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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 09-01-09, 05:56 PM   #1
Bartleby19
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Sweaty at work?

What do you guys do about showing up to work sweat-soaked after riding in? I only ride about 2.5 miles round trip commute and on cold days I can make it without much of a sweat, but when it warms up it is uncomfortable. I imagine those of you riding twenty miles each way must have it way worse.

So do you change clothes? Shower? Ride really slow to avoid breaking a sweat? Just ignore if you smell a little bit?
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Old 09-01-09, 06:13 PM   #2
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I ride 12-13 miles to get to work. I'm sweaty even in the middle of winter.

Change of clothes, sink bath, and 'wet ones' wipes for the spots that can't reach the sink, and i'm good to go.
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Old 09-01-09, 06:14 PM   #3
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I'm one of the lesser popular teachers at my school

I'm one of the least popular teachers at my school...and the smell might have something to do with it. I have a 10 miler each way, and it's a bit uphill going in. I tried setting up some sort of shower thing, but logistically unpossible...so me, a tie, a decent blazer...and a little sweaty. Just a little.
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Old 09-01-09, 06:28 PM   #4
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About 8 miles each way for me. I usually take a clean, dry shirt, and wash the pits before the shift starts. We get pretty sweaty anyway, so it's not such a big deal.
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Old 09-01-09, 06:54 PM   #5
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I find that the more water I drink and the less other stuff....the less my sweat stinks. I pretty much am only soaked on the hottest of days, the rest of the time it's not too bad. Most days I ride my bike to the train, and then I ride all over the city. Some days I ride all the way in or out, rarely do I do both.

And since I manage 4 stores in New Haven, CT, I am on the bike all day. My job is to be everywhere at once, my team can't believe I'm faster than they are in their cars. I love it.
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Old 09-01-09, 07:13 PM   #6
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My commute is 7 miles each way, unless I take a longer route. I'm a mailman so I walk all day, so I'm not as worried about being sweaty as some others might be. I ride in biking clothes early so I can cool down a bit. I then rinse up a bit and change. I haven't gotten called into the office about smell, like others who don't ride have, so I guess what I am doing is working.
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Old 09-01-09, 07:23 PM   #7
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30-35 miles round trip for me...and I am currently contracted out to the Metro downtown, so I work in a big fancy office building with a mandatory shirt-and-tie rule.

Cool off outside while I stretch, quick towel down for me and the bike, go inside and upstairs, sink bath and baby wipes, deodorant, quick spritz of aftershave, and no one is ever the wiser.

(Oh yeah, I do put on clothes after the cleanup...)
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Old 09-01-09, 07:42 PM   #8
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I bring a change of clothes, a towel, and some wipes. I wash my face and hair in the sink, and then wipe down, dry off, and change clothes in one of the stalls. I also bring a stick of deoderant. I keep a nice pair of shoes at the office, and bike in my tennis shoes.

By the time I sit down at my desk it feels like I just got out of the shower. It's not bad at all. I always sweat a little bit even after drying off, while my body cools off, but the office is so air-conditioned it doesn't bother me.

The worst is when the wheelchair-accessible stall is in use, and I have to change in one of the regular ones. It makes me hate automatic-sensor-flush toilets.
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Old 09-01-09, 07:49 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartleby19 View Post
What do you guys do about showing up to work sweat-soaked after riding in? I only ride about 2.5 miles round trip commute and on cold days I can make it without much of a sweat, but when it warms up it is uncomfortable. I imagine those of you riding twenty miles each way must have it way worse.

So do you change clothes? Shower? Ride really slow to avoid breaking a sweat? Just ignore if you smell a little bit?
Where do you live? It must be very hot if 1.25 miles makes you really sweaty. That's like five minutes.
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Old 09-01-09, 09:34 PM   #10
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4.2mi each way. And I'll get sweaty just strapping my bags to the rack. No way around it in Alabama. I wear shorts and T into work with nice clothes in the bag. I'm a sweater, but not a stinker. I towel off and take my first conference call in the shorts and T. Then I change clothes and I'm good to go.
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Old 09-01-09, 09:43 PM   #11
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I'm lucky to live 60 m (190 feet) higher than work (with a few gentle uphill sections en route). So unless it is over 30C (about 86F) I can usually avoid showering, by coasting in. I change my pants and have a fan in my office and allow 1/2 hour before any appointments. On hotter days I make sure I don't have coffee at home - that makes a big difference. I also cool off outside before going inside. However it is a temperate climate. Temperatures above 30C are rare. If you shower in the morning, getting mildy sweaty on the way to work won't cause much odour. I've sweated more on a subway to work than I usually do on my bike, and I didn't shower or change then.

However I do sweat a lot coming home!
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Old 09-01-09, 09:54 PM   #12
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First I will say I've commuted with a backpack and panniers. I stay so much cooler with the rack and panniers (obviously). I probably sweat about half as much as I used to with the backpack. I just towel off with my shirt I commuted in, put on my dress shirt and pants and am good to go. It seams like a sweat a good 10 minutes after I've stopped riding. So get to work a little early and hold off on changing for a few if you can, and stand outside too just to speed along the cooling process a bit. Then change, drape clothes, and by the time it's 5 your clothes will be dry and ready to ride home in. Happy dryer commuting! BTW my round trip is 15 miles.
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Old 09-01-09, 09:56 PM   #13
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I work in a building that was originally built to house a manufacturing and research facility for a defense contractor. It was funded with government money and has bike lockers outside and 100 feet away just inside the rear entrance door to the building, there is a complete locker room with showers. After locking my bike inside my own bike locker, I stroll through the rear building entrance door to the locker room. I have my own locker where I leave a bar of soap and flip flops. I often leave a pair of pants hanging inside cause there's no reason I can't wear the same pair of pants at work 2 or 3 days in a row. I bring along a small clean "hand towel" which does the job of drying me off after a nice refreshing shower in the morning. I pedal about 15 miles to work in the morning, so a shower gets me off to a good start for the work day. With luxury like this, it's no wonder I've been a consistent bike commuter to a job that I've been working at for nearly 10 years.
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Old 09-01-09, 10:31 PM   #14
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I wipe my face with a water moistened paper towel. I wear scented anti perspirant and perfume so I don't stink.

Starting college next week, much shorter commute so I will be less sweaty. Nowhere near as much evil incline action on the return trip, either.
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Old 09-02-09, 03:33 AM   #15
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I swim and shower before I bike to work. Paying attention to wash to disrupt the odor causing bacteria and a clean change of clothes in the morning will greatly reduce the amount of body odor. Antiperspirants such as Ban brand make special strength products for underarms.

I am lucky that there are only a couple of uphill stretches on the first part of my commute. I cool down the last couple miles. I also have spare changes of clothes and shower facilities at work if need be. After I stop, I tend to sweat profusely where my shirt is soaked. I just wash my face and arms to cool down and to remove road dust then change my shirt after I stop sweating.

I use an Osprey Atmos backpack that doesn't seem to overheat me even in the hot summer sun.
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Old 09-02-09, 05:10 AM   #16
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i commuted yesterdy for the first time. 5 miles, train, 5 miles work. then reverse it.

I solved the sweaty problem by... wait for it...... taking shower!

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Old 09-02-09, 05:15 AM   #17
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Here's another thread on the same topic (NO SHOWER AT WORK)

http://bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=254448

My contribution:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nycphotography
Shower in the morning, instead of (or in addition to) the night before.
TRY SAFEGAURD SOAP. It's like deodorant for the "rest of the body".
Try a pasty white (ie non-gel) scented deodorant/ANTIPERSPIRANT.

Use a DEODORANT laundry soap. Tide w/ spring scent or some such.
Use scented dryer sheets.

Pack (don't wear) your work clothes, including a clean T-Shirt.

Dry off fully with a towel. I don't use wipes (which will remove benefits of safeguard soap and existing deodorant), but do reapply deodorant while dressing at work.

I'm usually still sweating after changing, so I carry a paper towel to wipe my forehead and neck for the next few minutes.
BTW: That was THREE years ago. Search is your friend.
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Old 09-02-09, 05:40 AM   #18
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Where do you live? It must be very hot if 1.25 miles makes you really sweaty. That's like five minutes.
I live in Virginia, but there is one inevitable giant dip down and back up that I have to work really hard on. If not for that uphill I don't think I would ever break a sweat on that ride.
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Old 09-02-09, 05:54 AM   #19
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11 miles each way. My sweat doesn't smell (I guess unless it goes stale). But I'm already (sink) washed by then. Sometimes I'll even do a little soap-bar shampoo of head in the sink.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:11 AM   #20
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Shower
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Old 09-02-09, 07:21 AM   #21
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I shower before i leave the house and I take a quickie shower once I arrive.

If I didn't have a shower, I would give my body temp time to drop so I'm no longer actively sweating. Then I would change clothes and at a minimum wash my face, neck, hands and arms in the sink. Baby wipes work wonders too.
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Old 09-02-09, 07:46 AM   #22
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I shower before riding to work. Take it rather slow on the way in because I sweat just standing up. I get to work (teaching) about 45 minutes before kids show up, giving me enough time to cool off, sink-shower, or get in the locker room shower. I leave several changes of clothes plus shoes at work so I have less to carry in. Do my computer work/grades on a flash drive so I'm not lugging my laptop. Drink lots of water so it's less smelly. Then I get to fly home. ~6.5 miles each way. Longer if I take the scenic route home.
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Old 09-02-09, 08:14 AM   #23
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My commute's just over 7 miles each way. Luckily, I have a shower I can use at work for the worst days (i.e., just about all summer). The last couple days have been cooler (low-mid 60s AM), so I just rinse up a bit at the sink in the bathroom, throw on some deodorant and change into clean clothes. I bring clean underwear, undershirt and dress/polo shirt with me each morning and leave a couple pairs of clean khakis at the office at the beginning of the week that I can just change into when I get to work. System's worked well for me.

+1 on cooling down the last mile or so of the ride, too. My last mile in to the office includes some potentially long stop lights and is either slightly downhill or dead flat, so I generally just take it easy and let the air cool me down a bit, especially if I think I might be able to skip the shower that day.
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Old 09-02-09, 09:24 AM   #24
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it's a whole thing man

stage clothing and shoes at work (food too)
shower before riding so that your body has as little bacteria on all surfaces as possible
find a private bathroom
strip and wrap used clothes except shoes into a plastic bag and put in bike trunk
shampoo with diluted shampoo and use a cup to rinse
bring a washcloth and get the face; underarms and crotch
bring a hand towel and towel off
dress with new clothes head to foot
wear these clothes home, or bring more clothes just for cycling home

basically you have to cleanup and change your clothes - there's no self respecting way around it
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Old 09-02-09, 09:33 AM   #25
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12 miles each way for me. I pack my clothes du jour in a pannier, arrive at work about 15-20 minutes early (at the latest), stretch and cool down.
The office has a locker room and shower, so I keep a towel, toiletries, and my "business casual" work shoes there. I shower, change, and I'm good to go.

For your short jaunt, perhaps pack your shirt, do a sink/baby wipe cleanup, change your shirt, you're set. Also, take it really easy on the way in, and you shouldn't really break too much of a sweat.
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