Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Commuting and sweat and body odor.

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.

Commuting and sweat and body odor.

Old 05-11-19, 07:15 AM
  #26  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,313

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 814 Post(s)
Liked 94 Times in 53 Posts
I start clean, cool down, bird bath if necessary change into fresh street clothes (including socks and underwear), deo & body spray.

I've noticed that since I changed to quick-dry, wicking shirts and shorts, body odor is even less if an issue. The clothes themselves...not so much. I hang them in a room with a vent fan.
BobbyG is offline  
Old 05-16-19, 11:25 AM
  #27  
autonomy
Senior Member
 
autonomy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Boston Roads
Posts: 707

Bikes: 2012 Canondale Synapse 105, 2017 REI Co-Op ADV 3.1

Mentioned: 11 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 367 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
It leaves no scent and evaporates quickly and refreshingly. It can also be used to clean “down there” to prevent lesions from the saddle.
Oh boy. 91% isopropyl alcohol on 'down there' parts? Whooooo! Not sure the screaming will be so refreshing to others

Lots of good advice (mostly) already in this thread. The gist is - start out clean in breathable clothes, then dry off, clean up (with baby wipes/towel/paper towels), put on deodorant, new clothes, voila.
autonomy is offline  
Old 05-16-19, 11:43 AM
  #28  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 6,902

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 92 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1637 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 60 Times in 51 Posts
Observations: If I am sweating regularly, I smell not so bad (at least until the dirty clothes ripen). But if I haven't sweated for a few days it's bad, especially my armpits. Now, I have used the Performance tanktop style mesh tops as a first layer for years. Recently I've been leaving the house with those, then a short-sleeved light thermal over and the rest of my layers over that. Get to my commute end and in the bathroom pull off everything down to the tanktop, do a quick wash of my pits and put all back on save the SS thermal. I feel and smell a lot better. That quick cleanup is fast and uses just 1-2 paper towels.

Depending on my situation, I've showered, paper towel bathed and the above at various jobs over the decades.

Edit: the new T-shirts and briefs are a huge step up from cotton. I sweat less, smell better and feel more comfortable. Patagonia makes really nice, lightweight ones. I've picked up two now from Cycle Oregon rides that are a touch heavier and just as nice. FEel as close to fine silk as anything synthetic I've ever worn. I love them when I go to a music jam in a bar what can be either warm or cool (it's an ancient building) but on stage I may be sweating. Feel much better when I go back to sit in tight quarters. I've been retired since I made this discovery but they are one of my "I wish I had these then" items.

Ben

Last edited by 79pmooney; 05-16-19 at 11:51 AM.
79pmooney is offline  
Old 05-16-19, 12:59 PM
  #29  
Andy_K 
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 12,050

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 287 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1739 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 16 Posts
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
As an aside, people stink in Europe and change much less frequently than in the US. I'm OK with that.
I usually don't care for the US vs. Europe comparisons because the context is so different that what works there wouldn't really help us, but the point here about the way people smell is something I can embrace. People in the US wouldn't even need to adopt European levels of body odor tolerance. Just allowing people to smell like people would be a huge leap forward. I try not to offend with my body odor and I feel like by the time I'm smelling it it's probably unpleasant for the people around me, but my attitude is that if I don't notice my own smell then the people around me can probably tolerate it.

I have showers at work, but I don't generally use them. Nor do I shower every day at home. I sweat on the way to work, so I change clothes when I get here. It gives me a good excuse for wearing bike-specific clothing, which I think is more comfortable to ride in. I don't smell bad enough that anyone says anything to me, and I haven't noticed anyone giving me sideways looks. My wife would definitely tell me if I smelled bad at home.

A strange thing I've noticed is that I start to develop BO more quickly if I don't bike to work for a day or two than if I do. My theory is that sweating cleanses your pores and as long as you get the sweat off of your body in a reasonable time the net effect is positive.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 05-16-19, 03:49 PM
  #30  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 6,710
Mentioned: 41 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 628 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 29 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I shower in the evening or the morning before the ride, and as my deodorant I use 91% rubbing alcohol. This is used to clean the skin prior to drawing blood and is an effective bactericide. It leaves no scent and evaporates quickly and refreshingly. It can also be used to clean “down there” to prevent lesions from the saddle.
Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Oh boy. 91% isopropyl alcohol on 'down there' parts? Whooooo! Not sure the screaming will be so refreshing to others

Lots of good advice (mostly) already in this thread. The gist is - start out clean in breathable clothes, then dry off, clean up (with baby wipes/towel/paper towels), put on deodorant, new clothes, voila.
Well, as I noted it is used to prevent sore from the saddle. But sure, if you already have one...

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 05-17-19 at 08:08 PM.
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 05-17-19, 11:09 AM
  #31  
Ged117
Senior Member
 
Ged117's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Kingston, Ontario
Posts: 150

Bikes: 1950 Raleigh Superbe, 1977 Peugeot AO8, 1990 Schwinn Voyageur

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 87 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
I ride to work in shorts and t-shirt during warm weather (which lasts a few scant and yet humid months here at this part of the planet). I clean up and cool off in the washroom, change into my work clothing, and move on. I am looking for touring / commuting sandals from Keen. I also have very hot feet most of the time, so the sandals are a real comfort multiplier. I just need stiff-soled ones for longer trips.
Ged117 is offline  
Old 05-17-19, 12:17 PM
  #32  
Eric S. 
Senior Member
 
Eric S.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 813

Bikes: '04 LeMond Buenos Aires, '82 Bianchi Nuova Racing, De Rosa SLX, Bridgestone MB-1, Guerciotti TSX, Torpado Aelle, LeMond Tourmalet 853, Bridgestone Radac

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
I live where it's plenty hot but dry - I often don't start sweating a lot until I STOP riding and the air stops flowing. I'm not a stinky sweater, but have sometimes kept some Gold Bond on hand that I'll apply in a bathroom stall.
Eric S. is offline  
Old 05-21-19, 06:36 PM
  #33  
drlogik 
Senior Member
 
drlogik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,054

Bikes: '87-ish Pinarello Montello; '89 Nishiki Ariel; '85 Raleigh Wyoming, '16 Wabi Special, '16 Wabi Classic, '14 Kona Cinder Cone

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 395 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 9 Posts
When I lived in Arizona I used to ride about 5 miles to work on flat ground. Even in summer it was "relatively" cooler in the morning and I didn't bust it riding in to work so when I got to work I wasn't that sweaty. However, I still dried off outside and put my work clothes on when I got to work.

Now I live in North Carolina and thinking of commuting again but it's way different here. The heat and humidity makes me sweat like a pig even if I ride slowly. My ride is now 8 miles. There's a YMCA just half a block away so I'll probably shower there before walking in to work.

For those of you who think you don't smell at work, reconsider, there were folks out in Arizona that rode 8 to 10 miles and thought they didn't smell because they said, "I don't sweat". Wrong. You do sweat, the dry weather just dries the sweat off the body. That's why they smelled at work. And, people did know they smelled. They smelled like sweat. Not pleasant to be around especially in a conference room with the doors closed.......

I was so self-conscious about it that I often asked a trusted buddy at work if I smelled. He gave me a straight answer too. Once in a while when he gave me the "look" I'd camp out in an empty "hotel room" (small one-man phone room) and often rode back home at lunch, showered and drove my car back to work.



--

Last edited by drlogik; 05-21-19 at 06:52 PM.
drlogik is offline  
Old 05-21-19, 06:45 PM
  #34  
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Posts: 14,611

Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex

Mentioned: 49 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3329 Post(s)
Liked 31 Times in 22 Posts
When I ride home in 115F I sweat like crazy. But it dries of instantly on wind facing surfaces. Too much in fact as my sweat can't keep up with the evaporation and I get hotter and hotter.
Then I get home, strip down to my thong and sit on my cool down chair. Quickly a large deep puddle of sweat develops and my wife bring out the mop and tells me to clean up.
noisebeam is offline  
Old 05-30-19, 09:25 PM
  #35  
EngProducts
EngineeredProducts Etsy
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Toronto
Posts: 9

Bikes: Trek Boone Race Shop Limited

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ask your work to install a shower. This would promote more people at your work to be active which would increase productivity.
EngProducts is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 06:01 AM
  #36  
beachball42
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Carmel, IN
Posts: 93

Bikes: Trek Verve 2, Trek 4900 MTB

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 7 Times in 6 Posts
I do have showers at work when my company built an onsite fitness center last year so that along with a change to our dress code allowed me to start bike commuting last year. If they didn't, there is are two fitness centers near by that I could have ridden too, showered and then the ride from those gym's to my office would have been less than a mile. My ride is 7.5 miles one way and in cool weather and peddling easy I don't really sweat too much but now with rising temps, it doesn't matter how slow I go I'll still work up a decent lather.
beachball42 is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 06:30 AM
  #37  
mojojojo
Member
 
mojojojo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Hapeville, GA (South of Atlanta)
Posts: 43

Bikes: breezer greenway, mercier corvus, stache 8, diamondback trail bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I bike 8 miles from Hapeville to Atlanta. Most days I go to the gym and shower there, but sometimes I ride directly to work. When I don't go to the gym, I shower before I leave home, rest a few moments when I get to work, change into work clothes and put on deodorant. I keep baby wipes at work but haven't used them. It is hot but the stink hasn't really been an issue and I sweat a lot.
mojojojo is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 06:53 AM
  #38  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,951

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 940 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 97 Posts
Originally Posted by mojojojo View Post
I bike 8 miles from Hapeville to Atlanta. Most days I go to the gym and shower there, but sometimes I ride directly to work. When I don't go to the gym, I shower before I leave home, rest a few moments when I get to work, change into work clothes and put on deodorant. I keep baby wipes at work but haven't used them. It is hot but the stink hasn't really been an issue and I sweat a lot.
Resting fro a few minutes before changing is such an important step

It takes the body time to cool down.

I still sweat for 5 minutes after I get inside. I just let that happen. Keep toweling off. Wait until I really dry off. Then I change.

Now I don't sweat in my work clothes.
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 07:03 AM
  #39  
BobbyG
Senior Member
 
BobbyG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 4,313

Bikes: 2015 Charge Plug, 1997 Nishiki Blazer, 1984 Nishiki International

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 814 Post(s)
Liked 94 Times in 53 Posts
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
Alcohol, especially in high concentration, will dry out the skin badly with repeated topical use.
Yes, but buying a round of alcohol for co-workers repeatedly (especially in high concentrations) will raise their tolerance for any occasional funk.
BobbyG is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 07:32 AM
  #40  
alloo
Senior Member
 
alloo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 97

Bikes: Sixthreezero Evryjourney 7, 2017 Raleigh Retroglide IE 7 spd, Electra Townie 21d, Electra Townie 21d

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 13 Times in 11 Posts
Ride to work in T-Shirt and Shorts/Jeans 10 miles. No showers at work until July. Just cool off and change my top. Starting this week to wear a jersey to see the difference. No one has complained yet. lol
alloo is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 07:59 AM
  #41  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 37,132

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 420 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5371 Post(s)
Liked 87 Times in 68 Posts
Witch hazel is a great alternative to alcohol. It also promotes quick drying and cooling of sweat, but it doesn't dry the skin. Try it! Also, it's nearly odorless.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

“When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments.” — Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 08:04 AM
  #42  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,951

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 940 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 97 Posts
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Witch hazel is a great alternative to alcohol. It also promotes quick drying and cooling of sweat, but it doesn't dry the skin. Try it! Also, it's nearly odorless.
It's great for itching and bug bites too
Skipjacks is offline  
Old 05-31-19, 08:09 AM
  #43  
Skipjacks
Senior Member
 
Skipjacks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Mid Atlantic / USA
Posts: 1,951

Bikes: 2017 Specialized Crosstrail / 2013 Trek Crossrip Elite

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 940 Post(s)
Liked 150 Times in 97 Posts
Originally Posted by noisebeam View Post
When I ride home in 115F I sweat like crazy. But it dries of instantly on wind facing surfaces. Too much in fact as my sweat can't keep up with the evaporation and I get hotter and hotter.
Then I get home, strip down to my thong and sit on my cool down chair. Quickly a large deep puddle of sweat develops and my wife bring out the mop and tells me to clean up.
You know....there is such a thing as 'oversharing'

Skipjacks is offline  
Old 06-07-19, 10:04 AM
  #44  
commo_soulja
Senior Member
 
commo_soulja's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: C-Ville
Posts: 1,150

Bikes: are fun to ride

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My commutes have ranged from less than a mile to my current 16.7 miles. The former was in the Bay Area, CA and I just wore my work clothes as I never broke a sweat. I had another similar commute in San Diego which was around 4 miles. Again, I just wore my work clothes. Weather rarely got too hot and inclement.

Now, I have a commute just shy of 17 miles one way in the DC area. It gets hot and humid here so having a locker room with showers at work (also a nice gym) helps.
commo_soulja is offline  
Old 06-07-19, 10:16 AM
  #45  
winston63 
Senior Member
 
winston63's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 659

Bikes: Specialized Diverge E5 Comp, Specialized AWOL Comp, Scott Solace 10

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 116 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
There is no AC in Europe, so in the summer, people are ripe, which is OK. Also, clothing is more expensive for the same items but we make less money (on average) so stuff gets washed less frequently.
We're obsessed with this now in North America, but when I was a kid most folks bathed about once a week on average and we didn't wash clothing with anywhere near the frequency that we do now. And back then most people were considerably more active than we are today.

But back to the OP: I agree that if you start clean, you won't smell even if you do sweat quite a bit on your commute. We do have a shower at work, but I've never bothered with it. I keep a change of clothes in my office and after I cool down I'll wipe down with some neutral hand wipes if necessary and put the office clothes on.
winston63 is offline  
Old 06-07-19, 02:58 PM
  #46  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,902

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3029 Post(s)
Liked 113 Times in 92 Posts
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
There is no AC in Europe
but you have bidets
rumrunn6 is offline  
Likes For rumrunn6:
Old 06-08-19, 01:18 PM
  #47  
acidfast7
Banned
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: England / CPH
Posts: 8,578

Bikes: 2010 Cube Acid / 2013 Mango FGSS

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1053 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 24 Posts
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
but you have bidets
I just put a bidet in my house. I can't understand why people wouldn't want one unless they wanted to use a shower after every poop.
acidfast7 is offline  
Likes For acidfast7:
Old 06-08-19, 01:47 PM
  #48  
SactoDoug
Senior Member
 
SactoDoug's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 486

Bikes: 2010 Bottecchia CF67, Atomic Zombie High Roller

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
My previous job did not have a shower available. I used a wash cloth and rubbing alcohol to freshen up. I would also bring a fresh set of work cloths to change into. My coworkers didn't know I was riding to work unless they were there very early and saw me ride in.
SactoDoug is offline  
Old 06-08-19, 05:27 PM
  #49  
AusTexMurf
Senior Member
 
AusTexMurf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: South Austin, Texas
Posts: 917

Bikes: 2010 Origin8 CX700, 2003 Cannondale Backroads Cross Country, 1997 Trek mtn steel frame converted commuter/tourer, 1983 Univega Sportour, 2010 Surly LHT, Others...

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
Observations: If I am sweating regularly, I smell not so bad (at least until the dirty clothes ripen). But if I haven't sweated for a few days it's bad, especially my armpits.....
Agreed. If I am sweating regularly and staying hydrated, I smell not so bad. Spend too much time indoors, not eating and drinking properly, or office type stress sweat, then big stink.

Guessing one answer is to just keep on sweating and hydrating non stop during the summer months here in Tx.
AusTexMurf is offline  
Old 06-09-19, 01:24 AM
  #50  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 1,111

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 2004 Giant OCR1, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930 1988 Specialized Rockhopper Comp (frame)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 32 Posts
I don't have a shower at work; I just wipe down with a wet rag and keep deodorant at work, then change into my work clothes. I've never noticed a stink or funk.
Korina is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.