Gear Prudence: I almost exclusively rely on my bike to get me places, and I’ve been commuting by bike for the last few years. I recently scored a job interview at a firm where I’ve always wanted to work and when I told my husband, after telling me he was proud of me, his first question was ‘you’re not going to bike to the interview, are you?’ Um, how else would I get there?! Apparently, he thinks that it’s unprofessional, and that if I bike to the interview, I will come off as very unprofessional and never got the job. It never occurred to me not to bike, but now I’m worried that he’s right. What should I do? —Judgmental Of Biking
Dear JOB: Countless people bike to work, but this presupposes they have jobs in the first place. To get a job, you’ll likely have to interview, and a key component of the interview is presentation. GP suspects this is why your husband anticipates a problem with biking. Maybe he thinks when you take off your helmet, you’ll present an unruly bouffant that suggests dereliction of diligence or disrespect. Or you’ll arrive a sopping mess of sweat and grime. Or he imagines some anti-bike boss will instantaneously dismiss you as unfit when he sees you wrestle your bike around a street sign with your U-lock. And while these things could happen, your husband’s overly negative attitude has failed to consider the many benefits of biking to an interview.
The first is predictability. By and large, when you bike places, it’s a consistent trip time. Traffic is less likely to waylay you, nor will you be stuck underground on a train mysteriously stopped between stations. Secondly, if you bike, you’re more likely to arrive feeling your best. You won’t be as stressed and you’ll have released some endorphins thanks to the moderate exercise. Thirdly, your biking will provide some great ammo for the interview itself. What’s your biggest weakness? I bike too much. Where do you see yourself in five years? Biking in southern France. Do you have any questions about this job? Yes, do you have showers here? You ask that showers question without the bike excuse and it’s just weird. If the job has anything to do with sustainability or health, certainly cycling to the interview will recommend you. In a competitive job market, you’ll want differentiation, and nothing will be quite as differentiating as being the person who (inadvertently?) wears a helmet during the interview.
Ultimately, though, GP urges caution. Aim to be maximally kempt. Even if you don’t bike to the interview, you can always bike the first day of your new job. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.