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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 06-17-17, 02:53 PM   #1
checoles
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Commuting to an office job...

So I start a new job next month, in a office. I've gotta commute about 12-15 miles each way. Now the problem I have is that I'll be wearing a suit. I don't wanna ride in the suit cos I swear fairly easily and I like in a part of Yorkshire, England which is 95% rain. Not fun.
The place I'm working doesn't have shower facilities either.
So how do you guys commute in crap weather conditions for a job that requires you to be smart and presentable without the use of a shower?
I can fit a small trunk bag to a detattachable rack, to store anything I could use?
Cheers in advance
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Old 06-17-17, 03:06 PM   #2
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Does your office happen to be near any gyms? You could get a membership and shower there (and presumably work out to not kind of be wasting money). Alternatively, baby wipes are awesome.
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Old 06-17-17, 03:07 PM   #3
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Does your office happen to be near any gyms? You could get a membership and shower there (and presumably work out to not kind of be wasting money). Alternatively, baby wipes are awesome.
No, no gyms near by unfortunately. Baby wipes isn't a bad idea...
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Old 06-17-17, 04:03 PM   #4
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First I'd check with the janitorial staff to make sure there really aren't any shower facilities. I worked in a few office buildings where none of my regular co-workers thought there were any showers but they actually did exist. One shower was quite hidden in the basement behind some of the building HVAC equipment while another was tucked behind a door labeled "Mtce. Staff Only" in one of the rest rooms. The showers were for the janitors who sometimes needed to use rather caustic chemicals in their duties. Once I knew about the showers I encountered no resistance in using them after my morning commute.

And I second the suggestion to use baby wipes or just small towels/soap to do a quick 'sponge bath' in a regular rest room. Fortunately I had enough space to store suit coat and dress shoes in my office so could minimize the clothing that I needed to carry on the daily commute.
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Old 06-17-17, 04:19 PM   #5
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Also, a bike garment bag is invaluable. I have use of a shower at my normal location - I'll take a facecloth with me when I ride to our lab. To be honest, I don't need to be quite as presentable there.
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Old 06-17-17, 04:33 PM   #6
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If you have run out of option, the last resort is to change and wipe down in the handicap stall of the washroom. It should provide space for you to hang up your change of clothes and to move around.
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Old 06-17-17, 04:36 PM   #7
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I'll double check and make sure there isn't a hidden one, interesting to know haha.
I think I'm warming to the baby wipe idea, quick spray of deodorant afterwards and I'm fresh as a daisy. As for storing a suit at work, I've yet to see what office I have, and whom I shall be sharing it with. Then I can assess where I can store one.
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Old 06-17-17, 04:38 PM   #8
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For me showering before the ride in is fine. I use deodorant when I get to work. And I arrive w/ time to cool down before changing into work clothes. I leave some clothes in a drawer at work; don't really file anything anymore in these days of electronic documents but I keep my drawers/cabinets.... Suits, well, do you have space to store work clothes rather than have to bike them in with you?
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Old 06-17-17, 04:40 PM   #9
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if there's a coffee shop nearby, start out early and time it to have half an hour or so to have coffee and a scone as you cool down. Then, it's only about finding a place to change.

FWIW - for most people, letting sweat dry off and changing means no material body odor issues for the length of a work day.

Another alternative is to become a one way bike commuter. Find a car pool that works fairly close to your job. But the car owner a bike rack, and ride in with them. Take off your bike to finish the last leg to work. That leaves you with a pleasurable ride home, which you can extend in to a longer loop if you're in the mood.

One way commuting via a car pool makes longer bike commutes practical, because the most of the concerns of the ride in don't exist for the ride home.
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Old 06-17-17, 06:07 PM   #10
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I was lucky to have a shower available to me at work; however a year ago we were compelled to relocate to other space. It turned out that our new space had a shower as well, but if it did not I had just planned to sponge off at a sink. I had done this at a former job and it worked well.

Riding slow to avoid sweating is another option.

Good luck
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Old 06-19-17, 06:54 AM   #11
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FWIW, every building in the UK I have worked in had hidden or not so hidden showers. I cycled year round in Durham when I lived up there.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:02 AM   #12
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i did the baby wipe thing for a bout 6 months before i found the 'hidden showers' at work. the baby wipe thing worked out pretty well. and i was never uncomfortable or felt stinky at work. a big help was switching from a backpack to panniers - back sweat was greatly reduced.
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Old 06-19-17, 09:25 AM   #13
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So would you be bringing the suit or wearing it while riding? Or will you leave your suit(s) at work?
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Old 06-19-17, 02:44 PM   #14
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I'm riding in Texas. It's quite hot and I sweat a lot on my commute (52-mile roundtrip). I keep several weeks worth of work clothes at my desk (khakis, slacks, golf shirts and oxfords). I drive about twice a month and switch out clean clothes for the dirty.

Shower before leaving home. If you sweat when you are clean, you will not stink nearly as bad as sweating when already dirty.

If you can keep your hair really short, you can clean up more thoroughly. I have my hair buzzed and wash my hair, face and forearms in the bathroom sink.

Baby wipes take care of my pits and crotch area, (a splash of baby powder down there is a good thing too). I put on fresh deodorant and I'm good to go. In the hottest part of the summer, I do use Axe body spray as well.
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Old 06-19-17, 03:00 PM   #15
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I'm riding in Texas. It's quite hot and I sweat a lot on my commute (52-mile roundtrip).
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Old 06-19-17, 03:36 PM   #16
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Luckily, I love the heat. Summer is my favorite time to ride.
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Old 06-27-17, 06:34 PM   #17
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i commute to my office job (about 10 miles each way) and typically leave a weeks worth of clothes in my office. A new dry cleaner just opened up down the street and I could even pick up a freshly pressed shirt every morning! I wear the same shoes and belt, so it's really just pants and a button down or golf style shirt.

We have a locker room with a shower in my building but I hardly ever freshen up there. Usually I take a shower before work, take an easy ride in, then on my way home crank it up and get work up a good sweat.
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Old 06-28-17, 12:50 AM   #18
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I am fortunate to have showers at work, but if I didn't I might attempt to take a "shower" in a bathroom stall using a container of water. I've been successful bathing completely on bike tours using a 2 liter plastic bottle with holes poked in the cap using a thumbtack. It's not a lot of water for showering, but it's possible to take a "Navy shower" (wet down, soap up, rinse off). You can even try first it at home in the bath tub. I suppose at work you'd need to keep a small plastic tub to stand in, then dump the water.

I may need to do this if I ever switch jobs. Personally, I really wouldn't like using baby wipes.
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Old 06-28-17, 08:15 AM   #19
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I do many of the things already mentioned. I found that a sweat cap under my helmet actually keeps my head cooler and drier; I don't have much hair, but seem to have plenty of sweat glands! Slowing down the last couple miles, so my body has a chance to cool down with the bicycle-generated breeze helps a little.

I am still learning about what works for me for riding clothes, but wearing the lightest clothing possible for the day's weather helps.

There are some that swear by merino wool tshirts and such, haven't yet taken the plunge but considering it.
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Old 06-28-17, 03:09 PM   #20
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showers at work are a definite plus but having a full change of clothes would probably help considerably
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Old 06-29-17, 07:19 AM   #21
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@checoles - I drive into work once a week, and take in a change bag with 4 or 5 sets of clothes (depending whether I'm doing a Saturday), a couple of towels, and a pair of shoes. Fold your shirts straight after they're ironed and they'll be fine.

When I ride in I get in early - it's a win win as I miss the worst of the traffic and have plenty of time for a wash and a coffee. Have a shower before you leave home and a good wash down using a sink (put some shower gel in your change bag) followed by a dash of deoderant will keep you fresh.

Keep a plastic bag to put the dirty clothes in and keep them separate from the clean ones, and take it home when you bring the fresh in.

If it rains (and it does in Somerset, as much as in Yorkshire) I've got a hanging space out of the way I can sling my riding gear over to dry. If you can't do this just add a spare set of shorts / jersey to your change bag, but do take the wet ones home at the end of the day - they will start to smell very quickly. My commute's about 12 miles each way so if it looks like rain I've got a light rain jacket that'll go in a back pocket.
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Old 06-30-17, 07:10 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by checoles View Post
So I start a new job next month, in a office. I've gotta commute about 12-15 miles each way. Now the problem I have is that I'll be wearing a suit. I don't wanna ride in the suit cos I swear fairly easily and I like in a part of Yorkshire, England which is 95% rain. Not fun.
The place I'm working doesn't have shower facilities either.
So how do you guys commute in crap weather conditions for a job that requires you to be smart and presentable without the use of a shower?
I can fit a small trunk bag to a detattachable rack, to store anything I could use?
Cheers in advance
You should consider getting an electric bike or a kit to put on your bike. That will keep the sweating down to a minimum if at all depending on the assist. Just keep the assist high in the mornings and then change and turn off the battery on the way back if you really want a work out.
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Old 06-30-17, 07:34 AM   #23
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Too bad there are no gyms nearby. There are two or three chains in the US that are $13-19/month, and many employers will subsidize half the cost of a membership. I'd pay 50 cents a workday to have a shower and locker if work didn't supply them.
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Old 07-04-17, 11:23 AM   #24
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I have an office job (web designer) and the commute is 10 miles all uphill there. I shower at home before I leave, I get there about 30 or so minutes prior to when I usually start which gives me time to cool down. I eat breakfast at work and have coffee there. The trick I have found is just drink water until you get to work, this reduces the sweat smell if thats an issue for you, me it is not but my family is just full of sweaty people, we sweat a lot no matter how good of shape we are in.

For crap weather I have a nice rain kit, merrell rain pants and a helly hansen rain jacket and my clothes go in to a banjo brothers waterproof pannier, for that long of a commuter I would avoid a backpack it will just add more sweat and weight on you, let the bike take all the weight. I also keep a bike rain cape in my desk drawer in case of all of a sudden weather on my way home, I just take it back with me the next day.

I would not ever try to commute in my work clothes, I would show up terrible. I commuter in standard cycling knickers and a merino wool t shirt with bibs underneath. That way when I get to work everything on me is new including socks and shoes.
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Old 07-06-17, 03:51 PM   #25
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See REI for no-rinse-bathing-wipes and the slightly multi-tasking: See amazon for White-Lightning-Body-Bike-Wipes (links verboten for newbies ;<)
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