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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164

    Commuting & hair

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    I move on Monday, and will be within biking distance of my work (the route I'll take will probably be 10 miles). I'm a bit intimidated by the thought of bike commuting, mostly because of the time it'll take (both the commute and getting ready), but I'm definitely going to give it a try.

    I have access to a shower at work, but of course skipping a shower would mean I could carry a *lot* less crap every day. Then again, I also work in a conservative office and have to look reasonably nice. At this point my main questions are:

    - Any tips on looking presentable quickly/ with few products?

    - What kind of hair style works best for bike commuting? Currently my hair is past my shoulders but I could gladly cut it if it made for a more streamlined getting ready routine (although I'm not ready to go as short as a pixie cut).

    - Any general tips/advice?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    2,738
    There's a lot of threads on this topic. Here's what I posted in another one- it definitely applies here as well.

    I have a shower at work and never use it. It's just too far away from the hot water heater to be useful (unless you want to wait 20 minutes for hot water ).

    For most days, just a quick toweling off and some deodorant suffices. If it's really humid out, I might touch up with a baby wipe or two. Just putting on clean clothes makes me feel cleaner.

    I keep a stash of all my toiletries and makeup in my desk, so it's easy to have the same "get ready" routine at work that I have at home.


    It's been a long time since I've had anything even close to long hair, but longer hair worked better for me post-bike than shorter styles did. And then I got fed up and chopped it all off. It's now about two inches long all around

    My commute is ~9 miles each way. Riding my bike really only adds around 20 minutes of travel time over driving. My getting-ready time is still the same- it's just in a different place. It's worth it to me to give up 40 extra minutes a day to get over an hour's worth of exercise. It's worth a try, right?
    Last edited by Becky; 07-07-2011 at 02:49 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,143
    My only advice is to cut your hair, unless you have straight, frizz free hair that can be styled without a blower, etc.
    I have a pixie and all I did was shower before riding to work, then wipe off with wipes or soap and water/wash face and reapply deodorant, wet hair and redo with gel after arriving.
    Keep hygeine supplies at work and also extra pair of shoes, bra, jacket for days when you forget stuff. Bring all of your needed clothes for commuting days on a day when you drive, unless you have a pannier.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    I commuted 14 miles each way for five years. I always used the shower at work. I kept all my shower stuff, including a towel, at work. Once a week, I would drive with a week's worth of pressed work clothes that I kept in a garmet bag in a closet. No one knew it was there. No one knew I rode a bike to work by my office appearance. Only my bike in the lobby bike rack and my end-of-the-day change into bike clothes gave me away. No one had a problem with me riding my bike; in fact, I even inspired several others to do the same.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    2,048
    I am a teacher, and don't have a shower, but I do have a lab sink. I only commute about once a week, partly because I have to leave so much earlier to get there and clean up.

    I wash my hair in the sink, shampoo and condition and use the blow dryer, and use a wash cloth and soap since there is no shower.

    I have pretty short hair so it dries quickly.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Hmmmm I'd say the exact opposite of Crankin.... Leave it long. Middle length/shorter hair is the worst - it gets and looks messy almost immediately under a helmet and is hardest to get looking good again. Unless you are willing to go very, very short, so that it can go spiky, leaving enough to put in a pony tail if necessary is best.

    I'm lucky enough to have a shower at work, so I generally just shower there. I have on occasion, when working at a different campus, showered just before my ride so that my hair was good and wet before I left. Since it was a short commute it would not dry all of the way by the time I arrived. I don't ever blow dry anyway, so when it finished drying it looked the same as always. A few other times, when I only had to go in for about an hour and didn't feel like going early enough to shower, I put my hair up in a pony tail and tied it with a scarf to make it a bit more dressy. My hair is curly.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    the dry side of Washington
    Posts
    149
    We don't have a shower at the clinic so do that at home and wipe down at work. I keep deodorant and makeup at my desk. But I put my moisturizer with sunblock on at home
    I leave home with my hair wet in a pony and do a quick brushout at work. This works well for me. I keep scrubs and extra panties and bra at work. Th only ppl that know the days I ride are my doc and receptionist... and anyone who has drays taken cause that room is the only place I can put my bike. Basically. For me it is easier to have hair I can throw in a pony.
    Women are. Like tea bags; you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water~ Eleanor Roosevelt

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    478
    Quote Originally Posted by azfiddle View Post
    I wash my hair in the sink, shampoo and condition and use the blow dryer, and use a wash cloth and soap since there is no shower.

    .
    I do the same (except for the blow dryer), and leave my stuff in my desk drawer. I wash then, put in a ponytail and am ready to go.

    I also use antibacterial wipes for the body and have spare travel size deoderant I use also.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Western Canada-prairies, mountain & ocean
    Posts
    6,982
    I've never showered at work...even though for some workplaces there was a shower. Just too much time and hassle for me.

    But I always changed out of my cycling clothing, washed my face, wipe parts of me and dealt with my short hair (brushing it).
    For certain, I ook worse with longer hair under helmet. I know I do, so I keep a short haircut: over half of my ear or whole ear shows, with the style I keep. I never worry...my hair grows fast.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    37
    I shower at work

    Before you start - when you're getting ready in the morning carry around a notepad - takes a little extra time, but write down everything you use when getting ready
    It makes a huge difference when you start showering at work, it meant that I was comfortable and knew that everything I could possibly need was at my fingertips

    My kit is almost identical to what I would take if I was to go camping or travelling

    I'm lucky in that we have lockers - but I have a weeks worth of suits and shirts - I get them drycleaned probably once a fortnight (I wear most clothes at least twice before a dryclean.. as long as it doesn't smell or look dirty it'll get pulled out again)

    My hair is middle length around my ears, and curly, I rinse my hair at work if I've worked really hard getting in and let it dry while I eat, or I brush it out when I get in - I don't worry about shampooing in the mornings at all
    One of the ladies who used to ride in has a hair dryer in her drawer which is at anyone's disposal - but I've never had the need to use it

    What do you normally do with your hair? If you would normally say - use a straightener - Grab a second one for work and leave it there
    Or if you coif and pin and make like a peacock - then make sure you've got the kit and the time to do it as you would normally
    Or.. If you throw your hair into a ponytail - make sure you've got elastic and a brush

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    MD
    Posts
    164
    Ha I normally do nothing for my hair. Brush it out and if it looks crappy then throw it back in a ponytail even though it isnt very professional. I'm trying to avoid having to wash my hair a TON although I guess in this weather it isn't really optional. I was sort of curious if anyone used dry shampoo at work. Perhaps just a rinse and blowdry but skipping shampoo and conditioner would suffice.

    My office is annoyingly far away from the showers (basically I would lock up my bike in the garage connecting buildings A and B -- I'd have to go up the elevator in building A to get my shower stuff and then come back down and walk over to B) so I can't decide if carrying it every day in panniers would be best. Guess I'll just try both and see (although I'll have to start with a backpack at first). Any advice on what to do with wet towels?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    Posts
    5,269
    I have a camp towel that is quick-drying (an MSR camping towel). It's more like a chamois for your body/hair. It dries quickly. I can hang it somewhere in my office and it dries in an hour or two.

    Maybe you could just cart a small toiletry kit with you everyday. Something with travel sized things that wouldn't be big/bulky to carry with you everyday since your shower situation isn't very convenient. The toiletry kit I carry with me when bike touring isn't much smaller than the one I use at work. It has a folding brush, travel size toothbrush/toothpaste, shampoo bar that I use as shampoo and soap and a small container of deodorant (I make my own deodorant, so I put it in a tiny screw top container).
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  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Canberra, Australia
    Posts
    37
    :P
    I would consider a ponytail professional
    -I've never tried a dry shampoo (Thankyou google, I now know what they are)

    I found that when I was carrying everything with me I tended to occaisionally forget stuff

    Make sure you have a supply of emergency undergarments
    Yeah.. I needed them
    and did I have any emergency supplies? No.

    Wet Towel: I bought a Large camping Towel - Quick Drying, anti-bacterial, microfibre, I toss it in a sink - scrub it a little with some soap flakes, wring it out and then hang it up mid-week and have a dry and clean towel the next day
    and most importantly it rolls down nice and small so I can take it home for a proper wash without having to bring a larger bag with me

    It's dry by the time I'm dressed most days - if it's not dry I clip it onto a hanger and hang it behind the door in the emergency stairwell
    And well.. to be honest I do that when it's dry too
    Mine came with a mesh bag - so if it falls or anything I'm not stressing too much about it getting dirty or smelly

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    23
    I have a kit at work with toiletries. I bought a Frogg Toggs chilly pad towel. It's a chamois. You wet it, ring it out, and use to cool your down. I keep mine in the little container it came in. I wipe down with antibacterial soap on all the gross parts, and use my chilly pad to rinse (remove soap and cool me down at the same time). then deodorant. I also use baby powder in my hair. I blow dry my sweaty hair first, then baby powder the roots, spray on conditioner and comb it out. Spritz of perfume and makeup and I'm done. I keep all this at work except clothes. I bring those every day.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    My commute is only 7 or 8 miles each way. I find if I shower at home and apply deodorant and perfume, ride like the wind (albeit a pudgy, out-of-breath, beet red, and slow wind), then pretty much coast the last mile, I arrive at work only a little sweaty.

    Though still beet red.

    I wander around for 15 or 20 minutes dressed in only my Eurohalter or a tank-top and the bottoms I rode in on. Sweat in my bobbed hair makes it damp enough to comb it and pin it, and it dries in the 15 or 20 minutes the rest of me dries.

    Then I put on my "professional" clothes.

    Folks at work say I don't stink, and I trust them on that. My hair looks fine. I reapply make-up if I need to, but rarely need to.

    My biggest piece of advice would be: get ready at home like you would for any other day. Just wear biking clothes out the door. If your commute is short and fairly flat like mine, you won't sweat enough (and it is fresh odorless sweat) to mess you up. Even your hair will behave better than you expect.
    Last edited by KnottedYet; 07-07-2011 at 06:39 PM.
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