Bike Style Life

Sweaty Betty: The Blogspedition Looks for Answers to that Special Glow

Woman with her back to the camera. Written on her back: Sweat Not Oil with a picture of a bicycle.

Sweat, not oil. Or, as I like to think of it, calories per mile instead of miles per gallon.

“Horses sweat. Men perspire. Women glow.” – Silly antiquated etiquette guideline for language usage

Like hell we glow. Women sweat. Not necessarily at the level of people with hyperhidrosis, mind you, but put forth a little exertion to pedal up that hill and you might pop a bead or two, although research with a batch of cyclists shows that men start sweating sooner than women do during exercise (thank you, science!).

Dealing with sweat comes up pretty often when I talk with women about biking for transportation. It presents a barrier to more women biking because who wants to show up for work all messy and stinky?

My brief tips for dealing with sweat:

Don’t work so hard! Admittedly I have a short ride to work (just under 2.5 miles and it’s downhill at the beginning).

My bike ride to work includes some traffic time and if I sprint on a hot day I will heat up. So why sprint? Leave yourself enough time so you don’t have to pedal hard and heat up. If you have a steep hill in your way consider the bike-bus combo; let Spokane Transit do the hard part and you can coast down later.

Enjoy the breeze while you ride. After all, you make it yourself! And it provides a little air-drying effect.

Use baby wipes or better yet, Action Wipes from Martha Van Inwegen, whose tagline is, “Your face is not a baby’s butt. Don’t wipe it like one.”  (another business whose social mission fits well with mine).

Keep a few wipes in the drawer at work. When you get there you’ll want to fluff your hair in the mirror anyway (yes, a Blogspedition on helmet hair is coming soon!) so just take a wipe with you and dab away as needed.

Choose the right fabrics: Anything that requires a long time in the dryer or on the line will take a long time to dispose of your ladylike sweat droplets.

Keep a jacket or cardigan handy. My office is air-conditioned enough that I might wear one anyway. If it’s hot and you went sleeveless for the ride throw on a little cover-up while you dry.

And now for great tips from women’s bike blogs around the globe—be sure to read the comments, too, for more tips:

Cycling in a Heatwave… Making Friends with Florals: Lovely Bicycle points out that some fabric patterns show sweat, some hide it.

Sweat: Short and basic list of tips from the archives at Cycling in Heels (scroll down to the Feb. 22, 2008 entry)

Ride Slowly, Don’t Sweat: Title pretty much sums up the advice from Let’s Go Ride a Bike.

And if all else fails you can think to yourself, “Don’t sweat the small stuff. At least I don’t smell like a bike messenger!” as explained by thatmessengerchick in “Why do couriers smell so bad?

So who’s Sweaty Betty? That’s the name of a UK-based line of women’s sportswear retail stores I found while compiling my big list of women’s bike blogs. I love their vibe and their values match mine. Style + performance, feminine + sporty, sweaty + betty, bike + style.

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10 Comments to "Sweaty Betty: The Blogspedition Looks for Answers to that Special Glow"

  1. […] Skirts: Today’s ReactionsHow Bikes Can Save the WorldOn a Roll with Rachel ScrudderAbout the QuestSweaty Betty: The Blogspedition Looks for Answers to that Special GlowIndependence and Freedom, Courtesy of the Bicycle Sharing in Twitterville […]

  2. […] the slight inclines are that you don’t notice in your car because it’s doing all the work. If you’re trying not to sweat, you’re trying not to climb any harder than you have […]

  3. […] back again, doing some exploring, and avoiding climbing as much as possible (assuming you want to avoid sweating since you’re on your way to work). Some more tips for route […]

  4. […] biked in silk suits and dresses. Why not? As long as I don’t go fast enough to sweat, no […]

  5. […] June 29The Search for the Perfect Purse: It May Just Be a Bike Bag How Bikes Can Save the WorldSweaty Betty: The Blogspedition Looks for Answers to that Special Glow Sharing in Twitterville […]

  6. […] the hill at least 1-2 miles faster than my usual climbing pace, which isn’t very fast given that I try not to sweat on my work rides wearing regular clothing. If nothing else, he was motivating me to put more […]

  7. […] When I look at the numbers, I compare how much time it took me that particular day as compared with what I think of as the average time, which is around nine minutes, maybe nine and a half. On a day with a strong headwind I get slowed down. Yesterday morning, to my surprise, I did the ride in 8:17 without really trying to hurry. (After all, I don’t want to sweat on my way to work.) […]

  8. […] pant and sweat (yes, I do occasionally sweat when I ride despite good-faith efforts to avoid doing so) and often realize that I left the office just a little bit too late to make it to class before it […]

  9. […] actually remember those hand signals I learned when I was 10″ to “What do you do about sweat or hair or carrying stuff?” to “How do I pick the best […]

  10. […] this effect: exercise that comes about naturally as a part of your day without planning or payment. You don’t even have to sweat if much of your running around consists of a trip of 10-15 minutes to go 1-2 miles, yet if you do […]

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The quest for the intersection of Style and Comfort