May 16 – 20 was Chicago Bike to Work Week. It encouraged people to join the hundreds of Chicagoans who regularly commute by bike—about 1.3 percent of workers, according to the U.S. Census. A cause close to my heart, but I didn’t give the annual event much thought. My route to work these days is the three-foot path from the refrigerator to my “desk,” a table covered with notebooks and dishes of trail mix. It is a total coincidence that I can reach the fridge handle without getting up.
I typically don’t have to dress up for work. But even when I do, I don’t exactly dress for biking. I dress for work, the same as if I were taking the El, and then attempt to secure all loose ends before taking off.
You know who has given lots of thought to dressing professionally on a bike? Julie Hochstadter, the former director of online cycling forum thechainlink.org. A local realtor, she’s spent years zigzagging between Chicago’s North and South sides to sell homes. Hochstadter has figured out through trial and error how to pull this off on a bike and still seal the deal. I caught up with her at her home and learned that she does so by sticking to a few simple clothing rules.