Dear PoP – shower access for commuter bikers?

Photo from PoPville flickr user Jess J

“Dear PoP,

I was hoping I could get some recommendations on access to showers for local gyms. I ask because I’d like to start biking to work, and with summer on its way and a long, uphill commute, I’m trying to find a cheap solution to the gross problem of sweating after a long bike ride to work. I’m fresh out of grad school and fairly broke, so a regular gym membership is out of my price range, and there is no shower access at my office building. I know WABA recommends trying to get reduced membership rate to a local gym that just allows shower access, and I’m curious to see if anyone knows of gyms that actually do this (I work in Dupont). I suppose I could just use baby wipes, but wanted to explore other options as well. . .”

Does anyone use the YMCA in Dupont? Other suggestions?

25 Comment

  • Oh my god… baby wipes…. uugghhhh.

    How about work out a tight budget based on the year, bike in cool weather and take the subway in hot weather.

    How about a subsidy from you employer, many in Washington DC help with commuting cost for Metro.

    Good Luck.

  • OMG…. baby wipes? uggghhhh

    How about work out a tight budget with your new college degree. Then you can bike in the cooler months and subway in the hotter months.

    Surely you employeer can help with subsides for Metro. Many companies do that in DC now.

    Good Luck!

  • my company doesn’t have shower facilities, so i feel your pain.

    my hot weather routine includes a fan in my office and action wipes (a bit better smelling/bigger than baby wipes):

    it’s still not a shower substitute, but it isn’t too bad.

  • In art school, I had an off hours membership at a 24-hour gym near campus just in order to take showers. It was like $24 a month. Perhaps there’s an option at a gym near your office which is fairly restrictive but gives you access to the locker-room/showers at all times?

  • I used to be a Dupont YMCA member. It was fairly pricey at the time but worth it since they had a large pool. I use the Bally’s downtown. It’s $24/mo.

  • I would encourage you to contact the membership office at the DC Jewish Community Center (located at 16th and Q St, NW). They are very helpful and might be able to offer you some sort of option. Also, they offer free memberships to people who volunteer at the Center, if you would be interested.

  • I’ve always wondered what bike commuters did about this… I just assumed they were in casual jobs where it didn’t matter too much if they were sticky and smelly the rest of the day. I’ve never worked with anyone who has biked to work, probably because we have to interact with customers and therefore need to be somewhat well-groomed and unoffensively scented.

    • Back in the glory days before the .com boom my office had a fully staffed on site gym with showers company provided.

      Oh, the good old days.

    • I don’t have a casual job, and I bike to work. But we have showers, so I just bring my work clothes with me and shower at the office.

  • What about the Marie Reed Pool? It’s not in Dupont, but depending on where you’re coming from, it might be close enough(2200 Champlain Street NW). Free for DC residents 🙂

  • The J is the best bet. But Washington Sports Clubs also has monthly rates that run as low as $50 or so. That’ll be hard to beat.

  • When I worked downtown, my ride was downhill all the way, so I arrived not too sweaty. Coming home was a different matter!

    That said, WABA used to have some sort of arrangement with some of the downtown gyms for shower-only memberships. You could check with them, or even with the gyms, to see if that’s possible.

    Keep up the commute! It’s the only way to go.

  • A lot of areas have laws that all new buildings must have bike shower facilities (like mine in Arlington). Doesn’t help you now, but nice to know people won’t be having these concerns in the future.

    Also the code I have to enter in to submit this comment is “oilier neatly”. Its like its aware…

  • How about just enjoying your BO. Its soooo ironic

  • I second the Bally’s suggestion. They’re running a $25/month, no contract, nationwide promotion. It’s just an OK gym, but if you’re just using it for showering, it’s perfect.

  • Fitness First – 19th and L also has a cheap membership – $33/month when I signed up.

  • I second the Fitness First suggestion. If you do decide to use the gym or classes, you’ve got it for $33 a month. They also let you pause your membership for three months once, after a year, so if you stop biking for a while you can do that without quitting.

    I’ve head some bad stuff about getting out of Bally’s contracts…

  • Even in summer, morning temps are rarely above 80. Most commuters to Dupont will be downhill. You’ll work up some sweat on a bike, but about the same as you would by walking vigorously in a suit. Don’t wear your office outfit on the bike; wear bike gear and pack office clothes. Go commando under the bike shorts. Get to work 15 minutes early; have a cup of coffee. Sit in air conditioned 70 degree office for cool down and drying out. Change into office clothes, apply deodorant. Unless you sweat garlic, you’ll be fine. Your commute home doesn’t matter since I assume you have a shower at home.

  • The way I deal w/ it is ride halfway to a bus stop w/ a bus that will take me to work. Throw bike on bus, get to work non-sweaty.

    Then I ride all the way home in the evening.

  • Try one of those shower-in-a-bag things that are used for camping, and hang it up in the parking garage.

  • Bally’s is the best deal by far at 25-30 bucks a month. As a reader above mentioned, it’s not the best gym, but they’ve got decent showers.

    Also, they have a weird clause in the contract where if you were to cancel your gym membership today, they will charge you for another 2 months before you’re actually canceled. So keep that in mind.

  • Everyone knows how uncomfortable it is going into work a bit sweaty, especially in the summer. With money tight it is hard to get a gym membership, though it seems like it is the best option. However, through my employer I began to save money on my commute to work and with the money I save, I put towards a gym membership! It all works out in the end. You should check it out at Best of luck!

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