I was going to post about my 4th of July road trip with the LHT but that'll wait until tomorrow. It was already 92 degrees when I biked in this morning and I think that warrants a public service announcement.
I think the most common question people have when they learn I commute by bike everyday is, "Do you have a shower at work?". It doesn't matter if we're talking summer heat or winter freeze, most people think that having a shower at work is the only way bike commuting can work. It dawned on my this morning while pushing through the heat that not having a shower in the office is stopping a lot of people from even considering the bike as a way to get to work.
I don't want a shower at work, it would make the process of biking to work longer and more tedious. Taking a shower is an important element of bike commuting in the summer heat but take it before the ride, not after. The best way I've found to manage the DC summer is to take a shower right before I leave the house.
If you are a burning hot when you get to work and take a quick shower odds are you'll start sweating again the second you step out to dry yourself off. Your sweat isn't what cools you down, it's that sweat evaporating that does the trick so when you get to work all sweaty find a fan, a big ass fan.
This BAF circulates the air in the parking garage under my building. It's never on but I can plug it in when I need it. Three minutes in front of this with my shirt held open cools me down enough to enter the building. If I'm still hot after changing in the bathroom I head to my desk where i have a stick of deodorant and a small fan waiting. After about 10 minutes I have to turn the fan off because I get too cold. If you can't find a BAF try two small ones at your desk, you'll be surprised at how effective they are.
All that an no shower! It's a quick process and because I took a shower right before leaving the house I'm relatively clean.
Another way to beat the heat is to wear sandals on your ride. Last fall I switched to platform pedals on the LHT (yeah you know me). In the winter I wear my boots, in the summer I've started wearing my Tevas. They're not ideal for long rides but they are fine for a commute and they keep my feet nice and cool.
Now I know that everybody's physiology is different, some of us are sweaty pigs that stink like a barnyard after a ride. Just give it a try, modify your routine until it works for you. Asking your coworkers to let you know if you smell of barnyard isn't a bad idea either.
Got a good hot weather commuting technique? Please share it with the rest of the class.
Now get out there and kick this Wednesday in the jimmy.
PSA: Fighting The Funk