I want to cycle to work but what about the sweating?

I want to cycle to work but what about the sweating?

Cyclists enjoying a shower from a fire engine after a marathon ride in Penang. Less dramatic bath facilities are needed to promote cycling in Malaysia. Filepic

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People are interested in cycling to LRT stations because it is hard to park their cars there. But many are worried about using bicycles.

Last week, we talked about safety concerns and which bike to get. This week, in our third article on this topic, we soothe anxieties about sweating and bike parking.

About 500,000 new vehicles are being added to the Klang Valley’s roads every year. As the traffic jams become more horrendous, the benefits of being able to access the LRT stations easily and cheaply with bicycles (or motorbikes) will eventually outweigh any discomfort over cycling.

Cool morning ride

Some readers fear they would sweat too much in our humid tropical weather.

Cyclist Chan Jer Ping pointed out, “I don’t understand why weather is cited as a problem. People who cycle in the (cool) mornings, don’t sweat bucket loads. And when cycling to work, you are not in a race.”

Arguably, the exertion (and perspiration) from five minutes of relaxed cycling over just 2km to the nearest LRT station will be minimal, and much less than say walking for 20 minutes over the same distance.

For those who want to cycle after arriving at the LRT stations to their final destinations, we can also learn from Singapore. Even with their fantastic public transport, the republic is making a big push to encourage cycling and further reduce use of cars.

cycling5Under Singapore’s new Walking and Cycling Plan, all new building projects MUST have facilities for cyclists (and pedestrians) such as bicycle parking, showers and lockers – starting from July.

Malaysia may not have such generous support for cycling – yet.

But we have one cultural advantage: most toilets are fitted with bidets or water hoses. These can also be easily used to bathe. When I do long distance cycling trips under the hot sun, I will often use such hoses to take quick baths.

My colleague at The Star, Patrick Lee, who is an avid cyclist, shared, “There is this hose shower head extension which I use to screw onto the bidet for morning showers before I start work in the office. It works pretty well actually.”

My friend Elizabeth Tai added, “Actually, you don’t even have to use the hose, just wet a towel, and wipe.”

Sweaty or sexy?

She is also worried, “Will I look presentable at the end of the trip, all sweaty and dishevelled?”

Then again, a woman entering the office in body-hugging lycra and unfurling her locks of hair from underneath her bike helmet before heading for a shower and change of clothes would, I imagine, be very attractive in a sporty way. But if sweat is really a huge issue, nowadays there are many motorised alternatives to get to the LRT stations.

For example, reader Nickki Cheah suggested using an electric unicycle scooter called the Inmotion (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYG8Ll7J15g). It weighs about 13kg and can even be carried into the train.

Or, you could just get a cheap second-hand motorbike to park at the LRT station.

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