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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Run/bike commuting and no showers at the office?

When asked why they would not go to work by bike (I wouldn't even dare to ask by running) many people say that they have no showers at the office. I'm in the same situation. However, it took me several steps of evolution/refinement to the system that solve the issue now.

First of all I have to say that I do have my own office. I'm not a big wig just an average employee. Therefore, I'm lucky in that respect. When I started ditching my car for the city part of my daily commute (depending on how I commute, e.g. by bike or running, I park my car in the outskirts of the city) I employed the following systems:

  1. Use public transport in the morning, run/bike back in the afternoon

    I would park my car close to a train or subway station. I even got a folding bike that I could carry with me in the train. Unfortunately, my office is quite some distance away from the next subway station. This was no issue when I went bike commuting in the afternoon but mildly annoying when run commuting. I also had to bring back my clothes for the next day. In winter and when running this was quite a pack full. Additionally, I had to change trains twice. Altogether, given the additional cost for the train, the packed trains in the morning, the loss of time, I simply got fed up of this.
  2. Baby wipes

    Disillusioned by the public transport option I started running/biking in the mornings, too. To solve the no-shower-issue I cleaned myself with baby wipes. I used heaps of them. I could get clean with them and pass the female-colleagues-smell test but I was always missing the refreshing effect you get from a shower.
  3. No rinse body wash

    In my quest to optimize the system I came across the products from No rinse. I tried their product range for a while but couldn't cope with the smell of it. After using it my office would stink like hell. Additionally, using their products becomes quite expensive when used almost daily. Looking at the ingredients and reading up a little on cosmetics one can see that baby bath liquid has almost the same ingredients as No rinse body wash. For the fraction of the price. This led me to my current set up.
  4. My makeshift office shower

    My makeshift office shower consists of the following items:
  • 66 x 66 cm washing machine safety drain pan (~ € 20)
  • mild baby bath liquid, perfume free! The advantage of baby bath liquid is that you do not have to rinse entirely from your skin and it dissolves well in water (compared to shower liquid)  
  • small bucket with tap water; this is where I add the baby soap. Update: Got a larger bucket now 
  • wash cloth Update: I use a common sponge now. Much nicer, gives a real shower feeling
  • water bottle filled with tap water for the final rinse. Update: Upgraded to 1.5l bootle
  • towel
I leave it to your imagination how this system is used in detail. I guess, you get the idea. After my shower I simply pour back the water from the pan into the bucket and wipe the the pan with a paper towel. Finally, I hide the pan behind the desk.

This system is almost as good as a real shower. It cleans, is cost effective and above all it refreshes!

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