Cycling with style is easy and fun. However, I don’t want it to seem like I simply hop off my bike fresh as a spring flower and go along my merry way. If that’s what people think is supposed to happen after they read about how easy it is to ride in regular clothes, then they will be annoyed when it does not work for them and give up. So I want to be clear that I sweat. A lot. More than the average person. I have been known to sweat in the dead of winter on my bike if I wear one layer too many. My hair gets sweaty and a bit frizzy. Sometimes I get grease on my leg and curse at Betty Foy. Over time I have learned how to deal and always have a plan of action for hot rides.
For example, yesterday I rode 7 miles downtown to have lunch with a friend. The sun was at its peak and the temperature was around 80 F. I wore a breezy lined silk skirt and a cami, stowing my cardigan rolled up in my purse. I strapped my purse in my front basket with a bungie cord and put on my helmet. I then cycled at a steady but easy pace to avoid getting too hot. Twice I stopped to turn my skirt around to prevent sweat spots from building up.
When I arrived at my destination, I removed my helmet, combed and re-braided my hair, put on a fancy headband, blotted my face with a tissue, and put on my cardigan. I wanted to wear my hair down, but it was too sweaty from the helmet and I gave up the idea. I arrived a bit early so I could sit in the air conditioning and cool down. After my face cooled, I reapplied lip gloss and powder. I had a mint because fresh breath makes me feel overall fresher.
Voila. No one could have guessed that I cycled there.
If the weather was extremely hot, I would have ducked into a restroom to reapply deodorant and freshen up further with water and a paper towel or an Action Wipe. When commuting to work, I wear shorts and a tank for the ride, then clean up and change to a suit when I arrive at the office. For summer cycling the most important thing is expecting and preparing for these small challenges. Then you can simply enjoy the ride.
Questions? Tips on how you stay fresh in the summer? Let us know in the comments.