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Riding a bike to work and being sweaty and smelly?

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Riding a bike to work and being sweaty and smelly?

Old 09-17-11, 04:51 PM
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Riding a bike to work and being sweaty and smelly?

Hey everyone,
I don't know if it has been discussed, so I apologize if it has.
I was curious how you all deal with the sweat and smell when riding a bike to work. I really want to start riding my bike, but I can't work with customers all stinky.
Any suggestions?
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Old 09-17-11, 05:33 PM
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Under-arm deoderant.

I don't have far to go, temps. are never very high and my work doesn't involve interacting with customers so for me it's not really a problem.

I could imagine if I was overweight, had a long distance to cycle and the local climate was hot and humid there would be a problem. In that case having somewhere to wash and change my clothes would be useful. Having bike-friendly employers also helps.
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Old 09-17-11, 05:54 PM
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I'll take that as a casual, exploring options kind of question. So in that spirit I'll tell you that although it varies - a lot, depending on your conditioning, the climate, the distance and route, the bicycle, work environment - it's generally not an insurmountable obstacle. The best advice is a test run on your day off. Assess your condition at arrival and then determine what you could do about it.
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Old 09-17-11, 07:14 PM
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Many options based on distances and climate. FWIW I live in the Deep South, you sweat, or in the case of women, glisten If you practice proper personal hygiene you shouldn't smell, take time to cool down when you get to work, change shirts.

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Old 09-17-11, 08:34 PM
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Here's a few suggestions:
1. Merino wool does not get stinky like man-made materials - great material for riding jerseys, etc.
2. Ride slower so you sweat less.
3. Bring change of clothing on hot days.
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Old 09-17-11, 08:40 PM
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Like everybody says--shower before leaving, deodorant, cool down and change clothes after you arrive on a hot hot day. Do those simple things and you might sweat but you won't stink.
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Old 09-17-11, 08:42 PM
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Any gym near your work? I have a branch of the Y 4 blocks from my office. I ride there (7.5 miles), shower & then ride on to the office. I keep extra dress shoes at the office to cut down on what I have to carry.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:00 PM
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I always leave about 20 mins earlier, so I have time to cool off and get un-sweaty. For smell, on hot days a change of clothes, for normal days a bottle of cologne.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:11 PM
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Use some of the Axe products. People will be begging you to stay sweaty.
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Old 09-17-11, 09:39 PM
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You cant even smell farts where I work, it's 40 degrees F to keep food fresh.
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Old 09-17-11, 11:17 PM
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I live in St. Petersburg Florida and the humidity and heat here are at times almost unbearable. Even when I ride at night, the humidity level is oppressive. The first thing I do is shave the hair off of my body. That act alone makes me feel 5 degrees cooler in any environment. Have a bike where you can put racks and panniers so that you can carry a complete change of clothes, especially undergarments.

When I arrive at work, I clean up in the bathroom. The less hair there is around areas, the easier it is to clean up. You get the picture.
I also stash my deoderent at work. I couldn't sit around at work all day in the same underwear that I rode into work in, but I'm not knocking that if that's what people do.
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Old 09-18-11, 03:47 AM
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Deodorant before leaving, ride in merino wool during fall winter and as little clothing as possible during summer, freshen up and reapply deodorant upon arrival, change into office clothes. Deodorant goes on the underarms, back of the neck, forehead and anywhere else above the waist that I might sweat.

I work in a bike friendly office where we can get bikes as in-kind, tax-free bonuses every three years. The boss is an avid cycling lover (sponsors local competitions) and our office is located in the old Fongers head office in Groningen, NL. I expect they'll forgive me if I show up in a cloud of steam every once in a while.
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Old 09-18-11, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Bergman202
Hey everyone,
I don't know if it has been discussed, so I apologize if it has.
I was curious how you all deal with the sweat and smell when riding a bike to work. I really want to start riding my bike, but I can't work with customers all stinky.
Any suggestions?
Lots of good information on the commuting forum.
https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ommuting-Needs)
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Old 09-18-11, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ReinderDijkhuis
Deodorant before leaving, ride in merino wool during fall winter and as little clothing as possible during summer, freshen up and reapply deodorant upon arrival, change into office clothes. Deodorant goes on the underarms, back of the neck, forehead and anywhere else above the waist that I might sweat.
You put on deodorant *before* you ride? You must have some uppity squirrels in your neighbourhood.
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Old 09-18-11, 11:46 AM
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I work in a shared office/lab with lots of foot traffic, so wearing smelly clothes or having them out in the open isn't an option. I keep a towel, soap and shampoo at work and do a quick towel-bath in a bathroom when I need to. Fortunately, I was able to snag a light metal cabinet with tall doors that was going to surplus a few years ago. I installed some clothes hooks inside it, and my smelly/wet cycling and running gear hangs there during the work day, closed away. It's big enough that wet stuff will gradually dry inside it, and it just looks like a random supply cabinet- unless someone opens it and gets a surprise.

Last edited by rnorris; 09-18-11 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 09-18-11, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv
You put on deodorant *before* you ride? You must have some uppity squirrels in your neighbourhood.
Continental European squirrels are actually kind of shy and not that bright. But I put on deodorant before I ride because it's also an antiperspirant, so it should (in theory) attack the sweaty smell at the source.
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Old 09-18-11, 02:35 PM
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A few things that haven't been mentioned that I find make a big difference.

Practice getting your bike locked up quickly so you can get inside quickly and cool off. I find that the sweat really starts pouring down my face when I'm fussing around with the lock in the sun. L

eave time to cool down during and after the ride, ride very slowly and coast a lot of the last 5-10 minutes of your commute, then leave 5-10 minutes too cool off (preferably in an air-conditioned bathroom).

I find that wiping down my under-arms, back, buttocks, etc. with a towel (or paper towels) in the bathroom stall makes a huge difference even if I don't have a change of clothes
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Old 09-18-11, 03:45 PM
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^^^ Exactly. Keep an extra shirt handy just in case. Plus if the ride is short, say 1-3 miles as I suspect may be the case with OP, the whole ride can be "ride very slowly and coast a lot" without losing much time as commutes go and get there without sweating at all.
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Old 09-18-11, 06:01 PM
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Alright! Thanks everybody for the tips. I live down in Georgia and know I get pretty gross, so I just thought I would ask the pros before I did anything. I think I am going to make the commute on a day off for a mach trial and go from there. I feel like I will most likely end up doing a combination of all these things to be as fresh as possible. Thanks again y'all!
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Old 09-18-11, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by ReinderDijkhuis
Continental European squirrels are actually kind of shy and not that bright. But I put on deodorant before I ride because it's also an antiperspirant, so it should (in theory) attack the sweaty smell at the source.
North American squirrels aren't noted for their high IQs either.

Isn't sweating while you ride a good thing? Tends to cool you off.

Occasionally I've passed a group of cyclists (usually female...) and after they are long gone notice the gag-inducing smell of cologne or some such.

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
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Old 09-18-11, 08:00 PM
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Originally Posted by gerv
North American squirrels aren't noted for their high IQs either.

Isn't sweating while you ride a good thing? Tends to cool you off.

Occasionally I've passed a group of cyclists (usually female...) and after they are long gone notice the gag-inducing smell of cologne or some such.

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.
Like a lot of places, my employer now has "no fragrance" policy. If you have any odor at all--whether natural funk or perfume--you can be sent home to shower. And it is enforced.
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Old 09-19-11, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Bergman202
Alright! Thanks everybody for the tips. I live down in Georgia and know I get pretty gross, so I just thought I would ask the pros before I did anything. I think I am going to make the commute on a day off for a mach trial and go from there. I feel like I will most likely end up doing a combination of all these things to be as fresh as possible. Thanks again y'all!
What part of GA? I currently have a project in Jesup that I visit once every couple of weeks. I commuted by bike for a while in the Charleston, SC area...talk about humidity! Only place I have ever worked where there was a heat index at midnight.

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Old 09-19-11, 06:40 AM
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I'm in WNY, and by-and-large, don't need to worry about the "smelly" part. If you shower, and are clean, sweat wont make you stink.

I do a quick bird-bath in the bathroom (I get here a little earlier), to help cool down, and get rid of the red flush. I haven't had to bring a change of clothes either (I don't ride in the rain to work, I bus the whole way). Or, I do a half-commute: I bike in to the "half-way" point where I then hop onto the bus. By the time I get to work, I'm cooled off already.
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Old 09-19-11, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
What part of GA? I currently have a project in Jesup that I visit once every couple of weeks. I commuted by bike for a while in the Charleston, SC area...talk about humidity! Only place I have ever worked where there was a heat index at midnight.

Aaron

Currently I am in Milledgeville,Ga (Baldwin County).....I am from Macon though....And the humidity is indeed quite high haha
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Old 09-19-11, 07:42 PM
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OTOH, don't you think we are just obsessive about body odor?

I always wonder how nations could be built without sweat?

I imagine that our sensitivity to perspiration might be a sign that we've become a prissified society.

Doesn't anyone else think this?
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