Author Topic: Bikes and work clothes?  (Read 6241 times)

Arbor33

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Bikes and work clothes?
« on: June 12, 2012, 08:26:01 AM »
I want to know how you guys get your nice clothes to the office while maintaining their nice condition? The only time I was able to ride my bike to work in the past was when I was working at a construction supply place where sweating was an everyday occurrence. I never had to worry about khakis or dress shirts and the like. Unfortunately/fortunately, it's something I might have to concern myself with should I get a position closer to home. So, how do you guys do it?

zhelud

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2012, 08:33:37 AM »
Your best solution will depend on the distance you have to commute, what the office dress code is, whether you have access to a shower or clothes storage at your office, your climate, your tendency to sweat, etc, etc.
Ask ten bike commuters what their routine is and you'll get ten different answers. I keep some clothes and shoes at my office and bring the rest in panniers on my bike. I have access to a shower but don't usually need it because it is cool in the morning and my commute in that direction is mostly downhill. My advice is, before your first day of biking, check out what facilities there are at your office and do a "test ride" there on a weekend or a day when things are slow and you can be casual.

cyclocross

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2012, 08:55:54 AM »
zhelud pretty much summed it up.  I keep a pair of jeans and shoes at the office and carry the rest in the backpack.  For any distance over about 6-7 miles I put on cycling shorts because it is so much more comfortable.

Jaketucson

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2012, 08:57:16 AM »
I work in a business-casual office with a shower room on one of the floors which makes the sweaty thing a non-issue.  I just fold my clothes as nice as I can and put them in my backpack.  I hate spending time ironing clothes, and my work environment is not one where my clothes must look freshly pressed, so the inevitable wrinkles aren't a big deal.  Commute is about 7 miles.  Zhelud's advice about a test ride is a good idea.  If you don't plan on biking every day, you could use a driving day to bring in the clothes you need for the week on the days you bike, that way you're not folding them up in a backpack or pannier.  Some days I even run to/from work and I'll bring in my clothes the day before, then take them home the day after.  It's a little extra effort in the planning, but I've noticed that the time spent planning and executing a bike commute is just about the same amount of time as adding in extra workout time in my day on top of my car commute.  That would depend on the length of the commute though.  I also 2nd the comment about cycling shorts.

I've also worked in places where there was no shower, and I would just bring a small towel that I could wet and wipe myself down with (and I left deodorant at my desk).  I've heard others say witch hazel is good too, but no one has ever told me that my sink baths with water weren't sufficient:)  And I've worked with people that would definitely inform me if I stunk:)  Good luck!

Arbor33

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2012, 10:52:36 AM »
Very helpful guys, thank you! Odds are it'd be a max of 5 miles each way, more like 2 if I can get in one of the three places nearby.

If anyone does anything different, keep the ideas flowing!

skyrefuge

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2012, 11:18:56 AM »
If it ends up being only 2 miles, clothes are a total non-issue.  Just wear your office clothes on the bike.  It's a short enough distance that you can ride below sweat-threshold speed and still get there in very little time.  At that distance, the time spent changing in and out of clothes is greater than the time you would gain by riding any faster.  Either way it wouldn't count much as "exercise" because even if you were going balls out, it would take less than 8 minutes, which would be barely long enough for your heart to even notice that you started working.  5 miles, however, is more like "real exercise", and then you'll probably prefer changing clothes.  Like others, I keep jeans/shoes in the office, but to keep up with the it's-gross-to-wear-the-same-outfit-every-day culture, will usually bring in a different shirt every day I ride.  Over time I've figured out which shirts get more wrinkly and how to fold/roll them in the least-wrinkle-inducing ways.

stashette

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2012, 11:54:39 AM »
My bike commute is about 3.5 miles, and I just wear my work clothes (including dress pants and occasional heels).  I wrap velcro straps around my ankles to keep my pants from getting in my chain.  Early in the morning it's still pretty cool out, so I don't get sweaty and I just take it really easy on the way home from work.  I give myself an extra couple minutes before my shift starts to cool down and freshen up a bit in the bathroom.

Arbor33

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2012, 12:33:16 PM »
Either way it wouldn't count much as "exercise" because even if you were going balls out, it would take less than 8 minutes, which would be barely long enough for your heart to even notice that you started working.  5 miles, however, is more like "real exercise", and then you'll probably prefer changing clothes.

Yea, I wouldn't consider it exercise either. Just the more responsible way of getting to and from work. The one issue with me is that it takes very little to get my sweat glands into high gear. I typically start sweating around a quarter mile into my casual bike rides, depending on the weather of course. It's definitely worth playing around with my pace to see how I fair though. Thanks for the obvious option that I've somehow overlooked! :)

I wrap velcro straps around my ankles to keep my pants from getting in my chain.

Having never biked in pants, I would have never thought of this! Thanks!

Bank

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2012, 12:42:51 PM »
You might find these this blog helpful -- I did. 

http://theruncommuter.net/

I think most of their recommendations are equally applicable to bikers.  If you search you'll find a number of posts along these lines:

http://theruncommuter.net/2012/03/10/how-to-arrive-at-work-wrinkle-and-stain-free/

Jamesqf

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2012, 12:59:40 PM »
I always found that it was a good idea to keep a change of clothes at work anyway.  Even when I didn't bike, there was always the occasional coffee spill or similar.

The no-sweat riding thing is a missed exercise opportunity.  Even if you have a short ride to work, I'd suggest making it longer, so you can work up a sweat and get the blood flowing to the brain.  It's amazing how much more productive I was on biking days...

poko

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2012, 01:14:49 PM »
Yeah, I have a very short commute (~1.25 miles), so I don't bother with a change of clothes.

I'm a lady, though, so I've made it a point to wear dresses and skirts instead of pants now that summer has arrived in Texas. I've been meaning to leave earlier in the mornings, too, I just can't seem to get myself out of bed. On the way home it doesn't really matter if I get sweaty.

SpendyMcSpend

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Re: Bikes and work clothes?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2012, 01:55:12 PM »
I ride my bike 1.3 miles to the train station and often wear my work dresses and have even worn my heels.  I don't feel comfortable doing so though because it attracts unwanted male attention and that is not safe, especially after dark.