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

How do you keep from stinking? :p

Notices
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.

How do you keep from stinking? :p

Old 04-05-02, 10:26 AM
  #1  
Inkwolf
Grounded
Thread Starter
 
Inkwolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Wisconsin, Land of the Cheeseheads
Posts: 901
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
How do you keep from stinking? :p

I'm just getting a bike after being bikeless for several years. I'd like to commute to work after a little training time (8miles each way to a small town.)

Commuters--how do you avoid being smelly and sweaty when you commute? Do you have somewhere you can shower in town, or take a change of clothes or what?


(BTW, I'm getting a Specialized Expedition comfort bike, women's version....I have a tight budget and very short legs! Anyone heard anything about this model? Hoping to do some trail riding as well...)
Inkwolf is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 11:12 AM
  #2  
aturley
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Pacific Grove, CA
Posts: 163
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I hit the bathroom, get some paper towels wet, and make two wash cloths. One is soapy, one is just water. I wash off with the soapy one and then rinse with the wet one. So far, no complaints. Remember that you will warm up on the bike, so don't over dress. You may feel cold for the first minute or two of your ride, but if you are doing it right, then you will warm up. People around here recommend bike-specific clothing to handle sweat, but I just ride in shorts and a t-shirt, and I throw in a sweat shirt if it gets cold (granted, in Monterey it never gets THAT cold). Good luck.

andy
aturley is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 11:48 AM
  #3  
Rich Clark
A Heart Needs a Home
 
Rich Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by Inkwolf

Commuters--how do you avoid being smelly and sweaty when you commute? Do you have somewhere you can shower in town, or take a change of clothes or what?
For me, what's important: (1) shower before you leave home; (2) try to arrive early enough at work to cool down before you change -- you don't want to be sweating into your work clothes; (3) towel off with (ta da!) baby wipes. Or rubbing alcohol. Then maybe apply some deodorant before you change into your work clothes.

Sweat doesnt smell bad. If you start out clean, wipe off the sweat so it doesn't dry on you, and change into clean clothes you don't need to shower. Your cycling clothes may be a little whifty on the ride home, but so what?

I carry clean shirt, underwear, socks in my pannier daily; pants every other day. Work shoes live under my desk. Some people who work in suits or dresses do one drive a week to exchange clean and dirty clothes.

(BTW, I'm getting a Specialized Expedition comfort bike, women's version....I have a tight budget and very short legs! Anyone heard anything about this model? Hoping to do some trail riding as well...)
Specialized makes decent bikes. What's too bad about comfort bikes is that they are weighed down by comfort features -- shock fork, shock seatpost, adjustable stem, etc. -- that are of little benefit on pavement. And those tires will slow you down some, as well. You may become weary of carrying all that stuff around on your 60-80 commuting miles every week. But it's hard to find really roadworthy new bikes in the $300 range (stupid, isn't it?).

Don't worry about it. The bike won't break, it's way better than a Walgoose or a Huffy, and if it takes an extra 5 minutes each way, so what? Beware the saddle, however. Those soft, wide, gel-covered comfort saddles that feel so comfy riding around in the bike store parking lot can chafe you to death on longer rides. Ask about exchanging it for something with less padding.

Welcome to the ranks; bike commuting will change your life.

RichC
Rich Clark is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 12:19 PM
  #4  
Inkwolf
Grounded
Thread Starter
 
Inkwolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Wisconsin, Land of the Cheeseheads
Posts: 901
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks!

(I live near several nice trails, so I want those shocks and fat tires. I'll keep your advice in mind re the saddle, though! )
Inkwolf is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 12:31 PM
  #5  
mike
Senior Member
 
mike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Snowy midwest
Posts: 5,392
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
A couple of days ago, in desperate need of freshening up in seconds, I grabbed a bottle of Febreeze and squirted it under my armpits. I couldn't help but laugh at the crazy idea, but it worked.

Anyway, I think most commuters figure out a pace that keeps them from getting too sweaty upon arrival. If you are new to commuting, you will find this pace in a couple of weeks. From there, you get stronger and faster. Eventually, you will be making good time to work WITHOUT getting too sweaty.

A real quicky technique, though is to towel yourself and then give yourself a fluffing with some body powder - like baby powder.

You can use body/baby powder in your hair as well if it is too sweaty and matted.
mike is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 01:12 PM
  #6  
Rich Clark
A Heart Needs a Home
 
Rich Clark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,387
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by mike
Anyway, I think most commuters figure out a pace that keeps them from getting too sweaty upon arrival.


For me that pace is "fast asleep," and sometimes not even then. But cooldown/wipedown still works fine.

You can use body/baby powder in your hair as well if it is too sweaty and matted.
Shaving your head works even better!

(Seriously, many commuters of my acquaintance have struggled with the "sweaty helmet-hair" issue, and almost all of them -- male and female alike -- have ended up going with short hair on a permanent basis. I know, easy for me to say, I have very little hair left growing on my head anyway.)

RichC
Rich Clark is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 02:04 PM
  #7  
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
 
Chris L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Posts: 9,655
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
I live in a place with a six-month summer and literally no winter to speak of. I tend to keep it a little simpler than some of the replies here.

I usually take a change of clothes (tip: put your shirt and slacks in one pannier and your shoes in the other - this will prevent your spanky clothes from getting creased), arrive at work early enough to cool down (this takes me about five minutes but everyone is different), and spray on a heap of deodorant. This tends to work even on really hot and humid days (the more you sweat, the more deodorant you'll need).

We have showers where I work, but I haven't bothered to use them yet, although I do shower before I leave home in the morning.
__________________
I am clinically insane. I am proud of it.

That is all.
Chris L is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 02:28 PM
  #8  
PaulH
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 3,662
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Liked 59 Times in 43 Posts
First of all, don't overdress during cool weather. If you are dressed so that you will be comfortable and dry during your ride, you will feel cold at the start. Conversely, if you start out comfortable, you will be soaking your clothing after a mile or so. I commute in jacket, slacks, shirt, and tie and find that I don't need an overcoat unless the temperature is below 40 F.

For summer, I leave my jacket in my office and commute in shirtsleeves. Every few days, I carry a new jacket in, folded, on on my rear rack. Now, in a Washington DC summer, temperatures can top 100 F with 100% humidity -- however, it is only hot during my ride home, and I can just change. The mornings are cool and less humid, and I arrive at work dry. Once a week, I ride the Metro from my office to meet with my client. There is a 500 foot walk to the station, it is at the hottest part of the day, and I have my jacket on. I do a LOT more perspiring on that walk than I do on the whole 5 miles from home!

Your proposed bike should work fine. After you have been riding for a while, you can either equip the bike to better suit your commute or get a new one. Panniers and/or a rack are a good idea for carrying clothing. Fenders are essential -- when you ride on wet pavement, the wheels of the bike will spray you with a blend of water, oil, and grit. This will not wash off. ("You" here includes clothing and hair). In the winter, you will need lighting.

Just "do it" and have fun! For some odd reason, women and men are supposed to dress for different climatic zones when in an office, so you have the advantage of cooler clothing.

Paul
PaulH is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 08:07 PM
  #9  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Shower before you leave.
In summer, drink lots of water before you leave and take a waterbottle.
On really hot days, pour some water over your jersey.
Use modern synthetic wicking clothes. You can use synthetic T shirts rather than special cycling jersies, but its nice to have one or 2 cycling jersies.
On cooler dry days, use a windproof, not a waterproof.

Ride at a pace which doent leave you breathless and sweating.
Use the last 1/4 mile as a cooldown. Cooling down on the bike is much more effective than standing still. Most people only start to sweat heavily when they stop riding. because the cooling effect of riding is removed.

8 miles is quite a long commute every day, so use the most efficient bike you can. The Specialized Expedition looks fine. The non-suspension model is probably best for regular use. Make sure the bike has the facility to fit fenders and rack (you need threaded eyelets). Usually the term "comfort" means an overweight piece of junk with useless suspension, but the Specialized is just a good low-end general purpose bike, ideal for commuting.

Fit some kevlar lined slick tires, pumped up to a high pressure. Fit some toe-clips, these will make cycling much more efficient and safer. You could also use clipless pedals, but these can be expensive, and I dont find them neccessary.
You will also need some cycling shorts, helmet and gloves, and a punture repair kit + pump.

Take a look at
https://simon.trinhall.cam.ac.uk/bike/tips.html
MichaelW is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 08:27 PM
  #10  
Richard D
Donating member
 
Richard D's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Faversham, Kent, UK
Posts: 1,852
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I can't really add a lot to what the others have said.

I keep a couple of suits at work and bring in shirt and underwear in my panniers, and give myself time to cool down before getting changed.

Having forgotten to bring a shirt in one morning (fortunately my wife saved the day) I keep at least one shirt and change of underwear at work as well

Your bike will be fine - I'm mad enough to cycle 14 miles on a mountain bike, and haven't suffered too much yet

Richard
__________________
Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)
Richard D is offline  
Old 04-05-02, 10:08 PM
  #11  
bentrox!
horizontally adapted
 
bentrox!'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Posts: 566

Bikes: Specialized Stumpie, Bianchi Pista, Optima Baron

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The baby wipes idea has been copied by soap and deodorant companies. You'll find foil-packaged Old Spice (for guys), Dove (for gals), etc. sharing store shelf space with those deodorants. They are refreshing as well as clean-smelling.

Eddie
__________________
I'll gently rise and I'll softly call
Good night and joy be with you all.
bentrox! is offline  
Old 04-06-02, 05:53 AM
  #12  
Ellie
Dazed and confused
 
Ellie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Cambridge UK
Posts: 319

Bikes: Trek 1000, Kona Caldera, Raleigh Record ("Rusty"), Tiger Foldaway ("Cub")

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have to say that no matter what I'm wearing, I'm a very sweaty person by the time I make it into work. And that was on a 6 mile commute. I've just got a brand new 14 mile commute, and I expect I'll be at least as bad.

I have very short hair, which towel-dries nicely. I used to keep a face cloth at work and wipe down with that, then apply deodorent and hair wax. I also showered before leaving. Always a complete change of clothes at work, which I carry in in a rucksack. New workplace has a shower - hooray!!

Best of luck. I reckon that's quite a nice distance to commute.

Ellie
Ellie is offline  
Old 04-06-02, 10:46 PM
  #13  
Chris L
Every lane is a bike lane
 
Chris L's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia - passionfruit capital of the universe!
Posts: 9,655
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Originally posted by Ellie
I have to say that no matter what I'm wearing, I'm a very sweaty person by the time I make it into work. And that was on a 6 mile commute. I've just got a brand new 14 mile commute, and I expect I'll be at least as bad.

Best of luck. I reckon that's quite a nice distance to commute.
It's roughly the distance I'm commuting at the moment. My passionfruit vine convinced me that I didn't really want to move to Coolangatta to start my job, so I stayed here instead. I just wish there were more hills in my commute
__________________
I am clinically insane. I am proud of it.

That is all.
Chris L is offline  
Old 04-08-02, 08:42 PM
  #14  
Dutchy
We drive on the left.
 
Dutchy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Posts: 1,096
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I just wish there were more hills in my commute
Funny that, I feel the same. At the moment my commute is 5km downhill then the rest is straight and flat. When I move in May it will be 20km gradually climbing then a 10km descent with 5km of flat to finish. As usual it will be a one way trip, I will have to get a lift home as the hills roads are not safe at night.

CHEERS.

Mark
Dutchy is offline  
Old 04-10-02, 09:06 AM
  #15  
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Posts: 18,210

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey Helix Pro

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 522 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 7 Times in 7 Posts
I wear cycling clothes (not work clothes) and carry a wash cloth, small hand towel, and deodorant in my panniers.
I work for a small company with only one men's bathroom and one women's bathroom (one sink in each).
I arrive at work early enough to cool down before trying to clean up. Once I'm cooled down I go in and lock the door and wash up at the sink.
After that I change into my work clothes, which are also in my panniers, because I have no place to keep them at work (no office or locker). It doesn't matter if they are a little wrinkled. We have a casual dress code (jeans and shirt in winter, shorts and shirt in summer).


No one has ever complained about BO.
__________________
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. - Psalm 103:8

I am a cyclist. I am not the fastest or the fittest. But I will get to where I'm going with a smile on my face.

Last edited by RonH; 04-10-02 at 09:13 AM.
RonH is offline  
Old 04-10-02, 12:17 PM
  #16  
MichaelW
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: England
Posts: 12,948
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I have one wrinkle free formal/office shirt made by UK travel clothing company Rohan. Its getting a bit threadbare, but Ive been pestering the shop to re-intoduce formal wear. They must have listened becuase they have some really nice stuff this year. You can roll it up, stuff it in a pannier, and it looks as good as new when you take it out.
MichaelW is offline  
Old 04-10-02, 01:05 PM
  #17  
brennser
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Washington DC
Posts: 113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm lucky enough to have a shower at work and with the way I sweat (sorry) without them I wouldn't be able to cycle. When our showers were closed as part of the anthrax decomtamination process I wasn't able to cycle for 3 months (I suppose I could have taken out a 'showers only' gym membership but was too cheap).

I'm also lucky enough to have a casual dress workplace so I generally just leave a couple of pairs of chinos and a couple of polo shirts at work.

on summer days I'm probably cleaner and fresher than everyone else because they have to walk from metro/car to the office in 90+ degrees while I'm showering in the office!
brennser is offline  
Old 04-10-02, 01:10 PM
  #18  
Brains
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Greenwich, UK
Posts: 394
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I work in the City of London, so fully booted and suited all day. I arrive on time, which is 5 mins before everybody else, we have a shower which is great, and depending on how hot I got in the 7 mile route in depends on how late I was starting out, so the shower is optional.
Brains is offline  
Old 04-11-02, 07:13 PM
  #19  
LittleBigMan
Sumanitu taka owaci
 
LittleBigMan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Posts: 8,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally posted by Inkwolf
I'm just getting a bike after being bikeless for several years. I'd like to commute to work after a little training time (8miles each way to a small town.)

Commuters--how do you avoid being smelly and sweaty when you commute? Do you have somewhere you can shower in town, or take a change of clothes or what?
As long as you start clean, use deodorant and change clothes, you will be fine! Just remember, bacteria are what cause odor. It takes a warm, damp place to grow bacteria, so don't give them time to grow. Wipe off as soon as you get there (baby wipes in those two trouble spots), use deodorant, and get rid of those damp garments.

(No problemo.)
__________________
No worries
LittleBigMan is offline  
Old 04-17-02, 02:02 AM
  #20  
MediaCreations 
Marathon Cyclist
 
MediaCreations's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Perth - Western Australia
Posts: 1,779

Bikes: Road Bike / Mountain Bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a shower at work.

If you don't - perhaps you could buy everyone at work a peg to stick on their noses - or convince everyone else to ride to work so that everyone smells.
__________________
MediaCreations is offline  
Old 04-21-02, 07:05 PM
  #21  
rhoderhage
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Posts: 27
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
There are no showers where I work, so, I bought a box of those baby wipe things. I walk into the office bathrooms with my little pink box of wipes and go-to-town. I use anywhere from 4 to 6 sheets. Works fine for me and I smell baby fresh! I even keep some in the fridge at home for a refreshing cool wipe down after a quick ride.
rhoderhage is offline  
Old 04-26-02, 11:57 PM
  #22  
jody
Newbie
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I will be starting bike commuting to work in two weeks - YEAH! But, I used to play tennis before work 2-3 days per week. I used Shower-to-Shower wipes and it worked pretty good. I intend to do the same when I start biking to work.
jody is offline  
Old 04-28-02, 12:31 PM
  #23  
marcus
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Canada
Posts: 14
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I am fortunate to get very dirty and greasy at work. So knobody cares about how I smell. I shower in the evening, use a good deoderant, shave my hair. Seems to work for me.
marcus is offline  
Old 06-10-02, 09:29 AM
  #24  
SD Fixed
Traffic shark
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: California
Posts: 4,612

Bikes: 2 fixies, 1 road, 29er in the works.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by MediaCreations
convince everyone else to ride to work so that everyone smells.
If it were so easy! If that were the case, I could make a case for them to install showers here!!!
SD Fixed is offline  
Old 06-10-02, 10:30 AM
  #25  
Anders K
To infinity and beyond
 
Anders K's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Posts: 425

Bikes: Cannondale M600, Crescent 92318, Bianchi Lo Spillone (tandem)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a dressroom with shower at work but I try not to work up a sweat on my morning commute. I have 8,3 km (5,1 miles) each way and moste downhill and flat to work, and I commute in the morning before the sun heated up the air. I take my time and usually comes in at 22 to 24 minutes, depending on weather/wind.

Anders K
Sweden
Anders K is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.