You work hard on your summer look and you want to keep it fresh. We get it. But, as temperatures and humidity rise, don’t let the threat of sweat deter you from the energizing bike ride that you love. Here are a dozen ways to freshen up after a bicycle commute to work or to wherever the day takes you. Follow these easy hints, many shared by velojoy readers, to ease your transition, beautifully, to and from your bike this summer.
To celebrate the summer commute in the city, we’ve teamed up with Pearl Izumi to give away this pretty Elite Escape Tank. Because in hot weather, a performance top keeps you moving in comfort. CLICK HERE to sign up for the velojoy newsletter for your chance to win.
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Get Ready to Ride
Save the good stuff: Pack your finer things into your bike basket or pannier (rolling garments up in a dry-cleaning bag helps fight wrinkles), and wear a simple, strappy dress or top over a sports bra and shorts to stay cool and comfortable on your ride. Light fabrics and a loose fit help capture the breeze as you pedal. Then change into your fresh clothes at your destination.
View photos: How Stylish New Yorkers Keep Cool on a Bike
Hold off on applying makeup: If the humidity is high and you’re worried about runny makeup, delay “putting your face on” until you reach your destination. In the mean time, sunglasses and a swipe of lipstick will see you through your ride in style.
Pack an extra layer: The transition from outdoor heat to indoor air-conditioning may require an extra layer for comfort. “Prepare for the arctic winds of overly air-conditioned destinations…a wrap or cotton sweater is worth the extra sweat to carry!” declares one velojoy reader.
Protect your skin and eyes: The bare looks that help keep you cool also expose more skin to the sun, so be extra-diligent about applying full-spectrum sunscreen before you hit the streets. In addition, wearing sunglasses not only protects your eyes from harsh glare, but also from airborne debris. Bicycle helmets with integrated or snap-on brims also can help shade your face.
Skip the shoulder bag: Backpacks and closely slung messenger bags can make your back sweat, so skip them in hot weather. (Ditto wide belts; put them on after getting off the bike.) The better bag option is to carry a regular purse and a lightweight tote in your basket or pannier.
On Your Ride
Slow up: When it’s hot, allow extra time for your ride. The best way to cut down on perspiration is to reduce your speed. You’ll still enjoy the benefits of a breeze as you move through the streets. Pedaling slowly also just feels more relaxed.
Protect your hands: Wearing cycling gloves offers a lot of benefits. Not only do they improve your grip on the bars, but they also protect hands from grime encountered when topping off tires with air or locking up a bike — and help shield hands from sunburn. Some like their edgier look, too.
Carry as spare lid: Straw fedoras and wide-brimmed sun hats are popular summer fashion accessories. Take one along on your ride to help shade your skin from the sun, or to hide helmet hair, after you get off your bike. Pro tip: Use a zip-tie to attach a clip like the one shown here (purchased at the Container Store) to your bag or bike basket for easy, crush-proof transport.
At Your Destination
The ladies room is your locker room: Fortunate are the few who can count on a shower at their destinations. Since that’s usually not an option, head straight to the ladies room. But give your body temperature a few minutes to adjust before changing clothes or applying make-up.
Upgrade from paper towels: For dabbing off perspiration, or for a quick “cat bath,” several velojoy readers say they keep small terry towels or washcloths in their bags or at their desks. Bonus: they are reusable, sparing paper towel or towlette
Pack helmet-hair fixes: In addition to cosmetics and fragrance, keep some hair accessories and a small container of your favorite hair styling product close at hand in case tresses needed taming after removing your helmet.
Read more: How to Make Sure Your Helmet Fits + Helmet-Friendly Hairstyles
Capitalize on the convenience of dry cleaners: If you don’t want to carry extra clothes to work on your bike, then stock a selection of items, such as blouses and slacks, at work. Rotate these through a dry cleaner near your office, as necessary.
Sure, some of the hints above require initial organizing and tweaks to your bicycle commuting routine, but making them a habit will improve your ability to ride in comfort, while maintaining the look you love.