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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 06-03-11, 07:26 AM   #1
teachme
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No shower at work?

I teach elementary school and today is the last day before summer vacation. I am new to cycling and I'm thinking I would like to start commuting to my school in the fall. Its about a 12 mile ride one way. The problem is there is no shower at school. Any suggestions on how to freshen up after a sweaty ride in?
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Old 06-03-11, 07:32 AM   #2
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A couple of things I've tried in a pinch:
- wet towel wipe down
- baby wipes

Make sure you shower at home before leaving for work. It doesn't help to prevent sweating, but it helps with odor control.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:34 AM   #3
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This comes up about twice a month on the commuting forum, so search for "shower" and see what turns up. But the basics are:

(1) Shower before you leave the house and put on clean riding clothes.
(2) When you get to work, cool down for about 10 minutes, then hang up your riding clothes and put on work clothes.

This does the job for me. Others use baby wipes or a washcloth for a quick freshen-up. Note that "riding clothes" doesn't necessarily mean Spandex kit, just different clothes than you'll be wearing the rest of the day.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:49 AM   #4
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This comes up about twice a month on the commuting forum, so search for "shower" and see what turns up. But the basics are:

(1) Shower before you leave the house and put on clean riding clothes.
(1.5) Take it easy and spin down for your last mile.
(2) When you get to work, cool down for about 10 minutes, then hang up your riding clothes and put on work clothes.

This does the job for me. Others use baby wipes or a washcloth for a quick freshen-up. Note that "riding clothes" doesn't necessarily mean Spandex kit, just different clothes than you'll be wearing the rest of the day.
Use unscented baby wipes.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:52 AM   #5
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I have no experience with this product, but you may want to look at this:

http://www.amazon.com/Rocket-Shower-.../dp/B002PDLDOC

The ingredient list mentions witch hazel, grapefruit peel oil and other essential oils. I'm not sure what the solvent is, but judging from the description of the product evaporating quickly, it may be isopropyl alcohol (or some other low vapor pressure solvent safe for human use.) Looks like it won't be too hard to come up with your own formulation.
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Old 06-03-11, 07:55 AM   #6
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Start making the ride now, and keep it up through the heat of summer. Easy outbound, fast back home. You'll figure out just how much you're going to sweat on a hot ride in, and decide which of these methods work for you.

If none of them will be enough (some people will sweat a lot in a Texas summer), look at other alternatives.

Are your school custodians friendly? If they trust you not to abuse it, a $20 hand shower attachment turns a mop closet with utility faucet and floor sink into a shower stall.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:25 AM   #7
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Thanks to all. Sorry about asking a question with an obvious answer. The Rocket Shower is an interesting option, or the baby wipes. Rubbing alcohol would have a cooling effect. I think I'm going to try it.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:33 AM   #8
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That Rocket Shower looks expensive if you are going to do this on a regular basis.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:55 AM   #9
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That Rocket Shower looks expensive if you are going to do this on a regular basis.
Yeah, I think rubbing alcohol diluted with water would do the same. splash on a little smell good sauce and I should be ready to go.
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Old 06-03-11, 08:58 AM   #10
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Thanks to all. Sorry about asking a question with an obvious answer. The Rocket Shower is an interesting option, or the baby wipes. Rubbing alcohol would have a cooling effect. I think I'm going to try it.
+1 for rubbing alcohol (91% isopropyl alcohol). Disinfectant (used to clean the skin before drawing blood), cooling, and unscented after it evaporates. I have colleagues at work that would let me know if it was ineffective.

It can be used to clean up cuts and scrapes. I also use it "down there" to prevent saddle sores.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:17 AM   #11
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That Rocket Shower looks expensive if you are going to do this on a regular basis.
I use rocket Shower & it lasts a long time. I'm on my second year of using it & still have some left. You get a lot in a bottle & you only need a few squirts (I probably use 10-12 a day) so it lasts a while. It may not be necessary, as there are certainyl other ways to freshen up, but if you feel that it's useful, don't let the cost put you off.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:47 AM   #12
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Wet wash cloth standing in the janitor's utility sink. Do this completely naked with the door unlocked. Loud singing gets you extra points.
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Old 06-03-11, 10:01 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
This comes up about twice a month on the commuting forum, so search for "shower" and see what turns up. But the basics are:

(1) Shower before you leave the house and put on clean riding clothes.
(2) When you get to work, cool down for about 10 minutes, then hang up your riding clothes and put on work clothes.

This does the job for me. Others use baby wipes or a washcloth for a quick freshen-up. Note that "riding clothes" doesn't necessarily mean Spandex kit, just different clothes than you'll be wearing the rest of the day.
This works for me too. I have a shower at work but rarely use it. I do typically ride in spandex/polyester bike stuff, but I think the main thing is to avoid cotton and keep your bike clothes clean.
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Old 06-03-11, 10:34 AM   #14
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Wet wash cloth standing in the janitor's utility sink. Do this completely naked with the door unlocked. Loud singing gets you extra points.
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Old 06-03-11, 10:58 AM   #15
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I use one of these to clean up/cool down and they work just great: It's like those chamois towels that divers/swimmers use. Wash it and wring it out after use and it's ready to go again. Rubbing alcohol after that and you're good to go. Also, get a small desk fan to help you cool down/ dry off:


#at=67

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Old 06-03-11, 11:04 AM   #16
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Old 06-03-11, 01:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinquad View Post
This comes up about twice a month on the commuting forum, so search for "shower" and see what turns up. But the basics are:

(1) Shower before you leave the house and put on clean riding clothes.
(2) When you get to work, cool down for about 10 minutes, then hang up your riding clothes and put on work clothes.

This does the job for me. Others use baby wipes or a washcloth for a quick freshen-up. Note that "riding clothes" doesn't necessarily mean Spandex kit, just different clothes than you'll be wearing the rest of the day.
Ditto...

Showering before riding and wearing cleaned clothes keeps me from smelling no matter how much I sweat, and if it's really hot bring a second pair of clothes to change it into (can be the same exact thing, just no sweat stains). And coasting for the last 10 minutes of your ride if at all possible - let you body cool down, and since you're on a bike it's like standing in front of a fan, dries you off.
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Old 06-03-11, 02:20 PM   #18
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Are your school custodians friendly? If they trust you not to abuse it, a $20 hand shower attachment turns a mop closet with utility faucet and floor sink into a shower stall.
This is a good option. Rubbing alcohol applied at full strength might cause more issues than its worth. Anything from dry skin to the most extreme alcohol poisoning. Is there a middle school or high school close? When deployed in the military, baby wipes are all we had sometimes, it helped but was by no means a cure all for stink. This may sound gross but personal trimming of hair, under arms and groin can help with odor control. I'm not saying you have to go clean shaven but hair does trap odor. Other things that can help reduce body odor in the long run, cut out smelly foods, shower night and morning, incorporate more zinc, magnesium, and chlorophyll into your diet. Hope that helps, seems like you have a ton of info to go through. I would think in Beaumont Texas you would sweat your tail off most of the time anyways.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:35 PM   #19
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I take a duck bath when I get to work. Strip to the waist and splash cold water on head, shoulders and upper body. I wet the paper towels in the restroom (hell, they ain't mine so I splurge) and wipe myself down. I then use more paper towels to wipe myself dry. Brush my hair, apply deoderant and splash on a little aftershave. I bring a change of clothes and change in the restroom. Last step is clean up any water and mess you may have made.
Keep work shoes at work to make room in your backpack or pannier.
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Old 06-03-11, 09:56 PM   #20
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I recommend you read my thread on sweaty taints.
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Old 06-03-11, 11:32 PM   #21
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Sit down and drink cold water until you quit sweating. Find restroom. Cold water sink shampoo, fully dressed in bike clothes. Dampen two washrags in cold water. Apply a dab of soap to one.

Move to handicap stall and strip. Use soapy washrag to completely scrub everying starting at the neck and working down. Use clean washrag to re-wipe all areas to remove any soap residue. Dry off with big towel, apply toiletries, dress in clean clothes. Clean up all splashes so nobody can tell the difference, be considerate of others.

I had a clean-up kit that I kept at work - a 2-quart bucket, 2 microfiber washcloths, 1 XL camp towel (microfiber, thin and dries fast), a sham-wow to get the hair almost dry. The bucket was just for clean rinse water for the wipedown rag, the soapy rag never went into it. The soap was liquid antibacterial (Dial) with a fresh herbal scent. The toiletries were all in a ziplock bag, sample-size containers that I refilled at home from big bottles every now and then. The towels got a few uses before they went home to be laundered.

Honestly - after a cool water cleanup in an air-conditioned well-ventilated bathroom, I was as clean as if I had taken a shower and it was just as fast if not faster. A handicap stall has enough manuevering room and is often cleaner than a regular stall. Generally bathrooms are vacant in the morning before work.

I keep a pair of shoes, a cardigan sweater and a belt at work. I only buy clothes that don't need to be ironed.
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Old 06-05-11, 11:46 AM   #22
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I have a shower and locker room at my work now but I worked for quite a few years at places where this was not available. I found that if I kept my pace down to a non-race-like speed (gotta remember that) and take the last mile or two at a more relaxed pace that I wouldn't get very sweaty to begin with. This seemed to work even in the summer months. Sometimes I would do several "cool down" laps around the parking lot just to make sure I wasn't going to start sweating as soon as I stopped moving. I would bring a complete change of clothes along with a washcloth and a hand towel. Get the wash cloth wet in the men's room sink and clean up and change in the corner stall. I can't comment on any hair care issues - no experiences there.
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Old 06-05-11, 12:19 PM   #23
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This is what I do, seems to work for me.
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Old 06-05-11, 07:40 PM   #24
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1. Keep all toiletry (deodorant, hairspray, etc) and towel at work.
2. carry light clothing
3. Get a bike rack and find a good carrier.
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Old 06-06-11, 07:05 AM   #25
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I've always toweled off in the restroom, used a little deodorant powder and put on a clean shirt if it was a hot ride.

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