W is for wet-wipes, the commuter’s friend
What to wear to ride your bike to the office, whether to get changed and how to transport your clothes is all part of the daily conundrum of cycle commuting. Not to mention staring down the strange looks from colleagues as you stroll through the office in your finest Lycra.
One of the biggest things that puts people off commuting to work by bike is how to be presentable in the office once they arrive. To the dedicated cycle commuter nothing stands in the way of riding to work and a pack of wet wipes just about means you can get away without a shower. It might be totally normal among your friends and in your off-duty hours to parade around in Lycra with an oily chain ring mark on your leg but it can turn heads in other walks of life so at least a gesture towards hygiene and cleanliness is required.
The biggest potential horror for a cycle commuter is the day you forget your clothes. The sinking feeling in your stomach as you reach into your rucksack only to realise that your all-important trousers are not there, it’s a classic that most of us cycling commuters have done, some more than once! It can lead to a day stuck behind the desk, suit and tie from the waist up, Lycra beneath. Or just style it out. What is the worst that can happen?
There are a few tricks that many cycle commuters employ to make the transition from cyclist to professional a little bit smoother. Golden rule number one is always bring a full change of clothes. If you can manage it take a full week’s worth of clothes in to work on a Monday and return home with a bag of washing on a Friday! Alternatively take clothes in every day in a bag, the best way to do it is to roll, rather than fold, so it doesn’t crease and make sure it is in a waterproof bag, even inside your rucksack or pannier.
Cool down before you get washed and changed so you don’t continue to sweat in your new outfit. It helps if you can ride the last 5-10 minutes at a super easy pace so you are already feeling cooler when you walk through the door. This also helps avoid bumping into your boss whilst still tomato faced and dripping sweat. Tactical use of wet wipes in significant places really is all you need if you are changing your outfit and shower regularly at other times.
Keep a pair of ‘work’ shoes permanently under your desk which will help ensure you always have dry, niff free foot wear. They are the heaviest thing to carry and even if you commute in ordinary shoes its helpful to have a spare pair for those days when it lashes with rain.
Helmet hair is another classic giveaway that you have cycled to work, even if the rest of you is washed and presentable. A quick spritz of dry shampoo and a brush can quickly eliminate damp or greasy looking hair. In an emergency sticking your head under blow drier can give you a high-volume blow-dried look! With a bit of resourcefulness, you can easily transform yourself from bedraggled, sweaty cyclist into hot-shot professional worker in a matter of minutes.