Commuting by cycle in India is different from doing it in Europe where the weather is cooler and the dust on the roads are not as bad. In India, you are going to sweat and by the time you reach your office you will also have a layer of dust that has stuck to aforementioned sweat. The thought of sitting through the day at your desk with the sweat drying on you and the dust encrusting on your skin is not a happy thought. Not many companies in India give you the luxury of a shower at work, so it is understandable why so many people hesitate to take up cycling as a commute option.
I faced these same questions and have put solutions in place to make it work for me. These solutions may not work for you, but you can use them as pointers to sort out the things that are stopping you from commuting by cycle.
Clothes: I stock up clothes for a week in my locker at the office. This includes under wears. I ride with my normal riding clothes and then change at work. I’ve gotten into a system where I carry the week’s clothes in on Monday and each evening, I carry back the clothes I used that day.
Fresheners: Yes, you are going to sweat. To solve this problem, I maintain a locker in the office with the following – packets of wet wipes, tubes of face wash, a bottle of deodorant and a tube of moisturizing cream. When I get to work, I:
- Wipe down with the wet wipes
- Wash the face with the face wash
- Spray ample deodorant on the body
- Apply moisturizer to the face and forearms
This means that when I settle down at my desk, I am fresh and wearing neatly pressed clothes. Of course, in the beginning, I was worried that I might be feeling fresh but maybe I stink to high heaven. So, after a couple of weeks, I asked my neighbors whether I smelled bad. Surprisingly, none of them even realized that I was cycling to work and coming in all sweaty. So, that reassured me and now I have settled into that rhythm.
Of course, I would love it if the office had a shower where I could clean myself up thoroughly, but in the absence of that option, this works fine for me.
Try it. It’s not that hard.
The best thing about cycling to work is that I don’t come in frustrated and angry at the traffic. Instead, I have my endorphins rushing through my body and I actually feel invigorated when I sit down at my desk.