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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-20-06, 12:09 AM   #1
sveinbjorn
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The sweat problem....

Greetings all!
Delurking to ask a sort of funny question... For those who ride to work, what do you do about the sweating? I live 5 miles from my job so it would be a nice little ride. The problem is that there are no shower facilities. I'm already ugly, I don't want to smell funny also.

Thanks in Advance,
Ed
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Old 01-20-06, 12:37 AM   #2
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my last commute was 9 miles each way with hills. we had showers and i never used them. your body chemistry may vary. i wore superfine merino wool against the skin - never synthetics. it's not completely stink-proof like some people say, but it's incomparably better than most plastic clothes they sell for cycling. on really hot and/or hurried days i'd bring a clean shirt and wipe myself down in the bathroom before donning it. i've heard some people use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle both to cool off and to deodorize/disinfect.

i think that if you sweat often and eat well, your sweat tends to become quite sweet and innocuous. that has certainly been true for me after several days of loaded touring, and i think to a lesser extent with a long commute.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:52 AM   #3
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Ride slow, change out of riding shirt, go to bathroom, towel down, wash out pits as needed, apply deodorant and put on work shirt. Presto.

As long as you don't go bombing along and do take your time, you'll have no problem. I sweat like a republican on the witness stand , but this routine keeps me dry and smellin' fine.
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Old 01-20-06, 12:43 PM   #4
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agreed- the key is to bring a clean shirt (or keep several at your workplace if that's an option).

When I commuted to work in Seattle (4 hilly miles), I had a shelf in a storage closet stocked with several shirts, a pair of underwear or two, several pairs of clean dry socks, and a towel for drying off after the ride. Also, I kept two or three pairs of walking shoes underneath my desk.

That storage closet was my saving grace-- a good place to cool off for a minute, wipe down, and change. See if you can't finagle some similar kind of real estate, it'll help a lot.
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Old 01-20-06, 01:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sveinbjorn
Greetings all!
Delurking to ask a sort of funny question... For those who ride to work, what do you do about the sweating? I live 5 miles from my job so it would be a nice little ride. The problem is that there are no shower facilities. I'm already ugly, I don't want to smell funny also.

Thanks in Advance,
Ed

Consider yourself lucky at least in the high desert of California sweat evaporates, here in the humid southeast it just sticks to you. Keep a box of babywipes in your desk or where you change. Make sure to wipe the sweaty parts really well, crotch, armpits, small of the back, and back of the neck and you'll be fine.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:47 PM   #6
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Shower just before leaving, and DO NOT use commercial deodarants/anti-perspirants, I find they just make things worse (and the scents used cause allergic reactions in many people). I use "crystal deodarant", available at any health food store.

I have also found it very important to get the sweaty clothes off ASAP. When I get to a work site I head for the little boy's room, strip off my shirt(s), and put on a dry shirt. I often wear Under Armour as a base layer, and that I keep on: 20 sec. and its dry anyway.
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Old 01-20-06, 02:49 PM   #7
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I take a shower before I go. As I ride, I try to keep my effort at a level close to that of a walking pace. One does not normally require a change of clothing or a shower after a half hour walk.

Obviously, if you have a long, steep hill, this method is not going to work. However, in many situations, it does.

Pau;
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Old 01-20-06, 04:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patc
I have also found it very important to get the sweaty clothes off ASAP. When I get to a work site I head for the little boy's room, strip off my shirt(s), and put on a dry shirt. I often wear Under Armour as a base layer, and that I keep on: 20 sec. and its dry anyway.
In the summer, it takes a while for me to stop sweating. So even though I try to ride slowly during the last bit, if I change into the work clothes immediately I keep sweating after I've changed. I try to get to work early enough to chill out for a few minutes before wiping the sweat off and changing.

Do you have more practical info on Under Armour? Why not change it too? I've never heard of it. 20 sec and its dry? No stink? Does it kill bacteria or just dry them out?
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Old 01-20-06, 05:30 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by gwd
In the summer, it takes a while for me to stop sweating. So even though I try to ride slowly during the last bit, if I change into the work clothes immediately I keep sweating after I've changed. I try to get to work early enough to chill out for a few minutes before wiping the sweat off and changing.

Do you have more practical info on Under Armour? Why not change it too? I've never heard of it. 20 sec and its dry? No stink? Does it kill bacteria or just dry them out?
Actually you have a point, I also need a cool-off period in hot weather. If possible I slow down the last few blocks before my destination, if that's not possible I sit around the bike after locking it to cool off a bit.

UnderArmour is designed for athletes and people in tactical fields, and is one of the best moisture-wicking lines of clothing out there. See their web site for info. I often use of of their Heat Gear t-shirts as my bottom layer, either under a light t-shirt in the summer or under tons of fabric in the winter. It will wick moisture away from your skin, and really does dry in no time. If you're fit its also great to wear on its own out to a bar

The stuff is expensive, though. Like all moisture-wicking fabrics be careful how you wash it, and never use fabric softeners. You can also find other brands of moisture wicking shirts, shorts, and underwear at most sports stores and many department stores. I save the UnderArmour for heavy-duty use, and use cheaper stuff the rest of the time.
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Old 01-21-06, 12:22 PM   #10
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I'm not exactly a poseur, but I do find that cycling gear is very practical. I wear cycling shorts; going to work or stores in town I wear regualr shorts over them because I'm not a pretty picture in lycra or spandex. (Off topic, but in the winter I wear long johns and pants over cycling shorts.) Bike shorts are very practical. The chamois keeps your butt and perineum comfy on long rides, and the fabric dries quickly while you are working.

Like patc, I wear underarmour or knockoff brand shirts; cycling jerseys are nice too. Both have long sleeve versions and look really cool. Look for stuff that is "wicking" and/or "quickdry." When I take thm out of the washing machine and hang them up to dry, literally, they dry more quickly than the clothes I put in the dryer.

So, when I get to work (at least 10 minutes early) on a hot day, I change out of my cycling shorts and put on the khakis or slacks I have to wear at work. By then the shirt is pretty dry, and I put the dress shirt on over it and I'm good to go.

I usually look better and smell better than coworkers who got sweaty while waiting the AC on their cars to kick in. Also, I think if you an active outdoors person, your body adapts to the weather and you don't sweat as much as those sedentary cagers.
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Old 01-22-06, 05:19 AM   #11
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Like someone mentioned, make sure to take a shower before setting off. It makes a huge difference as your body is pre-cooled this way.

Bike at a walkingheart rate. Don't go bombing along (easier said than done) =)

And take ten minutes or so to cool down once you arrive.
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