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Bike Commuting to school or not ?

Old 01-31-16, 01:51 AM
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Bike Commuting to school or not ?

Hey guys,

I need your help. So for the past two years I have been commuting to school by bus which takes about 1 hour. Now 1 hour to do 7km is pretty stupid to me. Especially if I miss the bus and then I miss a portion of my first lesson which is not good ! I am an avid mountain biker, I absolutely love it. More specifically when I am carving up the trails at night using my eBay special headlights to guide me through the night. Anyway I have managed to get off topic here quite badly, back to it. So I have figured out that the ride will take me about 15-20 mins if I don't ride like how I usually ride (flat out on 1 wheel 80% of the time, on my face the other 20%). Now to you I may look like an idiot for not riding in the first place and I will have to agree with you EXCEPT these are the reasons why I didn't do it.

1. I look like a goose with my school bag on and formal uniform.
2. I perspire quite a bit.

I have decided I am ok with looking like a goose, however the sweating part is a bit of a problem. I don't really want to get to school smelling like a boiled horse. Tbh I really would love to ride, it would be a great way to get my brain going before the day starts. I live in South Australia in which winter feels like summer and summer feels like the sun. I'm about to go to school on Tuesday and I would love some tips on this. I know taking my time and riding slowing will probably be the answer to my problem but there are 5 year olds who are more mature than me. I want to commute by bike it seems so fun !

Thanks guys !
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Old 01-31-16, 05:58 AM
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You could invest in a rack that would attach to your seat post which would allow you to get a pannier. This is if you do not have dropouts that can handle a traditional rack. Otherwise a rack attached to the seat post is rated to only handle 22lbs at most. By not having a backpack you reduce your perspiration. Also, would it be possible to shower at your school? If not, invest in some baby wipes.
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Old 01-31-16, 06:44 AM
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Keep your uniform in your locker at school and change when you get there. Your speed calc of 21-28km per hour should barely break a sweat below 28 degrees.
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Old 01-31-16, 08:07 AM
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Tuesday meaning one day per week?
do you have access to a shower or private bathroom at school?

I'm a fan of keeping as much as possible at the commuting destination incl food and clothes so you can carry less and wear bike friendly clothes. I have Hyperhidrosis so I'm also a fan of washing up and changing everything head to toe either with or without a shower. Lot's of info on techniques in this commuting forum.
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Old 01-31-16, 08:13 AM
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+ 1 on leaving uniform and/or work clothes at destination. I change clothes at work. Even if all you do is towel off and use some deodorant, you will be fine.
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Old 01-31-16, 12:00 PM
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I've been bike commuting for almost 25 years. I carry my clothes to work in a back pack, along with toiletries and a small towel. If you get to school early enough you can cool down and then freshen, up, wash a little and change into your uniform. For the last few years I have kept shoes at work, so I don;t have to carry those, plus a jacket and a coat for the winter so I can walk out at lunch. I also keep extra socks and undies at the office, and I also carry extra underwear in the packpack in case I forget.
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Old 01-31-16, 12:33 PM
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Thats about what my daily commute is. It can be a real workout or a relaxing cruise depending on how heavy your setup is and how fast you want to go. Have you ever ridden a road bike? If you can get away with traveling light on some thinner tires you'll be able to make it in 20 minutes without even breaking a sweat. A hard effort on a mountain bike (especially if you have dirt tires) might get you 20 kph while a light effort on a road bike might get you close to 30 kph. The speed advantage doubles down too when you find that you are putting in less effort and getting more wind, staying nice and cool the whole way.

I'd at least suggest some hard rubber road oriented tires, depending on how often you are going to commute vs. how much dirt you ride. It will make all the difference. Really, you could take ten of the extra 40 minutes you'll gain by biking every day to change your tires...

Also, yeah. strongly suggest a rack for your bag and a small towel, along with avoiding riding in uniform if possible. Even just wearing super light shorts and a shirt then throwing the uniform on over it and you'll have less of a sweat issue.
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Old 01-31-16, 01:03 PM
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This thread has loads of great suggestions!

My work doesn't have a shower, or even a very large bathroom. I bring in a washcloth, dampen it, and use it to freshen up. Reapply deodorant, change from my biking clothes to my work clothes, and voila, ready for the day! You could also bring cologne or whatever body spray you prefer for on those particularly warm and sweaty days.
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Old 01-31-16, 02:57 PM
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Thanks guys for the suggestions,

Unfortunately there is no shower at school which means that I will have to rule that out. However arriving early and changing seems like the way to go. Also I appreciate the tip of just leaving the shoes at school, I never thought of that ! I am going to do a trail run and see how I go, if its positive then its bike all the way.
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Old 01-31-16, 04:05 PM
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Pedal more gently so you don't sweat so much.

You'll look like a goose no matter what you do, so don't bother trying to prevent that.
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Old 01-31-16, 04:12 PM
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How to ride to school comfortably in 3 easy steps.

1- stop thinking/talking/posting about it.
2- get on the bike and ride. It's only 7km on flat land so not much is involved.
3- based on that first ride, make adjustments as njecessary, ie. ride a bit slower, start earlier and cool off before classes, bring/leave clothing or whatever works.

My point is that you can theorize about it forever, but only by riding will you know what it's going to be like and how to make it comfortable and practical for you.

If the idea of doing it without a dress rehearsal bothers you, do the ride on a weekend morning as a dry run, then you'll be ready for Monday.

But as I said, if you don't make a first ride, you'll never make an 2nd or any nmore.
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Old 01-31-16, 04:23 PM
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You can ride 7km, 4.3 miles, without excessive sweating. Use antiperspirant.
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Old 01-31-16, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by MTB_KID View Post
Thanks guys for the suggestions,

Unfortunately there is no shower at school which means that I will have to rule that out. However arriving early and changing seems like the way to go. Also I appreciate the tip of just leaving the shoes at school, I never thought of that ! I am going to do a trail run and see how I go, if its positive then its bike all the way.
Oh, is your commute going to be on trails?

In the same vein as the suggestions to leave your shoes at school (which is a good one), you can also leave your bike locks attached to the bike rack. A good U-lock can be quite hefty.

On the plus side, you don't really have to worried about being too professional since you're a student.

Also, I am unaware about this whole 'looking like a goose' thing.
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Old 01-31-16, 06:53 PM
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1. I look like a goose with my school bag on and formal uniform.
2. I perspire quite a bit.
Vanity Important, Maybe Not .. you could carry the School Costume and don it when You Get there ..
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Old 01-31-16, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
if you don't make a first ride, you'll never make an 2nd or any more.
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Old 01-31-16, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by GeoKrpan View Post
You can ride 7km, 4.3 miles, without excessive sweating. Use antiperspirant.
No, that is not possible for everyone. I took my son to school by bike and trailer once, 2.5 miles at 8 AM in August, and I was literally dripping by the time I got there. It largely depends on the terrain and humidity outside.

However, for 4.3 miles I would definitely say that cycling specific clothes are NOT needed. Just use some gym shorts and maybe a tech shirt, and maybe lycra boxer briefs (cotton = gross when sweaty).
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Old 01-31-16, 07:45 PM
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Ride really slow so as not to sweat. It'll still be way faster than the bus.
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Old 02-01-16, 12:13 AM
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What I meant by trial run is away of testing it out. Looking like a goose... well if you see my uniform you will understand lol !
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Old 02-01-16, 12:42 AM
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Take a Taxi, you will impress them , at least that you can afford the Taxi.. ask for an Airconditioned One.

Catholic School?
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Old 02-01-16, 01:27 AM
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Does your school have any kind of gym? Physical Education? Etc? I'm just surprised there wouldn't be showers somewhere.

My High School always had what was called "zero period", which had very limited offerings. But one of the things I could take was weight lifting which would allow showering and changing afterwards.
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Old 02-01-16, 05:02 AM
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Take a shower before you leave, so the sweat is clean.
Wear different clothes for the ride.
Have a quick sponge or flannel bath in the toilets.
Backpacks can get sweaty in the heat. Many commuters use a rear rack and bag.
Consider getting a commuter bike with no suspension, slick road tyres with puncture protection, and rack eyelets. A low cost used one is fine, esp if you have a risk of theft.
Work out a plan B if you get a puncture. Do you carry a repair kit/spare tube ?

Commuting is a great way to start the day, but riding in traffic is a serious business and doing it properly will save you a lot of pain.

Read your post again and re-write, stating your question clearly in the first paragraph, and make sure you submit it by school tomorrow or you will get detention !!!!
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Old 02-01-16, 11:34 AM
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My commute to work is just about 7km and it sounds like we have a similar climate. My direct commute typically takes about 20 minutes door to door, and that time depends more on the traffic lights than how hard I ride or what bike I take. During the summer (which the OP is in now) it's pretty easy to work up a sweat even such a short ride, so the advice to take your uniform and change at school is a good one, even if you can't take a full on shower. In the evenings, you're going home so who cares if you sweat.
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Old 02-01-16, 05:39 PM
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Welcome to bike forums!

I can tell from your original post you're a fun guy (or gal?), and will do great bike commuting, just go ahead and get started!

So to answer your original question: "Bike commuting to school or not?" The answer is definitely "Bike commuting".

To respond to your decision that it's ok that you look like a goose, Yes, it is ok that you look like a goose.
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Old 02-01-16, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
Take a shower before you leave, so the sweat is clean.
Wear different clothes for the ride.
Have a quick sponge or flannel bath in the toilets.
Backpacks can get sweaty in the heat. Many commuters use a rear rack and bag.
Consider getting a commuter bike with no suspension, slick road tyres with puncture protection, and rack eyelets. A low cost used one is fine, esp if you have a risk of theft.
Work out a plan B if you get a puncture. Do you carry a repair kit/spare tube ?

Commuting is a great way to start the day, but riding in traffic is a serious business and doing it properly will save you a lot of pain.

Read your post again and re-write, stating your question clearly in the first paragraph, and make sure you submit it by school tomorrow or you will get detention !!!!
I was going to say the same thing.
1. For most people if you shower in the morning and change clothes when you get there you won't smell. Using deoderant is good of course.
2. Slow way down for the last 10 minutes of your ride. As long as it's not a super hot and muggy day, coasting on the bike should cool and dry you off, and you'll arrive dry and not sweating.
3. I don't personally bother with a sponge or flannel bath in the bathroom, as long as I do the above it's not a problem.
4. It's definitely less sweaty to be carrying your stuff on a rack or pannier, than it is in a backpack.
5. Agree iwth the other stuff about the bike to choose, and flat repair stuff.
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Old 02-01-16, 09:43 PM
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I think one reason a lot of students prefer a backpack, is because they will need to carry their stuff around from class to class, once they get to school. Certainly, transferring stuff from a pannier to a backpack would be a hassle. My approach: My bike has a big side basket, and I stuff the entire backpack in there, with a carabiner clip or a strap made from an old innertube, to keep it from bouncing out while riding.
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