First Post - Commuting Clothing

JAKK Posts: 4
edited March 2008 in Commuting chat
Hi All,

This is my first post, so applogies in advance for the lack of knowledge. Basically, my employer refuses to install showers at work - it is 8 miles for me, so it's ideal commuting distance. Unfortunatley, that distance will get me very sweaty - unless I cycle at walking pace. Anyway, I was wondering if there is anything on the market that I can "google" or search for locally that will vastly reduce the sweating when I reach my works.

I've been advised on windproof jackets but not much info on t-shirt side of things. I'm getting the impression that I can wear any t-shirt then the windproof/waterproof jacket on top and that will vastly reduce the sweating.

My question is 1) have I got that right? - if not can someone correct me on what I should wear to avoid sweating buckets, and 2) can anyone recommend any clothing that will do the job?

I also realise that the amount of sweating also depends on the size you are - I am about average build and approx 12 Stone.

Windproof Jackets I have seen already are approx £50-100 - so I don't want to just go out and buy a jacket only to discover they don't really work. I don't mind spending the money as long as the clothing takes away 99% of the moisture. Any ideas?

Many Thanks in Advance.
JAKK. :?


  • DavidTQ
    DavidTQ Posts: 943
    No you definetely want a good breathing cycle specific wicking base layer, and probably a good breathable \ wicking cycle specific jersey \ top, believe me the decent quality cycling gear makes a HUGE difference to cycling sweat levels.

    I do 7 miles each way, if I wear a t-shirt even with a cycling jacket I will soak a t-shirt through to wringing wet stage, If I wear cycling base layer and top My tops barely damp and will be dry in 20 minutes! when I first started commuting I was doing it in jeans and t-shirts and bit by bit Ive put together a wardrobe of cycle wear that keeps me going whatever the weather. Ive yet to regret any of the items I spent out for in the way of cycle clothing!

    You can get windproof jackets way cheaper than that :D and yes windproof cycling gear can be exactly that, youd be amazed just how effective it can be!

    Im a skin flint who refuses to wear brand named fashion items, but so far proper cycling gear has proved ever so worthwhile and practical. If you need to prove to yourself the utility of cycling gear start with a baselayer and a windproof long sleeved jersey... Should be all you need on your top on dry days this time of year.
  • I second the wicking gear.

    People will also recommend babywipes for cleaning.

    I'd suggest looking for a gym or something close to your work where you may be able to negotiate access to showers for a v. small fee
  • palinurus
    palinurus Posts: 836
    I don't have any showers and have a similar commute (9 miles).

    I don't ride particularly quick, but hardly walking pace. Probably average 16 mph mostly.

    A windproof jacket doesn't do anything for reducing the amount of sweat you produce, it stops it evaporating so you keep warm- so when you arrive you'll be sweatier. I use a windproof on those days when it's particularly cold and/or windy. If it's raining then I have a (breathable) waterproof, but ultimately even breathable waterproofs aren't breathable enough, and you'll sweat more.

    Clothing doesn't generally reduce sweating in the first place but it can be so designed that it wicks it away from the body allowing it to evaporate quickly and cool you down. Cycling specific clothing is designed to do this.

    It often takes some time to find clothing that works for you for a given season. At this time of year I generally use a long-sleeved cycling jersey with a gilet over the top if required. I'd add a waterproof if it was raining steadily. Tights for the legs until spring really gets going. There's a lot of different stuff available, depends on what you want and what you are comfortable with wearing.

    Do you have anywhere to wash at work?- now I use a small basin in the disabled crapper, take a towel in etc. Before that I used a toilet cubicle and baby wipes (still do when I'm pushed for time), it works well enough.

    Another trick is to ride the last mile slowly as a "cool down", then you won't be actively sweating when you arrive, just freshen up and change.
  • Gambatte
    Gambatte Posts: 1,453
    2nd the cycle specific clothing. For me I'm using 3/4 baggies during winter - no one wants or needs to see me in tights!

    Good thing about cycle specific is, if its raining during your journey it'll dry in 10 mins of riding - cotton wont
  • JAKK
    JAKK Posts: 4
    Thanks to the replies - what you're saying does make sense, just to clarify:

    My commute is 7-8 miles one way.
    I'm not into labels, so Although I'm a skinflint I don't mind spending on cycle clothing.
    My company has no intentions of installing any kind of "wash room" - nearest sports place where I could shower is approx 2 miles away (so not an option). - I guess I'll have to use the disabled loos to freshen up - with a load of baby wipes.

    From your replies I guess what I need to look for is clothing that is "wicking" - Not heard this terminology before and the cycle shops have not mentioned it either. Anyway, I'll start looking for this. - anyone recommend any internet sites that could see all I need in one place?

    Thanks for your replies - it has helped - at least I now have something to google.

    Cheers again
    JAKK. :D:D
  • BentMikey
    BentMikey Posts: 4,895
    Defo wear lycra, you won't get as hot, and you won't sweat as much.

    There's something else you can do to help, and that's to shower just before you leave for work. Then don't ride fast, try to take it relatively easy. Once you get to work the baby wipes are a good option, as is using some antiperspirant after your shower.
  • niblue
    niblue Posts: 1,387
    The builders are in today fitting a shower in my office, however up to now I've coped fine by showering before leaving home, wearing a wicking base layer and then using baby wipes and deoderant once I get there. I also tone down my cycling pace a little on the way in to the office - to try and minimise how sweaty I am when I get there.
  • Gambatte
    Gambatte Posts: 1,453
    Leave a towel at work and a stripwash in the bogs.

    For cycle clothing try 'chain reaction cycles' or 'wiggle'

    Once on the site I'd generally sort the search by price and keep an eye on the discount
    Stuff like this: ... delID=4591
  • jonginge
    jonginge Posts: 5,945
    I don't work for wiggle but...
    ... the 25% sale on winter kit ends in the next couple of days (end of march)
    FCN 2-4 "Shut up legs", Jens Voigt
    Planet-x Scott
  • phil_ss1
    phil_ss1 Posts: 194

    I wear a normal fleece and a "base layer" if chilly. I never wear a wind/rain proof layer unless it's absolutely tipping it down.

    The fleece is good enough to repel showers and allows any sweat to escape really well.

    If you plan to wear a hi-viz I can recommend the no-arms type with a breathable back mesh panel as seen in Decathlon.

    Also use a rack/panniers and not rucksacks as they generally make your back seat a lot.

    Use a deodorant that suits you, some work better than others.

    I do 5 miles each way at 20mph average and generally not too sweaty on arrival.


  • JAKK
    JAKK Posts: 4
    Thanks everyone, Will look into type of clothing that has been mentioned and the showers before leaving & a slower pace 1 mile before work.

    Once again Thanks
  • TheBoyBilly
    TheBoyBilly Posts: 749
    I'm going to give RonHill DXB Bikesters a go. They have a rain-repellant material, but not sure about their wicking qualities. I have an Altura Night-Vision waterproof jacket from Wiggle which is excellent. I never seem to sweat too much in that.
    To disagree with three-fourths of the British public is one of the first requisites of sanity - Oscar Wilde
  • jonba
    jonba Posts: 15
    Some good websites to look at are I would particularly recommend the dhb ranges. They are wiggle's own brand and very good quality and value. THe EArnley bib short are very comfortable and you can pretend to be a wrestler too.

    Chain reaction cycles is another big internet company to look on.

    I have heard of but never used looks cheap but not sure about quality.

    For tops you don't need cycling specific kit. If you just want a wicking T shirt most outdoor shops sell them. Things with zips are good as they allow you to moderate your temperature better.

    When you dress don't dress so that you are comfortable standing around wear a little bit less so you don't overheat on the bike. Be careful though and carry an extra layer as you could run into difficulties if your not experienced in judging what you need to wear and get caught out.

    Sweat doesn't smell so just make sure you wear clean clothes on the way in and have some more to change into at work. If you can leave a towel and flannel at work so you can wash in the sink if needed.
  • Alibran
    Alibran Posts: 370
    I started out as a runner so, to save money, I've been using my running clothes for commuting so far. (Started out in jeans and t-shirts with jacket or fleece, but soon realised that wasn't working.) From my experience, I would recommend anything by Ronhill. The wicking qualities of the Ronhill running gear I have are superb. Unless I'm wearing a windproof jacket (have never used a waterproof - just get wet), my clothes aren't damp with sweat at all when I arrive at work. This is a huge advantage because I can just put them in my locker, and forget about them until it's time to go home. It's a different matter if I've been rained on, of course, but at least I know my clothes aren't going to smell bad later!!
  • thrope
    thrope Posts: 69
    Just skimmed this thread, but didn't see it mentioned so I thought I'd add my tip:


    Definitely recommend any merino base layer (I think there is a brand called icebreaker that do some reasonable ones - or howies). Keeps you warm, dry and most importantly doesn't smell like all the other sporty type fabrics I've tried.