Commuting, No showers, tricks to be organised. What do you do?

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  • Commuting, No showers, tricks to be organised. What do you do?
  • quintet100

    I’m looking at starting to commute in the coming weeks.
    I have planned the route, 17 miles there and a 11 mile route home.
    We have no showers at work, I also work in the office.
    My plan,
    Friday take all clothes needed to work along with towel, wet wipes, talc etc.
    Monday to Thursday ride to work
    How do you prepare yourselves to commute?

    Mary Hinge

    Give yourself 15 minutes to cool down before having your wet wipe shower, otherwise you’ll still sweat a bit.

    I use that time to set my desk up (hot desks).

    Premier Icon NZCol

    ^ what he said. Give yourself a bit of time to cool down then do a hosedown in the toilets. totally do’able but be prepared for weird looks and comments from the fat brigade*

    * that is my catch all for lazy people who express disgust that some of us actually seek, and enjoy, exercise.

    Premier Icon ton

    schwalbe marathons and full mudguards.
    the best advice EVER to a cycle commuter.

    Decent baselayers, even in summer. They soak up sweat and less to clean up after your “cool down”

    I’d also probally look at shorter ride in and longer home if you get sweaty.

    edit: Ton +1 Mudguards – Stops smelly shite ending up on your from the road.


    if you’re “starting to commute” and looking at 38 miles a day I’d be making plans for alternate days and the like (you might be more fit and less fat than me).

    Cooling down *before* getting into work clothes is good advice. I usually log on and clear overnight emails before changing and starting the day for real.

    The other bit of essential advice (poss not relevant if you’re taking a full week of clothes at once) is the emergency undercrackers left in a drawer at work for the day when you realize your rucksack contains trousers and shirt but no kecks. Commando or chamois is a poor choice.

    Premier Icon aazlad

    What they said^. I commute 16 miles each way about three times a week. The other two days I go Brompton/Train and I take trousers, pants, shirts, etc to tide me over the days I ride all the way. When I’m low on toiletries (deoderant & wipes) I nip to the supermarket in at lunch time to stock up.

    You definitely need a bit of time to cool down. I unzip my jacket and stroll along the canal for the last mile or so to start the cool down process. I use a discrete radiator beneath a stair well to dry the chamois and air the merino.

    The girls and fatties in the office cannot understand why I do it and the sight of the chamois has drawn several comments…but I love it. I actually look forward to the Monday morning commute.


    +1 on ton’s advice, if your commuting that far I’d use panniers or a saddlebag if you have to take anything to avoid getting a sweaty back.

    Merino baselayers are also a godsend to stop smells accumulating!


    Some great advice, thanks chaps.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith

    If somebody tells you that you smell don’t get offended do something about it!

    Premier Icon takisawa2

    No rucksack…rack &/or panniers.
    Arrid XXX deodorant.
    Huggies wipes.
    Get the office used to seeing you sitting in riding gear for the first 15 mins. Don a thick skin for a while.

    Optional extras…
    Cheap disposable nappies. (Stuff them into soggy shoes & they draw the water out nicely).
    A fan to get changed in front of.
    A suit hanger for storing your clothes in.

    Premier Icon rockhopperbike

    I tend to take it very steady on the way in- don’t really brake a sweat and slow down for the last mile or so. on the way home gun it as much as poss- but its a 15mile draggy uphill – no records will be broken by me!

    My new workplace hasn’t got showers 🙁 I nip in one of the disabled loos (I know I’ll burn in Hull) and have a full naked flannel wash. That works a treat.

    Premier Icon flap_jack

    Ask people if you’re stinky. Helmets get pongy, leave outside of the office. Second bird-bath at lunchtime. Deodorant before you leave home. Short haul into work, long haul home. You’ll need much more food. And drink.


    All the above. And don’t go too hard on the way in. Try and take it relatively easy and cool down for the last mile.

    Mudguards, rack, panniers and decent puncture proof tyres are a must (I prefer Durano S or Plus for speed, personally). As are two inner tubes and a pair of disposable gloves.

    Eat something two hours before leaving.

    Had this problem when I changed jobs and the new place had no showers. I just left home 15 minutes earlier so I wasn’t in that much of a hurry, so I could take it easy and not get sweaty on the way to work. I saved the hard charge for the ride home. Have a look at photos of people cycling to work in continental European cities – everyone’s on shopper bikes in suits and dresses.

    Shower before leaving home. Seems like a waste of water but as fresh sweat doesn’t smell…

    Premier Icon adsh

    I used to do 26miles both ways with no shower at work up to twice a week. Full mudguards!!!

    I had a bag under my desk with small towel, tupperware bowl, flannel, soap and deoderant and work shoes. I would get in get that, go to the disabled loos, give myself a flannel wash (for the older amongst us that used to be in the place of a bath 2-3x a week!) and use a pair of suit trousers, shirt, pants and socks from a small backpack.

    Then I would eat the value of 52miles worth of diesel in decent food 😀


    When I lived in the South, I used to do 14 miles each way into Londinium, left early enough to hit the leisure centre near the office. Shower, 2 lengths, shower, 1 mile to work (where I then got suited and booted).


    Leave a complete set of cycling gear (including shoes) at work for the rare occasion where you don’t get kit dry before end of day.

    Leisure centre tip above is good if you have one local, I normally manage a swim before work.


    Merino, definitely.

    My commute is 4.5 miles so no shower needed, but I do run up to 17 miles on the way in once a week. A wash in a sink after a cool down with a good wipe down and I feel pretty fresh. Cold water only, which helps in the summer.

    Not sure how many days I’d be doing 28 miles.


    Definitely agreed about emergency clothing, I have a spare of everything as over the years I have forgotten everything I need to bring in at least once, which gets quite complicated!


    The other bit of essential advice … is the emergency undercrackers

    And socks- not nice getting wet feet in a rain storm on the way it! Oh, and you look a bit stoopid wearing SPDs because you forgot to bring your work shoes in after taking them home to wear at the weekend…

    Even in summer I can get away with just a Frenchman’s shower, a merino top is great for being pongless. I only do 5 miles e/w though.


    Premier Icon dazh

    for the older amongst us that used to be in the place of a bath 2-3x a week!

    My Father-in-law still does flannel ‘baths’. He said if it was good enough when he was doing national service, it’s good enough now!


    spare dry socks. honestly. in the rain, essential.

    everybody else has pretty much covered it.

    In contrast to all of the above, I usually leave 10 minutes too late, cycle the 11 miles to work as fast as possible, use a rucksack and take clothes in every day (nowhere to keep them), get changed ASAP before getting to the lift up to the office.

    I usually use the disabled loos (sorry!) and have a bit of a wash and wipe down with the paper towels.

    We’ve actually got showers, but they are usually full, and theres no lockers.

    I actually also own rack and panniers, but just prefer the rucksack. I use the panniers occasionally tho, if i’m cycling in my civvies or calling in the supermarket on the way home.


    Emergency socks and undies for sure.

    I leave work clothes at work.

    Premier Icon lowey

    I prefer rucksack and waterproof shorts with no mudguards. Half o my commute is off road so do it on a CX with knobblies, struggle to put full guards on.

    Get in 20 mins early, full wash down in bogs and put on pants and shirt.

    Premier Icon thetallpaul

    Halo sports wash to keep your kit smelling nice week in, week out.
    Get some good wicking base layers.
    Windproof bib-longs for the winter commute are a god-send.
    I’m much more comfortable with panniers than a backpack.
    Generally bomb it both ways on my relatively flat 7 mile commute each way.
    Really looking forwards to better weather so that the longer routes can be used and I can get back into t-shirts and shorts.
    Get your stuff ready the night before so that you’re less likely to wimp out.
    Most important: Enjoy the ride.

    Premier Icon sandwicheater

    Just coast the last few miles, you don’t get to the office too steaming.

    As most have said, give yourself plenty of time to cool down when arrived. Would always take me a good 20 mins to stop dripping but I never paid attention to the above advice and sprinted in.

    Premier Icon nedrapier

    Shower before leaving home. Seems like a waste of water but as fresh sweat doesn’t smell…

    I do this^, I’ve got a shorter ride in, but it’s very true.

    Second the panniers/saddlebag thing. I’ve got a Carradice SQR Slim seatpost mounted bag- worth a look.

    I’d be picking a different day to drive in. Leaving work on a bike = feeling of freedom. Leaving work on a Friday = Feeling of freedom. I wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity of doubling up! Think of the summer!

    Also, going back to point 2, after riding with a rucksack for a while, getting your stuff off your back and on the bike and feeling your Tshirt on your back rippling in the wind = feeling of freedom!

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    if you’re “starting to commute” and looking at 38 miles a day I’d be making plans for alternate days and the like


    Also I’d be setting aside some cash for new jeans etc as in 3 months you’ll have massive thighs and a smaller waist.

    Premier Icon hopevalley

    Save one drawer in your desk for emergency food… lots of it…!

    My commute is 52k and 800-1000m ascent each way and when ridden every day it was almost impossible to eat enough 🙂

    I keep 2/3 changes of clothes at work just in case you forget and gives more flexibility, never carry any luggage just food and tools in pockets.

    Dry wash, wet wipes and a tech towel are a lifesaver… as for backing off for last 10mins… Strava now prevents that….


    Buy / wear merino base layer top, socks and undies.
    Invest in a good breathable waterproof (expensive but with it) and full length legs.
    Goretex shoes, or a fresh change at work will do nicely – ideally both.

    Don’t wear too much on route, or reduce layers nearer destination to assist in the cool down.
    Don’t ride flat out as part of the course.

    If you’re fairly fit you’ll be surprised by how little you will smell / sweat on arrival. A flannel and fowl down in the loo should then sort you out.

    However, if you’re super sweaty, then you’re stuck being super seat, the above will help, especially the merino as the man made stuff stinks to high heaven.


    My commute is about six miles and whilst I work in an office its relaxed clothing which for me usually means jeans and a jumper.

    I dont do any washing or get changed, just ride in wearing a coat when its raining(bad rain Im on the bus) and take it easy to avoid sweating.

    Sometimes flex it a bit with a wearing cycle jersey or t shirt in the summer and a putting a clean shirt on when i get to work.

    That you can actually cycle in normal clothes often seems a revalation.

    Worked for the last 10 years or so for me.

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