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29 year old man: How do I sweat less this spring/summer

Old 02-21-16, 12:41 PM
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bikinglife
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29 year old man: How do I sweat less this spring/summer

Hello,

So I'm going on my second warm season of serious commuting.

I was wondering if anyone would have any tips for a relative newcomer to the cycling world as regards sweating less and/or avoiding sweat altogether. Same goes for body odours.

I'm aware that a change of clothes is good idea, but are there methods and/or clothing materials that I should know about to keep sweating and odour to a minimum.

Thanks
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Old 02-21-16, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by bikinglife View Post
Hello,

So I'm going on my second warm season of serious commuting.

I was wondering if anyone would have any tips for a relative newcomer to the cycling world as regards sweating less and/or avoiding sweat altogether. Same goes for body odours.

I'm aware that a change of clothes is good idea, but are there methods and/or clothing materials that I should know about to keep sweating and odour to a minimum.

Thanks
Sweating and BO are all part of the experience. It's the way we are built to keep cool during exercise. Shower or clean up afterwards and change your clothes. Hang your clothes to dry for the ride home.
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Old 02-21-16, 01:00 PM
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The best way to avoid sweating is to slow down. Where I live, though, it doesn't matter how slow you go in the summer, you are going to sweat buckets! What I do is to carry a change of clothing in the pannier. I keep a bottle of witch hazel at the office. When I get there, I wipe down with a damp cloth spritzed with the witch hazel, put on fresh deodorant, and then put on fresh clothes after I've cooled down. Works like a charm, even when I need to be in dress clothes.
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Old 02-21-16, 01:04 PM
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Sweating is good. It is your cooling mechanism. When you start riding regularly and sweating regularly, your pores will be flushed out and you will smell better. With enough riding in hot weather, you body will adapt to sweating appropriately for the heat. You may be sweating less total, but you may also find that you break into a sweat sooner as your body begins to know "the work has started. Time to sweat!" There is one thing you can do to improve comfort on those big sweat days. Start now trimming your salt. The less salt you eat on a regular basis, the less your body puts into your sweat and urine. Hence your clothes get less salty and feel better. Sweat in your eyes will sting less.

Don't go salt free right before a ride! This retraining of your body is a slow process. Takes months. But I came to dislike very salty food and food that used to need a good shake or two of salt no longer did. It was life changing. I avoided processed foods and no longer used a salt shaker. My dirty riding clothes were not salty and I was immune to the ills of low sodium on very hot and humid days, the reason I went low salt. Still had to take in potassium.

Ben
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Old 02-21-16, 01:10 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys. All the messages are insightful. If anyone has any other tips, please feel free...
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Old 02-21-16, 01:16 PM
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Avoid direct sunlight and steep hills, and back off the pace as soon as you begin to feel that faint prickly sensation that says you're about to sweat.

As I got more fit, I found that I could go faster in warmer weather while having light perspiration. The body can adapt - I suspect that metabolic efficiency improves.

Body odors are more from clothes. A clean set of clothes skin out, after wiping excess sweat off, will avoid the odors for the duration of a workday. Also wash the cycling clothes before wearing them again if they were damp.
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Old 02-21-16, 01:38 PM
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I commute almost 20 miles each way, 7000+- miles a year, and don't have access to showers at work. I hang my often completely sweaty clothes on the door of my office and nobody minds.

THE TRICK (for me, at least): shower before you ride in and always wash your cycling clothes as soon as possible after getting home. You will get sweaty, salty, and sometimes a bit dirty, but not stinky with BO. Arriving at work, I change, hang my cycling clothes on hangars to dry, wash off my face in the bathroom, dab an extra swipe of deodorant, and get to work. Gloves and shoes get put on a boot dryer at the end of each ride to dry out the sweat before bacteria can grow and stink them up (I have one at work and at home).

The biggest source of smell for me is my backpack. I cannot wash it every ride, so it's straps and back-pad get removed and soaked in oxyclean every few weeks when I start to detect a musky smell.

Hope this helps. -Ben
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Old 02-21-16, 01:38 PM
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From: City Bikes | LocalMile

Sweat
Some people get concerned about sweating. The keys to avoiding sweat are to ride at a moderate pace (11-13 mph is usually good), sit fully upright, and skip helmets and gloves. Most people can ride in up to 80f temps with little to no sweat and little sweat above that.

The upright part is key. If you lean forward, even a slight bit, you create folds in your belly skin. This reduces cooling surface and creates a warm space that increases sweat. Interestingly, you may also be more efficient when sitting fully upright than leaning forward a little (vs a lot).

Helmets are a major cooling problem. Your head is likely the number one coolant in your body and if it can’t do its job because of a helmet then your whole body will be hot. There is no helmet design that prevents this.

Interestingly some people and perhaps most do better without deodorant.

Somewhat related to this is the use of AOBiome based products such as MotherDirt. These are fairly new as far as being publicly available but some folks have used them for a decade or more with good results. We need time and experience to know if this is real or snake oil.

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Old 02-21-16, 01:39 PM
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body odours are sometimes linked to diet .... avoid curries and spicy foods etc and eat wholesome
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Old 02-21-16, 02:07 PM
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It's impossible not to sweat during those hot humid summer days...The best you can do, is to try and minimize your sweating by riding at a lower intensity, using technical fabrics which wick moisture and dry fast and also bring a deodorant with you to work. Thin lightweight merino wool is great to wear in warm weather, wool is not just good in cold weather, it also works great when it's warm.
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Old 02-21-16, 03:18 PM
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You are up in Quebec so you probably don't get as many hot summer days as we do down here in DC. So all you have to do, probably, is just ride slow and easy.
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Old 02-21-16, 03:44 PM
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Slow and 68 on the Oregon Coast.

maybe the women will like the musk you emit , if you pay for dinner and the bar tab.

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Old 02-21-16, 05:03 PM
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Believe it or not, a merino wool t-shirt can help control sweat and odor. I just got a Smartwool t shirt. It is extremely thin and comfortable. I haven't tried in warm weather yet, but I used to wear them. I can wear them several days in a row without smelling bad because of the material's wicking action.

@CrankyOne, very interesting!
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Old 02-21-16, 08:11 PM
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Apply deodorant the night before. Studies show it needs time to work to be effective, so in the morning after a shower is less effective. Reportedly deodorant applied the night before will still hold up even after a morning shower.

Years ago I liked soft merino wool jerseys, even in summer. Very comfortable, low odor, didn't need to be rewashed daily.

Nowadays I'm sold on the Pearl Izumi Transfer baselayer, with their fancypants poly "minerale" material. Warm in cold weather, cool during this weekend's ride in warm humid weather, and I've gone as far as five rides between washes -- even then it wasn't stinky. I like it well enough to pony up a bit more cash for a Pearl Izumi jersey from the same material, although my Garneau poly jersey isn't bad.

Diet, medications and supplements make a significant difference in body odor.

I love dark beer but everything stinks afterward, from my urine to my body odor. Lighter ales seem more body friendly, and it's not the alcohol content - some potent ales taste deceptively light.

Strong seasonings and spices contribute to body odor. I love hot spicy foods -- Mexican, Asian and curries -- but my body odor is more pungent the next day. Not unpleasant -- to me -- but noticeable. A diet rich in fatty meats can also contribute.

Some prescription medications produce noticeable body odors. Years ago when I worked in nursing I could tell which patients -- young and old -- were on certain heart medications. Some anti-anxiety and anti-depressant meds can also cause heavy perspiration and body odor. About 20 years ago during a very stressful time I took a then-common anti-anxiety med that caused a ridiculous amount of perspiration in places I'd never sweat before. I even had to put antiperspirant/deodorant on my chest! After a couple of months the doctor switched me to something else and the excessive sweating stopped.
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Old 02-21-16, 08:50 PM
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One thing that I have incorporated into my warmer weather commuting is extra time to cool down once I get to work. It doesn't do much good to get there, get cleaned up, and put fresh clothes on and continue to sweat. I give my body a chance to cool down, intake fluids, etc. Once I have cooled down to where I am no longer sweating, then the clean up begins.
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Old 02-21-16, 09:11 PM
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wear a tech tee and ride an e-bike.
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Old 02-21-16, 10:49 PM
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Get used to sweating. Practice and train your body to sweat cleanly and efficiently. Drink LOTS of water. Hot as hell here in austin, tx. I sweat plenty but don't usually smell day 1. In addition, I don't wear traditional deodorant. Just salt crystal everyday and patchouli oil every other. High tech fabrics also tend to smell worse. I prefer clean cotton shirt everyday in the summer. Oftentimes take two and let one dry and air out during the work day. Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water before you are thirsty and before riding.
Works well enough for me. 4 kids and still employed in spite of sweat from riding and other activities !

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Old 02-22-16, 07:29 AM
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Clean cotton shirts? That seems like it would make you sweat more. Cotton is rotten to ride in, especially in warm weather like Austin. I have tried them, and for me, I was sweating worse than bike specific shirts like tech and jerseys.
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Old 02-22-16, 12:51 PM
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shower before you ride. when you get there strip down to nothing and do a sink wash (various techniques available). dry off and dress in new clothes head to foot. arrive early (before anyone else) so you are all dry and cooled off before anyone else shows up :-)
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Old 02-22-16, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by dim View Post
body odours are sometimes linked to diet .... avoid curries and spicy foods etc and eat wholesome
I'll never give up the spicy foods! Such blasphemy
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Old 02-24-16, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by CrankyOne View Post
Helmets are a major cooling problem. Your head is likely the number one coolant in your body and if it can’t do its job because of a helmet then your whole body will be hot. There is no helmet design that prevents this.
Sorry, I know many riders will disagree and that is their prerogative, but this is a ridiculous statement on so many levels.
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Old 02-24-16, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by jen_turnbull View Post
Sorry, I know many riders will disagree and that is their prerogative, but this is a ridiculous statement on so many levels.
There are many people, with CrankyOne being one of them, that believe that the "Dutch" style of cycling is the be all end all to life. With so many variances in climate, terrain, distance, personal fitness, etc. to factor in, there simply is no way to make it work for everyone. Sure, if the temperature is in the 60's and a cool breeze, you can easily ride your bike without a helmet at a slower pace in a cycling friendly infrastructure leisurely to work the few miles that you have to go.

For the rest of us, that simply won't work. I would never ride in Chicago, New York, LA, etc without a helmet on. I am fully confident in my cycling abilities, it is the drivers that concern me. My commute is 8.5 miles give or take, and it is relatively flat. The weather here plays the biggest part of what I use and don't use to commute with. I choose a lighter and faster bike so that I am not out in the baking sun in the middle of summer commuting to work. I have little to no shade for 95% of my commute. So either I ride a slow and am exposed to the heat more, or I ride faster and get there quicker allowing me to cool down before work.

The helmet or lack of one doesn't make me sweat less or more. The amount of ventilation on most helmets is far more than adequate to prevent overheating. Unless you are wearing a full face motorcycle helmet, the average helmet is just fine and shouldn't cause excessive sweating.
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Old 02-24-16, 06:12 PM
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Washing your clothes with Boraxo helps control the odors on your clothes.
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Old 02-24-16, 06:23 PM
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A few things mentioned above are really good points based on what I've personally experiened, read about, and saw from studies. They are shower before riding especially if you can't afterwards, wear shirts of high tech wicking material, wipe off as soon as you can, and use deorderant frequently. If you start clean and fresh, you'll be in good shape all day. When you get home in the evening, you'll kill small animals and shrubs.
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Old 02-24-16, 06:31 PM
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Is it blasphemy to tell you to get an ewheel/ hub? Is that like saying get a moped, motorcycle, drive a car or have Jeeves drive you in? Along with diet I remember some Maxim issue years ago said pineapple makes your thing smell/ taste better. Sweat is urea so should help with sweating too, likewise Avoid asparagus. Off the top of my head I'd guess processed sugars should be avoided. As for helmets, some unrelated news said the old, you lose heat through your head was bogus. It just so happens the only exposed part in very cold weather is likely the head so it loses heat but is no more prone to heat loss or cooling than any other part of the body with comparable mass and surface area. Like fingers have much less mass and pound for pound more surface area. Ride slower at a steady pace. Don't keep backpacks on your back as like the folded skin it either makes the sweat more there or simply stops it from evaporating, not sure which. You also want clothes that breath. What was the Seinfeld episode where George got wool or cotton uniforms for the baseball team which seemed good at first but then they got itchy. I'd think cotton breaths more than spandex, lycra and whatever these new materials are though i think cycling clothes take sweating into account. they say they wick but do they breath well and let air in and out?
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