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Old 12-07-06, 08:43 AM   #1
Rick G
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No shower now what?

Yesterday I was talking with the owner of the buisness that I work at.Told him it was to bad that it is so cold out I couldn't ride my bike to work.He promply tells me that they are glad cause when I get in I smell so bad that I chase them out.
Now I have tried to use wipees and deoderant but we have no showers.I really have no way to clean up.
The question I have is after a while does your oduer change so it is not so offensive or are there other things that can be done?
As a side note I have no sense of smell so I cannot tell if I am killing someone as I walk by or if I am normally just not as offensive.
I enjoy my rides to work but when the coworkers can't be around you it is time to make some adjustments.
what do you all do?
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Old 12-07-06, 08:54 AM   #2
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This would be a good question for the commuter forum. Unfortunately, I am of no help since I lost weight and do not sweat as much. In fact, I rarely even cleanup from the 14 mile commute in. The 28 mile commute requires that I clean up a few stinky parts with wet paper towels.
From what I understand, smelly sweat is caused by bacteria. What you can do with that info, I have no clue.
Sorry.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:58 AM   #3
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This problem perplexes me. I don't seem to have this problem. I change my shirt when I get to work, since the only thing that really sweats is my back. I just take a shower before I leave in the morning and wear deodorant.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:01 AM   #4
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Take a shower before you leave in the morning.
Wear a merino wool T shirt; unlike synthetic jersies, they dont get smelly with use.
In winter you shouldnt need to sweat to stay cool. The main cause of sweating in winter is stopping a high intensity ride and diving into an overheated building. Use the last 1/4 mile as a cooldown on the bike.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:04 AM   #5
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If you and the clothes your wearing are clean when you ride in, the sweat has no bacteria to mix with and create the smell. If your wearing bike clothes several days before washing it will create smell, if your not showering in the morning same thing.

Clean bike clothes, shower before you leave, change clothes at work, use wipes and deoderant, ride in to work at a slower pace.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:29 AM   #6
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Some people smell a lot naturally and some don't. I'm happy to conclude that I smell very little even after half a day on my bike. (Verified by friends and family!) I don't sweat much either. Almost exclusively in my face, on my upper back and the outsides of my shoulders/upper arms.

I've been in a group ride with a guy who smelled so bad that I had to drop back about two bike lengths... And it wasn't because of bad hygiene - it was his sweat that smelled. Old sweat/bad hygiene smells very different from fresh sweat. Fresh sweat has an acrid, sour and stinging smell.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:37 AM   #7
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Dear Stinky

I don't see any reason why you can't clean-up properly with wipes and a towel. You probably aren't stinky at all and the boss is just giving you a hard time.I have the problem of riding to work in the warm weather..cleaning up and changing into work clothes..and then having to sit in front of a fan for about 20 minutes until I stop sweating.
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Old 12-07-06, 09:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarery
Clean bike clothes, shower before you leave, change clothes at work, use wipes and deoderant, ride in to work at a slower pace.
+1

Use deodorant after you shower. Most deodorants have an anti-bacterial that suppress the growth of the stinky bacteria. I use Sure mostly, and for extreme cases Arm & Hammer. I would use a towel at work, but I'm not sure I'd use wipes since they would tend to remove the deodorant. (Btw, next to the pits, the groin is major offender. I don't use deodorant there, but pay special attention to keeping it clean.)

Since you have no sense of smell, you've probably developed lax hygiene habits. And you can't monitor yourself. Go to your boss and a nearby co-worker and ask them to tell you when someone finds your odor offensive - your boss to show your concern and to intercept any upwardly-directed feedback, and your co-worker for day-to-day feedback.
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Old 12-07-06, 10:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falkon
This problem perplexes me. I don't seem to have this problem. I change my shirt when I get to work, since the only thing that really sweats is my back. I just take a shower before I leave in the morning and wear deodorant.
A coworker of mine is a massage therapist. One morning she worked on me while I was still in my cycling clothes after a 30 mile ride. I was still cooling down at that time.
Her response to my statement "I sure hope I do not smell bad" was "You smell like the outdoors. No stink". Since then I do not worry.
The outdoors has a smell?
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Old 12-07-06, 10:53 AM   #10
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It's a bit simplistic to claim that stink is caused by bacteria. When you sweat, you don't just sweat distilled water; you exude salts, oils, and pheromones, too. And yes, for some people, that stinks. Clothes pick it up, too; especially shirts and jackets. If I were riding more than a mile or two, at minimum I'd want to wipe down, powder the pits, and change the shirt.
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Old 12-07-06, 11:29 AM   #11
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Use a good anti-perspirant too. Many today are pretty bad. Alcohol and some form of aluminium salt is minimum. Plenty of that in your armpits after every shower, and you'll be fairly free of nasty smells from that area. I find that to be extremely effective for me. Keeps me dry for four days if I happen to go that long between showers (rare, but it happens).
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Old 12-07-06, 11:40 AM   #12
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A good wet hand towel will do the rest. Make sure you hand enough plenty of water to rinse. and of course have always a spare t-shirt when going to work. and if needed bring alcohol for a good rub. then you feel fresh again. I do this everytime when I use my bike going to work.
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Old 12-07-06, 12:13 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 12-07-06, 12:47 PM   #14
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My commute is to university, and I'm a student, so I don't even change. I wear my bike clothes all day. Same with the shoes. My MTB shoes have recessed cleats, and they're quite comfortable to wear all day.
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Old 12-07-06, 12:55 PM   #15
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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.
+1

Also ...

Don't ride too hard on your way to work, ride casually at a relaxed pace, so you don't sweat much. You can pretend you are riding a TT on the way home from work.

You've got sinks at work, right? If they don't provide you with soap, you can bring your own. I found that on my longer commutes, my hands would smell sort of odd from my gloves, so when I got to work, I would wash my hands, right up to the elbows with a nicely scented soap. If that made my hands dry, I'd add a nicely scented hand lotion.

I've got to repeat this one: Pack (don't wear) your work clothes. I got into a discussion with some in the Commuting forum about this a couple years ago and could not believe the number of people who rode to work in their work clothes! Wear cycling attire to ride to work, remove the cycling attire (and put it somewhere where it can dry off without offending anyone), and put on clean, freshly laundered work attire. Just doing that alone can cut down on offensive odours.

I reapply my deodorant, but also spritz on a bit of a lightly scented perfume over my hair in particular.
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Old 12-07-06, 01:19 PM   #16
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+1 on:
- pack your work clothes (I get away with just a fresh shirt in the winter)
- don't ride too hard
- use the last 15 minutes as a cool down
- deodorant (I use one of the "crystal" deodorants. I was skeptical at first, but it works like a charm by preventing the stink producing bacteria from getting to their food source, i.e. your sweat)

I'm not a fan of trying to cover up stink with perfumes, but to each their own.

Also, do you eat breakfast before you ride in? (hope so!) If you're eating anything pungent (sausage, onions/garlic, eggs, ...?), that will be coming out of your pores with your sweat. Just something to consider.
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Old 12-07-06, 01:30 PM   #17
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Also, they make handiwipes with waitch hazel in them. A regular handiwipe just cleans - it's not designed to kill odors. Witch hazel will kill bacteria like MAD and leave you smelling clean, if a bit antisceptic. The trick is to wait until you have stopped sweating - about 15 mins - and then use them.
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Old 12-07-06, 01:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fenester
I'm not a fan of trying to cover up stink with perfumes, but to each their own.

Also, do you eat breakfast before you ride in? (hope so!) If you're eating anything pungent (sausage, onions/garlic, eggs, ...?), that will be coming out of your pores with your sweat. Just something to consider.
I'm not suggesting anything really strong in the way of perfume ... I hate strong perfumes! Just a little bit of something with a very light, delicate scent.

And if the OP's commute is anything shorter than an hour, he really doesn't need to eat before he rides. I waited till I got to work, and then had a light snack at my desk. But then I don't like eating breakfast before about 10 am anyway.
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Old 12-07-06, 01:37 PM   #19
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never assume you didn't sweat or that you don't smell.

i just use deorderant when i get to work, and (my little secret) is to put a tad under my armpit on the outside of my shirt. like the perfume, it's just a little extra scent that would help. make sure you get clear deorderant otherwise you'll leave a mark.
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Old 12-07-06, 02:00 PM   #20
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Unfortunately a lot of the advice above may not fit (except for clean biking clothes - that's a definite!)

I had a friend who had no sense of smell. She stunk constantly. Biggest reason is that most of us go through a pretty long trial and error period of trying deoderants that work and don't work until you find 'the one' that works best for you. Since you don't have that bio feedback ability your deoderant may be failing you beyond just your commute. If you have a trusted friend get a bunch of different types, try each exclusively for a week or so, buildup a good sweat for a few hours and ask them how good it works.

The wipes and everything work but not if that baselayer isn't really clean to begin with. A lot of deoderants will leave a very hard film to get off (which is why they're antiperspirants too - waterproof). I actually use a crystal deoderant. Lasts for 6 months, doesn't have any chemicals in there and kills bacteria. Will not control sweating but it's much, much easier to be clean after a shower without scraping your underarms. Also trim/shave the pits - the hair is very hard to get completely clean. Because you don't have the bio feedback mechanism you can't tell what's clean so make your job easier.

Rubbing alcohol will kill bacteria. I will carry some hand sanitizer, rub it under the arms and maybe chest to help cool off, give it a few minutes to dry then apply the crystal. Kill the bacteria then add more.

Also I would explain to your boss that you don't have a sense of smell and please let you know so you can do something about it.

Good luck!
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Old 12-07-06, 03:01 PM   #21
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I don't have a shower at work but this is what I do...

Shower in the morning, use baby powder for the groin, I pack my work clothes and not wear them. When I get to work there's a seperate handicap restroom here with it's own sink. I go in there and immediatly take off my shirt to cool down. I damp a wash cloth and wipe off the sweat. I wet my hands and run them through my hair. I dry off using paper towels and put on more deoderant. When I'm dry I change into my work clothes. It takes a little while but the ladies here have never complained. And they're the type who would if I did stink.

Mainly if I still feel like I'm sweating I wont put on my work clothes. I'll just re-wipe myself down with the damp washcloth.
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Old 12-07-06, 03:36 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
+1

Also ...

Don't ride too hard on your way to work, ride casually at a relaxed pace, so you don't sweat much. You can pretend you are riding a TT on the way home from work.
I love this commentary on not riding hard on the way to work... now granted I have a shower room at work, so no problem... but I need it... I go up two big hills on the way to work. Just thinking about those hills makes me sweat. You could not even walk those hills without breaking into a light sweat.

You folks with level commutes... wow, must be nice. If folks wore work clothes on my commute, you would have to wring them out before you would let them into the building.
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Old 12-07-06, 04:19 PM   #23
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I always ride like it's a TT! It's less than 7 km each way, so I don't have to worry about "lasting" very long.
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Old 12-07-06, 07:57 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machka
I'm not suggesting anything really strong in the way of perfume ... I hate strong perfumes! Just a little bit of something with a very light, delicate scent.
And I'm sure you smell lovely. Didn't mean to make a jab at you.
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Old 12-07-06, 08:28 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny Koll
I don't see any reason why you can't clean-up properly with wipes and a towel. You probably aren't stinky at all and the boss is just giving you a hard time.
Yep. If smell was really a problem I'm sure he would've mentioned something long time ago. I work all the time with people who ride a bike - they don't even clean up with wipes and towels - and they smell just fine. I've yet to encounter a person whose fresh sweat stinks, although I can believe such people exist. Also, although I'm quite sensitive to smells, I'm sure there're people who are even more sensitive.

But now that it's cold you can ride your bike and not get sweaty! So ride your bike.

Other than that, lots of good advice has been given already. If you find that no solution is working and you really have to take a shower, you may want to find a gym in the area that'll let you use their showers (often for a small fee - much smaller than a full membership). Just explain to them that you're a cyclist - otherwise they might think you're homeless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DMF
Since you have no sense of smell, you've probably developed lax hygiene habits.
I wouldn't conclude that. I think most people shower not because they smell themselves and get grossed out but because it's part of their routine and just feels good. Same for brushing teeth etc. Even those with us with a keen sense of smell get acclimatized to our own smells and basically stop noticing them. That's why lots of people with bad breath, for example, just walk around breathing on everybody and wondering why the hell everyone's running away. As a rule, people don't smell their own stink.

They can and do smell their own clothes when they're stinky, but again, most North Americans just change their clothes daily whether they can smell them or not.
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