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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 04-19-08, 08:48 AM   #1
RichardNoggin
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How do you clean yourself at work....

when you commute to work. I work a proffesional job where I have to be clean and i don't want to smell bad after commuting to work on bike. What do you all do? Sponge bath? baby wipes? Do you shove clothes in a backpack or do you take some changes to work prior to riding? I want to cycle commute but these are the logistics bothering me.
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Old 04-19-08, 08:55 AM   #2
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What is your commute length and where do you live? At one point in my life I had to wear semi-respectable clothes to work. I had a short commute (3 miles) I just rode slow in my work clothes.

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Old 04-19-08, 09:36 AM   #3
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you can carry (or keep a few) changes of clothes in your office. bike to work in bike gear, get in a bit early so you can make sure your not sweating or anything, and use baby wipes, and/or regular soap/washcloth and you'll be fine.
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Old 04-19-08, 09:40 AM   #4
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I pack my work clothes into a drysack. The work clothes are protected against water, slime etc that can accumulate in a bike bag.
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Old 04-19-08, 09:58 AM   #5
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I just did my first commute the other day. 5 miles one way, so not as hardcore as others here. Layering is good on the bike. Dress down a few layers then you think you might need. I was getting a bit sweaty over the first few miles. A rack or basket would help. All I have is a backpack at the moment, so my back was pretty hot. I took breakfast with me and spent a good 20-30 minutes sitting at my desk eating and cooling off before heading down the hall to change. I'm debating baby wipes or just getting a membership at the Y about a 1/4 mile from my office for the summer.

EDIT:

Should have added:

Clothes ironed the night before and rolled in my backpack. Threw some water on my face and wet my hair down, plus threw on some fresh deodorant.
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Old 04-19-08, 11:07 AM   #6
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Baby wipes, and a "bird bath" in the sink.

I wear cycling clothes for my commute, and carry my work clothes in a trunk bag on my bicycle. On the days I drive, I bring in more baby wipes, bread for toast, a pair of work shoes, and stuff like that so I only have to carry the clothes with me.
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Old 04-19-08, 12:45 PM   #7
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I go stinky myself. Workplaces and workplace attire that can't deal with weather and healthy, active workers are sooo 20th century.

I guess this doesn't solve your problem. A couple years ago, I had a locker at work, as well as a shower. I would load up the locker 1x week with changes of clothes, leave work shoes in the locker, and change there. While there was a shower, and towel service (lucky me!), I never used it - I just went all sweaty - it didn't bother me, and I used heavy-duty anti-perspirant.

In any case I would be drenched in sweat around 3x day at that time, and didn't consider showering 3x day to be a good use of my time.
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Old 04-19-08, 02:26 PM   #8
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I usually bring a full uniform to work with me rolled up in my panniers. We have a shower at work but it's commonly used as a hallway so I avoid it when there's a lot of people around... I take a shower before I leave, then rinse off in the sink and towel dry, put on new deodorant, good as new.

Leave earlier than you think you need to so you can go at an easy pace on the way in, that really helps keep the sweat level down.
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Old 04-19-08, 04:39 PM   #9
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I'd bet you could just towel off the sweat, put on a buttload of deodorant, change clothes, and nobody would notice. Then again, I'm a zookeeper, so I don't bother to clean up at all after biking- the job's gonna make me smell much, much, worse.
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Old 04-19-08, 04:41 PM   #10
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I'd bet you could just towel off the sweat, put on a buttload of deodorant, change clothes, and nobody would notice. Then again, I'm a zookeeper, so I don't bother to clean up at all after biking- the job's gonna make me smell much, much, worse.
Yeah, if I were in that line of work, I would take my shower when I got home .
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Old 04-19-08, 06:10 PM   #11
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At my current workplace, there's a shower. However, at other workplaces w/o showers, I brought a wash cloth and did a "bird bath" at the sink. This works OK for me since I shower before the ride.

I bring "business casual" work clothes in a pannier, rolled up so they don't wrinkle too much. I try to buy shirts with at least 50% polyester, since these seem more wrinkle-free. Also, cart a significant lunch and enough parts/tools to handle minor break-downs on the route.

I will say that it took a while before I felt comfortable with all this, but I think our culture's paranoia about sweat is truly weird.
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Old 04-19-08, 06:56 PM   #12
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When it's warm, I wear a t-shirt and bring my work clothes rolled up in my panniers. I clean off with baby wipes, reapply deodorant, spritz with body spray (more because I like how it smells than anything else), and I'm good.

When it's cold, I strip off my bottom layer if it's sweaty, and do the deodorant and body spray.

My ride to work is 3 miles of mellow downhill, so I have to put in some effort to get sweaty.
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Old 04-19-08, 07:43 PM   #13
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I think our culture's paranoia about sweat is truly weird.
True it is. However, if it's a shared norm at your/my office that folks should not have detectable BO, then that norm should probably be respected so that bike commuters can build up a positive image versus a ratty one. Just my opinion though, truly.
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Old 04-19-08, 07:53 PM   #14
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I shower before I leave the house and change clothes when I get to work. I never have odor problems--even on hot days, when I often take a 20 or 30 mile "detour" on my way to work. (And believe me--there's a lady at work who would LOVE to tell me and everybody else if I had the slightest odor!)

I roll my clothes (casual docker type stuff) up in my backpack. I have a few wrinkle-resistant dress shirts if I need to dress a little nicer.

They make garment bag panniers, but I never tried one.
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Old 04-19-08, 09:17 PM   #15
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I have to dress more or less professionally at work, and it's never been a problem. I just loosely roll up the work clothes, put them in waterproof panniers, ride to work as fast as I can, and change shortly before work starts. I bring deodorant and a small towel with me, and, so far, no one seems to notice that I'm any different than the people who drove there. In the winter, I wear my work pants, and just change shirts when I get there, but I don't recommend this, because of chain oil making marks on the pants. (I do it anyway, I'm not sure why, probably because I assume my continued employment depends on my job performance more than it does on my wardrobe.)
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Old 04-20-08, 07:27 AM   #16
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Well, I thank you all for your input. I think I will babywipe/towel off sweat. My commute is on country roads rolling 13 mi. I can at least do it in the months from now to fall since I work 7a t0 7 p. I work in medicine seeing patients so I can't stink too bad. I will drive one day a week and bring changes of clothes that day. thanks all.
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Old 04-20-08, 09:24 AM   #17
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Well, I thank you all for your input. I think I will babywipe/towel off sweat. My commute is on country roads rolling 13 mi. I can at least do it in the months from now to fall since I work 7a t0 7 p. I work in medicine seeing patients so I can't stink too bad. I will drive one day a week and bring changes of clothes that day. thanks all.
You won't stink. Trust me and try it. I also work in the hospital with patients--and a Utilization lady who tells everybody if she detects the slightest odor with her canine-like sense of smell. Just make sure you're clean and fresh when you leave the house.

I also doubt if you'll have any trouble with carrying your clothes on the bike, but try one thing at a time and you'll soon come up with whatever works best for you.
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Old 04-20-08, 10:05 AM   #18
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I'd bet you could just towel off the sweat, put on a buttload of deodorant, change clothes, and nobody would notice. Then again, I'm a zookeeper, so I don't bother to clean up at all after biking- the job's gonna make me smell much, much, worse.
LOL - your name starts to make sense...

I bet your charges probably respect you more if you have a discernable odour.
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Old 04-20-08, 10:10 AM   #19
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Don't use a backpack- they make you sweat more. On hot days, allow enought time to shower if you need it, including enough time to cool off before you go in the shower. Isn't there a shower or call room or something at the clinic or hospital? I work on a hospital floor that used to have inpatient beds and there was an unused shower in one washroom, so I bought my own plastic shower curtain and started using the shower without asking permission.

I like your username. There's a Richard Cranium on bikeforums as well.
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Old 04-20-08, 05:16 PM   #20
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I bet your charges probably respect you more if you have a discernable odour.
Actually, that's correct. Some (prey) animals I know are really shy until you get a little stinky, then they'll interact with you. . .
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Old 04-20-08, 05:49 PM   #21
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Don't use a backpack- they make you sweat more. On hot days, allow enought time to shower if you need it, including enough time to cool off before you go in the shower. Isn't there a shower or call room or something at the clinic or hospital? I work on a hospital floor that used to have inpatient beds and there was an unused shower in one washroom, so I bought my own plastic shower curtain and started using the shower without asking permission.

I like your username. There's a Richard Cranium on bikeforums as well
.
I have a shower I could use at my hospital, but the only time I ever used it was when my water was shut off at home.

Also, those of you who work in hospitals, can you wear scrubs? That's the easiest solution of all. I'm allowed to wear scrubs, but I never have. I'm thinking about starting, just because I'm lazy.
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Old 04-20-08, 06:37 PM   #22
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I have a shower I could use at my hospital, but the only time I ever used it was when my water was shut off at home.

Also, those of you who work in hospitals, can you wear scrubs? That's the easiest solution of all. I'm allowed to wear scrubs, but I never have. I'm thinking about starting, just because I'm lazy.
I did part of the time when I worked in a hospital. It was great we had our own lockers and everything. Just roll into work, grab a shower if you wanted it (only time I needed it was if I had been out too late the night before) grab some nice clean scrubs off the rolling rack and get to work!

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Old 04-20-08, 11:44 PM   #23
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I just go into the men's room, unbuckle my belt, undo my pants, and let the hot-air hand dryer blow the boys dry.... Just kidding.


Since I have a hands-on job w/ the most minimal dress code (jeans can't be frayed, shirt must be navy blue), and I get sweaty on the job ANYWAY, I don't worry too much about it.
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Old 04-21-08, 01:55 AM   #24
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I commute 14 miles each way. I ride hard.

When I get to work, I change my shirt and maybe my pants if it was warm or I feel like wearing a suit that day.

I don't shower, or even towel off at work. My walk across the playground from the parking lot to my classroom is my cool down. I do, however, shower thoroughly before leaving home.

I generally smell better on days that I ride than on days that I drive. When I get home, (after another 14 mile ride) if ever my wife complains about how I smell (trust me, if I did, she would), its usually my jersey and not me. In fact, I often return from my commute home, and then we immediatly go out to dinner after I change my clothes.

One more thing is that I make sure I'm a little chilly when I first start out on my ride. By the time I get warmed up, I'm quite comfortable.

My smelliest days are Saturdays when I sit on my ass all day and don't shower.

B.O. happens when sweat is somehow prevented from drying and remains wet on the body for a long time. If you wear clothes made of wicking fabric, most of the sweat on you will be removed with your clothing.
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Old 04-21-08, 02:30 AM   #25
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Luckily we had a real shower. Other options. Large towel sized baby wipes. / Another option. Take along the portable shower. I take it along on camping trips. Why not to work.
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