How practical is commuting by bike?


New Member
I love the idea - but I'm not entirely sure it's practical.

Monday, have to drop my son off at the child minder's - along with two large bags (toys in one, clothing, food and baby related paraphernalia in the other) then head to work.

Tuesday is a possibility.

Wednesday, have to pick him and his kit up from the childminder's.

Thursday is a possibility.

Friday, I have to drop him off and pick him up.

So, I have two days where theoretically I could commute to work on a bike. However, I wear shirt and trousers (quite smart) and have a tendency to sweat quite a bit. There are no shower facilities at the office and not really anywhere I could get changed - well, maybe the disabled loo...

Given that to get out of my village I need to negotiate a large hill in any direction I would work up a considerable sweat on a cool day, but as summer approaches, I'm likely to sweat like the proverbial.

I'm sure there are loads of people in similar circumstances to me - how do you do it?


Active Member
Wear lycra, change clothes at work. Wipe down with babywipes before changing for that fresh and clean feeling.

Easy Peasey


Active Member
Bring them to work on one of the days you're using the car. Leave them there. Take them home for cleaning when you drive in the following day. (this is assuming you wear suit whilst at work and couldn't just transport clothes in a ruc-sac)


Legendary Member
Given the fact you sweat, its a problem.
Disabled loos, if i were commited with your circumstances, i'd use them to strip wash and have a change of trousers and shirt for work. Carrying everything needs to be sorted and just do the days you can.
Bear in mind you'll be (i assume) commuting to work early, before its got hot. These are the best times for me, i love those 6 or 7am rides, you dont get as hot and sticky. Going home doesnt really matter.
Panniers would be the bast way to go, rucksacks are ok for short commutes, but you get an incredibly hot back when its warm.

I'm lucky, short commute although i do extend them sometimes, i dont get sweaty, when i do i dont smell, and i dont have to dress up for work...its all pluses for me :smile:


What monkeypony says, with the following additions:

Always have an "emergency" set of clothes at work, just in case your logistics get confused!

Allow a good few minutes "cool down" time after you get to work so you stop sweating before doing the babywipe dance in the disabled loo


slower but further
SE London
You appear to be using a car. Going to full commuting can be a big step anyway. How about getting a Brommie or a bikerack and drive part way (like to your carer) and cycle the rest. Start on good cool days?

Refine your stripwash at work technique (its only in recent times people have had showers yet we have been bicycling for a over a century!). Just build up and problem solve one step at a time.

Oh and pine for Copenhagen where biking your kids, dogs and shopping through the city centre is commonplace everyday:




Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
I commute a couple of days per week because i like it. I am a partner in a firm of commercial chartered surveyors and so i need to be smart when meeting clients and therefore keep a suit and spare shoes and a tie in the office. At the beginning of the week i take in a clean pressed shirt or two. I take baby wipes and keep a can of deodorant in the office and make sure i shower before i cycle in. Sounds odd but the really pungent smell from sweat comes from older sweat so fresh sweat aint as bad as day old stuff.


I've recently started commuting 5.5 miles and intend to keep it up. Not done all 5 days in one week yet due to either being away, illness or needing the car during the day for something but am working on it!

I keep a pair of trousers, shoes and wash stuff at work and bring a shirt, tie, socks & underwear in daily in a rucksack. However as others have said your back does get very sweaty! A rack and pannier are winging their way to me at the moment to cure this problem.

We also have no showers but a quick wash in a sink (or baby wipes), dry, sure for men and change and i'm good to go!

I have found that i feel much more alive throughout the day since cycling so highly recommend it!


Über Member
Ive got 2 kids both at nursery so I know what you mean. Its hard to start off with but gets easier the more you do both in terms of fitness & logistics. I do 2 days commute by bike a week 20 miles per day. Heres my tips:

- Dry run first, stops you wasting time on that first run
- get panniers, lessens the sweaty back feeling
- Start of slightly cold, resist putting on too many clothes at the start. You will soon warm up!

Im lucky I can wear casual clothes to work, but I have taken smart clothes into work in my panniers before. The queen was opening our new building so I made the effort to look smart. If I had to look smart all the time I would take spare clothes as suggested. I still sweat but not nearly as much as I used to. Im also lucky my work has showers. My commute at the start took be about an hour one way it now takes about 45 mins. Im trying to get it sub 40mins just now.


mark barker

New Member
Swindon, Wilts
I gave my car up about 18months ago, and with 3 children it wasn't an easy thing to do! BUT.... It can work. I use a trailer to move the youngest around (3 & 5) and my 9 year old rides alongside. We do the school run on bikes and then I head off to work (I teach at a secondary school). I also use the baby wipe method, and I am a sweaty type of person, but you'll be surprised how quickly your body gets used to the extra exercise and your level of sweating will decrease. I also make sure I ride at a comfortable pace so I'm not tired when I arrive!


New Member
Try if for a day and see how you get on. Like the above poster mentions you need time to cool off when you arrive at work. I don't know about you but I start to leak more after the ride and I sit down. The biggest problem is not the riding it's getting confortable after the ride. If you're lucky enough to have a shower it's no problem, unfortunately most of us are not that luck. it's about time showers were placed in toilets as par for the course. Until then it's over the sink with towels. it's still worth the effort though.


As others have said, cycle in in sports gear and get changed. You should be able to leave your suit and shoes at work, which means all you need to bring in is a clean shirt and underwear. You can stash these in advance a week at a time if you wish.

I used to do this in France, inc through the 2003 heatwave. I never showered at work but *always* did in the morning at home. Bear in mind that you are on the bike for 30 mins (say) and in work 8 hours, which part of the day is going to allow you more time to get smelly? Yet nobody has to shower at lunchtime because they have been in a warm office for 4 hours.

Do factor in cooling off time, this will help. I've seen me literally driping wet in the Men's changing room at 8.25 and wearing a clean shirt at my desk by 8.35, with no BO problems. As for changing rooms, I may be lucky but I've always found a storeroom even if there are no changing facilities.

If you need to transport gear, buy some panniers. This will help and once you get into the routine of commuting it will drop into place. Bear in mind that people now expect you to transport the kitchen sink everywhere because you have a car, the first time you say "sorry, I'm on the bike, that's going to have to wait" then they will have to find another way and you will find that miraculously they no longer need the entire contents of a Pickford's truck taken to and from nursery school every day.

You'll be sursprised but once you get the hang of it and a bike becomes the routine then taking the car becomes a pain in the neck. That said, there's no point in being unduly evangelical about it, if you really do need the car then take it. When winter arrives, then if you really can't hack getting cold and wet every day in the dark, give it up until the weather looks up. It's not a religion.:biggrin:
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