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I have the bike, I have the best route; but now I want to know, how do I transport my clothing in each day? I typically wear suit pants and a business shirt, but not a suit jacket.

Am I better off leaving my clothes at work, or is there a special bag that would let me carry in shirt/pants without them getting crushed?

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I work someplace with a super-casual dress code, so it's not much of a problem. However, I find that folding along seams and then rolling is much better than all-folding. Otherwise, a packing folder would probably help quite a bit. –  freiheit Aug 13 '12 at 22:48
    
I have seen advertised (never up close) a suit bag designed to be folded over the rack. Pretty much eliminates space for anything else, though. –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 13 '12 at 23:30
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It would help to know what sort of clothes you need to transport. Suit? Sport shirt and slacks? Polo shirt? –  Daniel R Hicks Aug 14 '12 at 0:24
    
Importantly, how long is your ride? If it's a mile or so, there's no need to change at all when the weather is nice. –  Neil Fein Aug 14 '12 at 2:22
    
The ride is 10km or ~6 miles. –  rlsaj Aug 14 '12 at 3:27
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7 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

You have two options, essentially: You can either carry each day's clothing on every trip, or store clothing at work.

Carrying clothing daily

If you're going to do this, you'll need to find a way to roll up your clothing so it's not completely wrinkled. Be aware that even packing clothing in the most wrinkle-free way possible will still not keep it as fresh-looking as when you pull it out of the closet.

Many business travelers have found that the best way to transport clothing is to roll it. Do some searching, not on bike sites, but on business sites, and you'll find videos that get into this in more detail. But the gist: Fold along seams, then roll your clothing. The parts that must be least wrinkled (shirt collar, for example) should remain on the outside. You can also experiment with rolling around a towel, leaving some extra towel at the end and then rolling that around the bundle. This will become your clean-up towel at work.

As you're showering at work (or taking a sink bath), hang your clothing up and let it hang up a bit. Allow a little extra time for this.

It's worth noting at this point that many people continue to sweat even after they stop exercising, so you may want to wait ten to fifteen minutes before showering. (Riding gently for the last mile or three can also help.)

There are special cases that hold clothes, but they all (to my knowledge) involve folding them. I think that this will invariably crease the clothing.

Storing clothing at work

If you have a spare closet or other space where you can leave clothing hanging at work, this is a great option. Consider doing a half-commute on Mondays, carrying the bike and clothing in, then riding home. On Friday, reverse the process.

If you have a space like this, you can also leave shoes there, and possibly even a travel iron for touching up clothes (if you want to look particularly sharp).

You might consider leaving a spare outfit at work in any case. I always worried that I would forget, say, underwear, or a belt, so I left an older set of clothing in my locker.

If your work doesn't have a space like this, look into nearby gyms. Some gyms will let you use the showers and locker room for a small fee, one that's smaller than a gym membership. Some larger businesses even have gyms on-site for employees.


It's worth noting that commutes of a mile or two may not require changing at all, but you'll still have these things to deal with in very hot or cold weather, or when riding in the rain. (Edit: Your 6k commute is a bit long for this, but it's still good advice in general.)

Best of luck on the commute! Speaking from personal experience, I recommend allowing a lot of extra time the first few commutes, and also doing a dry run of the route (if you haven't already). Also consider talking to any cycling co-workers: Some of them may have solved the problems related to your specific workplace.

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I have over 3,000 commuting miles on the following pannier (it's more like a folding suit bag).

Two Wheel Gear Bicycle Commuter Pannier

I carry dress shoes, dress pants, a dress shirt, my 17" laptop, rain gear, a small tool bag, a towel for my shower at work, and more inside the pannier. It has several pockets/compartments that close with zippers, and is made of a durable canvas-like material. It has carrying handles, and a removable shoulder strap. The only complaint I have about it is that the zipper broke on 2 small pockets.

EDIT: fixed the URL - bikemania.biz stopped carrying the pannier

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That link doesn't seem to work. What is the name/brand of the pannier. –  Omar Kooheji Aug 23 '12 at 9:49
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I'd go for a regular hard suitcase (not a fancy one, lots of friction), strapped horizontally over the rear rack in the same position of the wings of a plane. Inside, I would fold the clothes the same way I would fold them to put inside a travel bag.

If possible, I would prefer to create two "environments": the inside of the suitcase, clean and ordered, protected from the elements, ant the outside, where you and your riding clothes are, a world of smoke, dust, sweat and possibly rain. When you arrive at your work, then you perform a "mode-switch" with the help of a restroom, perhaps a shower. There, you invert the environments, being dressed in a clean way, with the riding clothes encapsulated inside a plastic bag.

The "two-environments" strategy is opposed to the single-environment, "cycle-chic" strategy, in which one performs Slow-Ride while wearing the very same clothes that will be used during work.

The main factors affecting to choose one over another would be distance, speed and climate, and perhaps you could opt for one or another according to weather or time of year (summer vs. winter, etc.)

Hope this helps!

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I cycle to work about 5.5 miles every day. I bring trousers, shoes and shirt to change into, all fitted into one pannier. I carefully fold the trousers and shirt in a plastic bag and lay them flat against the back of the pannier and then put the shoes in to hold them in place. Lunch box fits on top.

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I wear a business suit everyday to work. I use a light weight garment bag and hangers. I hang the pants and shirt on one hanger and the suit jacket on a separate hanger.

Once the garment bag is zipped up, I roll it around my shoes from the bottom up. It fits right in my saddle bag. When i get work not one wrinkle. You can't leave it rolled up to long or it will wrinkle.

Based on my experience i have 3 hours to unroll before i see any wrinkles.

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I try to avoid carrying clothes that will crease on the bike. I will drive or catch the train to work one day a week and cart enough clothes for the week on that day and then leave them at work.

This assumes you have somewhere to store clothes, the ability to carry them off the bike and a good enough supply to keep going for a week (or whatever frequency you wish).

Basically, I try to have almost everything stored at work and only carry underwear and socks on a daily basis.

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I use the Eagle Creek travel gear pack-it folder. They come in a couple of different sizes. Here's a medium one. A careful roll can do the trick as well, but I'm pretty lazy. This works great and quick if you have the shirt buttoned; I just drop the hanger out the bottom, lay shirt on the sofa, fold around plastic and done. I generally pack my work clothes the night before...total time about 2 minutes.

The folder fits great in any of my packs: backpack, drybag, messenger bag.

I have a locker at work and leave my belt and shoes there. This frees up the bulk that I would have to pack.

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