An Open Letter to My Co-Workers Who Have Window Offices

10.6.2014 | 12:04 pm

A Note from Fatty: Upon reading my “Open Letter to Co-Workers of All Cyclists,” Dug texted me, saying, “You forgot the part about changing in the parking lot.” I replied, “You’re right, I did forget. But that’s a complex topic and would be a whole ‘nuther letter.” 

Dear Co-Workers With Window Offices,

Don’t worry, this isn’t the letter you think it’s going to be. You know, the one where I complain loudly and bitterly about how unfair it is that you have a window office, while I have an interior cubicle adjacent to the HVAC closet with the HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS sign on the door.

No, that is a different letter for a different day. Probably one with a lot of exclamation marks and interrobangs

This letter, on the other hand, is just a friendly reminder, an explanation, and a request, all made in the spirit of cooperation, improving company dynamics, and interoffice communications. And any other buzzwords I might have missed. Like “synergy,” probably. 

Yes, let’s go with that: this letter is about improving departmental synergy.

My Request

My request is an easy one. One that you will have no difficulty complying with. It will take little — if any — of your time. In fact, I suspect that you’ll be very glad that you do as I am about to ask.

Simply put, I’d like to ask you, should you ever notice me walking out into the parking lot in the middle of the day, to not look out your window for the next seven minutes.

In fact, I’d regard it as a kindness and a going-of-the-extra-mile if you’d just draw the blinds. So that other people — people less in-the-know than you — also don’t look out the window for the next seven minutes. 

Because you are, by nature, a curious person and perhaps now would like to know why I would like you to look pretty much anywhere but into the parking lot for approximately seven minutes, I will explain why this is important.

I feel I owe you that much.

What I Am Doing…And Why

I’m going to be honest with you here, co-workers. Honest to the point where it might affect my Christmas bonus or chances of moving up the company ladder.

Which would be a bigger deal if I actually thought there were any chance of getting a Christmas bonus, or of moving up the company ladder. 

The reason I don’t want you to look out that window for seven minutes is because that’s when I’m changing into my bike clothes and heading out for a lunch (or brunch, or mid-afternoon snack) ride.

I know. You probably figured that much out. But still, you might be wondering: why? Why would I be changing clothes, hidden only by my car doors and the vehicle I am parked next to? Why would I not be instead changing clothes in the bathroom, provided by the company for my convenience?

I have my reasons.

First, I don’t like to carry all my gear into the office when I arrive in the morning, because there’s a lot of gear there — enough, in fact, that it might look to a casual observer like I’m planning to spend the night. 

And to a more observant observer, it might look like I’m planning to go on a ride during company time. Which I am, but I don’t really want to broadcast that information far and wide. 

Further, I don’t want you all to see me leave the office in cycling clothes at 11:30am, then returning at 2:30pm in the same cycling clothes. If you do that, it’ll be way too easy for you to connect the dots as to where I’ve been in the intervening time. Whereas if you see me leave the office at 11:30 in my regular clothes, and then see me at 2:30 in the afternoon still in my regular clothes, I like to imagine that you will suspect nothing. 

OK, I realize these reasons don’t exactly relay that I have much confidence in your powers of deduction, but they’re my reasons, and I’m holding tight to them.

What I Do Not Want You To See

During the seven minutes I would like you to not look out your window, I will be changing out of my work clothes and into my bike clothes. 

Yes, I will be changing my clothes. In the parking lot. At work. 

Don’t worry, though, I will have cleverly constructed a zone of privacy through the medium of parking in a far corner of the parking lot and next to large vehicles. Then, by opening both the rear and front door on the passenger side of my car while slightly stooping, I will have a nicely private changing room, just so long as you don’t look very closely.

That said, I will still be somewhat visible. And I will be changing clothes, moving at a rate that can be accurately described as “comically fast.” 

I will strip my pants off in a fluid motion, then very likely hop around at least a couple of times as I fail to get my foot through my lycra bib shorts. Sure, it’s possible that I’ll get them through the first time — I generally don’t have any trouble with this maneuver when I’m not in a hurry, ironically — but I’m quite a bit more likely to fall down.

And you don’t want to see that. Any more than I want you to see it. Trust me on this.

Then, with my shorts on, I will pull off my shirt. This is, more than anything else, the part you do not want to see. Sadly, this is also the part you are most likely to see, due to the fact that my pale skin reflects all available sources of light, and is likely to catch your eye and make you wince.

I apologize for the inevitable afterimage that will be burned onto your retina. It will fade within a few hours. I promise.

Then I will get my helmet and shoes on and ride away, as if nothing had just happened. With your help, we can both share in this charade. And we’ll both be happier for it.

More Things I Do Not Want You to See

Oh, I forgot. There’s a second part to this. Because in a couple hours (or so) I’ll be returning. Happier. Sweatier. And in need of getting back into my work clothes.

Once again, I’d like you to look away for seven minutes or so. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say it’s more important that you look away.

Because I’m going to take an improvised shower in the parking lot.

First, I’ll set up my changing room in much the same way I did earlier in the day. Then, I’ll take a gallon of water I keep in my car and pour it over my head. (Being bald has its benefits, and this is one of them.)

Then I’ll get out an ActionWipe, do some additional cleanup (which I choose to not describe here), and then get dressed.

Then, head held high, I will walk back into the office, confident that I have committed the perfect crime. In spite of the fact that every single person I work with knows exactly what I’ve been doing.

That’s not important. What’s important is my self-delusion, which I can maintain only if you help.

So please, don’t look out of your window into the parking lot whenever you see me walk out toward my car in the middle of the day.

And, while we’re at it, I’d appreciate it if you’d keep the knowing smirks and raised eyebrows afterward down to a minimum.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist 

PS: Also, please do not call the authorities.



  1. Comment by berry | 10.6.2014 | 12:11 pm

    You don’t use the “towel-as-a-skirt/drape” option? I do that every time. No hiney showing. Well, except occasionally, and completely by accident.

  2. Comment by Richard Masoner | 10.6.2014 | 12:14 pm

    Surfers in California use a towel or a robe to change in and out of their wetsuits. They do it on the side of the highway with heavy traffic and nobody cares.

  3. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 10.6.2014 | 12:31 pm

    I use the ‘change in the back of the Mini-Van technique’, it is virtually the only redeeming quality of having to drive a mini-van. Tinted windows with the built in shade pulled up and I have my own little cave of privacy and solitude. Sure I can’t do the one gallon after shower in the van, but I can perform the unmentionable wipe step as completely, and often as desired.
    Using open car doors as privacy screens becomes more difficult when you are 6′6″, those darn windows are just not high enough off the ground.

  4. Comment by Chris | 10.6.2014 | 12:46 pm

    Fatty, you may want to invest in one of these.
    I am in no way affiliated with this product, except that I own one and use it post race to insure no one hurts their abdominal region while in a fit of laughter.

  5. Comment by George | 10.6.2014 | 1:04 pm

    Please be careful. The last time I changed between the car doors the woman in the adjacent car waited patiently until I was finished before she tapped on her window and got out.

  6. Comment by blair | 10.6.2014 | 1:12 pm

    nuclear option:

  7. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 10.6.2014 | 1:13 pm

    So much easier to just wear your cycling clothes to the office, then no need to change, and no one will suspect you snuck out for a ride on this sunny afternoon.

  8. Comment by bikemike | 10.6.2014 | 1:22 pm

    I hate when you’re (me, not you) in a hurry to get the bibs on and your (mine, not yours) big toe gets hung up on the leg of the short. One of two things happens, i stretch the leg of the short down to the floor and it snaps, rapidly, back up or you stretch the leg down to the floor pulling you down with the whole shebang. Bibs are wonderful and hateful all at the same time.

  9. Comment by dug | 10.6.2014 | 1:42 pm

    so much of life involves polite fictions. life is a suspension of disbelief.

  10. Comment by MikeL | 10.6.2014 | 1:50 pm

    You are revealing, so to speak, all of the secrets.

  11. Comment by bikemike | 10.6.2014 | 2:07 pm

    Dang it all, i miss Dug’s blog.

  12. Comment by leroy | 10.6.2014 | 3:39 pm

    Oh great. Now I owe my dog $5.

    I bet that cleanliness was next to Godliness.

    He bet you’d confirm it was next to a dented red Toyota in the corner of a parking lot.

    (Note to self: never wager with someone whose response to the question “Is this gambling?” is “Not the way I do it.”)

  13. Comment by davidh-Marin,ca | 10.6.2014 | 3:51 pm

    Histrionic followers of you might ask why you change in the driveway. Your neighbors just reply “every neighborhood has their character”.

  14. Comment by AKChick | 10.6.2014 | 5:03 pm

    LOVE! Especially the PS. :)

  15. Comment by AKChick | 10.6.2014 | 5:06 pm

    @George – I almost LOLed out loud in my cubicle. That is priceless!!!!

    Also, the towel method doesn’t work very well for ladies. Actually, the change between doors doesn’t work very well. Which is one of the reasons I don’t ride in the middle of the day.

  16. Comment by EricGu | 10.6.2014 | 5:28 pm

    Too simple.

    Optimizing cross-departmental synergy.

    That’s what you’re doing.

  17. Comment by Noodle | 10.6.2014 | 5:41 pm

    I am very happy to work at a company where you are expected to ride at lunch, #humblebrag and you’re kinda glared at if you don’t do something. Heck, you can even go running (if your bike is broken.)

  18. Comment by LidsB2 | 10.6.2014 | 6:02 pm

    Dug — your sabbatical is over. Get back to blogging immediately. Fatty is good and all, but the synergy (had to work that word in there) that your respective blogs create together is currently a void in my life. What will it take to bring you back?

  19. Comment by ScottyCycles62 | 10.6.2014 | 7:01 pm

    This is perfect for changing in public. I used it at races many times.

  20. Comment by Ann | 10.6.2014 | 7:19 pm

    Superman’s portable changing room

  21. Comment by J | 10.6.2014 | 9:12 pm

    I usually just wear lycra under the pants. Sure, it makes for a funny look when people think you are going to moon them, but at least I cannot get an “indecent exposure” ticket that could force me to register on a lovely site every time I move…

  22. Comment by Tom in Albany | 10.7.2014 | 5:46 am

    So, I’m fairly invisible in the parking lot. However, the list of those that can see me ride the 1/2-mile exit road from work include but are not limited to, the CEO, VP Global HR, Chairman of the Board, Regional VP, my boss…

    I wonder, if I send them this letter, if they can ignore my mad sprint in bright lycra up the drive…

    Can you write me a letter for this one, Fatty?

  23. Comment by Chris | 10.7.2014 | 5:53 am

    Darn you Fatty! You’ve given our secret away to the entire office drone industry! Now I’m going to have to take up jogging around the block for a measly half hour like the other (albeit few) freaks in my office.

    Thanks a lot.

  24. Comment by Miles Archer | 10.7.2014 | 7:22 am

    A bucket of water and some wipes = a shower?

    When I ride, it takes me half an hour just to stop sweating.

  25. Comment by Paul | 10.7.2014 | 8:03 am

    One of my coworkers (a runner) once announced “if we had the new short cube walls now, you’d know I was changing right now.”

    We have an open floor now; at least there are showers across the building.

  26. Comment by cjohan | 10.7.2014 | 8:43 am

    The whole time I’m reading this I couldn’t stop thinking about how jealous I am that you can just take off for THREE hours in the middle of a work day and go for a ride. Seriously, who gets to do that? Besides Fatty apparently.

    I think you’d be surprised. – FC

  27. Comment by owen | 10.7.2014 | 12:05 pm

    agree about the 3 hours but I know lots of people who can pull that off almost everyday..I get an hour and fit in a ride with a shower afterwards it just turns into a TT effort and ninja quick clothes changing.

  28. Comment by AKChick | 10.8.2014 | 12:34 pm

    Has anyone received their 100 MoN gear yet? I just realized the 18th is next weekend!!

  29. Comment by MNNate | 10.8.2014 | 2:39 pm

    I’m blessed. I work from home / travel. When I want to ride….I ride. When I need to change I change in my room. When I need to shower, I sure as hell don’t have to use wipes. There’s nothing better than checking out at 10am and riding for the next four hours. @AKChick – I just received a 100MON shipment notice. It should be on its way soon.

  30. Comment by Uncle Rico | 10.8.2014 | 3:28 pm

    Thanks for introducing me to interrobangs!? Never knew such a thing existed. It’s amazing what you can learn reading this blog.

  31. Comment by Tes | 10.12.2014 | 3:37 pm

    Damn, I want to ride in the middle of the day.

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