Author Topic: Biking to Work In A Suit....?  (Read 2637 times)

jordansmith

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Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« on: February 19, 2017, 09:17:19 PM »
Hi There,

I'm brand spanking new to this forum and thought I should jump on in. My wife and I are pretty frugal people, primarily because we don't have a whole lot money, but also because we just don't like buying stuff. That being said I start my first big boy job in early June at a local accounting firm. It is going to be an amazing place to work and the partners really care about and take care of their employees. But I have to wear a suit every day. At first I was all for it because, hey, looking fly in a suit feels good and then I work hard and it is a nice cycle of productivity. However, I really want to commit to not using my car for the vast majority of commuting.

Yes I could still bike of course but then I'm sweaty and in a full suit and I'm pretty sure my bosses would make me stop (I could try it I suppose)
I could bike and change at work, but there is no shower or anything like that and I would have to store my suit clothes at work. I'm open to this option with some additional suggestions as to how to make it work.

Additional Info:
Work is less than 5 miles (10 miles round trip)
Tax season (Jan. 15th - April 15th) consists of really long hours mostly in the winter (live in Fort Collins CO)
Currently working on moving closer, but we have a really cheap rent situation and have been renting out the garage for some extra dough.
The firm is kind of old school in that everyone dresses real professional except on Friday's where is is a little less professional than usual

Please ask me any clarifying questions and let me know your thoughts!!

mountains_o_mustaches

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2017, 09:23:17 PM »
I have a similar-ish commute and concerns (need to dress nice, no shower at work).  In the fall and spring I ride in my work clothes and keep the ride leisurely - don't work up enough of a sweat to mess up my clothes.  When it's hot / cold I wear different clothes and change at work.  I keep some adult wipes (like baby wipes, but meant for adults and don't smell like baby powder - they sell them at places like Target), deodorant, and a brush to freshen up at work.  Another thing that helps - use a pannier instead of a backpack / messenger bag - keeps back from getting sweaty.  You'll also want to get a good bike light for the times of year you're working later.

You can do this - and it's totally worth it.  I show up to work in a much better mood when I've ridden into work, plus I've met other cyclists that way too :)

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2017, 07:40:15 AM »
I biked to a law firm just about every work day for several years, and am a big fan of changing at work. On hot days I would stop by the restroom, before entering the actual office, and douse my arms, legs and head with water. As I took a LONG drink from the water fountain, the evaporative cooling on my skin would be really kicking in. Once I changed clothes (don't forget the socks) and applied a bit of deodorant, I would be good for the day.

jordansmith

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2017, 10:31:01 AM »
Awesome! Some other questions.

What is a good type of bike for this kind of commuting? Very efficient so I don't work up a sweat on accident and also can add accessories like pannier and trailer to?

How do you keep your dress clothes from getting too wrinkly when packed up? Especially the suit jacket.

Thanks!

TacheTastic

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2017, 02:07:49 PM »
I bike to placement, and some ways I make it work for me are by having a big basket on my pannier rack, so I can throw my bag in it without worrying, and having wheel guards and a chain guard so that I don't get mucky in the winter. I peddle a quite relaxed pace to work, then if I want to I can go crazy on the way home because it doesn't matter about getting sweaty. I sometimes wear contacts, but I will put them in when I get to work, as I prefer biking in glasses to keep the wind out my eyes and prevent any dust/rain incidents.

Also, high-vis. Every trip.

Syonyk

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2017, 03:22:02 PM »
An electric bike solves the "arriving to work sweaty" problem for most of the year and you can do whatever you want on the way home.

I'd probably consider an ebike with a rear rack I could hang a suit carrier over.

expatartist

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2017, 06:47:36 PM »
An electric bike solves the "arriving to work sweaty" problem for most of the year and you can do whatever you want on the way home.

I'd probably consider an ebike with a rear rack I could hang a suit carrier over.

I used an ebike for years to cycle to work in Beijing. You can choose how hard you want to push it, depending on the weather and workload: for a little sweat, a lot, or none at all.

jordansmith

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2017, 07:52:22 PM »
An electric bike solves the "arriving to work sweaty" problem for most of the year and you can do whatever you want on the way home.

I'd probably consider an ebike with a rear rack I could hang a suit carrier over.

I used an ebike for years to cycle to work in Beijing. You can choose how hard you want to push it, depending on the weather and workload: for a little sweat, a lot, or none at all.

I have thought about the ebike option, but they seem to be super pricy. Know of anywhere to get one on the cheap side? And some brands that are reputable?

Thanks!

YttriumNitrate

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2017, 06:42:05 AM »
How do you keep your dress clothes from getting too wrinkly when packed up? Especially the suit jacket.
I use a combination of wrinkle-resistant clothing and neatly folding in the backpack for the shirts and pants. While all the guys at my firm have them, suit jackets only ever seem to be worn for A) court or B) client meetings. Since they don't need to be used that often, I just keep a couple suit jackets on hangers at the office.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 12:05:57 PM by YttriumNitrate »

skeptic

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Re: Biking to Work In A Suit....?
« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2017, 11:35:46 AM »
Jordan,

This can totally be done, and five miles is no problem. Sure, a shower would be nice but it's not necessary.

I will share some details of how I've done it but they might be unnecessary. The main ideas that you can use and adapt to your situation are:

(1) It can be done.
(2) You can transport your work clothing if desired/necessary -- even in bad weather.
(3) You can leave your work clothing at work if desired/necessary.
(4) You don't have to ride that intensely.
(5) There are numerous ways to eliminate sweat/odor once you get to a bathroom.

There are a million different ways to do this and you don't need to do the same every day. Also, you'll just get a sense of what it accepted/allowed at work.

I've done it in multiple environments, including very corporate.

If it wasn't too hot or cold, sometimes I would bike in wearing my suit pants, dress shirt, and tie, along with tennis shoes. In my pannier I'd have my suit jacket loosely rolled and a change of shoes and socks. Upon arrival in the parking garage I'd change my shoes and socks and put on the jacket and go up. Or I could change shoes in a bathroom inside or someplace else unobtrusive. In the beginning I tried to always enter in full professional dress. After a while I chilled out and didn't mind changing shoes at my desk etc.

If it was hot, I'd ride in non-work clothes with my entire change in panniers. I'd get to the first bathroom. Wait a few minutes to stop actually sweating, then wipe down with wipes or wet and/or soapy paper towels. A single occupancy bathroom is ideal but you could also bring a few wet paper towels and deodorant into a stall, if you think being seen will cause a problem.

In many cases, I start worrying there will be some issue if they see me wiping down in the bathroom and after a while I realize (A) I do it in a low-traffic bathroom so hardly anyone sees, and (B) nobody cares anyway, really, if anything they are kind of impressed that I ride.

In a perfect world your ride to work is more downhill and the ride home is more up. Though flat both ways is nice.

And after a while I usually end up keeping my suit jackets and dress shoes at my desk instead of carrying them back and forth every day.

Sometimes I would wear the tie the whole way, sometimes I would put it on at home then loosen it and slip it off over my head, and slip it back on at work (these first two if I was trying to be fully professionally dressed before entering the building). But most often just tie the whole thing at work in the bathroom.

I have all the normal raingear like rain jacket and rain pants but for very hot weather I might just wear a shirt, bike shorts, and sandals in the rain.

For me not actually owning a car was helpful because it forced me to be creative and find a way. I'm sure there are days I would have wimped out if I could have just conveniently driven a car, but instead I found a way to bike it and it turned out fine and I was glad I did.

(Regarding type of bike... I've always done my work commuting in an urban area on either a hybrid or a folding bike. Both are very upright and work well, so I guess I could recommend those types, though I haven't tried anything else so can't knowledgeably compare.)

Have fun!