Commuting when you have to wear a suit, how?
I know that theres a lot of people out there that commute to work and also wear a suit but how are you guys doing this? Garment bag strewn over your rack? Rolling up your clothes and changing at work?
I’m sure people will have many genius solutions, but, to approach it from a different direction, you could always get a cheap, upright, fendered commuter bike to supplement the racy bike, so you don’t have to “gear up”, per se.
I’m a bit warped, but my solution to many things is often, another bike.
Suit already at work, is the simplest way.
I’ve been real careful or lucky on days when I’ve had to dress up, i.e. not raining, bus arrived with a rack, didn’t have to ride hard for any reason.
Having really low gears for hills helps avoid perspiration. My biggest problem has been helmet hair.
I think there are garment bags designed to fit on bike racks. I have no idea how effective and/or expensive they might be.
Frequent travellers will tell you they roll all their garments, including suits, before putting them in the suitcase. Same concept works well for bikes. Roll and stow in a pannier, rack bag or ???? Shirts can be a tad more problematic. Can roll, or do the shirt under a sweater look to hide the worst of the wrinkles. The biggest hassle for me is shoes. I leave a pair at work. Makes all the differnce, in terms of weight and volume.
There’s also the option of NOT riding one day a week, and bringing all the required clothes for the week in on that day.
I have to do this quite a bit, and I use packing folders that fit either in my regular pannier (if it’s just my usual work clothes) or in a backpack (if I’ve got to actually wear a full suit). The folders keep things from getting wrinkled on the way to work. REI sells several: http://www.rei.com/category/40004302
A little pricey, but so, so worth it.
I’ve been rolling up my clothes and changing at my destination ‘cause I sweat way too much due to hills and distance. It kinda sucks, and sometimes my shirt gets a little wrinkled, but it’s doable. Sweaters are great. A washcloth and hand towel in a ziplock bag is a good addition to take along.
I find that snaking on junkfood in meetings while complaining on how hard it is to maintain your weight (as in not losing weight) seems to make others forget about the wrinkled shirt. There’s a couple of um, fuller figured ladies at my one client who refuse to talk to me (in a fun teasing way) when I do this.
I wear a suit every day at work and have for the last 6 years or so. I keep my suits and dress shirts at work, and bring fresh shirts and underclothes with me on Mondays – undershirts, underwear, dress socks, etc. I bring dirty dress shirts home every day or two. (I only buy Lands End no-wrinkle dress shirts, which seem to work pretty well.) Until last year, I didn’t have a shower at work, but it wasn’t a huge deal – I don’t ride to work in lycra, just regular clothes, and I would always change all my clothes when I arrived. I am lucky to have an office with a door that I can close, however, since that makes changing easy, and I also have cabinets and hooks to hang clothes on. A rack and one decent-sized pannier should be enough luggage to do the job.
If you want any other tips, let me know!
Does anyone make a garment bag backpack? It just seems to make sense since a suit jacket should, theoretically, be exactly the same width as your body. I’ve had an idea in mind that I may have to sketch if I get some time.
How to roll suits without wrinkling them (as much):
1. Spread out a bath towel (I use my bed).
2. Lay the suit on top of the towel.
3. Roll the suit and towel together.
No you have a suit-towel ho-ho. Bonus: you also have a towel to dry off with after your ride.
double bonus: you are a frood who knows where your towel is.
I don’t often wear a suit – but every single time I’ve worn my current suit, I’ve ridden to where I was going.
Both my regular bikes are upright with fenders and chainguards, like Edmunds suggest. Why would I ever have any other kind of bike?
I have a plastic chainguard on my chain ring, but even so, when I wear the blue suit, I use a velco pant strap.
I roll the suit jacket sometimes and joeframbach’s towel is an excellent idea.
I keep a white cotton tank T-shirt (Hey. I don’t even HAVE a wife, OK?) for if it gets too hot to put rain gear over a shirt & tie – or if it gets too hot for a shirt and tie, period.
I’ve used gas-station, restaurant and convenience store bathrooms to freshen up – and even, on occasion, a beauty salon’s bathroom – I was contrite about asking, but they were very nice. After 15 miles up Perry Highway in the rain go to to funeral, I looked like I could be the guest of honor.
I don’t wear a suit to work everyday but need to wear one on occasion. I have an extra large Trek messenger bag I use to carry it in. I kind of turn my suit coat inside out putting the sleeves inside the jacket. Then I fold it over lengthwise and carefully roll it up.
I’ve never had a problem wearing it. Though temperatures have never plotted against me when I did.
Photo credit: robjdlc (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
@dwillen — classy but you are missing the martini. shaken, not stirred.
Hoopy frood: a man so hip he can barely see over his own pelvis.
+1 the washcloth in a ziplock. Or unscented baby wipes (these are great on loooong airplane rides, too).
+1 for baby wipes.
I’ve never had to wear a suit somewhere I biked to, but I have had to placed where I’ve ridden a motorcycle. I generally would roll it up, but I’d use a thick trash bag instead of a towel.
Another thing to think about is the actual suit. Cotton and linen tend to wrinkle more easily than wool or polyester, and thick wool is usually more wrinkle resistant than light wool. Wool/polyester blends are a good choice, and they usually need cleaned less. Also, poorly lined jackets also tend to wrinkle more.
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