Sunday 15 July 2012

No longer having to ride away from my own smell

Bike commuters come in two varieties - fast and slow. Those terms are relative - I refer more to the mindset of the commuter. Some go as fast as their body will move them; others meander along at a very leisurely pace. Flat out for me would be a leisurely stroll for an A grade weekend warrior.

Us flat out types tend to sweat a bit. Or a lot. My handlebars were getting really slippery one morning last week; it turned out that my gloves were totally saturated with sweat, and they were slipping on the sweat that was squishing out of them. The sweat in turn had run down my arms inside my jacket. I read a nice little description of "breathable" fabrics - you can either get wet from the outside in, or you can get wet from the inside out. One is cold and wet, and the other is warm and wet. In winter, I prefer the warm and wet option, even if it does mean slippery gloves.

Sweat eventually means smell. It doesn't matter if I wash my kit every night - enough residue builds up over time to produce a rather nasty tang. It's worse in winter, funnily enough, as the clothes don't have an opportunity to dry out as they would on a stinking hot day. Instead, they fester.

I was at my wits end last week, and then someone suggested soaking them in baking soda. I had no idea how much to use, so I threw half a cup in a bucket of cold water and threw the kit in to soak overnight. Then I washed it all as per normal.

Amazing. No more stench. 


Anonymous said...

Washing(Na2CO3) or Baking(NaHCO3) soda?

Anonymous said...

Nice post, I wish the rest of the cyclists at a nearby bike shed would read it!

Boy on a bike said...

I read up on the differences between washing and baking soda, and in the end, what I used came down to what was in the cupboard. Which was baking soda.

My brief investigation into the difference between the two is that washing soda is harsher on clothes, and can bugger up elastic. Which is not good for cycling kit.

Bh said...

Going to try the baking soda on my son's work clothes. He cooks the burgers at Maccas

Anonymous said...

Caustic Soda is also good. Soak it in the bucket overnight and the clothes disappear, so too does the bucket. Nothing to hang on the line in the morning, no bucket to put away - perfect solution.

Old Bloke