Bike commute too sweaty for work? How bike commuters beat the heat.

Successful bicycle commuting requires a little planning in the humid, DC Metro area. Luckily UMD makes it easier with a shower pass to facilities in Ritchie and Eppley Recreation Center.

Consider biking in your work clothes:
The University of Maryland has a relaxed dress code in most offices. Plan your first bike commute on a Friday when standards are even more lax. In many offices you can get away with a Terrapin jog set. Many cyclists find that if they bring a washcloth and immediately wipe away any sweat bacteria has no chance to grow. Also buying a pannier (saddlebags) for your bike avoids the sweat stain that a back pack can leave on your back yet allows you to carry items such as your laptop or other gear.

Bring a change of clothes:

If your position requires more professional attire or your commute is just too long to avoid sweating, use a roomy backpack or purchase a pannier attachment for your bike to carry a change of clothes. (A local retailer, REI has them in their shop on Rhode Island Avenue and online ( and make sure that you do not overstuff your bag. Carefully roll up your clothes and they should remain wrinkle free for a short trip. See Fodor’s website for more detailed tips on wrinkle-free packing:

To get a Commuter Shower Pass:

Contact Lawrence Moody at, he will arrange for a time for you to come and get your ID card. After that the front desk staff will admit you for the use of the locker rooms. Please let the biking community know about your experience with the showers by writing
If you are going to bring your work clothes, it still pays to put a little thought into what you are going to ride in. If you are comfortable in traditional cycling gear, you will find many stores that specialize in it. However, special wicking fabrics such as that found in yoga clothes or running clothes also works well. The key to comfort is breathability.
Many cyclists wear padded pants. Before you run out and buy them it is worth it to get your bike properly fitted. Seat tilt and position can make a big difference in terms of comfort. For short trips less than 10 miles long you may find that it makes enough of a difference that you do not need special pants.

Inclement Weather

As you know, DC is very humid and it is possible to sweat sitting still in the shade. As I mentioned previously breathable or natural fibers go a long way towards improving comfort. Despite 6 months of steamy weather we get our share of rain and snow as well. It is a good idea to dress in layers with a good pair of riding gloves to preserve your grip in wet or cold weather. Many cyclists find that a wool sweater keeps them warm while allowing air to get to their skin which is sweating due to exertion. Layers also accommodate for temperature differences for each leg of your commute. It can be cool in the morning and muggy in the evening.

Alternatives: Shuttle-UM and Guaranteed Ride Home
If the weather is just too bad to bike home, remember that Shuttle-UM has bike racks on every bus. Many WMATA buses also have bike racks and DOTS also participates in the Guaranteed Ride Home Program. Write to for more information about your eligibility for this program.

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4 Responses to Bike commute too sweaty for work? How bike commuters beat the heat.

  1. Daphne says:

    Another option is to drive in a few days’s worth of clothes on a Monday and drive it home on a Friday. Cleaning up with a wet rag and/or baby wipes has always worked for me. You can leave them all in your office, along with a pair of flip flops.

    The School for Public Health (formerly KNES building) also has a Faculty/Staff Locker Room. I do not think you need to be a registered member of CRS to access it either. But you will need to register your ID for access (I assume with CRS).

  2. Aphirath says:

    I sell a new product called HybridBackpack that allows the rider to take their existing backpack, laptop bags or shoulder bag. Even better is the fact that it carries other items like a case of beer, pet carrier, rubbermaid tub and more. It also acts as rear fender and has a triangular reflector in the back.

    Check it out on my website,
    Those who I have sent it to review keep saying that it’s just an engineered bungee cords.
    Just a note: Bungee cords works best when it’s stretched to it’s maximum length. It has a tendency to slip and does not come with reflectors.

    My item is unique and there’s nothing like it out there in the market.

    The beauty of it is that you as a rider will be able to take your existing bags or items off their back.
    Thus reducing the strain on your back and reduce sweating.

    my motto
    “you have it, take it off your back and take it with you”

  3. Pingback: Sweaty | kevin van lierop

  4. Pingback: Episode 1 – Up, up and Ai Weiwei

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