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Tips to Stay Fresh When Cycling to Work

It’s true. The bicycle is probably the best way to commute to work. It’s not only environmentally friendly but you also get your daily dose of exercise, and get to skip traffic jams. But after a long bike journey, feeling sweaty, icky, and hot is not an ideal way to walk into the office. So here are my top tips on staying fresh after a cycle ride into work…

There are a number of techniques and tips you can use to make sure you’re fresh at work even after a long cycle ride. You can:

  1. Carry an “after-cycling kit” to freshen up
  2. Use panniers instead of a backpack to reduce sweat
  3. Wear moisture-wicking clothes
  4. Dress as if the weather is warmer than it is

And there are more ways than these which we’ll discuss in this article…

Although freshening up is by no means a difficult endeavor, there are some important steps you can follow in order to feel your best at work after a long cycling trip.

By ensuring that each detail is accounted for, your sweaty trip to work will turn into a fresh start to the day. Here are the most important things you need to take care of to revitalize yourself after your cycle to work

How to Freshen Up After a Sweaty Cycle Ride

There’s no question that everybody wants to present their best self at work, but it happens… we all know that one person at your 8A.M. business meeting that smells like the men’s locker room at a busy gym.

However, worry not! With a few simple steps, you don’t have to be that person. Here are my top tips.

Take an Early Morning Shower Before you Leave for Work

What causes that rancid smell that reeks from your sweaty arms and legs? It’s seldom the sweat itself; it’s the bacteria present on your body.

By showering before your cycling trip, you lessen the severity of the smell if you do host a smell. You’re eliminating the bacteria that have infested your body since you last showered. Trust me, this one works much better than you think it would!

Plan your Time Accordingly

What happens when you’re tight on time? Or when you’re running late for work? You start pedaling faster and pushing yourself harder like you’re racing in the Tour de France.

As a result, you start sweating profusely, which greatly increases the likelihood of developing a strong post-workout smell. Giving yourself plenty of time to get to work also means that you have sufficient time to freshen up when you arrive at work. Which brings me to my next tip…

Invest in a Sanitary “After-Cycling” Kit at your Workplace

It’s recommended that you invest in an easily-accessible kit that includes sufficient toiletries for you to clean up after your ride. Here’s some more information on what kind of things you’ll need to include…

Prepare “Freshening-up” Essentials at Work

It is crucial that you prepare the necessary toiletries to clean up after a tiresome journey to work. Remember to keep it easily-accessible and sanitary; you want to make the most efficient use of your time. These essentials are purposed for a quick freshen-up when you get to work. Some things you should consider including are…

Wet Wipes – Wet wipes are phenomenal at sanitizing your hands and face after your journey. They are not only extremely absorbent, residue-free, but it is also sometimes manufactured to produce a pleasant smell. 

Towels – Alternatively, you could consider using a towel to soak up your sweat from your arms, legs, face, and hair when you get to work.

Deodorant – Deodorant prevents the rancid smell that may reek from your sweat. It is a good idea to apply it not only to your armpits, but also to any area of your body that sweats excessively during exercise. 

Having a freshening up kit is a great idea for cycling commuters

Hair Products – Dry shampoo is a quick and easy method to prevent or remove grease, grime, and sweat that may reside on your hair. As an added bonus, it usually produces a pleasant fragrance as well. You can also use a hairbrush or comb to neaten your hair after your cleaning session. 

Makeup – If you do not wear sweat-resistant or water-resistant makeup, it is a good idea to bring makeup in case you need to reapply or fix it after your cycling trip. 

Making the Necessary Preparations to Ride

It’s a good idea to plan ahead and make some preparations in advance before you cycle to work, such as investing in certain types of clothing and storage for your bike. Let’s look into this in a little more detail…

Dress Properly for the Ride

Don’t dress too heavily for the ride. Although it will feel breezier than your classic drive to work, dress as if the weather is warmer than it actually is. Your body inevitably warms up when you exercise. If you wear too much, you will only have to deal with more sweat.

Before you leave, it is extremely important to check the weather forecast. If you’re planning to commute to work in the rain, make sure you have a raincoat with you. If you’re planning to commute to work on a sunny day, consider using an attachable umbrella

In general, you should wear less than you would if you were to take a walk in the park on that same day. Allow excess ventilation for your body to heat up, which allows your body to breathe, so that there is less sweating. It is even recommended that you invest in moisture-wicking base layers that are made to regulate your rising body temperature. 

Prepare a Spare Change of Clothes & socks

If you’re the type to sweat profusely during exercise, it’s also recommended that you either bring a spare change of clothes with you, or leave a spare set at your workplace. On the occasion that you must ride through on a rainy day, this extra set will definitely come in handy.

Avoid Using a Backpack when Cycling

A backpack not only increases your load — meaning that you will have to exert more energy and strength to pedal your bicycle — but it also limits ventilation. The less ventilation for your skin, the more sweat that will collect on your clothing. We’ll get to storage alternatives below…

Invest in Suitable Equipment for your Ride

Invest in a well-ventilated helmet and clothes. As stated above, these investments will prevent the excessive amount of sweat that will dribble down your face by the end of the ride.

Invest in Equipment for Cycling to Work

As stated, do not use a backpack when cycling to work; they only hold you down and make it more difficult. If you plan on using your bicycle on a day-to-day basis, consider investing in a pannier, saddlebag, or any other alternative storage systems that attach to your bicycle. (Check out my Recommended Gear section for my favorite solutions.)

On the plus side, it has a larger carrying capacity than a regular-sized backpack and it also relieves the weight from your back. A pannier can be used to store not only your work-related necessities, but also spare essentials that you may like to bring along. 

At the same time, it’s a good idea invest in a good cycling helmet. One that is well-ventilated to prevent athletes and everyday users from dealing with an excessive amount of sweat. 

Final Thoughts

Almost everybody sweats after a long cycling trip, especially whenever we rush or are tight on time. By taking the steps above, you should be able to feel fresh when you walk into work even if you had a pretty good workout.

In doing so, you also learn how to clean up for yourself after any and every exercise session. Remember to follow these tips; dress properly for the ride, prepare the essentials to freshen up, and invest in good-quality equipment that will prevent the sweaty, icky feeling after your ride!

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