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Bicycling through the Winter

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by emptym, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    As it gets colder and wet, I've been wondering if anyone else uses a bicycle to commute, and if so, what clothes and shoes/boots you've found particularly helpful.

    One thing I really enjoy is a jacket with pit-zips.
    One thing I'm looking for are dressy, short, waterproof boots w/ rubber soles.

    (PS: Did a couple of searches for info, but most of what came up were posts by
    el Guapo WOngO! w/ Hemingway's quote about bicycling -- a great quote btw.)
     
  2. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    As it gets colder and wet, I've been wondering if anyone else uses a bicycle to commute, and if so, what clothes and shoes/boots you've found particularly helpful.

    There are a lot of choices that are function of 1. how much you wish to spend and 2. how technical the gear can be (in other words, will you change completely out of what you wear when you ride when you arrive at your destination?).

    The most technical clothing will allow you to bike in awful conditions. Assos makes a full range of well designed technical wear: Assos .

    For less than awful conditions, there are nice, but simularly pricey options from: Rapha .

    There are also less expensive options that are good. Sierra Trading Post often has a fair variety of discount choices

    If you are not into something that dedicated, cycle in uncleated shotes, or prefer not to look like a simulated professional athlete, then...

    1. If you bike in the wet, the first place to start would be to put fenders on your commuting bike. Any bike shop can offer suggestions.

    2. Wool knickers or breeks will be practical: knickers.

    3. Head insulation will make a surprising difference to your warmth, and allow you to wear less elseshere: wool cap or wool cap .

    4. Your other main enemy will be wind...keep it off your hands, chest, and toes with something wind resistant.

    a. Full finger, wind resistent gloves...thousands of choices.

    b. A jacket with wind resistant material on the front. A light shell over your favorite sweater or light jacket can work well.

    c. Toe or shoe covers are surprisingly effective...check with your local bike shop.

    - B
     
  3. Sartorian

    Sartorian Senior member

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    Rivendell has some very nice Australian wool jerseys and cycling pants. Great for under-layers, etc. www.rivbike.com A while back, someone else posted a link to some nice European wool knickers, also. I think they were Italian or maybe French. I think that was back in the Spring, but can't remember. Try searching, there aren't too many bike clothes threads. edit: found it, but it was the Rapha stuff mentioned above. Here's the link to their company site: http://www.rapha.cc/index.php?page=1
     
  4. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Yeah, you could wear wool knickers.


    Or you could, you know, take the train. And dress like a grown up.
     
  5. mr monty

    mr monty Senior member

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  6. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Yeah, you could wear wool knickers.

    Or you could, you know, take the train. And dress like a grown up.


    Do grown-ups say such things?

    I'm just kidding, mostly. But I'm not a big fan of knickers either. Maybe if I were under 5 or over 85--or a "Dark Angel"-type hipster/messenger. But the ones suggested by voxartoria and Sartorian are pretty cool. All those sites were very interesting. I'd never heard of those companies. Thanks for the links. Nashbar, I have used, Mr. Monty, and they are cheap, which I like. They pissed me off a few years ago though...

    What I'm really looking for are clothes that look like or are dress clothes (suit or sportscoat and tie) but perform like performance clothes.

    (For example, I have a couple of pairs of pants that are 60% cotton, 40% stretch nylon that look like normal poplin pants but shed wind and light rain.)

    The train question is one I ask myself sometimes. The problem is that I'm always late, I'm cheap, and the train doesn't stop where I work. Train would take 1-1.5 hrs, and the bike is 30 mins door to door. Now I could grow up and got to sleep earlier and leave home earlier...
     
  7. Styk33

    Styk33 Senior member

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    Not exactly what you are looking for, but I ride in cycling clothes and change at the office (we now have showers). My 1 hour ride is better than the 2.5 hour transit ride, plus I cannot spare that much time as I have a child. Oh, the commute by car is just as long as a bicycle ride.

    I wear an orange reflective vest during my non-daylight commutes.
     
  8. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    I hear you. I was just being snarky. When I lived in Boston, I faced a similar situation--1 hour by "T" or 30 minutes on a bike. Weather permitting, I rode. But I was a graduate student then. Riding is not an option where I live, but if it were, I would consider it. I lived in Europe for a while too, and could bike to work about as fast as I could tram it, so as long as it was light out after work, I'd ride when I could. I usually just packed a dress shirt. but i didn't do it in the winter, either.
     
  9. emptym

    emptym Senior member Moderator

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    Not exactly what you are looking for, but I ride in cycling clothes and change at the office (we now have showers). My 1 hour ride...

    My general lateness precludes showering on arrival, but I make exceptions for those 90 degree + 90% humidity days. If the ride were an hour, I'd almost certainly change.


    I hear you. I was just being snarky.

    Me too. [​IMG] I knew you were just kidding, mostly.

    Boston.... I was a graduate student ...

    Me too!
     
  10. Tarmac

    Tarmac Senior member

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    i hate daylight savings time (or is it standard time). It's pure black night at 6 pm, there is no way I'm gonna bike now...
     
  11. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    Rohan do Jackets and trousers that are "technical", look at their Feelance and Envoy ones.
     
  12. California Dreamer

    California Dreamer Senior member

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    We had a pretty mild winter, but I commuted all through it. I find the trick is to dress in layers. This year, I used the following: Undershirt. This was a mesh knit Teosport. It was absolutely magic at trapping the heat under the jersey and keeping you warm. Arm warmers. Simple neoprene warmers that you can don and doff as needed. Indispensable. Gloves. I use a range of three: padded open-fingered, lightweight closed-fingers and padded closed fingers. Covers all conditions nicely, keeps you warm and prevents abrasions if you ditch. Wind breaker. I use a zip-up one with a plastic front and an open back. I use this for days when it will be cold but fine - keeps the wind chill down. Rain jacket. Mine is a reflective waterproof jacket with removable sleeves. Make sure it goes down over your bottom when you ride. Tights. To keep the legs warm. Worn over knicks in cold weather. Ear warmers. Neoprene bandanna to cover the ears and keep them warm. Should be replaced by a beanie if you're follicly-challenged. Apart from that, I always wore knicks and a proper jersey. And a helmet of course. For the bike, be sure to invest in a top lighting system and consider mudguards. I got covered in mud one ride this year. Sadly there is nowhere to attach guards on my bike, but I missed them that day. I know several serious cyclists, and they swear by Parker International for online cycling gear.
     
  13. SantosLHalper

    SantosLHalper Senior member

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    I'm a believer in proper equipment for each situation. It's not comfortable riding for 30 minutes in street clothes, especially as the weather gets colder or wetter and there is less sunlight. And potentially, as you ride more, you may find yourself taking an extended ride in order to fill the time and get more exercise.

    A few things that I always found helpful for cold weather commuting were a neoprene skull cap to go under the helmet (you are wearing a helmet, yes?), long fingered gloves, and neoprene socks (you could also just put plastic bags over your regular socks if you're so inclined). A well-designed waterproof cycling jacket is very helpful.

    A few people mentioned other key things above (fenders (front and rear), layering with technical clothes, etc) that I'll second. The brands that were mentioned too (Assos, etc) are all great. And get a headlight and flashing tail light.
     
  14. distinctive

    distinctive Senior member

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    I hear you. I was just being snarky. When I lived in Boston, I faced a similar situation--1 hour by "T" or 30 minutes on a bike. Whether permitting, I rode. But I was a graduate student then. Riding is not an option where I live, but if it were, I would consider it. I lived in Europe for a while too, and could bike to work about as fast as I could tram it, so as long as it was light out after work, I'd ride when I could. I usually just packed a dress shirt. but i didn't do it in the winter, either.


    Don't you mean weather??

    Thought I should correct you since you are always correcting others[​IMG]
     
  15. imageWIS

    imageWIS Senior member

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    One good thing about SoFLA is that when it comes to cycling, winter is a great time:

    [​IMG]

    Jon.
     
  16. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Don't you mean weather??

    Thought I should correct you since you are always correcting others[​IMG]


    Fixed. Thanks. [​IMG]
     
  17. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    Yeah, you could wear wool knickers.

    Or you could, you know, take the train. And dress like a grown up.


    Hah!

    Two more direct suggestions for the OP's questions:

    Jacket: Marmot

    Boots: Ecco

    No styleforum points for these!

    - B
     
  18. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Senior member

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    What I'm really looking for are clothes that look like or are dress clothes (suit or sportscoat and tie) but perform like performance clothes.

    To my knowledge, there really is nothing in the cycling world that fits this description. The better the item is for cycling, the more specialized it is and the less appropriate it becomes for wear off the bike.

    Some companies market clothes "designed" for travel, a concept that I find unconvincing, but such items might get closer to what you are seeking.

    Examples:

    Trousers

    Jacket

    These are not great candidates for WAYWT threads.

    If you are thinking of something more stylish, and are willing to give up a lot of utility on the bike, a hacking coat with lapels that can be closed, combined with inexpensive worsted wool trousers (wool will breathe and wick better than cotton blends) would work for milder cold weather. The equestrian world deals with similar climatic issues as cycling, but with more persisting traditional solutions, so you might look there as well.


    - B
     
  19. sygyzy

    sygyzy Senior member

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    i hate daylight savings time (or is it standard time). It's pure black night at 6 pm, there is no way I'm gonna bike now...

    Tell me about it. Sun set at 5 PM today and I am still at work. I don't mind the cold so much but the darkness really makes it dangerous.
     
  20. Renault78law

    Renault78law Senior member

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    When I commuted, I'd always pack clothes to change into once I arrived at work (and I keep a pair of shoes or two at the office). Granted, I was able to shower at the gym across the street, but I think not being able to shower is an even better reason to change out of dirty/wet/sweaty clothes.

    Daylight savings brings back bad memories. Even with two headlights, the road was invisible in some places. One time, I couldn't even spin the rear wheel after I'd hit a pothole hard. Not to mention those cracks in the road that are great at catching the tires. Plus all the tire puncturing crap in the gutter. Don't even get me started on drivers. Anyway, I eventually stopped commuting on a bicycle and opted to communte on a motorcycle. It's taken a toll on my waistline, but overall, it's more convenient and [in my twisted mind, I believe] it is safer.

    Winter gear that is indispensible: overshoes, winter gloves, earwarmers (I find that skull caps are too hot after 5 minutes of riding), arm warmers, a windproof vest, lots of blinky lights, and a messenger bag.
     

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