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  1. #1
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    Commuting in Philadelphia

    I work in center city and am in the process of moving to South Philly. Would rather commute by bike than take the subway. Only problem is my office doesn't have a shower and the dress code requires business attire (slacks/shirt). I looked into using showers at the local gyms, but they all charge around $45-65 just for shower use. I'm not interested in using the rest of their facilities, so seems a bit much to pay only for the showers. Does anyone know of other options for showers? Are there bike friendly offices around Market and 17th who are open to others using their showers? Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikecommuter1 View Post
    I work in center city and am in the process of moving to South Philly. Would rather commute by bike than take the subway. Only problem is my office doesn't have a shower and the dress code requires business attire (slacks/shirt). I looked into using showers at the local gyms, but they all charge around $45-65 just for shower use. I'm not interested in using the rest of their facilities, so seems a bit much to pay only for the showers. Does anyone know of other options for showers? Are there bike friendly offices around Market and 17th who are open to others using their showers? Thanks in advance!
    Is that the charge for one shower?..,per month?

    How important is cycle commuting to you. if that's the only alternative? [Disclaimer: I have a near perfect facility, with showers, inside parking, food and coffee on site, and other benefits including a nearby bike shop

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    …Humbly, if Bike Forums ever had a Best Commute Award, I would be a frontrunner.

  3. #3
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    Hi Jim,

    That's the cost I was given to use showers at the gym during the month. One gym said I had to pay the full membership price ($65) and another said they would bring the cost down to $45. I used by cycle commute all the time when I lived in New York. It's a great way to get some exercise, take a break from staring at the computer, and just be outside instead of stuck on the subway. The other alternative is taking the subway each way. I would prefer biking.

    I read online that there were initially plans to build a similar facility in Philly with inside parking, showers, etc. Never happened.

  4. #4
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Not knowing your exact origin or destination i cant help you with route planning. I can however say that a shower in the evening plus a quick rinse in AM at home plus proper antiperspirant deodorant and a change of undergarments would probably be the most practical solution. In addition, you could look at slowing down, picking gears to minimize exertion, things to prevent you from getting soaked sweaty in the first place. Riding clothing choices are another weapon you have. For example, other day it was 53 outside... i put on regular twill cargo shorts, a tshirt, then a hooded zi up sweatjacket for my arms, and a vest with collar for wind barrier especially for my neck. I was riding all over town with maybe a lil sweat on my forehead where my helmet sits.

    Good luck!

    - Andy
    I can't wait for the next pint of good chocolate milk after a long ride.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikecommuter1 View Post
    Hi Jim,

    ...I used by cycle commute all the time when I lived in New York. It's a great way to get some exercise, take a break from staring at the computer, and just be outside instead of stuck on the subway. The other alternative is taking the subway each way. I would prefer biking....
    Thanks for your reply. I feel exactly the same way, so that fee would be acceptable to me, even beyond just the cost savings of cycle-commuting. BTW, I'll be attending a conference in Philadelphia in October, and will bring my bike, or rent. My plan, as I often do, is to ride early in the AM, then clean up at my hotel before the 8:00 start.

    Quote Originally Posted by TransitBiker View Post
    Not knowing your exact origin or destination i cant help you with route planning. I can however say that a shower in the evening plus a quick rinse in AM at home plus proper antiperspirant deodorant and a change of undergarments would probably be the most practical solution. In addition, you could look at slowing down, picking gears to minimize exertion, things to prevent you from getting soaked sweaty in the first place. Riding clothing choices are another weapon you have. For example, other day it was 53 outside... i put on regular twill cargo shorts, a tshirt, then a hooded zi up sweatjacket for my arms, and a vest with collar for wind barrier especially for my neck. I was riding all over town with maybe a lil sweat on my forehead where my helmet sits.
    A shower at night and a deodorant after arrival is my regimen. I use 91% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol a for its non-scented antibacterial and cooling effects as my deodorant, and no one complains (and would quickly do so). But I do like to ride hard in usual road cycling clothes. As another benefit of my Best Commute, I work in a hospital and wear scrubs all day. However I would not feel fresh enough when I wear regular, casual to dressy clothes, and would need to take a shower.

  6. #6
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    I don't know of any cycling friendly offices in that area, but you might want to see if you can negotiate the price down just a bit. At $18.00 for a ten pack of subway tokens and what could be 40 trips (2 per day for 20 work days/month), you're looking at $72/month for the subway. So, you'd still be saving money at the price quoted by the local gyms, and you'd avoid the summer sensory delight of human urine at most subway stations. My only other suggestion is to do what I do. Get to work a bit early. Allow yourself to cool down, then do a quick wipe down with unscented baby wipes and then change into the clothes you need to wear for work. I know that given the steamy nature of summer in Philly, wearing your required dress while riding in is probably not a good option.
    A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking. - S. Wright

  7. #7
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    I don't have showers either. Here's what I do during the hot Summer months:

    1. Shower in the morning. Put on lightweight clothing (gym shorts and sweat-wicking running shirt (C9 gear at Target is good and cheap).
    2. Ride to work, taking it a bit easy on the hotter days. Usually it's under 80 in the mornings, so I'm not sweating heavily.
    3. Once at work, cool down at the desk for 10-15 minutes, drinking lots of water.
    4. Once cooled down, change in the men's room. Toweling off and an unscented wipe for the nether regions does wonders.

    I haven't had complaints yet.

    On the ride home, I sweat up a storm and shower when I get home.

  8. #8
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    All the above are good points for getting by without a shower.

    Another big tip is to put on CLEAN bikes clothes. Especially in the short department. Bike shorts get pretty funky, pretty fast.

  9. #9
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    I carry wintergreen alcohol in my bike bag. And - a fresh shirt. When I get to work, I wipe off a lot of stuff with a damp towel and wintergreen alcohol, put on the fresh shirt.
    5 minutes, feel fresh all day

  10. #10
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    Join the nearest YMCA close to your work place. Shower, swim, and exercise, there.

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