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Must Wear Suit / No Showers - How Can I Bike To Work?

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Must Wear Suit / No Showers - How Can I Bike To Work?

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Old 03-07-05, 02:05 AM
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JFuery
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Must Wear Suit / No Showers - How Can I Bike To Work?

So - I'd like to get back to biking to work - but I just can't figure out how to pull it off with my situation: I have to wear a suit for work every day, and their are no showers / changing rooms / etc available. Further, there is no way I can store a supply of work clothes for the week at work either. Any ideas how I can pull this off with these limitations?

Thanks for any advice!
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Old 03-07-05, 03:33 AM
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MichaelW
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If you can keep your suit, shoes and a towel at work it is do-able.
Take a shower before you leave home.
Dont ride at a racing pace. Use the last few mins of your ride to cooldown; roll along and if its hot, squirt water over your jersey.
You can carry the daily change in a pannier:large ones are better sized for folded shirts. Use shirts that respond well to folding.
You can have a flanner wash in a toilet. I used to take a small beaker of water into a cubical to freshen up.
You need to find somewhere to store cycling gear, maybe in a box under your desk. If you fit fenders to the bike your riding clothes will stay cleaner when the roads are wet.
Try and stash some spare socks/underclothes at work for the day you forget them.

There may be a gym nearby that has showers and a locker.
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Old 03-07-05, 04:57 AM
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3 words:
"baby whipes"
Okay, that's more like 6 words, but they can be lifesavers for a person who can't take a shower after working up a sweat!
Leaver2000 makes some great ones, not too perfumed but great for a quick cleanup.
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Old 03-07-05, 05:30 AM
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You need a locker or a cupboard or something where you can store your suit (at least your jacket)- just bring a shirt, socks and so on with you in a back pack and change when you get to the office. Unless your commute is very long there is no need to clean yourself up every day when you get to work.

Just make sure you shower every day at home before you set off and bring clean clothes everyday and it will be OK.

I do it this way and have had no objections yet.
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Old 03-07-05, 05:48 AM
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All the above advice is encouraged to be followed: I have been carrying a neatly folded shirt, tie and suit jacket in a bag on a carrier on my bike. So long as the ride is not terribly long, they shouldn't wrinkle. A quick visit into the washroom where you can wash your face before changing out of your riding shirt and back into office clothes should work. My commute is only 20 minutes, so it works for me. Just in case, I always keep extra shirts and ties in the overhead storage over my desk.
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Old 03-07-05, 06:26 AM
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How far is your journey and what weather conditions do you expect? The ideal solution (as mentioned already) is to be able to keep clothes at work, though you might need to get inventive with this. Riding in a suit would destroy me and the suit after about 5 minutes

If you really must take clothes with you each day and change at work, you need to find the most comfortable way to carry them. This means a rack and panniers or backpack of suitable size (my preferred choice). Transporting a suit un-crumpled is possible, but tricky. I believe that rolling, rather than folding items helps in this regard.

Good luck, I hope you find an answer.

Cheers,

Ed
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Old 03-07-05, 07:39 AM
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How far do you have to ride? I have a 5 mile, 30 minute commute, and just wearing my suit works fine. A small reduction in riding speed produces a great difference in body heat. If you have a road bike, the riding position may not be suited to street clothing. You may want to consider a commuter bike (Breezer, etc.) or even a cruiser.

Taking off your jacket makes a real difference in cooling. If you can roll (do not fold) your jacket and carry it on the rack or panniers, you will be in good shape for summer. If you need to go faster or ride longer, you can roll the rest of your clothing.

I'd say you can ride any distance in a suit and tie. The limitation is that, for longer trips, a speed at which you are dry and comfortable may be too slow to make the trip reasonable.

I think it all comes down to how long your commute is, and how many hills. Commuters in Denmark and Holland would find the idea of changing clothing to ride a bike very odd -- however, they typically ride fairly short distances. Their example may or may not be relevant.

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Old 03-07-05, 07:43 AM
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Try to make friends with someone in your workplace who might let you stash your clothes someplace (someone who does maintenance or janitorial work, perhaps). If you can't do that, it will be very hard. If you can afford it, I agree that you should look into joining a nearby health club.

If you can't shower and need to look top-of-the-line professional, I agree with those who say take it slow. Also, a short haircut will make helmet hair less noticable.

Edit: I remember seeing panniers designed for carrying clothing, but I can't remember where. I imagine they would be expensive.

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Old 03-07-05, 08:07 AM
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I have a rear rack and panniers. I can fit a suit, winter jacket, shoes and lunch in them. I ride for about 10K. I have never found being sweaty or dirty to be an issue. I shower in the morning before I leave home. I have fenders on my bike and I don't find that my ride is long enough to require a shower after. Perspiration does not stink unless you repeatedly sweat without washing. I wear a suit once I get to work. If you roll your suit instead of folding it the wrinkles will be minor. I change in an office but I could just as easily change in the washroom.

Give it a try, I am sure you will find a solution that works.
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Old 03-07-05, 11:31 AM
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One other option that I didn't see mentioned above is to just drive in once a week with a weeks worth of clothes. I even bring in a week's worth of lunches. It takes a little preparation, but then you still get 4 days of bike commuting and you don't have to carry hardly anything. That way you can make the days where you have to drive in feel like less of a failure and more like a prep. day to support your commuting. The secret of course is the storage situation addressed at length above.

What I love about using the car once a week too is that I can ride in on a nice/light road bike the rest of the week. Just an alternative.
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Old 03-07-05, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for all the advice so far!

My commute would be about 7 miles. No real uphills on the way - but - its generally a bit warm here (Dallas, Texas). Its interesting to hear that some of you can carry a jacket / etc on your bike. (There is no where I could store anything - so I will have to take my clothes with me). The wipes are a good idea. So is the "cool down" part of the ride.

Thanks for the advice so far! I think I am going to make a "test run" on Saturday morning and see how it goes.
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Old 03-07-05, 01:40 PM
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Seven miles is not a great distance. I'd recommend you get a rack, basket, or other means of carrying things, though. Whatever you decide to ride while commuting, you will not want to wear a jacket during the summer. Also, it is often convenient to be able to pick up something at the store on the way back from work. It will be daylight savings time in a month or so -- until then, you will need some kind of light and rear blinkie. Whatever you wear, unless you have fenders, your back will be sprayed with an emulsion of water and oil, whenever the road is wet. You don't want this to happen to either your short sleeve dress shirts or your cycling shirts.

So there you have it -- lights, fenders, rack -- in descending order of importance.

Paul
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Old 03-07-05, 04:58 PM
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Capaline or wicking shirts are a lifesaver for me. I also have no place to change, but a toilet will do in a umm... pinch. I get to work early before my coworkers will be milling around, and change in my equipment truck. Go to a remote part of the office or building, and get naked. The dry run idea is a great one. Good luck!
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Old 03-07-05, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by JFuery
So - I'd like to get back to biking to work - but I just can't figure out how to pull it off with my situation: I have to wear a suit for work every day, and their are no showers / changing rooms / etc available. Further, there is no way I can store a supply of work clothes for the week at work either. Any ideas how I can pull this off with these limitations?

Thanks for any advice!
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ghlight=stench

Handiwipes work better than the baby-wipes for me because:
* I don't smell like an infant after using them
* They cost less, reusable and dry way quicker than a wash cloth or towel.
* Even if there's no shower you can soap up one and have another for rinsing and drying off.
* They're big and easy to handle.... weigh next to nothing and get softer with each use.

Last edited by vrkelley; 03-07-05 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 03-07-05, 06:49 PM
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Old spice and other men's deodorant makers make scented wipes which allow for a quick freshenup, and you don't smell like a baby afterwards.
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Old 03-07-05, 07:05 PM
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I use these charmins freshmates. They're flushable and pretty cheap. 2 of em can wipe me down pretty good and they're lightly scented.


What you should do is get a rack and panniers. That way you can get a garment bag and fold your suit in half and stash it in the side panniers. I hang my clothes next to the boiler in the basement at work.
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Old 03-07-05, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by slvoid
I use these charmins freshmates. They're flushable and pretty cheap. 2 of em can wipe me down pretty good and they're lightly scented.


What you should do is get a rack and panniers. That way you can get a garment bag and fold your suit in half and stash it in the side panniers. I hang my clothes next to the boiler in the basement at work.

Isn't that where Norton works?....Oh no, that was the sewer....
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Old 03-07-05, 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by JFuery
Thanks for all the advice so far!

My commute would be about 7 miles. No real uphills on the way - but - its generally a bit warm here (Dallas, Texas). Its interesting to hear that some of you can carry a jacket / etc on your bike. (There is no where I could store anything - so I will have to take my clothes with me). The wipes are a good idea. So is the "cool down" part of the ride.
the baby wipes are key for stench war.

key to convience is storing your stuff at work. You said you have nowhere to store it, so panniers and stuff will work good. What if you drove in on monday with clothes and stuff and just left the car there for a few days? You create your own storage locker. might not work if the parking at your work is expensive or not very safe, but for some it might work.
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Old 03-08-05, 06:05 AM
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If you are worried about folding your suit, there are proper suit bags designed for bike use. I seem to remember there was some discussion here about them... yep, here's the thread:
http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=90523

--J
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Old 03-08-05, 04:08 PM
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I drive to work once a week . . . on Monday. I also drive home once a week . . . on Friday. I bring in 4 suits, shirts, and ties as well as shoes and belts on Monday. I carry in clean undies and socks every day. I leave my truck in our parking structure all week and use it as my closet/locker/bike storage. Having the truck at work through the week also gives me the occasional transportation I need to drive for work. We have a shower at my office. So, I haven't had to resort to "cat washes." So far my system is working very well!
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Old 03-08-05, 10:50 PM
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I'm in Fort Worth - I understand what you're saying about the heat. Or the heat/humidity combination. I hope you'll post the results of your experiment.

I compromise and take the bike on the bus to work, then ride it home. But I go to work sort of midmorning most days, and ride home at night. Even then it can be pretty warm in spring and summer.

If you're working normal hours, it might be a good thing if you can change before riding home - could be hard on your work clothes to ride in the late afternoon heat.
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Old 03-09-05, 01:22 AM
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No one is saying it so I'm going to put it out on the table. Quit your job and get one with a shower and locker! Or better yet get a job that doesn't have a dress code.
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Old 03-09-05, 09:02 AM
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Yeah, I have tried to conjure up images of a workplace that requires the worker to wear a suit every day yet provides NO facilities to store personal stuff (no closets? no cubicle shelves? no filing cabinets?), but I have been unsuccessful. I was lucky enough to have two job offers in the same week. I took the one with the commuter shower and the bike rack in the front lobby--it speaks volumes about the corporate culture and values that I find important.
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Old 03-09-05, 05:38 PM
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I like these SO much better than baby wipes! Fresh, grown-up scent, and they fit in my messeger bag during my commute. Instant shower!

Lever 2000 wipes: http://shop.store.yahoo.com/physlabs/512080.html

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Old 03-09-05, 06:43 PM
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When Randy Myers pitched for the Cincinnati Reds, he followed the team rule that required him to wear a suit and tie when travelling by wearing a clip-on tie. Same one all season long.

Here is an assortment to choose from to get you started. You can thank me (or Randy) later.
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