Cycle to Work - Wet Clothes?

Hello,

Talks about now returning to the office, so in an effort to avoid busy trains and get fit, I am going to cycle to work. Each journey will take me just over an hour and on main roads all the way. 

What do people to with their wet & dirty clothes when you get to work? I am thinking they will get damp and smelly if left in a bag?

Any help appreciated

thanks


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  • hugheskevi
    hugheskevi Posts: 3,811 Forumite
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    edited 23 August 2021 at 1:21PM
    Unless you plan on cycling in hard enough to generate a lot of sweat, you shouldn't get wet very often. I find that in London (can't speak for other places) it actually rains surprisingly little at commute times - I only get very wet maybe 5 times a year. Drizzle and light rain doesn't cause much wetness as it dries off as quickly as it lands, so only a rain jacket might get slightly damp. The main issue tends to be what you do with a damp towel (assuming you have showers).

    Most buildings will provide a drying room, where cyclists can hang up wet clothes and towels. Alternatively, lockers may be provided which are large enough to hang up wet gear.

    Depending on where you work and what the environment is like there, you might be able to get away with putting stick-on hooks in a quiet place (eg inside or behind a cupboard) to hang things up. Otherwise, I drape wet things over a cycling pannier (or other such bag) under my desk if nothing else is available. 
  • MalMonroe
    MalMonroe Posts: 5,783 Forumite
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    edited 23 August 2021 at 2:52PM
    Hello,

    Talks about now returning to the office, so in an effort to avoid busy trains and get fit, I am going to cycle to work. Each journey will take me just over an hour and on main roads all the way. 

    What do people to with their wet & dirty clothes when you get to work? I am thinking they will get damp and smelly if left in a bag?

    Any help appreciated

    thanks


    You can buy waterproof outer clothing. One of my friends cycles to work and has a special hat. jacket and trousers that fit over her work clothes. When she arrives at work, she just shakes the water off and hangs her gear up so it can dry off properly, ready for the journey home. No bag, no damp, no smell. There must be somewhere to hang up outdoor clothing at your work? Hopefully though it won't be raining heavily every day!
    Please note - taken from the Forum Rules and amended for my own personal use (with thanks) : It is up to you to investigate, check, double-check and check yet again before you make any decisions or take any action based on any information you glean from any of my posts. Although I do carry out careful research before posting and never intend to mislead or supply out-of-date or incorrect information, please do not rely 100% on what you are reading. Verify everything in order to protect yourself as you are responsible for any action you consequently take.
  • Unless you plan on cycling in hard enough to generate a lot of sweat, you shouldn't get wet very often. I find that in London (can't speak for other places) it actually rains surprisingly little at commute times - I only get very wet maybe 5 times a year. Drizzle and light rain doesn't cause much wetness as it dries off as quickly as it lands, so only a rain jacket might get slightly damp. The main issue tends to be what you do with a damp towel (assuming you have showers).

    Most buildings will provide a drying room, where cyclists can hang up wet clothes and towels. Alternatively, lockers may be provided which are large enough to hang up wet gear.

    Depending on where you work and what the environment is like there, you might be able to get away with putting stick-on hooks in a quiet place (eg inside or behind a cupboard) to hang things up. Otherwise, I drape wet things over a cycling pannier (or other such bag) under my desk if nothing else is available. 
    An hour of cycling to work in rain clothes you DO sweat. I haven't tried the Gore Shakedry range due to expense but I have a variety of tops from Gore, Rapha, Mavic and Pearl Izumi plus I used to have an Aldi special and all of them I end up with sweat on the inside even if they keep the rain out. I have a couple of sets of rain jerseys which are more like a canvas material, short sleeve, and even those I get hot in on the way in. If OP has a shower room I'd be more tempted to nail it in a jersey and bibs and just leave them on a radiator somewhere. I had a fan heater that I leave on in the stores where I hang my kit, else whack them on radiators in rarely used rooms.
  • MalMonroe said:
    Hello,

    Talks about now returning to the office, so in an effort to avoid busy trains and get fit, I am going to cycle to work. Each journey will take me just over an hour and on main roads all the way. 

    What do people to with their wet & dirty clothes when you get to work? I am thinking they will get damp and smelly if left in a bag?

    Any help appreciated

    thanks


    You can buy waterproof outer clothing. One of my friends cycles to work and has a special hat. jacket and trousers that fit over her work clothes. When she arrives at work, she just shakes the water off and hangs her gear up so it can dry off properly, ready for the journey home. No bag, no damp, no smell. There must be somewhere to hang up outdoor clothing at your work? Hopefully though it won't be raining heavily every day!
    I doubt your friend is cycling an hour, you cannot do that sort of journey in work clothes, even putting aside the lack of comfort, they would be way too messy for an office after a ride
  • Username03725
    Username03725 Posts: 496 Forumite
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    edited 2 September 2021 at 12:05PM
    As you asked...

    I used to ride an hour + each way some but not all days per week, 21 miles there, the same back. It was only doable in proper cycling togs as there's no point even pretending that you won't sweat doing that distance, unless you go at walking pace in which case there's no point cycling.

    I used to arrive at the office, have a coffee to give me time to cool down a bit then go and have a strip wash in the Disabled loo. (I cleared that with the one person who had legitimate access). Dampish cycling togs soon dry out so I'd fold them loosely and put them in my drawer, and change into clean office clothes that I kept on site. Driving in on the other days was when worn clothes went home and fresh ones were brought in. That worked quite well for the 4 years I did it.

    There was a stat doing the rounds that claimed the average UK commuter cyclist would get rained on on the way in only about 12 times a year, and that sounds close enough for me. On days when I rolled up soaking wet in dripping togs I gave them a rinse in the sink during my wash and then hung them on a radiator either in the loo or in my bit of the office.

    You need a bit of cupboard space to do this, and adequate space where you sit to make it work. 
  • theoretica
    theoretica Posts: 12,280 Forumite
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    edited 2 September 2021 at 12:30PM
    If you need to bag your clothes up use a very breathable and roomy bag so they look bagged but are also able to dry.  Not screwed up tightly in plastic.  Also sports places sell various things to put into bags with sports kit and help keep them fresh - something to investigate?
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  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 545 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee! Name Dropper
    Most buildings will provide a drying room, where cyclists can hang up wet clothes and towels. Alternatively, lockers may be provided which are large enough to hang up wet gear.

    You must be lucky as that's not my experience. Currently we have no drying room, no lockers, and the only shower is in the men's toilet (Don't get me started). Previous offices I've worked in similarly had no drying room and no lockers.

    I did find that I rarely got wet enough to need to change when wearing a light waterproof jacket, and kept a change of clothes in the office for those occasions. If I get soaked on the way home it's not so much of a problem.
  • hugheskevi
    hugheskevi Posts: 3,811 Forumite
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    YBR said:
    Most buildings will provide a drying room, where cyclists can hang up wet clothes and towels. Alternatively, lockers may be provided which are large enough to hang up wet gear.

    You must be lucky as that's not my experience. Currently we have no drying room, no lockers, and the only shower is in the men's toilet (Don't get me started). Previous offices I've worked in similarly had no drying room and no lockers.

    I did find that I rarely got wet enough to need to change when wearing a light waterproof jacket, and kept a change of clothes in the office for those occasions. If I get soaked on the way home it's not so much of a problem.
    I've found larger buildings usually have drying rooms somewhere, but usually completely inadequate capacity on days when there is heavily rain so they aren't all that useful unless you arrive early. Where lockers are available, there usually are not enough so may well not be very useful either.

    I also once worked in a building where the showers were in the men's toilet - it was a big building, and had about 6 showers in various difference men's toilets. There was no way of knowing if a shower was in use without going into the toilet, so for cyclists each day started with a tour of typically 3 or 4 men's toilets all on different floors looking for a free shower...I ended up just starting work in my cycling clothes and then going for a shower after 10am when they were all free.

    But for the last 10 years I've always worked in places with good cycling provision in terms of security, showers and lockers. It is still often a lot of phaff getting allocated passes and lockers, but persistence and finding the right people lead to a good outcome quite quickly.
  • YBR
    YBR Posts: 545 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Mortgage-free Glee! Name Dropper


    I also once worked in a building where the showers were in the men's toilet - it was a big building, and had about 6 showers in various difference men's toilets. There was no way of knowing if a shower was in use without going into the toilet, so for cyclists each day started with a tour of typically 3 or 4 men's toilets all on different floors looking for a free shower...I ended up just starting work in my cycling clothes and then going for a shower after 10am when they were all free.

    I'm a woman. 
  • This is a tough one to give specific advice on because it very much depends on you/your colleagues/your workplace.

    If your workplace has good facilities then you're good to go - just use them. If not, it might be worth asking now if something can be arranged. Large companies normally make some effort although, like hughesevi, I've also worked at places where you had to trapse round to find a free shower. It was pretty relaxed so as long as I had no meetings I'd just stay in kit. On the other hand, a friend at a more formal business was summoned to a meeting with her boss and told it was unprofessional of her to have wet hair after a shower. She pointed out the company had pro-cycling policies and some hair dryers were made available. 

    If you're at a smaller place then have a poke around and see if you can find a secluded corner or an unused cupboard where you might be able to hang stuff up. You'll know from your relationships whether it's better to ask permission or seek forgiveness. I have previously hung stuff up: in a dedicated cycle changing space, over my bike in the cycle storage area, in the space under my desk, on a dedicated coat stand in the office. 

    If they're dry it's not the end of the world if your cycling clothes get stinky - you're only going to wear them to ride home in. Wet stuff is more miserable. If you have drawer space it might be worth keeping some spare shorts and socks at the bottom of the drawer just in case. 

    In terms of how sweaty you'll get, again it depends on you and your ride. My previous commute was 50 minutes but cross London so very stop start. I could happily wear a work top because I didn't sweat much but rode in leggings because I was fed up of ruining my jeans. On the other hand I used to ride 25 mins through country lanes where you could get enough speed up for it to be a session and could be quite gross when I arrived. In general I'd sweat more on cold days because I wore too many layers to start off with - you want to be a bit chilly when you set off. You'll work out what works for you, everyone does it differently. 
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