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Rose of the Road
How To Travel Light and Smell Right

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By Eddy Matzger
May 8, 2009

Eddy Matzger showering

The Non-nudist: Eddy Matzger doesn't even take his clothes off in the shower.

How have I lived out of a Transpack for the last 20 years without smelling like a pair of old socks? I simply step into the shower with my clothes on.

Everybody’s done their laundry in the sink. But wearing it while you hose down is more fun and better at getting the dirt out. Just get under the water and soap up while fully clad (minus the helmet and skates of course).

I pretend like I’m in my birthday suit just doing the normal cleaning routine. First I soap up under the arms, then the private areas, then the feet.

When I’m nicely lathered up I start peeling off my clothing piece by piece, jersey, pants, then socks. For each individual piece of clothing I’ll grab a hold of the material with each hand and rub the fabric together like a caveman trying to start a fire. Armpits get special attention, as does the crotch area. Then the socks get the friction treatment.

My clothes end up in a pile over the drain of the shower or tub, and I let the water build up while I wash myself. The clothes serve as a plug; when enough water accumulates I can use my feet to thrash the clothes around a bit and really start getting the soap out. I kick the clothes away from the drain and let the water run out, then cover it up again and repeat the rinse sequence until the water runs clean.

Then it’s time to bend over and pick up the clothing piece by piece – a good time for a little stretching – and give it a final rinse under the shower head.

Some vigorous twisting and wringing-out are important if you want your clothes to be dry in time for your next workout. Sometimes after I’ve toweled off I’ll go outside and play the human centrifuge by swinging my clothes in giant looping circles, sending off a rooster tail of moisture. If that’s not possible, frequently I’ll roll up the wet laundry inside a fresh towel and stomp around a bit.

Afterwards I put my clothes on hangers and try to get them in front of a heater or a fan. It’s a good idea to get them high up towards the ceiling (heat rises), or near an open window so the moisture can evaporate faster.

Synthetic fibers may get smellier than cotton or wool when worn, but they are far more practical to wash because they dry so much faster. I carry at least two each of shorts and tops and socks.

Surf shorts with built-in briefs are a comfortable alternative to spandex shorts, as are loose wicking t-shirts versus bicycle jerseys. I scrimp on clothes to leave plenty of room in my bag for more important articles like cameras, food, spare wheels and bearings, and gifts!

Washboard abs are cool, but they can’t help you clean your clothes when you’re on the road.


eddy matzger in shanghaiEddy Matzger is one of the winningest skaters in the history of inline racing and leader of the popular Eddy Matzger SkateFarm and Roadshows. He makes his home in Floyd, VA, but travels widely, teaching skating around the globe. He learned to slalom on the steep hills of his former training ground, Berkeley, CA. His longtime sponsor is Twincam bearings.

Eddy's web site


Related reading:

Skate Tip of the Week Archive
Beginners Guide to Outdoor Racing
Beginners Guide to Inline Skating



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