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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-28-07, 05:06 PM   #1
Blogcycle
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First/Last Commute to work today

I soo wanted this to work out so I could hang in the commuter forum and talk about my daily commutes, but it's just not happening. Were there a shower at work, it'd be fine, but there isn't.

I live in Los Angeles and it's apparently a little too hot for a 13 mile bike ride in the morning. The ride started out great though, I live in West LA, right next to Santa Monica, and the ride through Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina Del Ray was fine. Around Playa Del Ray (the beach) the sun started beating down on me. I figured I'd let the wind cool me off but to my surprise, you can't get off the beach onto the road I work on, you have to go about a half mile past it and then circle around, really about 2 extra miles in the hot hot sun. Apparently the roads around here are really, really hilly near my office, and again under the crazy sunlight it's just not a good idea. I came into work, still sweating like crazy, and quickly left to go sit outside in the shade until the body temp went down.

Like I said, if there was a shower at work, I'd totally be into this, but the fact that I have to sit in this dried sweat all day is kinda nasty. I'll still use my bike to commute around town, especially on the weekends, so I guess I'm a part time commuter, but I really wanted this to work out. I'm sure I'll give it another try come late fall or winter. Feel free to call me a wuss!
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Old 06-28-07, 05:21 PM   #2
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youre not a wuss you just need to get a better job
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Old 06-28-07, 05:27 PM   #3
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youre not a wuss you just need to get a better job
Or a case of baby wipes.
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Old 06-28-07, 05:51 PM   #4
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I bicycle commute in LA, without a shower at work, as I'm sure do quite a few people here.

1.) Avon sells these deoderant wipes that are worth their weight in gold.

2.) if there's a gym near your work, you can get a membership and use their showers if you want.

3.) I bring a plastic bag and a change of underclothing. As soon as I get in, I grab a stall, do a wipedown with the deoderant wipes, change my shirt, socks and drawers, and the dirty ones get stowed. Good as new, reletively speaking. splash some water on your face in the sink, and it's unnoticable to anyone but you.

Hope that helps.

In the end, provided the commute is something you're physically capable of, whether you do or do not do it is simply a question of whether or not you want to enough.

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Old 06-28-07, 05:56 PM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback.. I want to bike to work really badly, the only issue is the sweating afterwards. I'm doing this so I don't have to join a gym (budget is tight for the next couple months). I'm in sales and if someone schedules a same day meeting at the last second, I want to be actually clean, not just wiped down My goal is to work from home in the next year or so, so that will make my morning commute distance a little more flexible.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:07 PM   #6
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seriously though if you shower right before you leave, give yourself 10 minutes of cool down time when you get there, and pack a change of clothes with you, you should be fine.

but if you're still not comfortable with it, dont beat yourself up. you gave it a shot. dont give up but dont beat yourself up either.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:08 PM   #7
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If your work is air conditioned try to get to work early, like 20 to 30 minutes. And use that time to cool down and prep get ready as suggested above. I sweat a lot on my way to work but I give myself plenty of time to cool off before I start working for that reason.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:17 PM   #8
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Ditto to the showering right before you leave. I ride some tough hills in my khaki and polo shirt attire and even though I get sweaty I'm not odorous due to my recent sanitation.
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Old 06-28-07, 06:23 PM   #9
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I respect that you gave it a shot, and understand that especially when working in sales, being and feeling clean can be pretty important.

I'll second the suggestions regarding giving yourself some cool-down time once you get to work. I keep a small fan on my desk and let that blow on me for about 10-15 minutes before I wipe myself down with a washcloth in the bathroom. Afterwards, I feel pretty refreshed and dry.

At any rate, I encourage you to keep an eye on the morning temps and give it a try again when the weather cools down some more.

Scott
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Old 06-28-07, 07:05 PM   #10
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Do you get any cooler temperatures there other times of the year?

Here in Detroit I do a 25 mile round trip pretty much daily and I don't shower when I get in. I'll skip the ride for heat when the morning dewpoint is over 68F or the temperature is over 75F or both. Otherwise I find I can control the sweat.

Another trick is to take it easy in the morning and ride a nice 16-18 mph clip. Takes me ~50 minutes to get to work. Then I ride home as fast as I can, usually 40 minutes and sweating like crazy.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:06 PM   #11
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the ride through Santa Monica, Venice, and Marina Del Ray was fine. Around Playa Del Ray (the beach) the sun started beating down on me.
Living in upstate NY, it is soooooo hard to have sympathy for someone who had that ride this morning. Good luck in the fall.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:26 PM   #12
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Would riding in earlier be a possibility, to avoid the heat?
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Old 06-28-07, 07:33 PM   #13
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I would try the wipes thing and give it another shot if I were you. Heck my first week of commutes was a disaster. Fortunately I am stubborn as all heck.
Anyhow, I wipe down after arriving drenched in sweat. No problems with my picky coworkers.

Good luck. At least you gave it a shot. That is far more then 99% of the population would have.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:39 PM   #14
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Let me be frank (you can be anyone you want). I'm gonna do the unpopular thing and call you a wussy. You complained about how hard it was, how hot it was, the sun, the hills, yada, yada, then you say you'd be down with it if you only had a shower. I say bull. You can clean up in a sink just as well as you can in a shower (I do all the time). If you think the ride is too hard or the heat is too much for you...great, just admit it, don't try to find other excuses.

My best advice...start riding more recreationally and get yourself in a little better shape...then tackle your commute again, if you choose to, when you can do the distance in the same conditions. Hang out here, and you'll learn some tips to make the ride and the logistics easier. You ain't gotta be a commuter to hang out with us.
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Old 06-28-07, 07:44 PM   #15
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32 miles each way. Been in the 90's lately. I get to work SOAKED. I get in about 30min early. First I strip down as much as I can (small office so people are cool, but still I don't want to get caught nekkid) and then I go stand in front of the ac unit in the server room.

Then I hit the bathroom and use a combination of standard soap in the sink washing and some mint scented alcohol. I have been tempted to try some Rocket shower but it is a bit pricey.

Then change and I am fresh as a daisy.

Now the commute home is a different story. By the time I get home I STINK!

-D
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Old 06-28-07, 07:48 PM   #16
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Bring a change of clothes and a face cloth with some soap. Fill up a sink and have a bird bath!

And as for it being hard, yeah it can be, but after a few days/weeks it will get easier. Maybe just ride around your neighborhood for a few weeks to build up your strength.
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Old 06-28-07, 08:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by derath
Then I hit the bathroom and use a combination of standard soap in the sink washing and some mint scented alcohol.
-D
You bathe in Goldschlager? You RULE!!! That sounds a lot more fun than my shower at work.
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Old 06-28-07, 08:15 PM   #18
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Wuss! L.A. is dry heat. It's been mid to high 90s here with high humidity the last few days. I ride 13 miles to work with constant hills, some with really steep inclines. I also work nights so I'm leaving my home at 1:30pm which is almost the hottest part of the day. I get pretty sweaty after I arrive to work but it's not that bad. I'm not in "great" shape either. I just take it as easy as possible on the way to work. It especially helps that my last few miles into work are relatively flat so I coast slow as hell those last few to let my body recover while I'm still on the bike with the wind wicking the sweat off me.

Try mapmyride.com and see if you can arrange your commute so the last few miles is your easiest. I had to try a few different routes till I found the right one(that doesn't end with hills).
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Old 06-29-07, 08:37 AM   #19
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I do the bird bath thing. I also take my water bottle into the bathroom and dump water over my head a few times. That takes care of head sweat and helmet hair. I do shower before the ride in so the sweat I'm wiping off is "clean" sweat. I don't do the baby wipe tihng. Just a wet wash cloth or paper towels out of the dispenser. Deodorize and I"m good as ...well... as good as can be given the conditions.
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Old 06-29-07, 08:44 AM   #20
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Get a really short buzz cut. No helmet head, less heat retention. Easier to towel/sink clean.
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Old 06-29-07, 08:58 AM   #21
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Here's the dealio, bro.
Me: 43 miles one way in the south with 2800' of climbing and a backpack no less. And I'm a sweating fool - especially when the humidity is 100,000% like it usually feels.

We only have sinks at work so I improvise.
1. I shave everything from head to toe (uh, minus the eyebrows and lashes). Hair harbors odors and bacteria.
2. I use baby wipes and wash with Axe shower gel in the sink before anyone gets here. Then I wipe down again and deo up and spray on a tiny bit of Axe body spray. (Chicks don't swarm me, though.)
3. I make dang sure my clothes are nice and smelling fresh as well. Clean fresh clothes assures you that you ain't slamming your co-workers with a double wammy.


Like my brother says:
"You gotta want it."


edit: And I also shower real good before I head out the door. I leave @ 4:45am.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:02 AM   #22
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The ride itself was fine, I could have biked for the rest of the day straight. When you sit face to face with someone you want to sign a million dollar deal.. eh, you want to be pretty confident you don't stink. Maybe baby wipes work for you, but for me, both physically and psychologically, i'd rather be on my best foot.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:05 AM   #23
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Well then it sounds like you have a confidence problem, not a cycling problem....or do you think you are the only one in BF who deals with people at a high level - in which case you have a delusional problem too.

Soap, water, deodorant...what a concept.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:09 AM   #24
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^^Yeah, if you exude enough confidence it should overpower the stink of physical activity.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:14 AM   #25
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Mistakes as I see em:

#1 you wore your work cloths to ride in. This is a big no-no for longer commutes or commutes where it's inevitable you are going to sweat. Try leaving fresh cloths at work along with a washcloth, small towel, deodorant, and any other stuff you use. I use hair foam stuff and a comb. It's no big deal for me to spend a few extra $ having duplicate bathroom supplies that I have at home also in my desk at work.

#2 you pushed too hard at the end of your ride. Definitely check out the other routes... and also remember hey you're on a bike... you don't have to stick to roads and bike paths... maybe there's a better way to work. Also you pushed too hard on the ride.

#3 you didn't leave yourself enough time to cool down and so on.

....

This doens't have to be your first & last shot for commuting. And hey I failed my first commute completely. I left too late (enough time to get to work though) and hit this one road that I had to go down that was so busy with traffic and no extra space to ride beside the lane to even get going enough to join traffic. It sucked. I thought I could never try it again... but I'm going to give it another shot.. leave an hour earlier.. and just get to work earlier while hopefully missing most of the morning rush.

So, IMO... get better prepared and give it another try. You automaticly aren't a wuss in my book... hey you atleast made it to work your first try. I made it half way.. turned back and rode home with enough time to shower and get to work by driving in per usual.
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