A big challenge to riding to work is doing the commute without getting sweaty. You don’t want to show up to work all hot and sticky and not ready to work let alone not being comfortable. Who likes sitting in sweaty clothes waiting patiently for them to dry? Some commutes are simply too long and/or too strenuous to not get sweaty so when that’s the case, you need to be prepared with what you’re going to do. Potentially getting sweaty on your way to work is not a reason not to ride to work. It’s an easy fix and the benefits are great, you’ll be glad you figured out how to arrive comfortably at work.
How Far and How Hilly?
The first thing to take into consideration just for the commute itself is how far is it and what’s the terrain like between home and work. If it’s more than a five mile ride or there is a considerable hill or multiple hills that you need to get over, you will want to wear different clothes for your commute; more on that below. Also, you will want a bike that is easy enough to pedal such as a dedicated commuter, hybrid, road, or cross bike so you are the most efficient on speed and effort.
What’s the Weather?
Another big factor with how to commute without getting sweaty is the weather. If it’s 90+ degrees it’s going to be difficult to even take a breath without it causing you to get sweaty. If it’s cold, you are going to have to make sure you wear extra layers but not too much as you are sweating by the time you arrive at work. Balance is key. Again, we will get into what to wear coming right up.
What Are the Facilities at Your Work Place?
If your work place is less than five miles and you don’t have any considerable hills, you can easily wear your work clothes and not have to change when you arrive. However, if you’re wearing different clothes, you will want a place to change, preferably with a sink, and ideally with a shower. More and more workplaces are incorporating showers and changing rooms just for the commuter cyclist. Is your place of work on board with that yet? If not, bring a small towel and in a bathroom you can lightly clean up. Another good option is baby wipes. They’re small, light, and can just be thrown away saving you the effort of having to take your towel home and wash it.
Options With Your Work Clothes
If you’re going to commute without getting sweaty, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. One is move-ability on the bike. A dress or baggy pants are going to be an issue. It’s definitely been done but riding a bike with a long dress is quite a challenge. It might be a better option for you to bring a change of clothes on days you want to wear a long dress while a shorter dress or skirt can still be ridden in. With pants that have the potential to get caught in the chainrings you can either roll them up, tuck them into your socks, or get one of these handy pant cuffs.
The big thing with commuting without getting sweaty is staying cool. A good way to do that is to keep your shirt unbuttoned a little as well as to roll up your sleeves to maximize airflow.
Options With a Change of Clothes
If you have a longer, more strenuous ride, wearing a different set of clothes is the best option. Pack your work clothes in a bag so they’re ready to go the night before. Then you can wear cycling specific shorts and a jersey if you wish, or simply just different clothes that are cool and functional. Then when you arrive at work, change, cleanup, and you’re good to go.
Effort Level So You Can Commute Without Getting Sweaty
Regardless of if you’re riding in your work clothes or riding in a change of clothes, you don’t want to arrive at work still dripping sweat unless you have a shower available. The trick to this is simply not riding quite so hard on the way there. Make sure you leave with enough time so you can take your time. Enjoy the morning. You’re out riding your bike. Once you get close to work with five minutes or so left in your ride, ease up even more on the pedals so your effort level drops but you still have the wind on you to cool you down. If you do it right, you’ll arrive at work cool and can quickly change or simply walk right in.
Let us know in the comments below what works for you and any questions you might have about bike commuting.