Savvy Tips — The Nose Knows

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After 13 years of riding a bicycle, I’ve acquired lots of simple tips + advice to make the experience more enjoyable.

For example, who hates the smell of their gear bag?  Yeah, me too.  You know, as diligent as you are with keeping your cycling clothes + what-not clean, there’s still that unpleasant odor of gloves + shoes + mysterious other stuff that then permeates everything you own.

Here’s my simple solution to that stinky problem.

Take a bar of “real” soap — you know, the kind of soap you would find at a craft fair or a farmers’ market or a coast-side gift shop.  Yeah, the fancy, handmade stuff.  Then, cut it into small blocks and place those blocks in various places in your gear bag (your shoe bag, the side pockets, your helmet pod, etc).  You could even put a piece into your sock drawer or the drawer where you keep your base layers.

I’m very sensitive to scents (lots of allergies) so perfumes are no bueno with me, but the subtle fragrance from a bar of milled soap doesn’t seem to bother me.

Bonus points if it’s a scent that reminds you of one of your favorite cycling trips.  This weekend we rode to the coast with our Bike Touring 101 clinic and made a stop at the San Gregorio Country Store.  I’ve always looked around at the books and scarves and hats and other items and thought I’d love to go shopping there, but on a typical ride I don’t have the capacity to carry much with me.  But this weekend I picked up a bar of fennel soap (from the River Soap Company).  The scent reminds me of riding on the coast  so it’s filled with great memories for me.

Men, don’t think this tip won’t work for you.  There are lots of scents that are masculine (like evergreen) that would be appropriate for you, too!  And trust me, your female cycling partners would appreciate it!

What are your tips for keeping your cycling gear smelling clean + fresh?