Just Ask Jack

Just Ask Jack — Arriving Sweat-free?

Rick sent me the following question:

“I am going to be carless in a few weeks. I am a good cyclist and riding to work 4 miles one way is easy. I do have to wear a shirt and tie and dress slacks. How do I get to work without a sweat??

Rick, we’ve discussed “Beating the Heat? in other articles, such as this one. While nothing you do can guarantee you arrive to work absolutely sweat-free, you can certainly minimize the effects.

As for the problem of clothing, you could either carry week’s-worth stack of pressed shirts and pants to work on Monday via pannier or get a friend, coworker or spouse to drive a supply over. I don’t recommend wearing your fancy clothes to ride…I used to try riding with a tie on; only the chilliest days let me arrive to work without being sweaty. Wear something comfortable to ride in (performance-based clothing or a t-shirt and shorts) and find a place to change into more professional duds at work.

Fitness is a good thing to have on your side if you want to arrive to work sweat-free. If a four-mile commute is easy for you, your body won’t produce as much waste heat as someone less in shape.

Finally, use time to your advantage. If you can spare some extra minutes, ride slowly to work or arrive early and use the extra time to cool down, change and get presentable before the workday starts.

Good luck out there!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.

Just Ask Jack — Spandex on a Commuter?

An anonymous reader sent the following question:

“Is it OK to wear spandex to work? I usually ride a road bike, but occasionally ride my MTB to work.?

My feeling is to wear whatever you like that makes you comfortable — whether it is spandex jerseys and shorts or tight leather pants and a puffy pirate shirt . Spandex cycling wear wicks moisture and feels pretty comfortable…which is why so many “serious? cyclists and racers swear by it.

However, there are certain conditions where spandex cycling gear does not fit the bill. First, wearing a full team kit is pretentious, loud and annoying. You should only wear team gear such as Liquigas, CSC or Discovery Channel IF YOU ARE ON THE TEAM! Similarly, wearing a Cervelo jersey while riding a Trek is a big no-no. If we see you, we’ll report you to The Bike Snob. Stick to the brand of bike you own if you absolutely must wear a team jersey and shorts. For everyone else, cycling-specific clothing comes in bright solid colors, too.

Another exception is wearing spandex clothing on a one-speed beach cruiser, Kmart special or any bike that even vaguely resembles the bike ridden by the “40 Year Old Virgin“. You’re not fooling anyone into believing that you are some badass fitness freak or serious racer…mostly, you just look overprepared (and a bit silly) to go fast on a bike that is physically incapable of going fast.

Finally, leave the spandex alone if, after putting it on, you look ANYTHING like this guy:

(Picture “borrowed? from How To Avoid the Bummer Life)

Seriously, no one should have to look at that!

Have a cycling-related question? Just Ask Jack! Click on the link in the right-hand column to send me your questions.