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Sweating is healthy. We all need to sweat, it’s our body’s way of cooling down. But if we’re cycling to work, the last thing we want is to arrive as a dripping mess, leaving puddles on the floor.
Not every workplace has showers. None of mine ever did, but that didn’t stop me from cycling in every day. No, I’m not superhuman and yes, I liked my colleagues. I didn’t want them to be forced to give me a wide berth in the days before social distancing was mandatory.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid sweating too much, or even at all. So, we’ll take a look at how it’s possible to have a sweat free commute. After all, ‘clammy and disheveled’ is not a good way to start the working day.
Why Do I Sweat So Much When I Bike?
When cycling, you’re using muscles, which generates heat. As your internal temperature increases, the body produces sweat. It’s a natural cooling system to maintain a steady temperature.
In fact, the fitter you are, the more you will sweat. People with higher fitness levels produce sweat at a lower core temperature. The body releases sweat over a longer time, which is more efficient and keeps you cooler as a result.
How to Avoid Sweating When Cycling
Here are five top tips to avoid working up a sweat when cycling, for those times when it’s important to stay dry and fresh.
Shower Before You Go
If you start the journey clean, the only sweat you do produce (if any) will be fresh sweat, which doesn’t smell.
Wear the Right Clothing
Whatever you choose to wear when cycling to work, keep in mind that lighter, looser garments will let the air circulate around your body and keep you cooler. If it’s cold enough for layers, merino wool is widely recommended as an odourless option.
Take Your Time
You’re going to work, not trying to win a race. Leave enough time to take it slow and steady without hammering yourself into a sweat. If hills are unavoidable then climb gently in a low gear. Less effort means less sweat, but you’ll still feel the health benefits.
Carry Things On Your Bike, Not Your Body
Using panniers instead of a backpack or courier bag will ensure a far cooler ride. Any bag attached to your body will trap air (and heat), making you sweat more.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking water before you start riding will keep you hydrated. If you need to top up on the way, take in small amounts – your kidneys won’t need to work as hard, and you’ll sweat less.
How Can I Cycle to Work Without a Shower?
Having a shower at work isn’t essential as long as there is somewhere to wash or wipe yourself down. However basic the facilities, all you really need is water, soap and a towel, or even baby wipes.
There will of course be times when sweating en route is unavoidable, depending on the weather or how hilly it is. But don’t let this deter you – sweat doesn’t always equal ‘stench’.
Be prepared and allow time to freshen up before you start work. Also, think about whether the bike you’re riding is suitable for your journey.
How Do I Freshen Up After Cycling to Work?
Allow time to cool down when you arrive, and have a ‘cleaning kit’ with you or at your workplace (a can of ‘dry shower‘ can be very useful). Whether you wash with a flannel and soap, or baby wipes, make sure you use deodorant afterwards. This will keep you fresh and sweat free throughout the day.
You may well be one of the lucky ones and have a shower waiting for you at the end of your journey. But if not, I hope these tips will ensure you can stay comfortable and confident, keeping the workplace a stink-free zone for you and your colleagues.
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