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Do you cycle to work? Your S&B hacks please.

(48 Posts)
MsUnderstanding Thu 13-Oct-16 20:44:59

pre DC I had a leisurely cycle to work, shower, change, makeup, coffee Facebook now I have exactly half an hour to do school drop offs and be at my desk looking professional.
I can't do make up before because it just slides off in a slick of sweat.
I feel limited clothing wise, no gusset flashing skirts.
They don't even have a shower in the building, so making sure I don't smell is another issue.
How do you manage to look and smell good if you cycle?

GinjoJongo Thu 13-Oct-16 21:41:56

I take separate clothes and change in the loos (the ladies is the disabled so a big room). Strip off, wash my face with water while I stop sweating, wipe all over with wet wipes then lots of spray deodorant. Brush hair, get dressed in work clothes then slap a bit of make up on. My office isn't particularly smart and is mostly male. I lay all my clothes out on top of each other (trousers or skirt, top, cami, underwear) then fold up together so it doesn't crease as much. My cycle is 20 minutes and I can be at my desk about 35 minutes after school drop off.

GinjoJongo Thu 13-Oct-16 21:43:02

Carrying stuff in a pannier bag is better than a back pack because saves getting a horribly sweaty back!

SunnyL Thu 13-Oct-16 21:52:44

In winter if I'm wearing dark opaque tights I cycle in my skirt. I'm definitely not flashing but wonder if it might encourage better driving from cars.
I used to cycle to meetings at an office that had no loos in reception. I tended to cycle in leggings and a vest and then chuck a jersey dress on over the top once I'd got there.

Lovefromhull Thu 13-Oct-16 21:56:41

Yes- to vest top under jacket, then popping top on in loos when there. Footwear is a problem though- with fitted trousers. Not mastered that yet.

MsUnderstanding Thu 13-Oct-16 22:03:36

I tended to cycle in leggings and a vest and then chuck a jersey dress on over the top once I'd got there.


Rocket82 Thu 13-Oct-16 22:08:29

I leave my work shoes under my desk or in the desk drawer. Take a change of clothes and dust myself with bicarbonate.of soda to prevent any smells! No showers.

iwouldgoouttonight Thu 13-Oct-16 22:15:06

I do the same as GinjoJongo - I also can use the disabled toilet. Very annoying when someone else is in there having a poo and I have to get changed in a small toilet cubicle.

Only thing is you must remember to bring all your clothes to change into. Don't forget your bra as I've done on several occasions, and then had the choice of loose boobs or sweaty sports bra all day.

My boss cycles in normal clothes, skirts, dresses, high heels, etc and never seems to break into a sweat. I don't know how she does that.

MsUnderstanding Thu 13-Oct-16 23:03:03

dust myself with bicarbonate of soda to prevent any smells! is that special bicarbonate or just the regular stuff you use for baking?

mudandmayhem01 Thu 13-Oct-16 23:17:27

I do my hair and makeup, before I leave the house, take it steady in the morning, luckily its mostly down hill or flattish and then I put a bit more effort in on the way back. Smart shoes left under my desk. I generally bring my clothes with me each day and have a selection of stretchy dresses, tops and skirts that roll up easily. Add a nice scarf and I look reasonably presentable. Would be tricker if I had to dress more formally. I don't sweat much so I don't wash just reapply deodorant. I have forgotten my knickers a couple of times though as I don't wear any under my cycling shorts, felt very wrong going commando at work.

Sgtmajormummy Thu 13-Oct-16 23:28:15

Cycling in a wide skirt? Here's a tip from the Sugru blog.

Take a coin and an elastic band, push the coin from the back of your skirt to the front and make a "button" with the elastic band.
You now basically have culottes.
Wish I'd known that when I used to cycle to work. It was more "one hand to steer and one hand on the skirt"!

thanksamillion Thu 13-Oct-16 23:28:25

I often wear leggings and tunic type dresses. Long boots work well in the winter especially as they keep your legs dry in the rain. I have a Basil pannier bag that looks like a 'normal' bag and means no sweaty rucksack back.

I'm also fortunate that it's mainly downhill on the way there and a struggle up on the way back when it doesn't matter so much.

Tortadellanonna Fri 14-Oct-16 08:03:50

Make up when I get to work, no shower so I reuse deodorant and run my wrists under cold water.

banivani Fri 14-Oct-16 08:21:22

Jaysus, how far have you got to go? And how fast do you go?

botemp Fri 14-Oct-16 08:35:42

Slightly off topic, but what bikes are you all using? I ask this as a Dutch person who has been cycling a lengthy commute (30 mins at the least) from the age of 11/12 onward and the only time I've ever had sweat issues was in my teenage days when I was running late and going at really high speeds on a bike with teeny tiny wheels. Even then it wasn't enough to warrant anything other than a quick spray of deodorant. Don't know of anyone else who is encumbered by it to affect their clothing choices either, unless they have a race bike and ride for sport.

Our biking woes generally come down to ho to recover when you look like a drowned rat after being caught in some unexpected rain and where to find a jacket that doesn't catch on the saddle at the back all the time.

General hacks from here are, never layer up too much under your coat in winter to avoid boiling, relying on gloves, scarfs, hats, and the actual activity of cycling to keep you warm. A newspaper on your chest (under your coat/shirt) if there's cold penetrating winds (be careful about ink though) is an old trick that's really effective. Elastics round the hems of your pants to keep wind out.

I have a crate at the front end to carry whatever bag and/or groceries, people usually have one of those, a basket, or the attached double cycle bags at the back, personally have never had a sweaty back from a backpack either.

Skirts are fine to wear, even in summer, you don't really see anything, unless you wear really colourful underwear with an especially short skirt, provided your saddle is at the right height. Wider skirts with a tendency to catch the wind and reveal all can be knotted up with an elastic as mentioned above.

annandale Fri 14-Oct-16 08:38:47

Use a stepthrough bike if you have one then it doesn't matter whether you are in skirts or trousers.

Wear your normal clothes plus windproofing and warming of fingers/feet as per botemp's post.

Have a shower and a decent whack of deodorant before you set off.

Use a tinted moisturiser and leave it at that for makeup. People will notice far less than you think.

museumum Fri 14-Oct-16 08:45:51

Pull on a pair of yoga pants under your dress for the cycle.

museumum Fri 14-Oct-16 08:49:35

I saw the most chic woman yesterday cycling with this backpack

FormerlyCatherineDeB Fri 14-Oct-16 08:49:39

I cycle 6 miles each way if I don't have evening meetings, my bike doesn't have a sloping top tube so I wear my cycling shorts with a breathable t shirt and a hi viz soft shell or rain jacket.

I plan ahead and leave a dress and jacket hanging up at work, have baby wipes and deodorant in my drawer. If I haven't planned ahead I take something carefully rolled up - a wool or jersey dress with a scarf type thing.

Botemp - my bike is a tourer with front and back racks and a bar bag (although I don't use the front bags for work I leave the rack on). Do you have hills where you live? I am on the edge of the Pennines - flat isn't part of my ride. Hills make a massive difference sweat wise for me.

I have actually forgotten my shoes on two occasions and had to wear my cycling shoes all day.

FormerlyCatherineDeB Fri 14-Oct-16 08:54:20

Make up wise, I don't wear much anyway but I usually brush a tiny bit of mac's smut through my brows and on my eye lid, tinted moisturiser and lipstick. I look the same 30 mins after cycling as I do normally which probably says more about my normal look than it does anything else.

user1471521456 Fri 14-Oct-16 09:05:30


Definitely the hills. I cycle to work, only a couple of miles, 15-20 mins in a relatively flat area of the country (but nowhere near as flat as the Netherlands). On the way to work, I cycle down into a river valley so mostly flat with maybe a slight downhill bias and one proper downhill. Quick change of clothes in the loos, no problem. Cycling home again, that downhill turns into an uphill at the end of which I am sweating like a pig and definitely in need of a shower.

HappyHeart87 Fri 14-Oct-16 09:10:14

Botemp - I'm a sweaty Betty but I could (and indeed have) cycled around Holland all day without losing a drop! The UK is so much hillier, even in 'flat' areas.

OP, I second all the stuff PPs have said. Just regular bicarb like for baking. I make sure my hair is tied up as if it's on my neck it gets me hotter. I also tend to strip off as many layers as possible, helmet etc, when I get to work and stand outside in the cold for 5 minutes. It speeds up the cooling down process.

botemp Fri 14-Oct-16 09:14:27

NL is pretty flat generally but there are usually some hills/steep inclines, I do 15 km at minimum a day each way (9 miles and a bit I think) and I do tend to take the route with more hills but they're probably minor in comparison.

I do agree this makes a massive difference to possibly sweating if it's all hills (as this is where I always watch the tourists keel over). Wind is the tough bit here mostly, sometimes you're cycling at top speed but barely moving but it's still not sweat inducing just demoralising.

FormerlyCatherineDeB Fri 14-Oct-16 09:19:33

NL is pretty flat generally

Which is why we have chosen it for our first holiday touring with DD on her own bike grin.

It is definitely the hills, I still get off one one of them at times - DH disowns me for that if ever I do it when we are together.

I used to cycle in Cambridge a lot when I lived there and was always as cool as a cucumber wink, now, like user I often sweat like a pig!

I wear fewer clothes than I should on my ride to work so I don't get too hot but put more on for the ride home.

Lightroom Fri 14-Oct-16 09:20:32

Just wanted to say thanks to OP and contributors. I've been cycling to work since Sept and was going to post this question. V helpful!

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