I started recently to bike to work, where we have a shower and I can change clothes. However recently I also started attending an evening course, where there is no place to change.

So when I commute to work, it's easy. At home I wear my warm cycling clothes and then at work I switch to light comfort ones.

However the problem happens when I want to go to the evening course. Since it's pretty warm at the classroom then I can't wear my warm cycling clothes and go to the course and stay with them for 2 hours. And since there is no place to change, then I can't change there to be able to return home from the course.

Any ideas on how to solve this? or any clothing alternatives/ideas?

My commute is pretty long. From the course to home is about 18KM.

Edit: the temperature in winter here gets easily below 0, and the worst is -18 to -20.

  • 2
    What's your winter like (temperature, precipitation)? Are there no toilets to change in? (I usually get changed on the train). Layers are probably key, the question is what layers.
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 21:33
  • 1
    As a kid I was taught to dress like an onion: Put on as many thin layers as you need to stay comfortable. This works in reverse as well: Take off as many layers as you need to avoid getting cooked. It's a simple matter to taking a backpack with you that a) includes rain gear, and b) can hold the layers you don't need while you're in the course. Of course, a pullover can just be hung over the back-rest of your chair, or similar. Just be a bit flexible with your clothes... Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 22:13
  • @cmaster the problem is with the padded short ... how can I wear it! The same with the pants layers. You need to wear the thermal pants under the jeans, so you need to take your jeans off to wear them. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 22:26
  • @ChrisH there is a toilet but it's too small and too dirty ... i wouldn't want to put my backpack on the floor on the toilet there ... or be barefoot on the floor. Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 22:28
  • 3
    Specify Celcius / Fahrenheit ? (/ Kelvin ;) ) Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 5:39

8 Answers 8


I've had success wearing legwarmers under trousers during winter.

The main advantage is at the far end you can either wiggle them down while standing, or drop your pants in the toilet cubicle and shove them down around your ankles for comfort.

This works well with overshoes, in combination with a decent jacket and gloves. I also wear a neck buff and/or helmet liner.

Try sitting nearer the window or door if you need a cooler breeze.

  • 1
    I can foresee other students asking OP to close the window if it’s -20 out 🤣 but otherwise +1
    – Swifty
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 6:12
  • 3
    @Swifty No one said the window needed to be open! You should visit my old office (and by the sound of things somewhere Criggie knows is similar). Even when the draughts were sealed up the cold air convecting down off the window made the nearest desks a lot colder than the rest
    – Chris H
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 14:55

If you can't change in the toilets, you should complain about the disgusting state they're in. In the mean time, it's possible to change while standing on your shoes, if you're careful.

However, I would say that 18km isn't a very long ride – presumably not much more than an hour, probably less (though I don't know how -20 affects this). I don't find that I need padded shorts for anything less than around two hours, and I think you'd be fine without them, too. In that case, you can probably wear non-padded shorts "as underwear" and suitable layers, and you won't need anywhere private to change.

  • 1
    -18 is easy, just wear shell pants over the jeans. Warmer temperatures are trickier.
    – ojs
    Commented Nov 22, 2018 at 22:55
  • I've got some padded shorts that work fine as underwear for all-day use. They're only half the padding of proper bibs though..
    – Criggie
    Commented Nov 23, 2018 at 8:21
  • Or, somewhat like superman, wear the padded shorts over your jeans while cycling (Stylish? - Not!).
    – Penguino
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:00
  • 2
    @Penguino Ohhh, now I see why the UCI banned Obree's superman position. It was all a terrible misunderstanding. Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 21:38

Make sure you get a good set of mudguards fitted as these really do make a difference to whether you get covered in grime or not. I've considered a cycling poncho for the wettest weather but have not bought one yet.


If you really need padded shorts (and I didn't for a 15 km commute, see the recent question on jeans in Amsterdam) wear them under your normal clothes for the evening journey. They aren't too warm in themselves, and you can get them designed to be underwear if you really want. I have even worn padded tights under jeans for a whole day in work. That was too warm even though the office was cool, but not much too warm.

For warmth, rely on overtrousers, that you can put on and take off without getting fully changed. Merely waterproof ones keep the wind off but at those temperatures you might be better off with fleece-lined ones. I assume you're in winter boots, so you might want to look into overtrousers that unzip a long way up to go on over boots. Your top half is simpler, as most people will be adding layers before going out into that sort of weather.


Bathroom stalls. Just learn to balance on one leg.

I've had success over the years finding shower/lockers in adjacent buildings if my employer's location was lacking. 1/2 the time they're semi-public so it's easy, sometimes I was able to convince building management to cut me some slack if they're familiar with my own building's shortcomings.

Also, don't rule out a local gym. I have an annual membership at 24 hour fitness and use the gyms for changing and showers before/after rides to work. You can even get around that 24-hour don't leave your stuff in the lockers rule by simply moving your clothes from one locker to the next each morning. Essentially, I bring a change of clothes for the day, leave my cycling stuff in the gym locker, shower...go to work, hit the gym to change back into my cycling gear and then head home. There are no lockers, showers or changing rooms at work so the gym is my "facility". I can also do some light workouts at the gym to break-up my AM/PM routine. Worth the $99/year...yes, I got a sweet deal with 24Hour when they were on the ropes ~10 years ago.


I think in your situation, I would recommend breathable outerwear over wool (or other less smell producing) undergarments.

Finding a setup where you have an easily removable outer layer (that is conducive to cycling in your chosen temperatures) over an underlayer that is presentable (enough) for a class shouldn't be that hard. Jackets/pull overs are easy enough and many companies make zip off style pants that can be easily removed. I recommend aiming for presentable for public and letting fashionable go. You might carry an extra pair of lightweight footwear to replace whatever is keeping your feet warm while riding.

Likely the more difficult problem is usually smell. Many performance sports garments will begin to smell after repeated use. Wool has a serious advantage here, while some companies also make synthetic garments with chemical additions to reduce the problem (with varying levels of success). Depending on how often your class is (I'd assume multiple times a week), washing garments every night might be impractical. I used to get a week or so out of my wool underlayers while commuting before they got too stiff to continue comfortably in. I would recommend multiple sets of cycling shorts (chamois shorts) so that they can be changed daily. Perineum health is not to be trifled with.


Try to find a local gym nearby your evening courses and if it's cheap, you can take all of its advantages. I mean shower and locker rooms. The second advice is to find some windproof clothes that are easy to change. I know there are some examples in the market. I've even accepted a windproof jacket as a gift when bought a cooler. Good luck, mate!

  • Hi, John and welcome to the site! I edited out the link to the product you mentioned, since it's not at all related to cycling and, honestly, made your post look a bit spammy. Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 12:08

I used to change in bathroom stalls in these scenarios. Sweat (because of no shower) can sometimes cause small issues, but generally speaking, this is a workable solution.

However, I might also suggest redesigning your cycling gear. I commute all winter in a climate that gets plenty of snow and drops to -30. The #1 thing that I have found here is layers. I wear upwards of 7 thin layers, instead of fewer and thicker layers. In your case, this would help you have options of the order of your layering, allowing you to selectively strip down to a comfortable level in the classroom.

Just be on the lookout for weird looks while you do it. I still think I’d choose the bathroom stall. 😉

  • Do you mean "small issues" or "smell issues"? Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 17:31

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