Cycle commuting to the gym

In December, I started adding morning gym workouts to my routine.  Unfortunately, these work best when I go to the gym and then go to my office.  Which means I need to either take dress clothes with me to the gym and change there, then ride to work; or change into dress clothes in my office, which means I need a second set of clothes with me to go from the gym to the office. 

Recently, I have been taking the first option, and bringing my no-wrinkle dress pants with me, usually opting to wear one of the jackets I keep on the back of the door of my office.  The second option – bringing a whole second set of clothes – has a lot of appeal now that it is freezing out and that there is quite a bit of rain/sleet/slush/snow.  In the summertime, this is a piece of cake – I just bring a jersey knit dress and am good to go.  But I just haven’t quite worked it out to where it feels convenient and not like a giant hassle or I’m not a pack mule.  I also have to bring shower shoes and soap and shampoo with me, and dry my hair at the gym.  I’d like to bring my own blow dryer but that is not happening.  There are girls at the gym whose gym bags are bigger than I would take for a week long trip – they bring their own hairdryers and bathrobes to wear while they dry their hair.  The bathrobe thing is genius and I wish I could find my terry cloth robe so I could steal the idea, especially with doing more swim workouts. 

Part of the problem is also what I’m using as a gym bag – it’s an old backpack of my husband’s, and since it is on it’s last legs, I’m keeping my eye out for something else.  I don’t care to use one of our Ortlieb panniers as an ordinary gym bag because they are shaped so awkwardly for carrying around.  I’d like something with a shoulder strap that is super-easy to clip on, but has a lot of pockets for organizing my stuff, like my Racktime Shoulderit bag. 

In googling for bike friendly gym bags, a lot of stuff like this one comes up.  I love the look of this, but I don’t have a front rack.  The other problem is that all of the cute bag companies that make bike bags also make non-bike bags and it’s really hard to tell from their website whether the bags actually have clips or something so that you know that they will attach to a rack.  The commuter garment bags also have some appeal, but they don’t look very practical as an everyday gym bag, and I’d like to have something that works both on the bike and off of it.  I also really love the Logan Trunk Bag, which wouldn’t allow for me to clip my Racktime bag on as well, unfortunately.

I will also say, there are a lot of advantages to the backpack – I just have to grab one thing off my bike, it helps keep my hands relatively free to sign in and grab a towel – so I’m not opposed to getting a new backpack when this one shreds itself.  The downside is that it covers up the reflective tape on my jacket and also is just one giant compartment and one small pocket, plus nothing is waterproof or water resistant, which is important given the rainy/snowy weather we’ve had lately. 

When I started looking for backpacks, this one jumped out at me – it converts from a tote to a backpack, it’s waterproof or resistant, and it could even hold my yoga mat!  Keen makes a similar design. Unfortunately, it only comes in dark colors and doesn’t have any reflective piping or anything on it.  If either of them were less expensive, I would probably more seriously consider them.  This pack from Patagonia supposedly also stashes a yoga mat, but is more hipster cool than I would like.  This one is made for bike commuting, but a 17-inch laptop sleeve is just not something I need.  If I had ever had any luck with messenger bags staying on my back while I rode, I would be seriously considering the MiniMass or Lightweight Travel Courier bag from Patagonia – however, neither has a good spot for shower shoes, and two shoulder bags sometimes feels more cumbersome than a shoulder bag and a backpack.    

What do you use for a gym bag? 

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