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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 12-13-13, 08:23 AM   #1
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Testing my new commute

Hello! I am new to these parts of BF but I plan to post here frequently from now on

I have commuted on my bicycle probably 3 times in my time as a cyclist. I've always wanted to but something always drew me back. There are just way too many compromises and when you have other vehicles available the bicycle seems like the last thing you'd want to take under certain circumstances.

Today I tried out the new commute from my new house to the new office building. The previous commute was from a busy city center through some majorly trafficked roads to a building with fairly easy access to bicycles and free showers inside. The commute totaled 7.5 miles with about 500 feet of elevation gain. Relatively easy.

My new commute has gone up in distance. It is 12.9 miles and climbs around 1100 feet. Sufficient to say that I broke a sweat on my way there. That wouldn't have been a problem because I don't mind sweating, however, it sucks because I get to work and there are no showers. The commute took me about 1:10:00 on my fiancee's specialized vita which I equipped with some of my own stuff, fitted to myself and carried a pretty massive backpack (see pic). In the backpack there was a motorcycle lock (pretty darn huge and heavy), food, clothes, shoes and hygiene stuff. It most likely weighs 18-22 pounds.

The route while a bit challenging for a commute, was pretty relaxing, scenic and with little traffic. Ideal really. Weather.. sunny but VERY COLD for my taste (Atlanta boy, born and raised in Puerto Rico). The picture attached is from half an hour after I got to the office at 8:30am.

I am sitting at my desk and I have to say I feel very good about doing it. A little nervous for my ride back though! I guess I'll be able to tell a little better if I want to keep commuting depending on what I see tonight when I leave work. On top of that I have panniers, rack and frame pump on their way. I'll most likely commute if I can figure out the shower dilemma, I don't wanna smell for the other people in my office.

Cheers!
Luis

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Old 12-13-13, 08:41 AM   #2
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See if you can leave some of your stuff(lock, shoes, etc.)
at work; that will lighten your load. Maybe you'll sweat less.


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Old 12-13-13, 08:50 AM   #3
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See if you can leave some of your stuff(lock, shoes, etc.)
at work; that will lighten your load. Maybe you'll sweat less.


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Old 12-13-13, 08:59 AM   #4
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Take all your clothes and stuff to wash up with monday am by car and friday pm repeat with the dirty stuff. Can you get shower access at a nearby gym or WMCA ? I have a single restroom and use a washcloth/ soap/ rinse to clean up. Body spray and deodorant after. Some like the alcohol wipes as well. Lots of solutions for you.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:08 AM   #5
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Take all your clothes and stuff to wash up with monday am by car and friday pm repeat with the dirty stuff. Can you get shower access at a nearby gym or WMCA ? I have a single restroom and use a washcloth/ soap/ rinse to clean up. Body spray and deodorant after. Some like the alcohol wipes as well. Lots of solutions for you.
Heard this from some people in the office. I think I might actually take the clothes on Monday bring back on Friday. I'll have to do some reasearch on shower access. There is a gym in the building but I have to pay almost $100 a month to use it and that is definitely not worth it. Alcohol wipes might actually do it! Wow that is an awesome idea. Thanks

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See if you can leave some of your stuff(lock, shoes, etc.)
at work; that will lighten your load. Maybe you'll sweat less.


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Awesome! Good reflective stuff you got going there.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:15 AM   #6
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No. 1 about leaving work clothes at work. I tend to come in on Saturday to swap out clothes. Washing up in the bathroom isn't bad either but then I don't live in hotlanta. Cleaning up is much more of a challenge commuting in hot weather.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:16 AM   #7
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Two things it took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that I didn't need to carry: bicycle lock and office shoes. Just leave the lock at the rack, shoes at the desk.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:26 AM   #8
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i didn't have a shower at work either. but i carried my work clothes daily in my panniers. at work i changed. at work i had a towel and some cleansing wipes that i would clean up the sweat with, along with deodorant, etc. wasn't bad at all. my coworkers didn't tell me i smelled! lol. didn't need a lock since i put my bike in my classroom closet, also where i hung up my bike clothes, and changed.
honestly th biggest problem was my helmet hair.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:30 AM   #9
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No. 1 about leaving work clothes at work. I tend to come in on Saturday to swap out clothes. Washing up in the bathroom isn't bad either but then I don't live in hotlanta. Cleaning up is much more of a challenge commuting in hot weather.
Yea, the commute during the summer won't happen. In the summer I ride when I get home from work so no biggie, in the winter however, commuting is a sensible choice to kill two birds with one stone since I don't feel like riding much for pleasure when it is too cold out.

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Two things it took me an embarrassingly long time to realise that I didn't need to carry: bicycle lock and office shoes. Just leave the lock at the rack, shoes at the desk.
Today was the day to bring the lock. My intentions were to leave it here once I got it here. Also, one of my co-workers told me I should bring the bike upstairs to the office.

Office shoes are pretty much a necessity (kind of). I can't walk from the parking deck to the office in bike shoes. They are SPDs but the cleats are non-recessive so not really walk able for the distance.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:32 AM   #10
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i didn't have a shower at work either. but i carried my work clothes daily in my panniers. at work i changed. at work i had a towel and some cleansing wipes that i would clean up the sweat with, along with deodorant, etc. wasn't bad at all. my coworkers didn't tell me i smelled! lol. didn't need a lock since i put my bike in my classroom closet, also where i hung up my bike clothes, and changed.
honestly th biggest problem was my helmet hair.
lol I already heard another co-worker complaint about the hygiene of another one so I'd like to avoid gossip of that nature. However wipes might be the solution for winter commute. For summer commute I'll have to go naked...
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Old 12-13-13, 09:47 AM   #11
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Yea, the commute during the summer won't happen. In the summer I ride when I get home from work so no biggie, in the winter however, commuting is a sensible choice to kill two birds with one stone since I don't feel like riding much for pleasure when it is too cold out.



Today was the day to bring the lock. My intentions were to leave it here once I got it here. Also, one of my co-workers told me I should bring the bike upstairs to the office.

Office shoes are pretty much a necessity (kind of). I can't walk from the parking deck to the office in bike shoes. They are SPDs but the cleats are non-recessive so not really walk able for the distance.
That's too bad - I'd swap pedals if it meant not carrying shoes. I used to change shoes in the parking lot, and came to really hate that part. That's just me, not "advice" since I know how personal pedals and shoes are.

When summer comes around you might have a different take on it. I did 10.5 miles here (Roswell/Alpharetta) for two summers with no shower at work. I found it to be inconvenient but not a real hardship. Starting earlier, low effort level and wipes + towel in the rest room kept it manageable. The key is morning shower and never wear anything that isn't freshly laundered - it's stale sweat that stinks.
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Old 12-13-13, 09:48 AM   #12
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I'd rather endure a little jelousy-based office gossip about supposed hygiene than than miss-out on the gossip about my untimely death due to lack of fitness.
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Old 12-13-13, 10:50 AM   #13
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Use anti-perspirant not deodorant that will eliminate almost all of the smell. Yes, get that backpack off your back. As you commute more you will learn to pace yourself so that you don't sweat much.
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Old 12-13-13, 02:14 PM   #14
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No showers at work for me either, and sweat profusely, even in the winter. The solution:
  • Shower last thing before leaving. Use deodorant soap and deoderant.
  • Wear clean kit. (Clean as in fresh from the laundry, not "passes the sniff test".)
  • Birdbath in the men's room sink. I do from the waist up using the foaming antiseptic hand soap in the dispenser and keep two small cloth towels--hand towel size--at work, rotating them with my work clothes. Kindly remember to clean and dry the sink area after yourself.
  • Deoderant. Skin lotion optional.
  • Fresh work clothes.
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Old 12-13-13, 02:28 PM   #15
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Old 12-13-13, 02:36 PM   #16
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Awesome! Good reflective stuff you got going there.
Illuminite jacket and Novarra pants, can't remember which gloves and boots I was wearing.
In addition to using bright lights; I like to wear clothes that have reflective bits on them.


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Old 12-30-13, 12:48 PM   #17
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how was your ride home?
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Old 12-30-13, 12:58 PM   #18
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take a shower before you leave.
I also wear cycling specific clothing and when I change, I freshen up with "shower" wipes and deodorant...

if its warm (like summer) and you are really sweating then you want to have a wash cloth to do a "sink bath". use with a small towel (possibly paper towels) to dry off

Never had a complaint.

and deodorant...
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Old 12-31-13, 03:08 PM   #19
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Office shoes are pretty much a necessity (kind of). I can't walk from the parking deck to the office in bike shoes. They are SPDs but the cleats are non-recessive so not really walk able for the distance.
No, if all you need to do is walk a little inside, then carry some light slip on shoes/sandals with you on the bike. Smaller, lighter, and more convenient to put on/off than your office shoes.

Echo a few key items already said:
- key to not stinking is being clean before you start, i.e. whatever in-office wipe down routine just wipes the clean sweat off you, it doesn't try to replace your main daily hygiene shower
- leave lock on rack
- drop the pack, replace with rack or panniers
- learn to ventilate
- stage your gear

All will make the ride more efficient and fun.
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Old 12-31-13, 05:40 PM   #20
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maybe talk to the gym managers about a fee just for using showers. maybe they will make a good deal. if its a big building and others are commuting, maybe they can make a shower only deal for commuters
other than that...sink bath works
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Old 01-01-14, 12:14 AM   #21
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Have you balanced the savings from not driving a care against the $100 for the membership? Even with my decent mileage (27mpg) truck, riding four days a week (18 miles RT) and the fitness gain would make the $100 balance out. I compare my drive time (40 minutes total) with my ride time (about 80 mins) round trip, and consider that I get 40 minutes of free exercise and someone else pays for my hot water.
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