Why Biking to Work Is the Ultimate Workout Hack (and How to Do It Yourself)

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If no amount of meditation can keep you from wanting to pull your hair out at the sight of bumper-to-bumper traffic or another too-packed train car, it might be time for a commute change-up.

But if biking to work seems like an unrealistic endeavor (How do I bring my laptop? What about helmet hair?), take a page out of Well+Good senior editor Jordan Galloway's book.

For the past three years and counting, she's cut out the stress of hopping mass transit at rush hour (and added an extra workout to her day) by commuting by bicycle to her Manhattan office—and she's sharing her advice for how to arrive at work looking just as polished as when you step out of that crowded train.

“When I ride in the morning, the city belongs to just me.”

For Galloway, her 40-minute trek from Brooklyn into Manhattan has become an integral part of her self-care practice. Riding at sunrise, often before 7 a.m. to catch her first workout class of the day, she finds the city that’s typically buzzing with 8 million-plus is quiet and serene—allowing her to be alone with her thoughts and enjoy the breeze.

“When I ride in the morning, the city belongs to just me,” Galloway says. “To be in the city I love and have it all to myself is the best part.”

Plus, flipping the switch on endorphins bright and early is a stellar way to start her workday. “By the time I get to my desk, I already have a sense of accomplishment that carries over into editing,” Galloway says. “Like, if I can do that, then I’ve definitely got this.”

Keep reading for beginner-friendly advice to start your own bike-to-work routine—and the wear-to-work essentials you need to arrive in style.


How to do it

Cycling to work is easy when the sun's shining, but how do you mentally prepare yourself to put the pedal to the metal when it's raining or really, really cold? (Looking at you, NYC winters.)

Step one is embracing a "postman's mentality," as Galloway calls it, which means committing to riding rain or shine (barring intense heat waves, thunderstorms, and icy roads). Step two is gathering the right essentials, including a bike with gears to make hill climbs easier and weather-appropriate garb.

When it comes to your actual ride, Galloway’s pro tip is this: “One thing that’ll make it easier if you’re trying to do it in a major city like NYC is to ride during off-peak times.” This way, you can get to your destination safely without major traffic in the bike lane.

“I tend to schedule my first workout of the day for 7 a.m. so that I know I’m riding into the city when the streets are relatively quiet,” says Galloway, whose first stop along her five-mile ride is typically New York Pilates, modelFit, or Bari. “And if I can’t avoid traffic, I embrace a Sunday driver mentality and go slow.”

Athleta Wear to Work Jordan Galloway

What to wear

Fully embracing the bike-to-work lifestyle means you’ll need season-specific clothes that work double duty—breathable layers that reliably wick sweat on sunny days, and keep you warm on chilly mornings.

Galloway's summer essentials include lots of sunscreen, sunglasses, and a visor to shade her face. For transitional weather, throwing a lightweight vest over her OOTD keeps her warm, but zips off easily in case she gets overheated. "In the winter, it’s all about the layers and a good pair of shearling leather gloves," she says. "I got mine on Etsy from a woman in Canada who understands cold-weather proofing."

Working at a wellness company means wearing leggings to the office is the norm, so Galloway's weekday uniform is largely dictated by the fitness classes she's signed up for that day. But if she's anticipating a brand meeting or fashion preview, she brings along a blazer to throw over her go-to fitted black pants (or leggings) and white top.

"My go-to outfit is sleek and fitted so there isn't any billowing fabric to get stuck in my spokes and jam my wheel (an unfortunate lesson I learned once while riding in a jumpsuit)," she says.

Check out her exact bike-to-work wardrobe below—and click the hotspots to shop her picks.

In partnership with Athleta

Photos: Tim Gibson for Well+Good

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