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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 07-05-07, 12:37 AM   #1
Inigo Montoya
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For those of you with dress codes...

How do you bring your clothes with you to work? I haven't started commuting yet, as I'm still hoping to purchase my first road bike by the end of this week. I need to wear at least a collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for my job. I plan to just pack everything into a backpack, and shower and get dressed at work. Thanks in advance for your advice!

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Old 07-05-07, 01:15 AM   #2
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One thing you could do, is drive into work every so often with a few changes of your work clothes, if there is a place at work where you can store them. Then you don't have to bring them back and forth everyday. Maybe rotate if you have a lot of changes, as in bring in fresh work clothes, and take home dirty to wash.

If thats not an option, I have seen some others discussing some kind of bag that you can fold your clothes into without wrinkling them. And then you would transport that bag in "panniers" or a "trunk rack".

Get a bike that you can mount fenders and a rack on, ask them about this at the bike shop, if you can put fenders and racks on the bike. And do some browsing in the forum, lots of threads about this. You'll need a rear rack to use panniers (basically cargo bags that hang off the rack) or a trunk.

Keeps the forum informed, come back here to ask questions if your not sure about something.

EDIT: Ah I am tired, I see you plan to use a backpack. I am sure there is some kind of garment bag that will allow you to compact your work clothes without them getting too wrinkly. If it would be within your budget, I would consider getting a rack, and panniers and/or trunk, it will make your life easier and your commute more pleasant

Last edited by pedalMonger; 07-05-07 at 03:49 AM.
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Old 07-05-07, 01:20 AM   #3
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I have to wear a collard shirt (polo) and jeans. I fold them neatly and put them in a backpack and change when I get in.
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Old 07-05-07, 01:20 AM   #4
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Sounds like a heavy load. At least you will need panniers. Might influence kind of bike you buy. ? Backpacks, don't like them. Sweaty back. Limited space. I took my clothes to work in the car before the week started. Just don't forget to replenish them or else !.
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Old 07-05-07, 03:28 AM   #5
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I shove mine in a back pack, carry it to work and leave it there for a few days until the clothes get a bit used. Then cycle home with a used load of washing and bring fresh the next day. Taking stuff to work in the car on your day off sounds like a real loser of a weekend...

The back pack is hot in summer, and panniers may help, but then you look like a Fred, sorry, then the bike gets less aero.

Doesn't matter what you do here, you sweat like a pig in a pot with the humidity and 35 plus weather.
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Old 07-05-07, 04:53 AM   #6
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I used to drive once every week or two to launder, iron, and bring back all my shirts.

"slacks" cute word
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Old 07-05-07, 06:10 AM   #7
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I throw my clothes in a backpack and bring that to work everyday.
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Old 07-05-07, 06:33 AM   #8
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I keep all my work clothes at work in a locker. I drive to work(instead of riding, not on my weekend!) once/twice a week to bring in fresh clothes and food/drinks(in a fridge!). Before I had a locker at work, I used to stash my clothes in an unused closet at work.
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Old 07-05-07, 06:50 AM   #9
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I fold my clothes carefully and stuff them in my backpack.
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Old 07-05-07, 06:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
How do you bring your clothes with you to work? I haven't started commuting yet, as I'm still hoping to purchase my first road bike by the end of this week. I need to wear at least a collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for my job. I plan to just pack everything into a backpack, and shower and get dressed at work. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Inigo
I got the Novara commuting pannier from REI - it packs more like a suitcase so it is easier to keep the clothes from getting wrinkled.
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Old 07-05-07, 06:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Sounds like a heavy load. At least you will need panniers. Might influence kind of bike you buy. ? Backpacks, don't like them. Sweaty back. Limited space. I took my clothes to work in the car before the week started. Just don't forget to replenish them or else !.
I disagree, I think you can do a backpack once a week (I've done it). I leave a belt and shoes at work, and once a week I truck in a couple pairs of pants, 5 shirts/undies/socks. Sweaty back once a week is better (to me) than panniers every day. Naturally, that's up to personal preference, but I think it can be done.

Whether you do your once-a-week driving or with a backpack depends on if you need the rest, need the car for other purposes occasionally, etc. I started commuting recently and I started out doing the backpack method, but I discovered that for now, my legs need a rest from biking once a week anyway, especially on days I run.
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Old 07-05-07, 06:59 AM   #12
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First, bring the dress shoes to work and leave them there. That will eliminate a large portion of the weight for your daily commute. If you need to shine them or whatever, a shoe kit can either be left at work as well or a basic one is light enough to be easily transported.

As for the shirt and slacks, as others have said carefully fold them, to avoid wrinkling, and pack them in your bag. Depending on the length of your commute, you shouldn't have too much of a wrinkling issue. I agree also with the pannier suggestion. A backpack/messenger bag can get hot and/or uncomfortable after awhile, but then there are people who still prefer them.
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Old 07-05-07, 07:23 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
How do you bring your clothes with you to work? I haven't started commuting yet, as I'm still hoping to purchase my first road bike by the end of this week. I need to wear at least a collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for my job. I plan to just pack everything into a backpack, and shower and get dressed at work. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Inigo
How far is your commute?
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Old 07-05-07, 07:23 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuerein
As for the shirt and slacks, as others have said carefully fold them, to avoid wrinkling, and pack them in your bag. Depending on the length of your commute, you shouldn't have too much of a wrinkling issue. I agree also with the pannier suggestion. A backpack/messenger bag can get hot and/or uncomfortable after awhile, but then there are people who still prefer them.
Yeah, the pannier vs. backpack issue is just a personal preference thing - I use my commute as mini-workouts, so I prefer to be light and fast (well, relatively anyway) 4 days a week. But that probably depends on the length of your commute and whether a shower is available - mine's only 6 miles and I have a shower at work.

One minor addendum - as many business travelers have discovered, rolling clothes works much better to stave off wrinkles than folding.
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Old 07-05-07, 07:54 AM   #15
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Check to see if there is a dry cleaners neary. I have my clothes cleaned there and hang them up in my office.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:32 AM   #16
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Suit bag pannier

This is one option, if you don't want to drive once a week to bring in your dry cleaning.
I wear heavy starched button-down shirts, so if I chuck them in a backpack or pannier, no matter how neatly I fold them they look like I slept in them by the time I get to work. Don't even get me started about how crummy they look if I try rolling them to avoid creases. Sorry, but there is no way to transport heavy starched shirts other than a garment bag; unless you don't mind walking around looking like you're wearing the same outfit you went out in the night before to tie one on.

I keep my shoes at work along with a polishing kit. Fine, so some of my techs laugh because Monday morning I'm sitting there in the locker room polishing my shoes. Big whoop.
I bring in a week's worth of socks on Monday, and take them home the day that I wear them. I drive on Fridays, so I bring in next week's clothes and take home all my dirty stuff.
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Old 07-05-07, 08:40 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuerein
First, bring the dress shoes to work and leave them there. That will eliminate a large portion of the weight for your daily commute. If you need to shine them or whatever, a shoe kit can either be left at work as well or a basic one is light enough to be easily transported.
+++++++a gazillion
OMG. For the first 2 months up in Connecticut I actually packed my cowboy boots in my panniers and brought them along with clothes on a 10 mile bike ride followed by a 90 minute+ train ride and 5 block walk through NYC to work. I don't know why it just didnt' dawn on me to leave anything at work. Finally noticed a bunch of other people leaving their shoes at work to make their walk easier on the concrete between the building and the train/bus station.
What a huge difference not hauling those things back and forth made. I really miss my 90 minute naps
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Old 07-05-07, 09:04 AM   #18
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If you never want to drive, do this.

Keep a good supply of dress shirts and a pair of shoes at work. Slacks are fairly easy to fold and transport as long as you don't pack them too tightly.

If you wear an undershirt, you can probably get two or three days out of each dress shirt if you work in a normal, air-conditioned environment. In my opinion, the majority of stink that develops in clothes comes from driving in them. In fact, if your shirts are pressed and left at work, the cager commuters will start to wonder why your clothes always look so neat.

You can even mess with your co-workers heads by changing clothes several times a day.
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Old 07-05-07, 09:15 AM   #19
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I also have to wear collared shirts, here's what I do:

Buy "Wrinkle Free"
Lay pants flat from the side, lay shirt flat on top, lay undershirt on top of that.
Fold shirts into thirds lenghwise till they are as wide as the pants.
ROLL the whole mess together toward the top of the pants.
Stuff this in grocery bag and drop into pack[or panniers].
Tuesday and Thursday Recycle the pants I brought on Monday and Wednesday.
[Blue mon-tues, tan wed-thursday] Friday = dressdown so whatever.
Leave brown work shoes at work.

Rolling, not folding is the key for me... your mileage may vary
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Old 07-05-07, 09:32 AM   #20
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I don't have a locker or other storage space available, so I have to pack my clothes every day. But I roll them up instead of fold them. My clothes don't get as many creases in them, and they fit into my trunk bag better.

Lay your pants out flat then roll them from the waist band down. About the only wrinkles you'll get are around the waist and hips, which don't really show when you wear them. For shirts, I mostly wear polo shirts, which I roll from the tail up after folding in the sleeves. This way I don't mess up the collar, and again the only wrinkles I get are at the tail, which gets tucked in. BTW, I just googled for "roll clothes to pack" and a couple of sites suggested rolling multiple items together to further reduce wrinkles. I may give that a try tomorrow...

Like others have suggested, I keep shoes and a belt in a desk drawer at work so I don't have to pack them every day.

[edit] I see that MyPC8MyBrain beat me to it. Great minds think alike...[/edit]

Good luck on your commute!

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Old 07-05-07, 09:35 AM   #21
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I've been commuting by bike a few days a week for almost month. I'm also in a business casual environment, which for me means slacks and a collared, button-front shirt (not a polo shirt). I use a backpack and carry a full clothing change including shoes, plus towel and shampoo. My commute is only 8 to 9 miles, so the weight of the shoes isn't that big a deal. I pack my backpack the night before (get up between 4:30 and 5:00). I iron a shirt (they are all wrinkled up in my closet - too many shirts jammed together. I roll the shirt and trousers. When I get to work I hang them up on hangers in the fitness center while showering and any wrinkles from the packing pretty much go away.
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Old 07-05-07, 09:38 AM   #22
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I have been thinking a lot about this. For me, the sticky wicket is that my bike commute is 12 miles each way, but more to the point, I have to wear a suit and tie at work every day. We have no showers or locker space at the office and we are not near any athletic clubs or the like that would offer an alternative changing space. I am somewhat at a loss for any other ideas.
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Old 07-05-07, 09:52 AM   #23
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Unless it's really hot, I ride in in my dress shirt and shorts and carry my dress pants. I roll them carefully from the cuffs up and stuff them in the cylindrical plastic bag our newspaper gets delivered in on wet days, then onto the rear rack. I always have at least one extra backup complete of shirts, socks, underwear and pants stashed at work in case I get drenched in a downpour. I keep a pair of shoes at work.

On really hot days I wear a light sports shirt and bring a whole set of dress clothes, and I shower and change at work. I work in a hospital on a floor converted from patient bedrooms to offices, so I simply started using the abandoned shower in the men's washroom without asking any permission. It's in a separate cubicle with a lockable door. I bring worn, threadbare towels from home so they aren't too bulky to transport and I let them hang dry and use them twice.

If I need to drive to work (rare - once or twice a year) I usually bring one or two sets of pants and shirts and leave them there.

I don't use a backpack. Too sweaty.

Last edited by cooker; 07-05-07 at 09:58 AM.
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Old 07-05-07, 10:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inigo Montoya
How do you bring your clothes with you to work? I haven't started commuting yet, as I'm still hoping to purchase my first road bike by the end of this week. I need to wear at least a collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes for my job. I plan to just pack everything into a backpack, and shower and get dressed at work. Thanks in advance for your advice!

Inigo
I leave a couple pairs of slacks and a pair of shoes at work. I switch them out every week or so on the days that I drive in. I also leave a towel and all my toiletries at work so that's less crap I have to carry back and forth. I usually shave at home before I get on the bike.

So the only stuff I have to carry is my shirt (polo shirt), underwear, socks, wallet, keys, cellphone, and lunch. I can fit all that in a small REI shoulder sling.

Dress code is business casual and Fridays anything goes. I can wear shorts and t-shirt on Fridays.

I ride 10 miles one way to work about 3-4 days a week. My commute is not flat either so there is absolutely no way I could do it without needing a shower when I get to work, even on cool days.
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Old 07-05-07, 10:08 AM   #25
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We don't have a dress code, but some days I need to or prefer to look nicer. I keep button down shirts and some nice pants on a hook behind my door, and some darker shoes under my desk. I usually just bring the shirt I wear, so I don't use them often. Also to save space on transport you can find a dry cleaner near your office and have them laundered there. I also keep mouthwash, hair gel and some deod. at work. I'm usually not sweaty, but just in case.

For transporting regular polo shirt types just roll them up in your bag. No wrinkles.
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