Kitted Out

Last week I talked about riding slowly to avoid sweating and last year I talked about fresh summer cycling.  However, when the temperature is 90 degrees, changing into work clothes after the commute may be simpler than worrying about sweat marks and riding super slowly, especially when you’ll have to duck into the bathroom to freshen up anyway. Such was the case today, when I “kitted out” after suffering through a terribly sweaty ride in my work clothes the day before.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to introduce my LGRAB team kit.

As always, I have the Nutcase helmet and Po Campo bag. I might get a breezier helmet for the summer to cool my head better – a sporty helmet with lots of air vents. In the alternative, I’ll ride my Dutch bike on the bike path more often to forgo the helmet. Sweaty hair is my least favorite part of bike commuting (well, after cars).

I wear these crochet and leather fingerless gloves for longer hot rides with my Betty Foy. The combination of sweat and cork grips causes callouses otherwise.

My first summer of riding, I bought a lot of clothes specifically for commuting. Any old summer dress or tank and short combo would do, but I like Patagonia’s skorts (looks like a skirt with shorts underneath) and tanks with build in bras. Anything in merino wool is also good.

Keen cycling sandals are ugly as sin, but keep my feet cool and are odor resistant – a huge benefit when they’re sitting around my office all day. They have built in things on the bottom to connect clipless somethings. I ignore those.

Essential eye gear, of course.

The whole shebang.

My skirt and blouse were rolled up in my basket, but I’m gonna start leaving some suits in my office, along with my work heels.

Whether you prefer to ride in work clothes, casual clothes or special cycling clothes, it’s all good. Mix it up. Experiment. Just do what works for you.

Anyone else making accommodations for the heat (or cold, for the Australians out there)?

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34 thoughts on “Kitted Out

  1. Miss Sarah says:

    It’s spring here, but nowhere near sweat-land yet. Luckily I work at home, so I just change here:) But if I had to bike to work and I had an office? I’d totally keep a little stash of stuff there. Once I arrived to a dinner on the first night of a conference with butt sweat stains.

    Pretty attractive.

    Don bought a little wardrobe thing for his office at city hall. Has shoes, ties, suits, and all his dry cleaning necessary shirts. He’s all about the speed when commuting.


    • Dottie says:

      Butt sweat stains are the worst! Glad I’m not the only one who deals with that :)

      Don’s wardrobe sounds interesting. I was wondering about something like that because my new office doesn’t have a closet to keep my suits, whereas at my old job I was spoiled by using an empty office as a walk-in closet.

  2. My work requires me to meet people all over the city, often going from one venue to another throughout the day. If getting there by bicycle, there is no option to change before the meeting; I need to arrive already presentable. The best way I’ve found to accomplish this, is to cycle on streets with abundant shade and to wear light, breezy clothing with patterns on the fabric – such as stripes, polka dots, and florals. That way a bit of sweat isn’t noticeable.

  3. Amy says:

    I’ve actually started dressing a little nicer for my commute and changing into my work clothes when I get there. But my work clothes right now are ragged old cargo shorts, tank- top and barn boots. I get FILTHY at work, and it’s nice to have something clean to put on for the ride home. So I’ve been going to and from in a clean tank-top and linen slacks. I usually ride in flip-flops now too, and leave the boots at the barn, but am keeping an eye out for something that doesn’t feel like they’re going to fly off when I go down hills. Ugly as they may be, those Keen sandals might be just the ticket.

  4. Dave says:

    Holy smokes… we had thunderstorms in Portland today, and it’s about 50 degrees and raining. I’m still wearing my poncho on occasion :)

    I don’t have to wear any particular outfit to work, thankfully, so if it’s going to be really hot, I just wear a lighter shirt. It’s usually not hot enough in the morning that I need to worry too much, and on the way home, I don’t care as much. I imagine if I had to wear a suit or whatever, I’d just roll up the coat in my bags, roll up my sleeves and unbutton my collar on the way in, then roll down the sleeves, button the collar, throw on the tie, coat etc once I got to work and cooled down a bit. Would also definitely carry some deoderant (or leave some in my office) and maybe a wash cloth I could wet and wipe down my face, and maybe armpits with.

    I have to say though, I kind of dread the 90 degree weather. I’d rather the thunderstorms :)

    • Dottie says:

      I agreee, I don’t like the extreme heat. Chicago’s usually not so bad – the number of 90 degree days is kinda the equivalent to the few majorly freezing days, so I don’t have to worry about it too often.

  5. Carolyn I. says:

    I also have a pair of those ugly Keens. But they do keep my feet cool in the heat of Summer and so are worth it.

    I’d do the trail thing without helmet, but not much for trails here, so I really have to wear a helmet, a sporty one with holes..I think my head would be too warm in the Nutcase helmet in Summer.

    Now I don’t feel so bad about wearing my fingerless bike gloves! I bought a pair recently as I need it for my bicycle tour to the Rockies this Summer, I never wore bike gloves before. I’ve been wearing them just so I get used to them…I think they will come in handy for the long distance ride.

    The kit is an excellent idea!

    • Dottie says:

      I feel pretty badass with fingerless gloves. The Keens are great. I don’t want to be known as the woman with the office that smells like feet!

  6. Anne Hawley says:

    I’m partial to flipflops myself. I keep a pair in my basket. But I have to admit, I only started commuting last September 1, and the worst of the summer heat was over by then. Your tips and ideas (and everyone else’s) for remaining presentable will come in handy in July and August.

    • Dottie says:

      I like to put my toe down at red lights without dismounting, so I usually don’t do flipflops (would hurt my toes). But I’ll be they’re very refreshing with all the wind :)

  7. Su Yin says:

    Sandals/flip flops/jandals are also great for wet weather cycling!

  8. neighbourtease says:

    I work at home and don’t wear a helmet so I have yet to confront the sweaty hair thing BUT I would still recommend trying some dry shampoo/hair powder for your kit. It creates a groovy super voluminous matte texture that I sometimes like and it would do the job of fixing the helmet hair. I like the Lulu Organics version but Bumble and Bumble’s is also good. I am sure one could make this at home, too, if one were crafty at all in this way.

    I kind of love cycling in super hot weather and getting all sweaty. I am of the barely-ever break a sweat type so it’s exciting for me to feel like I’m exerting myself.

  9. Margo says:

    I started cycling in early December (in Boston!), so this summer is going to be a new adventure for me. Like Dave in Portland, I would *much* prefer 50 degrees, or even 15, to 90– bundling is so much nicer than sweating! I almost always have a handkerchief in my bag, which works for sniffles and teary eyes in cold weather and blotting my face in hot; maybe time to upgrade to a more absorbent washcloth for sweaty summer riding? Ew.

    • Annalisa says:

      It was hot in Boston yesterday and today!

      My system for hot weather is to wear breezy fabrics on top and a skort. I just bought some at Athleta and REI and they are great. I keep a pair of flats in my desk drawer, or I’ll bring a pair of heels in my rack bag.

      Also, BABY WIPES. Seriously.

  10. cycler says:

    I have a small supply of vintage linen hankies that I use to mop my brow, especially at my destination, which immediately makes me feel better.

    Ice water first thing when I get into the office, followed by a wipe down with alcohol gel (purell) makes all the difference.

  11. Melissa S. says:

    I always pack my office clothes with me. I thought of bringing a change of clothes to store at the office but I’m too moody for that.
    The best trick I have for wet hair is a blow dryer! I always blow dry my hair in the bathroom. I get strange looks but it’s better than wet, sweaty hair.

  12. sweatybumcheeks says:

    ok I risk ridicule for posting this but I’ve found that women’s panty liners strategically placed on my behind work wonders. I marvel at the guys I see riding in jeans even in hot weather without bum stains but I’ve yet to ask one how that can be.

    • neighbourtease says:

      love this. hilario.

      • Dottie says:

        Agreed! Especially if this is by a man.

        Now I’m wondering how it would work if I cut a liner in half and stuck each part under my arms. ‘Cause that could help with armpit sweat, too :)

        • ridon says:

          i stick my elbows out so that the wind can cool my underarms. not very aerodynamic, but i have wide-swept handlebars so it not so silly.

  13. Maria says:

    Sounds like there are tons of great ideas in this thread!!
    I often wish I had a longer commute, that way I’d not feel so guilty about rationalizing skipped workouts. Your post made me thankful of my short, shady commute for sure! The fact that Denver has next to no humidity really helps too!

  14. david says:

    Nice to hear how everyone deals with sweatiness on the way to work. Don’t know what I’d do without having a shower room, a little perk of my office. I’m able to get all refreshed and clean. Full change of clothes. Enables me to be an “all weather” commuter too.

    If you can’t shower, a change of clothes is a must I imagine. Can’t do much with a sweaty butt in office clothes.

  15. anna says:

    I wish it was that warm in Vienna!!!

    anna, suffering from bad weather

  16. Mickey Zoom says:

    We’ve had a bit of hot weather over here lately. It’s not too bad in the morning,but by hometime it can get very warm and sticky.I am lucky enough to have a shower at my office, although I’ve never used it. It is in a room with proper sinks and nifty lockers though, so I am able to keep ’emergency’ clothes at the office. I’ve never had to use them after a long commute, but in January we all go snowed into my office and had to sleep there. I was SO glad I had clean clothes, underwear and deodorant the next day. It is nice to know that there’s something there though. Before I had a locker, I just stashed stuff in my desk drawers. :-)

  17. Scott says:

    I have this neck band called Black Ice. You put it in the freezer, and it stays frozen for the ride to work. First use of the year for me was earlier this week.

  18. Karen says:

    The whole outfit your describe could be found right in my closet. Very Flagstaff, especially the ugly Keen cycling sandels, which actually are growing on me.

  19. Judy says:

    I really like your crocheted gloves and your Po Campo purse!! So tempting to get one :)
    It’s still cool in the mornings in Alberta (+3 degrees Celsius), so I use earmuffs and it makes the commute much more enjoyable. I don’t wear my helmet in the mornings because I am very vain and hate having helmet-hair all day at work.
    During warmer weather, I bring an extra bra and change when I arrive at work. I also carry a small face-cloth to refresh myself after a sweaty ride :)
    Like your nutcase helmet,too!

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