Brain Teaser

August 15th, 2007 by Editor B

It takes ten minutes for me to ride my bike from home to the office. On a hot day, I’m soaked with sweat by the time I get there. But I can ride my bike the other way, from the office to home, without even breaking a sweat.

Why is this?

Further clue: This is true whether we’re talking about my early morning ride to work (sweaty) or my ride home for lunch (no sweat) or my ride back to work (sweaty) or my ride home in the afternoon (no sweat).

And no, it’s not uphill one way and downhill the other. This is New Orleans; there are no hills.

A genuine No-Prize will be awarded to anyone who can provide the correct explanation of this seemingly bizarre phenomenon.

24 Responses to “Brain Teaser”

  1. Bartender J Says:

    Let’s see…..

    You’re nervous about going to work, so you break into a sweat.

    No wait….There’s a headwind that cools you on the way home.

    Er, uh, I’ve got it! You take a different route that’s a lot quicker on the way home.

    You stretch a bungy cord from your front door to your office when you ride to work, and on the way back, you just let it spring tight and pull you home.

    Martians. It’s because of martians.

  2. El Stevo Says:

    Because it is raining on your way home from work?

  3. Editor B Says:

    I wanted to avoid such ambiguities, but I forgot to clarify: I’m taking the same route both ways.

    Sorry, J, you struck out.

  4. El Stevo Says:

    Hey Bart,

    Any interest in running for Oliver’s seat? Seriously.

  5. jeffrey Says:

    If it’s anything like my ride to work.. then it’s because you’re always running late in the morning.

  6. Maitri Says:

    You eated breakfast and lunch so your metabolism kicks in after every meal?

  7. rcs Says:

    Does it have to do with a difference in the amount of sunlight you’re exposed to? You said you use the same route, but how about if one side of the street is shaded by oaks and the other side isn’t?

  8. Editor B Says:

    Nope, nope, nope, sorry, it’s neither rain nor sun nor shade. It’s really not weather-related at all. Maitri’s metabolism guess is the best one so far — but still not right.

  9. Cade Roux Says:

    Your never rushing to get home on time, but always rushing to get to work on time.

  10. shawn Says:

    you’re more relaxed on your way home your ride, despite being a similar speed, is less rigorous. or the sun beats down on your back going one way, making you sweaty, but only hits your helmet the other way, so not as bad. but you said it wasn’t the sun…

  11. Tony Says:

    It’s all stress-related. Since I don’t ride a bike to work, for me it’s stomach pains not sweat. When I drive home all those symptoms are alleviated.

  12. David Says:

    I experienced the same thing when I lived in the French Quarter and biked to Tulane Medical Center. You’re concerned about getting there later than you intended, so you have some stress, but you’re also biking more aggressively and harder. On your way home, you bike at a more leisurely pace and enjoy it more.

    Also, in the morning you’re biking into the rising sun. In the evening you may catch more shade.

  13. Editor B Says:

    Nope * 4. Not stress. I’m always in a mellow, laid-back frame of mind, whether I’m going to work or coming home. Also not time-related. The trip takes the same amount of time either way. And don’t forget I’m going home at lunch too, so it’s not time of day either.

  14. Garvey Says:

    Hot coffee?

  15. pj Says:

    Is it because your office is kept at 60F, and your house is reugalrly 20F hotter?

  16. Editor B Says:


    PJ nails it.

    Actually my office is around 72ºF, and home is more like 10 or 15º hotter. But, yes, that’s it. My surface temperature is so thoroughly chilled that I can make it all the way home without breaking a sweat.

    PJ, your no-prize is on its no-way.

  17. Marion Says:

    I was going to say that PJ!

  18. pj Says:

    Are you implying I should share my no prize with you Marion?

  19. kellog Says:

    It’s the wind. You may not perceive it but it makes the diference between sweat and no sweat.

  20. Frank Schiavo Says:

    Crap! I was going to say the nano-virus that the Bush/CIA/Rove sponsored MIBs dumped into the water right after Katrina to keep an eye on you, me and all the other locals were timed for such sweats [it is how they reproduce & spread]. It is basic sex for them. Those little suckers would be country/wolrd wide, but are designed only to live with our combination of sounds [jazz], food, & heat/humidity.

  21. matter Says:

    Actually, the real reason is that Roxy B. rides along slowly returning to his house, gasping great gulps of air like a landed fish. He sweats from the lungs instead of perspiring normally.

  22. Karen Says:

    It’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity

  23. Andrea Says:

    When I would pick PJ up from work after a day in his office at Xavier, his body would help cool the interior of the car on those hot summer days. Sometimes, I would have to engage the heated seats in his Beetle to help bring his body temp back up to normal.

  24. Editor B Says:

    I seem to have written about this almost exactly two years before this post.

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