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  1. #1
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    Commuter Questions

    Questions for you commuters out there:

    How do you show up and park your bike at work without people thinking you are crazy?

    and

    How do you show up and work and not have everyone avoid you because you are sweaty?

  2. #2
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    The first one is really out of our control. If people are inclined to think riding a bike is crazy that's their problem. I have noticed in the last couple of years the attitude towards bike commuting has been getting more positive. High gas prices are probably a help in this regard. A lot of people have asked me for advice about bike commuting lately. Some that would have laughed at me outright a couple of years ago.

    As for the second question. I don't ride as hard on my commute to work, that paired with careful dressing keeps me from getting too hot. Surprisingly, it seems harder to get it right in the cold months than in the warm ones. When it's cold outside it is really easy to over dress, and still feel a bit on the cold side when you are starting out. A few miles into the commute you realize the error of your ways, and start to open your zippers and such. Still once you get into the rhythm it seems like it's not such a big deal to get it right.

  3. #3
    I'm SUCH a square....
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    Don't think I'll be much help; I couldn't care less if people think I'm crazy -- when they can do what I do on the job, and be as productive, then maybe what they think will matter. Also, since my job is physical, showing up sweaty is a non-issue.
    A bike is the only drug with no bad side effects....

  4. #4
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    Yea, im a personal trainer so I stay sweaty.

  5. #5
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    sweaty is the only option if you bike commute in Texas. I keep deodorant in my desk drawer and have been known to wash up in the sink when I'm particularly nasty. in the summertime, I have to keep a change of clothes handy. I am looking to get a pannier for hauling stuff without spending a boatload. I currently use a backpack which adds to the sweatiness.

    I'm on a college campus so nobody thinks twice about anyone showing up on a bike. I put my bike in my office rather than on a rack outside, though, which makes some people wonder. still, I'm not the only one doing that, either.

  6. #6
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    People are actually impressed when they see me ride my bike to work. They make me feel like I'm doing the impossible, haha. I feel a bit embarrassed though because I don't think it's that impressive compared to the hardcore commuters here.

    I heard that if you take a shower with antibacteria soap before you ride out, then you won't stink so much because bacterial is what causes the smell when you sweat.

  7. #7
    Pedal Damn It!
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    I've noticed that no matter where you live, your coworkers and general public will always think you are crazy for commuting by bike. Some will respect you for it and tell you once in a while so use the good comments to keep you going and push you to commute even in the worst of weather conditions. Personally I think I'm crazy but I enjoy doing things that most wouldn't dare put out the effort to do.

    I work on a University Campus and choose to ride to the campus 1/2 to a full hour early so I have time to cool down and stretch when I get there. By the time I've cooled down and then change I'm no longer sweaty and show up to work ready to knock out any tasks I need to. I feel more energized all day on the days I ride and the few I don't, I struggle in the afternoons. I also have my breakfast when I get to work even though it means a few extra pounds on the bike. The extra time spent having breakfast after my commute gives me more time to cool down.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanyonTrailJunkie View Post
    Questions for you commuters out there:
    How do you show up and park your bike at work without people thinking you are crazy?
    and
    How do you show up and work and not have everyone avoid you because you are sweaty?
    With gas @ $4/gallon, they think you're crazy?

    Some cleanup upon arrival is appropriate for some jobs. A few minutes with a washcloth or babywipes should do the trick.

  9. #9
    CB of the East
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    Being though of as crazy is part of the allure. Most people are more impressed unless it is snowing or extra cold.

    I have the luxury of showers. If I didn't - what am I going to say? Everybody here knows it now...Merino wool clothes. I can't help it, the stuff amazes me in it's ability to keep me odor free.

  10. #10
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    two weeks in

    My first few days I felt a bit self-conscious, but that feeling is going away.I'm only two weeks in, so my feelings are still fresh, and this is what I've noticed at work. (I do speculate that in another two weeks no one will care one way or the other).

    One person is genuinely interested. A near retired woman who told me that years ago she rode her bike to work when her job was 3 miles away.

    One person, (a witchy type) keeps asking if I want a ride home (for various weather reasons). I always say no. I speculate she wants me to fail, and also want herself to be the first to know.

    One person rolls her eyes in a "you are weird sort of way," not a "wow" kind of way.

    2 people have expressed admiration.

    That is about it. The rest of my 20 person office don't seem to care one way or the other.

    A tip I read here, that I think is good advice. Don't wear spandex to work. Wear loose fitting clothes over spandex. Spandex often sparks a reaction from the non-bike crowd.

    I keep at work: Shower-to-shower sport powder, (kmart) fragrance free wipes, speed stick clean, and "Clean" brand colonge, (Amazon, smells like soap!). I bring a small towel and fresh under garments/socks with me each day. I keep fresh clothes/shoes at work. No shower at work.

    Pick one or two people to confide in at work. Tell this person the bike commute is an "experiment" on your part, to see if you can do it. Tell this person you are genuinely concerned about smelling like a gym and ask this person to please let you know if you do start to smell like a gym. Chances are, this person will tell others your concern, and that will go a long way towards heading off less favorable reactions.

    I don't bring up my bike commute in conversation at work unless someone asks me about it, (no one really talks about their drive to work; right?). I don't want others to view my excitement as preachy or think I am acting superior to them.

    good luck.

  11. #11
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanyonTrailJunkie View Post
    Questions for you commuters out there:

    How do you show up and park your bike at work without people thinking you are crazy?

    and

    How do you show up and work and not have everyone avoid you because you are sweaty?
    Get there early.

    And

    Get there early.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackCanyonTrailJunkie View Post
    Questions for you commuters out there:

    How do you show up and park your bike at work without people thinking you are crazy?

    and

    How do you show up and work and not have everyone avoid you because you are sweaty?
    I show and park when I get there.....

    People can't understand how easy it is to ride.....you have to wait until they ask otherwise you come off like a bike nazi,,,,

    I actually shower before I ride.....dress while I am still damp...when I get there a quick rub down is all I need...

    BTW I am in Calgary Canada cold mornings 95% of the time.

  13. #13
    Short-Change-Hero
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    Well about 5 weeks ago I finally gave up my car and started commuting everyday by bike. I am a state worker so I am some le-way when it comes to what I do and when as the department that I work for does not always require that I am in pure dress clothes. I also have a co-worker in my unit that rides as well, well she mtn bikes, so we were used to going a couple times a week during out lunch break and meeting up with her husband to do a short lunch ride. We do have one shower in our offices (for each sex) and that allows us to shower if it is absolutely necessary.

    Otherwise I keep in my drawers:
    - stick of deoderant
    - face cleaning wipes (non-fragrance)
    - toothbrush and toothpaste
    - extra gel/hair product (what can I say my wife is a hairstylist)

    Normally I will bring riding clothes with me in a backpack for that day, change out for the lunch ride (we do anywhere from 5-10 miles depending on road or mtn), and then "spruce up" when I get back to the office.

    Some people have expressed that I am crazy (few mother types always express concern regarding weather), I have had a few that do it only in fair weather commend me for doing it in foul weather, there are a couple that give me the "look" as one of the others described", and then you get the occasional young girl that gives you a quick check out.

    I work in an office of about 250 people and throw my bike in my cubie instead of trying to find a place to lock it up outside (which there is actually not one). No one minds, everyone is usually courteous and opens doors for me as I walk the bike in (doubled security door entry) and most give me at least a thumbs up regarding the $4/gallon and taking the commitment to ride as much as I can (the wife occasionally brings me in if the weather in the morning is to bad).

    The only gripe I have is the people around here that drive and give a lack of space and/or room to bikers. We do have bike lanes in some areas, which I use, and when not I stay over as far as I can but I have still been honked at, cut-off, yelled at, etc by all manner of people. However, since I do normally take the same route home everyday at about the same time I believe the people are starting to get used to seeing me (I ride a red and white Kona Jake so not like I am not obvious nor have I seen another on the road)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    I don't bring up my bike commute in conversation at work unless someone asks me about it, (no one really talks about their drive to work; right?).
    It's funny, because bike commuting has made me kindof useless in a lot of social situations. If you put a bunch of people together in a room what do they talk about?

    Traffic - I don't care
    Gas Prices - I don't care
    The Weather - I do care, but in a way that's totally different from people who only go outside when they need to get gas.

    Even when I'm with friends I can get completely bored because all they want to talk about is how much their commutes suck. It's the hidden danger of bike commuting.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    It's funny, because bike commuting has made me kindof useless in a lot of social situations. If you put a bunch of people together in a room what do they talk about?

    Traffic - I don't care
    Gas Prices - I don't care
    The Weather - I do care, but in a way that's totally different from people who only go outside when they need to get gas.

    Even when I'm with friends I can get completely bored because all they want to talk about is how much their commutes suck. It's the hidden danger of bike commuting.
    Been there do that

  16. #16
    weirdo
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    Wow, you guys have much more interresting workplace banter than I do.

    In my case,
    Football- don`t care
    Basketball- nope
    Hockey- so?
    Chivas V America- me vale

    Everybody I work with knows I`m weird whether I ride a bike or not. But the other guy who used to work there and rode was even weirder, so I looked cool in comparison

    I don`t care what I smell like when I arrive because chances are I`ll smell much worse by the time I get out the door. Not much help, am I?

  17. #17
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    I like being looked at as crazy. Yesterday I ran to the store to pick up dog food. I slung a 50 pound bag over my back rack with a bungee net and back up the hill I went. I got looks but I was hopefully planting a seed. Hopefully some people thought, "If he can do that so easy there's no reason I can't ride my bike/go to the gym/walk/use the bus/whatever"

  18. #18
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    a 50lb dog food bag, eh? I wouldn't want to do that on my commuter. I have a lightweight aluminum rack so it'd probably hurt the rack. not to mention, I go SS and one hill is a push for me in the gearing I run. I'd be walking up that hill for sure.

    I am slowly building up for increasingly foul weather commutes, but I'm not quite there yet. cold I can do just fine. snow, not a problem. I don't have my rain kit dialed just right yet and I don't mess with thunderstorms at all.

    I'll never be a full-time bike commuter with my aversion to biking in thunderstorms (and with moving to Indiana soon, that will continue to be a concern). but I'll eventually have a kit worked out for cold rain (common winter scenario).

    I like being "the crazy bike guy", to be honest.

  19. #19
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    1. People are impressed when they see me pull up to work on my bike after a 20 mile commute.

    2. I have showers at work and plan ahead with fresh clothes.
    2009 Niner S.I.R. 9
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmorath View Post
    I like being looked at as crazy. Yesterday I ran to the store to pick up dog food. I slung a 50 pound bag over my back rack with a bungee net and back up the hill I went. I got looks but I was hopefully planting a seed. Hopefully some people thought, "If he can do that so easy there's no reason I can't ride my bike/go to the gym/walk/use the bus/whatever"
    +1 to all of this (especially the first sentence). You should see the looks I get when I've got beer kegs in my trailer!

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ubernerd View Post
    +1 to all of this (especially the first sentence). You should see the looks I get when I've got beer kegs in my trailer!
    They just dont understand that it is post-ride recovery fuel in there!!

  22. #22
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    I actually have commuted into work a few times. However, I decided it wasn't such a good idea based on the look on my supervisor's face when I pulled up to work in a bike and also having to avoid people during the early part of the day due to my sweaty back. I did enjoy commuting to work immensly, but thought maybe it wasn't a good idea as it might negatively affect my job prospects. Sometimes I think it would be ok, maybe if I could park my bike where I really wouldn't be seen but, unfortunately, the building outlay is such that this would not be possible.

  23. #23
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    Darn. After reading all the other posts, I was hoping it would work out for you.

    Are you using a backpack? I use panniers as it's more comfortable and I sweat way less than with a backpack. I got a rack that attaches to my seatpost and hang one pannier on each side of the rack, then take them off and carry them in to work with me.

  24. #24
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    blackcanyon, if your supervisor didn't say anything about it, perhaps you are reading too much into "the look". I hope so, or that is a really sad state of affairs. Also consider that if you really enjoy bikecommuting, it will likely help you be more productive at work, thereby improving your job prospects. Another solution some have found is showering at a nearby gym, if that is an option.

  25. #25
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    in most cases, the boss can't technically do anything about you riding a bike to work. unless doing so ACTUALLY negatively impacts your ability to do the job.

    he may have been frowning because he thought you might be one of the folks riding a bike to work because you got a DUI.

  26. #26
    weirdo
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    he may have been frowning because he thought you might be one of the folks riding a bike to work because you got a DUI.
    Or because you were "in his way" by riding way out in the street instead of on the sidewalk, where you were supposed to be.

    Yeah, like Xplorer says, hopefully you were reading too much into the look. I`m really glad I don`t have to worry about the sweaty/stinky thing, but lots of people who do have to be careful have found workable solutions. If you want to pedal your commute, that shouldn`t stop you.

  27. #27
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    I should just be strong like you guys and stop caring what people think.

  28. #28
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    I park in a parking garage...cabed to a steel thing of some sort...

    I clean up in a restroom or a shower.
    experience life

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  29. #29
    Still want a fat bike....
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    Its funny because I get more admiration that disdain. Some look at me like I am nuts, but a lot of people are more impressed than anything and amazed.

    As for clean up.... I bring my clothes and arrive in time to get changed before I start my day. Keep my deodorant and some gold bond powder in my desk drawer with a wash cloth. Works just fine.
    I am a man of many words. KCCO!

  30. #30
    CB of the East
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    BlackCanyon, My company actually has a wellness program in an attempt to keep it's/our health insurance costs in check. They encourage a healthy lifestyle. Maybe if you just approach your HR department or boss you could spin it back to a positive.

    I'd recommend stashing clothes at work on your non biking days.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post

    he may have been frowning because he thought you might be one of the folks riding a bike to work because you got a DUI.
    Someone should make a sticker that says something to the effect of: "I'm doing this for health not for a DUI"

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmmorath View Post
    Someone should make a sticker that says something to the effect of: "I'm doing this for health not for a DUI"
    And by the time they get close enough to read it they have run over you.

    "4 FITNESS" on back of ANSI vest in 2 lines and big letters might work.

    BrianMc

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    years ago I heard of a guy in Michigan who got a t-shirt made that said: "Divorced. Wife got the Car" even though he was happily married. Drivers thought it was funny and treated him better on the roads - reportedly. I never saw him.
    Custom jersey time..
    :wq

  34. #34
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianMc View Post
    And by the time they get close enough to read it they have run over you.

    "4 FITNESS" on back of ANSI vest in 2 lines and big letters might work.

    BrianMc
    years ago I heard of a guy in Michigan who got a t-shirt made that said: "Divorced. Wife got the Car" even though he was happily married. Drivers thought it was funny and treated him better on the roads - reportedly. I never saw him.

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