Are potential bicycle
commuters scared of city traffic? Of course! But they are terrified
of their coworkers’ noses!
It never fails: tell someone that you ride a bike to work, and the next thing you are asked is: “Where do you shower?” The implication is that if you use a bike (or jog) for transportation, then you should smell bad. Therefore, if you don’t shower upon arrival to your place of work, you do smell bad.
Many workplaces (such as my own) do not have showers onsite. The fear of going through the day, oblivious to reality as the skunk Pepe LePew, ends the career of many bicycle commuters before they begin.
In this article, we are going to find out exactly why do people smell, and what can a bicycle commuter do about it?
Do a Google search on the term, “body odor,” and you soon find out that it is bacteria living on your skin, and not sweat itself, that gives off unpleasant odors. Sweat can act as a culture medium, activating the bacteria. Most of your sweat is a product of your skin’s eccrine glands. What comes out is basically water and salt, along with electrolytes. This stuff makes an okay, but not an ideal, home for bacteria.
Your scalp, underarms, and genitals have hair follicles. These follicles have apocrine glands that produce a fatty sweat that makes a great culture medium. It is most often this odor that people find distracting.
There are many other things that can affect the smell of your sweat: your diet, general health, and unusual medical conditions. Regular bicycling, I hasten to add, can optimize all three. Just visit a couple of sport health sites to find out how.
If your office does not provide showers, you can take evasive action to avoid strong body odors:
Evasive action continues when you arrive to the office:
Benchmark the Results
Are the evasive actions that I’ve listed above really working? Well … ask a coworker or a significant other. However, I recommend that you do a couple of trips before you bring it up. Many people are conditioned to believe exercise and body odor have a reflexive property. So make a couple of trips, and then ask around!
Return to There and Back Again Home Page
A study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2002 reports that the byproducts of interaction between chlorine and organic matter found in raw water may actually hurt you!
||The Your Inner Tweetie website describes Pepe LePew as being delusional, narcissistic, and vain ... not unlike many programmers that I know.|
||There are several sites that discuss sweating and body odor, but I like this discussion on the Walgreens Pharmacy site the best. Coworker Hints has good tips on body odor suppression. Just about all sites point out that coffee, colas, and chocolate (all things with caffeine) promote the activity of apocrine sweat glands.|
More Commuter Help
|Washington D.C. has a very aggressive bicycle community. Visit the Commuter Connections Page, and the Washington Area Bicyclists Organization (WABA) for specific help.|
Will Your Friends
|Just in case the odor is not your problem, several web sites offer anonymous email services that notify coworkers of certain personal issues. Coworker Hints is one such site.|