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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 08-02-11, 09:13 AM   #1
jeffs223
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Your Commuting Procedure

So I'm a roadie, I put a lot of miles on my bike each week without riding to and from work. I guess I should consider myself lucky because we have showers at work. My trip will be about 6 miles each way. Do most of you wear a kit then shower(if you have one) and change? Just wear the clothes your working going to work in (this can depend alot on work environment)? My office is very casual. My plan was to wear a kit over see how nasty I am and maybe shower and obviously change. Then on the way out change back into the same kit and ride home... Is anyone else out there doing that? I certainly don't want to smell all day at work.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:46 AM   #2
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I think it depends on the weather an how hard you want to ride to/from work. As long as it's not too hot and you don't push yourself too much you could probably just wear your regular clothes. If you like riding fast and/or have to deal with warm weather then shower/change when you get to work.

Personally I bring clothes with me and change. I change back into cycling clothes for the ride home. Others don't like that approach. It's really up to you.

Last edited by tjspiel; 08-02-11 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:50 AM   #3
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I have an 8 mile commute each way. I carry my work clothes in a pannier, ride hard into work, and then shower and get dressed at work. Going home I usually wear my work clothes, and ride at a more leisurely pace. If it is really hot, then I change back into the morning garb, and shower again when I get home.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:51 AM   #4
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I've always worn something other than my work clothes and changed at work. If a shower is available, I'll use it, otherwise I just shower before I leave and clean up in a sink. I wear the same clothes I rode in on back home, unless conditions have changed and I have to add/shed a few things.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:52 AM   #5
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My trip will be about 6 miles each way. Do most of you wear a kit then shower(if you have one) and change?
Kit to work, shower (takes like 10 minutes) and change of clothes in backpack. Let kit and towel dry out during work. Kit home. Allows you to ride fast if you want.

Also, you smell after 7 miles; gotta shower
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Old 08-02-11, 09:53 AM   #6
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Are you on a bus route and do the buses have bike racks?
My commute is about 13 miles with lots of hills and I have no shower at work. I ride only 1.5 miles to the bus stop and toss the bike on for the ride in, get off work after the bus stops running and ride home.
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Old 08-02-11, 10:02 AM   #7
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I've always worn something other than my work clothes and changed at work. If a shower is available, I'll use it, otherwise I just shower before I leave and clean up in a sink. I wear the same clothes I rode in on back home, unless conditions have changed and I have to add/shed a few things.
This is exactly the same for me. Usually the shower is not available. A package of unscented baby wipes kept at my work area is sufficient to clean up.
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Old 08-02-11, 10:38 AM   #8
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I wear cycling shorts and jerseys (kit) for my commute, which is about 22-23 miles round trip. I live in the Southeast, and my work clothes would be soaked in sweat if I tried to ride in them -- plus it wouldn't be very comfortable. I have a large seatbag on my bike and carry lunch, tools, phone, etc in it. I leave a supply of clothes, shoes, towels, bathroom supplies in my office and replenish on days that I drive. We have showers at work, so I shower and change as soon as I get to work. My cycling clothes are dry by the time I am ready to leave in the afternoon. I usually drive about once a week due to weather, meetings, errands, doctor's appts, etc., so it's no problem replenishing supplies -- and that way I don't have to lug piles of clothes, shoes, every day. It's also keeps my load relatively light, so I can ride faster and enjoy it more.
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Old 08-02-11, 10:40 AM   #9
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Great tips Guys and Gals, Thanks!
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Old 08-02-11, 11:18 AM   #10
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I've only showered at work once. I discovered that they only turn on the water heater when the room is booked for use. It was winter.

I shower in the morning before leaving home, then change clothes when I get to work. No baby wipes needed. I just take a few minutes to cool down before putting on the clean clothes.
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Old 08-02-11, 11:18 AM   #11
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I ride in cycling clothes and carry my work clothes with me. Don't have showers at work so I have to use the baby wipes. I keep them and some deodorant and cologne in my desk drawer. I also bought a pair of shoes I use for work and keep them in my desk drawer also so I don't have to pack them around.
I have two portable filing cabinet/drawers that go under the desk in my gopher hole. I bought some of those 3M stick any where hooks and stuck them on the side of one of them to hang my clothes on to dry. Works great and they are out of my way while I work.
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Old 08-02-11, 11:41 AM   #12
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I wear either a suit and tie or slacks and sport jacket. In the summer, I roll the coat or jacket, put it in the pannier, and ride in my shirtsleeves. I'm vastly cooler than all the people I see walking in the heat, carrying their suit jackets.

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Old 08-02-11, 11:59 AM   #13
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My commute is a little over 20 miles - There's no practical way to bike that w/o sweating, so it's a kit for me. I carry my work clothing in a pannier & shower before the ride, Change in the bathroom (Clean off with baby wipes). I leave my belt & shoes in my office so all I am transporting is a pair of pants, a shirt, T-shirt underwear, socks and my lunch.

Luckily I have a private enough work space to house my bike, which I use as a clothesline to hang my kit on. When I go home I re-use my kit, except for my head bandanna. That I use a fresh one for every ride, because of a bad experience with a breakout on my forehead that I am convinced was caused by re-using dirty clothing.

When I get home the kit is soaked in sweat again, so everything goes in the wash & gets line dried. The jersey will dry our overnight and be available for the next day. The shorts take a little longer b/c of the chamois, so I rotate a second pair of shorts e/o day. (Today my "Good" shorts are at home drying).

If I could change my setup it would be to have enough clothing to not have to re-use anything. I'd like to have extra pairs of gloves so that it would be practical to wash them more often (They take longer to dry just as shorts do & I currently only have one pair). Also, if I were made of money I would like to own four complete kits so that I could wear one in the morning, a different kit in the afternoon, and have two dry kits waiting for me at home to use the next day. That may have to wait though as fall is right around the corner and I need to start thinking about cool weather apparel.
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Old 08-02-11, 12:19 PM   #14
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03:45 - alarm goes off. Get up, put on shorts and t-shirt, take dog outside.
04:00 - back inside with dog, make coffee for wife, find something to call lunch.
04:15 - figure out which kit doesn't smell too bad. Pack food into pannier.
04:30 - fart around on the computer and read my comics.
04:40 - put on kit (rain gear if needed), set up bike.
04:45 - food/water for dog. Scare wife with kiss goodbye (every morning, scares the hell out of her, you'd think she'd be used to it by now, but she half wakes up with a start and then falls right back asleep.)
04:50 - Out the door
05:55 --> 06:00 Arrive at work. Turn on all the lights, prop bike in empty cubicle.
06:05 - Start coffee maker
06:10 - Shower
06:25 - Clock in, drape clothes over bike to dry, start my shift.
15:00 - Clock out, change back into kit.
15:10 - Out the door
16:35 - Arrive home.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:13 PM   #15
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03:45 - alarm goes off. Get up, put on shorts and t-shirt, take dog outside.
04:00 - back inside with dog, make coffee for wife, find something to call lunch.
04:15 - figure out which kit doesn't smell too bad. Pack food into pannier.
04:30 - fart around on the computer and read my comics.
04:40 - put on kit (rain gear if needed), set up bike.
04:45 - food/water for dog. Scare wife with kiss goodbye (every morning, scares the hell out of her, you'd think she'd be used to it by now, but she half wakes up with a start and then falls right back asleep.)
04:50 - Out the door
05:55 --> 06:00 Arrive at work. Turn on all the lights, prop bike in empty cubicle.
06:05 - Start coffee maker
06:10 - Shower
06:25 - Clock in, drape clothes over bike to dry, start my shift.
15:00 - Clock out, change back into kit.
15:10 - Out the door
16:35 - Arrive home.
This would be really cool as a stop motion, picture (from your perspective) every couple minutes, except for the work part.

So I basically decided its a kit to work, shower if needed, change, work, change back into kit, ride home.

I'm only doing this a couple days a week for now, because I do training rides in various locations that I absolutely have to drive too, and I need to leave right from work. So it will really just be some experimenting.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:33 PM   #16
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I wear work clothes for the 12 mile ride in. Keep deodorant at work; spray it wherever needed. Pack a pair of shorts for the ride home.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:35 PM   #17
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I've only showered at work once. I discovered that they only turn on the water heater when the room is booked for use. It was winter.

I shower in the morning before leaving home, then change clothes when I get to work. No baby wipes needed. I just take a few minutes to cool down before putting on the clean clothes.
[Old man voice] You should be so lucky to even have a shower! I'd bike in every day, summer or winter, and have to take a sink bath in the public restroom. No hot water for us, either. [/Old man voice]

Luckily, we do at least have a patio, so I can lock up my bike on the patio rather than leaving it on NYC streets, and I brought in a cheap drying rack to dry my kit after I give it a good rinse in the sink. Camp towels from REI are fantastic. Invest in a couple!
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Old 08-02-11, 01:37 PM   #18
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Kit to work, shower (takes like 10 minutes) and change of clothes in backpack. Let kit and towel dry out during work. Kit home. Allows you to ride fast if you want.

Also, you smell after 7 miles; gotta shower
+1, this is what I do. Sometimes I use a seatpost rack/trunk bag to transport my work clothes. I used to store several days worth of clothes in an unlocked locker in our onsite gym. We have a policy that does not allow us to actually "lock" our locker. After my towel and clothes were tampered with during one weekend, I have stopped storing my clothes at work. Now I bring them with me when I commute. It's a big PIA, but schlepping my work clothes and towel still beats driving to work!
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Old 08-02-11, 01:39 PM   #19
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I wear cycling shorts and jersey and keep a stash of 2 pants, 4-5 shirts, 2 pair of shoes, and a towel at work. I carry underwear back and forth and my iPad and periodically swap a shirt, pants or towel as needed. I start off with a shower before I leave home. When I get to work, I cool down and towel off, splash up a little in the sink and change clothes. I hang the shorts and jersey on my bike to dry and wear them home. (Bike is stored inside)

If you're a roadie, the hard part will be taking it easy on the way in. Its fairly warm and dry here (81 in the morning, ~30% humidity) and I can get to work with very minimal sweat if I just don't push myself. I enjoy going fast, so sometimes its hard to resist. So far this year, I've commuted in one of the hottest areas of the country through one of the hottest summers on record and I've done it without showers at work. No, I don't stink. I have coworkers that would tell me if I did with much pleasure. My commute is 10mi each way.
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Old 08-02-11, 03:42 PM   #20
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My company just moved to new offices and we actually have a shower here! Very nice. I currently drive partway and then bike. While my bike commute is only about 7 miles there is a 500 foot elevation climb in the middle. Unfortunately I tend to sweat a lot when exercising and I tend to try to beat my last time every commute so I arrive at the office pretty damp.

I wear bike shorts/shirt and carry clothes and towel in a backpack. I'm planning on maybe driving and bringing a change of clothes for the week one day so I don't have to carry the backpack.

I hang the bike gear up to dry in the lockers if one is available and use it for the trip home.
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Old 08-02-11, 04:05 PM   #21
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When I get home the kit is soaked in sweat again, so everything goes in the wash & gets line dried. The jersey will dry our overnight and be available for the next day. The shorts take a little longer b/c of the chamois, so I rotate a second pair of shorts e/o day. (Today my "Good" shorts are at home drying).

If I could change my setup it would be to have enough clothing to not have to re-use anything. I'd like to have extra pairs of gloves so that it would be practical to wash them more often (They take longer to dry just as shorts do & I currently only have one pair). Also, if I were made of money I would like to own four complete kits so that I could wear one in the morning, a different kit in the afternoon, and have two dry kits waiting for me at home to use the next day. That may have to wait though as fall is right around the corner and I need to start thinking about cool weather apparel.
Check geartrade.com for shorts. They have alot of returns from backcountry/realcyclist.com/bonktown.com where people try it on and don't like it. Perfectly good shorts and jerseys at perfectly great prices.. Good price.
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Old 08-02-11, 05:00 PM   #22
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~4.5 miles each way, no (convenient) shower at work:

There:
-Ride in businesscasual pants and a T-shirt
-splash up at the sink, sit around for ~30 minutes in a t-shirt (while working)
-put on my dress shirt or polo

Back:
-change into shorts
-shower when i get home
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Old 08-02-11, 06:19 PM   #23
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On Mondays I use a racked bike and load the panniers with work clothes and food for the week (and library books). On Thursdays I use a racked bike and panniers to haul home the laundry (and more library books). On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I can ride any bike I want. (Rode my crit bike today.)

Every day I start with a fresh shower and clean kit. I have enough commuting kit for each season (summer, winter and the 'tween seasons) for a week-and-a-half

At work, if required (usually in the three-seasons, not often in the winter), I take a birdbath in the men's room sink before changing and starting work.
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Old 08-02-11, 08:01 PM   #24
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I'm fortunate enough to have showers at work, so that really helps as my commute is 35 miles RT. I sometimes need my car at work during the week, and I don't always know when that will happen. So, I load up the car with my bike and clean clothes on Monday morning, and drive in to work. I'll then leave the car there until Friday, and pack up the bike and my dirty clothes for the trip home in the car. During the week, I'll then ride the commuter bike, loaded up with just my lunch and tools in a trunk bag.
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Old 08-02-11, 08:29 PM   #25
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When my commute was 7 miles, I wore cycling shorts and non-cotton t-shirts. Usually I could get them dry by the end of the day. A sink bath was my only option then. As for jerseys, I didn't need pockets, and the daily washing was hard on jerseys.

Now my commute is <2 miles so I wear street clothes to/from work and go slow enough to keep sweat to a minimum. That's barely possible even at 2 miles in this heat.

I'm fortunate to have work supplied & cleaned uniforms, so work clothes stay at work. I just transport socks & undershirt, while shoes and a belt stay at work. That works great except when I forget my socks
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