Packing Your Lunch and Biking to Work: Tips

This week is National Ride Your Bike to Work Week, with National Ride Your Bike to Work Day on Friday. Making your bicycle your mode of transportation is not only good for you, but good for your environment, and it works even better than coffee for morning energy. If you normally take your lunch to work or are using riding your bike as an incentive to take your lunch and eat healthier, this creates a bit of a problem - how do you get your lunch to your office without a lunch-colored dye job? Here are some tips on what to bring and how to get it there (and yes, a lot of this is learned from trial and error).

  • Keep your food outside your pack (if possible). If you have a front or rear basket, secure your lunchbox/bag here. Keeping your food away from your change of clothes minimizes the risk of you wearing it later and from it spilling all over itself. Try to secure your lunch in an upright position with bungees, your purse, or whatever else you can think of.
  • If you do have to carry your food in your pack, make sure it is wrapped. Chances are, your lunchbox/bag is not going to fit that nicely into your backback or messenger bag, so this will require some maneuvering or packing individual items. Even the best plastic ware, baggies and thermoses might leak if you don't seal them tight enough.
  • Your fruit will also bruise easily when stowed in your pack and (especially in the case of peaches and pears) will smoosh and smear all over whatever you had planned on changing into.
  • Skip the drooly foods. As tempting as your leftover stir-fried noodles in fish sauce may seem in the a.m., it's a lot less tempting when your clothes have been seeped in them (once again, no matter how fantastic your storage ware). Sandwiches are the perfect portable food. You may get sick of them, but once sealed in something, they probably won't squish into your clothes. Salads work fantastically too.
  • On another note, don't pack your icy-cold water with the rest of your stuff. Try to keep it in an outside pocket (except if you are using a hydration bladder, then you probably already know what you are doing) or in your cage or there will be a strategic/unfortunate/embarrassing wet spot on your clothing.
  • Other tips: Be sure to pack a patch kit, tire levers, a pump, a multi-tool, a hand towel (to freshen up if you don't have too long of a haul), deodorant and a change of clothes. If you've never ridden to work before, drive, test ride, or map out your route before you try to ride for the first time. For more information and tips, peep at or talk to your local bike shop.

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    Becky Means