Biking Update

RosaMN asked me for the specs on my bike.

It’s a Breezer Uptown EX S/17.

It has a very cute bell, and I have lights on the front and back. What I don’t have, and want to add, are a rear-view mirror and a water-bottle holder.

Yesterday, I rode my bike to the office (on a Saturday) to test out my route. I took a few wrong turns, but overall, it was a fast and fun ride — just about 5 miles. The ride back would be harder — more uphill, hotter, but I’ll give it a try. I can also catch a bus and then ride home a shorter path, with a bit of uphill but not too much.

I also rode another couple of miles to pick up/take home my daughter’s friend from a playdate. It was so fun to do that on the bike! (She had her own bike/helmet, I was her “bike escort.”)

I haven’t figured out what to wear/changing and if I need to shower or not. I plan on showering before I leave for work. Yesterday, I didn’t get very sweaty, and I think if I brought a whole change of clothes, I wouldn’t need to shower once I got to work. The ride home is much sweatier than the ride there. My office has a “scent-free” policy, which I appreciate because I know several people are scent-sensitive, and nearly any strong smell tends to make me sneeze, but it would be nice to spray on some light fragrance — maybe what I’ll do is bring a spray bottle with water and a little bit of light scent (I have some peony spray from Bath & Body Works), and spray it on and then rub it off with a towel.

Anyone who bikes to work have any tips for me? I got a cute new bag that if I can pack it lightly, could sub for a sweat-inducing backpack.

If I have my act together, I’ll try to take a pick of what I’m wearing when I head out the door, and what I change into. There’s no “scratch n’ sniff” to see if I’ve figured out the whole hygiene thing — probably a good thing. But I can ask a good friend to do a “sniff test” on me. One challenge with the “scent-free” policy is that I want to smell clean, but if I “smell good” then chances are, it’s not so go for the scent-sensitive people around me. I’ll have to experiment to find the right balance.

Oh, and hair. I’ll probably just have to wear a ponytail, which is fine. I have a whole lot to say about my hair these days, but that will have to wait for another time.




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18 responses to “Biking Update

  1. AJC

    Very cute bike! And kudos to you for riding to and from work. I don’t have any ready suggestions on the scent thing, but would be curious to know if you come up with something good.:-)

  2. Delurking to say that bike is SO freakin’ cute and you look unbelievably happy. πŸ˜€ Re: scent-free office and post-biking sweatiness, if you can find travel wipes or wet wipes, I recommend those. I used to use our local drugstore brand after workouts before school, they leave a (faint) aloe scent that shouldn’t violate your office’s scent policy.

  3. Amy

    If your office policy is because of medical issues, please don’t use body spray, even watered down and wiped off. Those body sprays are among the worst scent offenders, and they give me migraines even when they’re used very sparingly. Please don’t risk it, for the sake of others health.

    • Amy, thanks for letting me know.
      What’s hard is that I don’t want to smell bad. I know that people who are sensitive to scents don’t usually mind “natural odors” but other people do mind. It’s a fine line to walk. I don’t sit near anyone who is scent-sensitive and I’m really very conscious about it.
      The other day, I was visiting with someone who was scent-sensitive (in her cubicle) and she asked me if I was wearing perfume, and I wasn’t at all, but sometimes toward the end of the day, if I’m a little sweaty, my deodorant’s scent is noticeable. Otherwise, I think I my personal hygiene products are scent-neutral. My sister is very sensitive to scents, and she will ALWAYS tell me if a scent bothers her, so I can use her as a guinea pig.

      • Catherine Leary

        Maybe you could try wiping your pits or whatever else needs it with some fragrance free baby wipes and reapplying your deodorant once you get to work?

  4. k.sol

    Noticed the bike rack you have on the bike — try getting yourself a good-sized set of panniers. You’d be amazed what you can fit in a decent set of panniers — more than you can get in the typical backpack. I’ve done grocery shopping with mine before.

  5. k.sol

    Also — baking soda absorbs a lot of odors and shouldn’t cause anyone else any issues.

    I sometimes do fairly intense rides on my lunch hour. I’ve found that if I have a complete change of clothes (including bra and undies) and I take a little time w/soap, water & paper towels in the bathroom, I’m pretty inoffensive, scent-wise.

  6. RosaMN

    I should have recognized it! I had a Breezer U-frame, myself – but it was several years ago. It is really really cute.

    If you’re commute’s not too long, you should be nonstinky, especially in the cool morning. I am a fairly leisurely biker, and unless it’s ungodly hot or I get a bad adrenaline rush from a bad driver trying to kill me, I don’t smell bad.

  7. jackie

    I appreciate the advice here. I am scent sensitive and I’ve also decided to start walking to work–it’s all uphill on the way, downhill on the way home which means sweaty at work 😦 I”m going to try the baby wipes!

  8. Target’s unscented “Up and Up” brand baby wipes are really good. I sent them in a care package to my marine nephew.

    I wish I could find a way to email this column to a friend. She has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities and has thought through nearly every situation one can think through. She’d be thrilled to learn your workplace has a scent-free policy and the people aren’t passive agressive about it. Her MCS is so bad she hasn’t been able to work outside the home for more than a decade now. She hasn’t been to church either, and her husband does the shopping. She and I meet for picnics. I have gone scent-free voluntarily because of her. My unscented deoderant is by Tom’s.

    Love your bike! I have a pink bike too! And it has a big, cushy seat on it. My husband tells me that even girl thugs won’t want to steal it.

  9. Thanks, all, for your suggestions and encouragement!
    I will report back about what happens today, how it goes, and how it smells!
    I’m not quite ready for the panniers — but I think I’ll end up with some, eventually.

  10. blaceyda

    Also delurking because of the bike post! I used to cycle to and from work, and I really loved it. I stopped for various reasons but miss it so much!
    I think you should get panniers. I found that when I used a backpack, my back would always sweat, even if nowhere else did!
    Another thing that is helpful is giving yourself a bit of extra time to clean up when you arrive. I find that it helps to give yourself time to cool down before changing clothes. I also used to bring a small washbag with a sponge, unscented soap and unscented deodorant, not because of a workplace policy, but because I actually hate the smell of babywipes/wetwipes. I wonder if this might be an option for you?
    I was usually ok with just changing my top as I was cycling in pretty cool weather. But one colleague of mine wears lycra shorts and t-shirt, and carries clothes in a pannier to change when she gets to work! Too much effort for me πŸ™‚

    Experiment and tell us what works for you!


  11. I third/fourth the pannier suggestion, I hate wearing a backpack and getting my back sweaty. My ex-bf has permanent baskets (as does my mom), but I find them bulky and heavy, and you can’t just grab and carry into work. Good for your job and its scent-free policy, I’m not sensitive, I just heavily dislike them. But then again, it’s too cold in the morning here to sweat, plus I ride kinda slow, so not even an issue. Gloves and something to cover my ears is more the problem for me.

  12. angrygrayrainbows

    Ooooo…. I love your bike and you look like you’re having so much fun! Yay you!

    I will tell you a nugget of information I got from a guy who never used deodorant in his life and never smelled either: new sweat doesn’t smell – only old sweat does. If you are not an exception to this rule, you can probably just get away with a simple wipe down with water and maybe a little soap. A change of clothes can be nice though. I don’t like sitting in my sweaty, stretched-out (from exercise) clothes in AC.

  13. annaoj

    I ride to work in biking clothes (padded shorts, wicking top & bra, gloves, etc.) and use the body wipes from DHC ( to wipe down my pits/crotch/belly folds before changing into work clothes (which I bring in panniers attached to my rear rack). The body wipes are unscented and don’t bother my sensitive skin at all. My commute’s about 7 miles each way.

  14. Bluefish Altar

    I bike to work just about every day. It looks like my main tips have already been covered here. If you can, carry stuff on the bike, not your back. Start out clean, go easy on the way to work & change down to the skin when you arrive.

    I also like to cool down for a few minutes before changing (my co-workers are cool with that), and I use a plain old wet washcloth instead of baby wipes b/c I don’t like the smell of most wipes. I generally re-up the deodorant, and I’ve never had any complaints from aforementioned co-workers (who would definitely tell me to hit the shower if I needed it!)

    One more thing – I’ve been doing this long enough that I now keep most of my work clothes at my office so I don’t have to schlep clothes along with computer, lunch, purse stuff etc. I always have a couple complete outfits there plus spare underwear – just bring things home when they need washing. This is not an option for everyone, but it has worked for me.

    That’s a way cute bike, and you look really happy riding it – have fun!!

  15. your bike is awesomely adorable! I third/fourth/fifth the panniers suggestion. I actually only bought one, since they ain’t cheap. I was worried my bike would feel tippy with only one on, but it totally doesn’t. You’ve inspired me to start riding to work again! I don’t do it much because I sweat like a beast and we don’t have showers at work, but the comments here have been super helpful about various products and processes and whatnot. yay biking!

  16. ksol

    You can often find really good deals on bike gear at Bike Nashbar if the cost is prohibitive.
    My attitude, though, is that money spent to get more active is money well spent. πŸ™‚

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