  2. Deb

    That has always been my problem with joining a gym. Whether I go before work or after, clothing would have to be dealt with, and I’m just afraid of trying to be that organized when so much is at stake…

  3. philangelus

    He does work out at the fitness center onsite. He used to be dressed for work and then change into workout clothes; now he goes in workout clothes and changes there, plus has a change of clothes in the car in case he forgets something. He’s super-organized, so it doesn’t usually happen.

    But he can’t carry a full change of clothes to work on a bicycle, I don’t think.

  4. Ken Rolph

    Get a bike with a set of pannier bags on the back. These can carry most anything.

    But you haven’t answered the real question. How does he look in those tight lycra bike shorts? Maybe there’s another agenda here. He might want you to look forward to his coming home.

  5. Patient Husband's former officemate

    You can find pannier bags here at’s cycling gear shop (among other places, I’m sure). Alternatively, he can drive once a week or so to transport a week’s worth of work clothes.

    And, as for the possibility of getting smacked by a car, you can try NASA’s Mars Lander airbag system ( – I understand the federal government is low on cash these days, and might let you buy a certified pre-owned landing apparatus (most miles interplanetary; only deployed once!) for pennies on the dollar.

  6. Patient Husband's former officemate

    30 seconds with Google has yielded armor for mountain bikers (

    30 seconds with Wikipedia resulted in (I kid you not) Dragon Skin body armor ( Admittedly, it’s designed for stopping bullets, not cars. By the way, the instructions for making Dragon Skin body armor start “First, find a dragon…”

  7. philangelus

    I’ll have a dragon on the blog tomorrow, PHFO, so maybe he can tell us where and how to skin a dragon. DOn’t they molt or something? We’ll ask Vern when he gets here.

    Your comment put me in mind of the MST3K invention, the motorcycle helmet airbag. I wonder if it’s on youtube anywhere…

  8. cricketB

    Dad used to bike to work all the time in the summer. Husband, well, not so much. Yes, a bit of work with the map is worth it.

    Panniers are safer than backpacks. The centre of gravity is lower and fixed to the bike rather than your shoulders, and they don’t slip off your back. I used to carry groceries in mine.

    Hiking towels don’t take up much space. Does the gym have a towel service? (Sorry, honey, you spent your gas money for the week on the towel service.)

    What does he have to wear that won’t pack? Dad used to keep a sports coat and tie at the office, and a set of overalls, so he’d be ready for anything.

  9. Ken Rolph

    You can find a dragon on the island of Komodo. The locals will leave out a dead goat but the skinning is up to you. I understand it is a bit difficult. The dragon skin is underlaid with a bony mesh, which is what makes it so difficult to penetrate.

    If you do go after a dragon, stop by and say hello. Sydney is not all that far out of the way.

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