|Sweat Gland Locations (image from http://www.20muleteamlaundry.com/odor-control/teen-clothes/)|
If you are a mild to moderate sweater or the weather is cool, you have two options, avoid sweating or embrace sweating. If you are like me and are a heavy sweater, you really only have one option, embrace your glow. Since, I have never successfully managed to avoid sweating on my commute (even in the dead of winter), I will give you advice on making friends with your eccrine and apocrine glands. The easiest method to deal with sweat is to shower after arriving to work, however, for many of us, this is not an option. I will be writing the remainder of the article under the assumption that showers are not available. So let us consider how we can embrace our sweat without embracing any unpleasant olfactory side effects.
|From Sweaty Swamp Beast Look (Picture by Piper Williams)|
|To Physics Grad Student (Image from RHUL)|
All commuters have two basic clothing options: commute in what you will wear to work, or bring a change of clothes. (I am sure that both of these options will be expanded in much greater detail in subsequent Taking the Lane blogs.) Throughout the year, I will engage in both practices. When it is cooler and darker and my commute is shorter (~6 miles one way) I often choose to commute in what I will wear to work. Since I am a graduate student, this is typically jeans and some sort of shirt. I often choose a darker shirt that will hide how much I have perspired on the bike ride. I am also a big fan of merino wool and tech shirts. These wick the sweat away from your skin and if you are savvy about your selection, they can look quite professional. Merino wool is also naturally antimicrobial and will not smell. In the warmer months when my commute grows in length (13+ miles one way), I choose to commute in cycling clothes that wick the sweat away and change into work clothes at the office. I bring in a pair or two of jeans at beginning of the week, leave them in a locker overnight, and take them home at the end of the week to be washed. Each day I bring in a fresh shirt and undergarments in my bag. The important things is finding the routine that works best for you and your work environment. (One further note: if you choose to commute in your regular clothes, it might be worth considering carrying a fresh pair of undergarments, including a bra if you wear one, as most of your apocrine glands are located near or under these articles of clothing. This can be a quick and easy way of freshening up without a full change of clothing, which is especially useful if you have a longer ride.)
|Looks refreshing? Be sure to get lots of it. Image from http://reachingutopia.com/drink-water/|
One further note. I have surprised more than one person that I do not shower after cycling in, especially in the summer. Their initial reaction has been one of being slightly grossed out. This is a good time to point out that sweat does not smell unless exposed to bacteria, and that until they asked, the did not know that you weren't showering. Sweating is a natural body function. That is all part of embracing your glow.
Happy sweaty riding.