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Dear Babe,

I want to start riding my bike to work, because Muni sucks and I can use the exercise. But by the time I get there, I am basically sweat drenched and filthy. I’m only riding a couple of miles, but hills and traffic…I look ridden hard and put away wet. I thought about packing work clothes, but it makes for too big a bag to carry on my bike. And I see lots of other people riding their bikes to work, no problem. Some of them in skirts! What do they know that I don’t? Or do they just stink up the office?

Yours,
Critically Massively Confused

Dear CMC,

I asked around and it seems everyone brings extra clothes to change into. Maybe you could get a basket for your bike to put your clothes bag in? Also some of them swore by deodorant wipes. They’re like wet wipes for kids butts only they’re made for your arm pits instead. You can buy them at any Walgreens type store and even at Whole Foodsy places.

The most insurmountable problem my biking friends encounter is helmet hair. You can’t even get around it if you shave your head because you still have helmet marks on your head skin. And I’d never recommend riding a bike, especially in a city, without a helmet, but hey, I’ve fallen over when I was standing still and completely sober.

MUNI is less sweaty but I’m not going to claim it’s safer (honestly I think MUNI should give all elderly people free helmets so they won’t die of a head injury every time the driver slams on the break or stomps on the accelerator which is ALWAYS) but then you’d introduce the helmet hair problem on MUNI and like I said, that’s insurmountable

Otherwise, my sources suggest you only ride to work if it’s down hill. Then you get the work out on your way home to your shower.

Personally, I’ve hated all of my jobs so much that I’d find stinking up the place a bit rewarding. Plus most people in this town don’t wash anyway so you may not really have anything to worry about.

xx,
Babe

Nagging questions holding you back? Babe Scanlon’s got your answer. A SF native, she’s been figuring this place out far longer than she cares to admit, and now she’s ready to share. Email her at babe@sfappeal.com and let the veil of confusion lift. Please do keep in mind: Babe Scanlon is not presenting herself as an expert in anything that means you can sue her or the Appeal if you take her advice and your life tanks. Her recommendations are just that: recommendations.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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  • miz_ginevra

    putting my hair in a low side ponytail with a buff/headband works okay to avoid sweaty neck/helmet hair.

    Having a work shower that isn’t too gross helps, too. I leave a change of clothes at work and tote new underwear/bra with me in my backpack. 🙂

  • bikescape

    There’s good sweat and bad sweat. If you take a shower before you go out, you will still sweat but it will be clean, non-stinky sweat. The thing that stinks is the bacteria that grows when you are damp and warm. Clean that stuff off first and you will be golden.

    –jon