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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 06-26-08, 10:54 AM   #1
regulators
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How many of you folks

commute in your work clothes? How do you make it work for you? How long is your commute?

I have to ride in shorts/tshirt and change after 20 minutes or so of cooling off.
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Old 06-26-08, 10:59 AM   #2
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and if so... I'd like to hear what your work clothes are. Big difference between a VP and a landscaper.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:05 AM   #3
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VP? Vehicular Pogostickist?
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Old 06-26-08, 11:06 AM   #4
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NOPE! I work in the ER of a local Hospital, and Have to wear Scrubs..... I dont think the patients would appreciate my being VERY sweaty and VERY stinky whilst helping them....... Graitude is a weird thing......

Luckily my boss lets me use the shower room, so I shower as soon as I get in the door and then have about 20 minuets till my shift starts.....

I hang my shorts & T-shirt over the bike (in a back storage room!!!! I LOVE YOU BOSS!!!!!) and after eight hours they are dry and STINK FREE!!! I put my scrubs in a Haz-mat bag (you would not BELIEVE the stuff I get on them in an eight hour shift!) and then ride home.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:13 AM   #5
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I wear khakis and a polo shirt on my commute (business casual). And cycling shoes that I wear all day at the office. Commute's only 2 miles.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:28 AM   #6
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Khakis and button down shirt. 4mi one way to work. I take it easy when it is hot.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:29 AM   #7
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Work clothes for my 10 mile round trip commute. Jeans and a dress shirt. I am an engineer/supervisor in a factory.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:31 AM   #8
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I'm a Creative Director. My commute is fairly short and I wear jeans and a t shirt while riding and at the office. I keep a set of fancy "meet the client" clothes at work.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:37 AM   #9
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I'm in the Navy, so commuting in my uniform is not something I want to do.

I just wear some comfortable riding clothes for my 10-20 mile commute...

I say 10-20 miles because I vary my routes into work.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:39 AM   #10
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Usually jeans and a button down.

I commute in my work clothes...which are casual. I work in the IT industry and typically wear jeans, carharts, or other casual pants. For shirts I usually wear a long-sleeve button down, but switch to short-sleeve button downs in the Summer. I wear casual shoes.

My commute is short, and in the mornings I don't have to worry much about sweating. It's under 4 miles each way, and going to work is downhill for the first 1/2 mile. No major climbs to get to the office. Coming home is another story since I have 275 feet of climbing in the last 1/2 mile.

The Pacific Northwest is pretty mild in Summer and Winter, but the temperature can vary quite a bit from hour to hour... so layers are important. I used to live in parts of the country that get much hotter and more humid in the Summer, so I remember what it was like to commute in 100 degree heat. It never gets that hot here, but the Summer evening commutes can get pretty sweaty. I usually change into shorts and maybe a t-shirt for the evening ride home. I often go for longer fast rides after work too, so for those I like to change into cycle wear like SPD shoes, cycling shorts, jersey. Then again I'm a bit spontaneous, so there are days I'll go for an unplanned 25 mile ride after work in my jeans, button down shirt, and regular shoes.

Here are some tips I find helpful for commuting in work clothes:

- It helps if you have a casual dress code. I do, and I find that shirts that look good wrinkled (like linen) are fantastic. I also buy clothes at REI... where you can get shirts that look nice (sometimes even fashionable) but have just enough synthetic material that they dry quickly and don't wrinkle.

- Lightweight merino wool sweaters are really great because they are comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, and they hide wrinkled shirts

- Smartwool casual socks are light enough for a wide range of temperatures as well. If you sweat during your morning commute, cotton socks will just stay wet all day. Smartwool socks keep my feet dry and comfortable even if I sweated during that morning commute. The lightweight casual ones keep my feet warm on cold days and don't get too hot on hot days.

- Pedals that have SPD on one side and platforms on the other are nice if you like to ride SPD sometimes, but you also like to wear regular shoes other times.

- Saddles that you can comfortably ride without padded shorts are nice... like a broken-in Brooks.

Of course you also need light gloves, a hat that fits under your helmet, rain/wind jacket, etc. Fenders are also a must if you commute in casual clothes (at least in most parts of the country).

Sean
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Old 06-26-08, 11:41 AM   #11
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I wear a work polo shirt and shorts usually to work. I'm a computer draftsman with little to no client interaction. I keep a pair of slip on shoes at work under my desk. Spare Deodorant in the drawer and a spare shirt in my desk also.

I wear MTB clipless shoes and sometimes wear them all day! When its hot I take it easy. TAKE A SHOWER before you commute and you should be fine. I also switched to Irish spring bar soap from my wifes liquid body wash stuff when I started commuting. Bar soap works much better on us sweaty guys for the stink factor.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:43 AM   #12
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T-shirt and shorts. My shoes are tigers. I wear bike gloves, sunblock, and some head gear with sunglasses.

We don't have a dress code and some people come in their bedroom slippers and pajamas some days.

I could shower too, but I just dry out at my desk.

No biggie.

I ride about 12 miles each way and I get wet on my head towards the end. I ride light though and have a hip pack so I'm not dripping.

Last edited by capolover; 06-26-08 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:46 AM   #13
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When I occasionally ride the short version of my commute (20RT) I wear whatever I plan on wearing that day at work. Just ride a bit slower on the way in.
I have not done that since early spring.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:46 AM   #14
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I'll wear regular clothes if I decide to cut my commute short and take the train part of the way. That makes my commute less than two miles.

Even at that distance I'll sweat if I go very hard so the key is to take it easy. Wearing a backpack will get me sweaty too.

I'll need to velcro or rollup my pant leg.

I keep a pair of dressier shoes at work and ride in sneakers.

Last edited by tjspiel; 06-26-08 at 12:01 PM.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:51 AM   #15
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I wear workout clothes for even 1 mile rides. I sweat buckets by just looking at my bike. Lovely genes my father passed down to me
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Old 06-26-08, 11:51 AM   #16
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Depends... I started off commuting in my work clothes (khaki slacks or Dockers, nice shirt, occasionally jeans), but then June arrived and Humidity with it... so now I pack a change of clothes in my pannier, and wear baggy shorts and a hi-vis jersey while out on the bike. I keep a suit and a "nicer" change in the cube locker for when I have to sit in on an unscheduled meeting with folk sfrom outside the agency.

I shower first thing in the morning, and once I get here, turn up the computer and run thru the night's e-mail while I cool down. A quick wipedown with a towel and Wet-Wipes, change into clean clothes, and I'm ready for the day. Afternoon is sort of the reverse, I change back into my bike stuff, pack up my work clothes to haul home for the laundry, and pedal away.
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Old 06-26-08, 11:54 AM   #17
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I sponge bathe and change into dockers and a polo style shirt. Then I secretly air dry my shorts on the other side of my panniers on my bike which face a window behind me mauahahahaaa!
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Old 06-26-08, 11:57 AM   #18
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I'm actually waiting to ride to work (6 miles) until I get a messenger bag so I can carry my work clothes with me. I wish I could wear them but there's no way. I'm a server in a restaurant and, not only do we have to wear black from head to toe which is suicide in the summer, but being stinky and sweaty at work would be bad.

How do I make it work for me? Right now, I'm planning on getting one of the medium Timbuk2 Classic messenger bags, throwing my work clothes in there (as neatly as I possible can...not sure how well this will work since my managers are neurotic about wrinkly clothes...) and changing in the bathroom when I get to work. Kinda sucks for me...I don't have a shower or anything like that and nowhere to put my bag so I dunno yet how it will all work. We'll see though!

You're responsible for washing your own scrubs, DevilDog? I could only imagine that laundry soup...
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Old 06-26-08, 12:05 PM   #19
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My work attire is jeans and a t-shirt. Perks of being a graphic designer... you get to where cool casual clothing.
But notice my location info to the left? No freakin way i could commute 11 miles in anything and not have to change when i get to work!
Actually, even in the winter I get too sticky to not want to take a shower when i arrive.
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Old 06-26-08, 12:11 PM   #20
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How do I make it work for me? Right now, I'm planning on getting one of the medium Timbuk2 Classic messenger bags, throwing my work clothes in there (as neatly as I possible can...not sure how well this will work since my managers are neurotic about wrinkly clothes...) and changing in the bathroom when I get to work. Kinda sucks for me...I don't have a shower or anything like that and nowhere to put my bag so I dunno yet how it will all work. We'll see though!
I would actually go with a pannier if you can... you'll get sweatier with a messenger bag on your back. I've commuted using both though and as long as it isn't too hot the messenger bag will be okay for such a short commute. Roll your clothes to keep them from getting wrinkled in the bag. If they are still too wrinkled you could get one of those Eagle Creek packing cases that has a board for folding shirts and pants and keeps them neatly folded and protected. Rolling should work well though.

I worked in restaurants for years... mostly casual places, but I did work in a restaurant that required nicely pressed white button-down shirts and black pants. There was a closet at the restaurant where the manager let the staff hang up our work clothes to keep them clean and wrinkle free. Since we wore white shirts around food, most of the staff had a spare shirt in there in case of a spill.

Unless it's really hot and/or hilly you can ride slowly to avoid sweating too much on the ride there. You might have to dress in shorts and a tshirt though.

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Old 06-26-08, 12:17 PM   #21
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My workplace has a very casual dress code (jeans and t-shirt most days) but I still wear synthetic bike shorts and wicking shirts when I ride. They're just so much more comfortable and enjoyable to ride in for me. I never wear cotton shirts or jeans when doing any kind of aerobic activity, and haven't for the last 10 years. Ever since I started accumulating wicking t-shirts and synthetic hiking pants after I moved to California (for backpacking, hiking, and wildlife-based fieldwork), I've been one of those REI dorks who is unable to wear cotton and jeans while being active. Call me a wus, but it works for me, and the slightly more expensive clothes are worth every penny, IMO.

I carry my work clothes (again, jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers) in a Deuter backpack that has one of those Aircomfort backpanels, so my back doesn't get too sweaty. Works perfect for commuting, and I like not having the weight of a rear rack and panniers on my bike. Then again, I don't carry that much (change of clothes, wallet, cell phone, iPod, and that's about it) and my commute is only 6 miles one-way. If I were going more than 12 miles one-way and had to carry more, I'd definitely think about getting panniers.
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Old 06-26-08, 12:30 PM   #22
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I'm a lawyer, so I mostly have slacks and a dress shirt, and occasionally have a suit. Mostly my commute is between 3 and 6 miles, so I can wear work clothes (and really, I have to, because I spend a lot of my day going from place to place for meetings and client home visits, so I can't be changing all the time). If it's especially hot, I take off my jacket and tie and roll up my sleeves, and obviously, I go slow. Sometimes I work a longer ride into my commute (~20 miles), and on those days I carry my dress shirt carefully folded in my bag, along with a clean undershirt and some deodorant, and ride in work pants and a biking shirt. If I plan a long ride, I leave some cool-off time at the end before having to be around other people.
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Old 06-26-08, 12:36 PM   #23
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commute in your work clothes? How do you make it work for you? How long is your commute?

I have to ride in shorts/tshirt and change after 20 minutes or so of cooling off.
1. No
2. Cycling clothes
3. 8 miles one way (mileage is relative - hills, hills, rain, hills).
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Old 06-26-08, 12:44 PM   #24
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I wear workout clothes for even 1 mile rides. I sweat buckets by just looking at my bike. Lovely genes my father passed down to me
I hate those genes, my father passed them to me as well. I sweat SO much its not even funny. When I get to the office, I often leave a small trail of sweat to the showers...

So for me, I don't have a choice, I have to wear my riding clothes and change once I get to work.
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Old 06-26-08, 01:22 PM   #25
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If I'm riding to the bus and it's a nice morning, I have about a 2 mile ride to the bus and about a mile after I get downtown. I'll often commute in khakis and a polo shirt and walk straight into work. I leave my shoes in the office though.

When it's nice, though, I'm more apt to go for the full 30 mile round trip and say "no thanks" to the bus. There, commuting in work clothes isn't an option.
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