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LONDON, ENGLAND, December 09, 2011 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The Obamas may have chosen a cycling holiday earlier this year, but it wasn't Michelle's purple shorts that have since propelled our two-wheeled friends onto front pages. Since the implementation of London's bicycle superhighways in 2010, cycling has meandered in and out of the public eye. Boris Johnson is currently facing pressure to rethink the cycling network and TFL recently reported that 80% of the network's journeys taken along the route are cyclists commuting to and from work. With so many of London's commuters donning lycra, helmets and kneepads, Guardian Jobs considers whether cycling to work could cost cyclists their jobs. Does appearance matter and is cycling to work professional?
With Boris eager to allow cyclists to cruise through red lights, the question of safety naturally arises. Commuters with children have a tricky conundrum: child seats. Where cars offer parents a way of transporting children across the capital in shelter and ease, baby and toddler bike seats are usually clip on, European in style, and not really an option for the professional parent.
With the government encouraging more commuters to cycle, cycling to work schemes have felt the boom factor. Such schemes are only really successful when paired with office facilities like showers, changing rooms and hair dryers; otherwise it is the sweat-factor and not the X-Factor that makes Monday morning's hot topic. But should employees show up in joggers and sweat-stained helmets and should CEOs don lycra to work? Eager cyclist commuter bloggers desperate to mix bikes and work advise; invest in removable panniers to transport clothes in, don't worry about your hair and keep a towel in your desk drawer... These solutions only emphasise the need for more companies to provide suitable pro-cycling facilities.
Fashion magazines echo the current trend to look sharp and chic in the workplace, with statement outfits, advice on office makeup and ideas on office hair (the elusive, elegant up-do) filling full-page spreads. This emphasis on appearance directly contradicts lycra cycling suits. Celebrity makeup magician, Bobby Brown, recently gave the low down on how much makeup women should wear in the workplace. The Bobby Brown interview brilliantly captures the dilemma female employees face between looking the part and looking overdone. According to the research, a third of managers think women wear too much makeup. Guardian Jobs asks: do these managers cycle?
Regarding the professionalism of cycling, Sophie Relf from Guardian Jobs, comments:
"This is a tricky one for employees, on the one hand any contribution however small to saving the environment is to be lauded, but jobseekers are eager to keep their jobs and impress. We would suggest discussing options with a line manager, and maybe requesting support if the expectation is that candidates should look picture perfect at all times. Most organisations and businesses are interested in costs savings, the reduction in commute times and expense would be good selling points to pitch to the most corporate of bosses."
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