Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Let's Dork Out Over Bike Clothes Today Because This Is A Blog About Bicycle Cycling.

Allow me to shelve my modesty for a moment if I may and to speak frankly:

I have massive "street cred" as an "urban cyclist."

Sorry, but it's true.  I've been riding in this town for a pretty long time--sure, not as long as David Byrne, but certainly before David Byrne started talking about cycling, because riding a bike was nothing special then and nobody would have given a shit.  I rode over the bridges when they still had holes in them.  In fact, I even worked as a bike messenger for awhile--in the winter no less!  It was also before cellphones (or at least before it was normal to have a cellphone), and since they didn't give the newbies radios (or at least they didn't give me one) I had to ride around town with about 400lbs of quarters in my cargo pants so I could call into my dispatcher from a pay phone.

Pay phone for chrissakes!  You could catch ear herpes!

Anyway, I was thinking about all this because I'm getting old now so I spend more time remembering stuff and less time actually doing stuff.  Yet, paradoxically, as a bike blogger I now have more bike-related stuff than I ever thought possible.  On top of that, everything has become highly refined.  Consider lights, for example.  I don't think I even used a light on my bike when I was a messenger.  At most, maybe I'd have one pathetic little red blinky, and once the battery died I couldn't be bothered to replace it.  Then Knog revolutionized the blinky light industry with the "hipster cyst," and lights got better and better, and then you could recharge them with your computer, and now I have enough Knog Blinders to illuminate [insert your favorite baseball stadium here, I can't be bothered because I fucking hate baseball] stadium.

Clothing is another item that has become highly refined.  When I was a messenger I just wore a bunch of cheap crap from the army navy store.  (In fact, I still wear a bunch of cheap crap from the army navy store.)  Now everybody from Levi's on down wants to sell you some variation on the high-performance on-the-bike, off-the-bike wardrobe for your "urban cycling" adventures, most of it very expensive.

As an old person, I appreciate some of these refinements and I look askance at others.  The light thing is amazing--visibility is a big deal, and rechargeable lights that fasten easily to pretty much any part of any bicycle makes being visible way, way easier than it used to be.  The clothes thing on the other hand...I don't get it.

There are certain bits of "wisdom" in the cycling world that have become gospel over the years, and one of them is that you shouldn't wear cotton.  It gets wet, it doesn't dry quickly, you'll catch a chill and die, blah blah blah.

Bullshit.

Okay, sure, if you do a 100 mile ride in a cotton sweatsuit you're going to be really fucking miserable.  But as far as this vigorous on-the-bike, off-the-bike stuff all the boutique clothing is designed for, cotton is just fine.  I've tried a fair amount of this stuff by now, and most of it isn't much of an improvement over a pair of work pants, a thermal, and a sweatshirt.  "But ooh, it's cotton, you'll sweat, freeze, and die!"  No you won't.  When you're out there on a road bike riding steadily for hours at a time a Lycra stretchy suit will certainly help you regulate your body temperature and sweat and frumunda production and so forth, but when you're starting and stopping and going inside and going outside and wearing a bag on your back it's another story.  Wearing your merino blahbidyblah under your tailored outer shell made from the revolutionary new HipsterTec fabric doesn't really make much of a difference.

Take a look at people doing real outdoor work in the city, like the people who are building all these luxury condos.  They're not wearing merino hoodies and $250 jeans.  (Though the people designing the luxury condos probably are, because you somehow need a technical wardrobe to ride your fixie for 40 minutes from your loft to your design studio, yet all you need is some work clothes to hang from a scaffolding in gale force winds all day.)

Given all this, I've been trying to make sense of this Giro stuff I recently received.  Granted, this is more "performance-oriented" and less "urban" than stuff like cycling jeans, but it still occupies that strange and expensive no-man's-land between Lycra and street clothes that I don't quite understand.  Nevertheless, I've been experimenting with it, and here's where I am so far:


I still don't understand these things and I don't think I ever will, nor have I ever had much trouble doing the "Killroy" with any of my current bib shorts.  In fact, the only time I could ever envision using the fly in my underpants would be if I was in black tie and didn't want to remove my cummerbund, so I suppose these will be my go-to undershorts if I ever ride to the Academy Awards to accept an Oscar.




I have yet to actually wear this shirt out of doors because it hurts my brain.  You put it on and it's long, but the sleeves hover somewhere between your arm and your wrist, which seems like exactly the opposite if what you want when you're riding a bike.  Either you want short sleeves, or you want sleeves long enough to cover your whole arm, even when you're reaching forward over your handlebars.  I mean, right?  Or are people having issues with overheated wrists now?

I'd be legitimately interested to see if anybody sees a point to this.




I wore this over the summer sometimes.  It's scratchy.  I preferred a cotton t-shirt while riding, even though everyone knows cotton doesn't wick properly and that you'll get sweaty and then you'll catch pneumonia and die.  For running though this is good, since I run for a very short time but sweat a fuckload more than I do while riding, so I'm willing to trade comfort for something that doesn't become quite as waterlogged, mostly because I'm less likely to horrify my neighbors in the elevator.




This vest is extremely comfortable and pleasantly light weight, though that same light weight makes it sort of useless for those windy autumn months on the East Coast which is when you actually want to wear a vest.  Maybe my vest was a little too big, but the wind found its way in through the arm holes and up the bottom and I froze my ass off last time I wore it, whereas my roadie Fred stretchy suit vests are indispensable and awesome.

I suspect maybe the issue is simply that this stuff comes from California and isn't as well-suited to the Northeast.  I can certainly see how a lot of this stuff would be a lot better for those misty Northern California bike-and-burrito dudefests.  Here in New York though we're too busy being cold.




This is merino and polypropylsomething-or-other.  It's very nice, but I prefer a "normal" Fred jersey with a base layer.  This gets kind of saggy when you put stuff in the back pockets.  Also a "normal" Fred jersey dries faster.




I rarely wear regular shorts over bib shorts.  If I do I like cut-off work pants since you still have "normal" pockets for your wallet and keys and phone so you don't have to fish around for your crap or take off your backpack, and if you're wearing bib shorts underneath it really doesn't matter what the overshorts are made of anyway.  These have the kinds of tiny pockets they like to put on "technical" clothing so you're basically limited to a key ring and some LSD tabs.  So for $120 I'm not sure I see the point.





This is really nice.  Is it $250 nice?  I don't know, but it is definitely nice.

So basically, that's over $1,000 of stuff, and six out of seven of the items I don't get.  Either I don't know what the hell I'm talking about or this industry is downright kooky, though I suspect it's probably a combination of the two.  Still, this "collection" seems like the clothing equivalent of a really expensive flat-bar road bike.

In any case, if you want my advice (which you don't), buy some nice "traditional" stretchy Lycra stuff for your Fredly exploits and recreational bicycle cycling endeavors, and then buy "regular" clothes for the rest.  (And if you want to recreate what Giro's attempting here you can always combine the two.  Your regular bib shorts plus some cut-off Dickies or camo fatigues equals the "bib undershort" and the "tech overshort.")

I now encourage readers to avail themselves of the comment section to share their own tips and experience with regard to cycling and apparel, because this is a blog about bicycle cycling.

Then end.

Love,

Wildcat Rock Machine

191 comments:

BamaPhred said...

Podium

Jasper said...

Early doors

Flyover BC said...

Podium?

mikeweb said...

Late from the rink.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Potential tip fove again

RoadQueen said...

Top 10 again!

JB said...

WANG HLDR

john stroh said...

What?

Yarpo said...

Gonna put on my fat suit and body-slam someone smaller than me, ala Mayor Ford, out of anger at not podioing.

Buffalo Bill said...

Heh, so this is what it's like in watching the sprinters.

3G said...

TLDNR TOP 10?

Anders Ebbeson said...

See Ya!

Euro Spondee said...

I started wearing bike-specific clothing after crashing a few times and ruining my nice leisure/party clothes, but that was back in the day when things weren't overpriced for trendfreds. Nonetheless, cotton is the worst.

babble on said...

Ok. I love dorking out over bike stuff. :)

Anonymous said...

Under Babbs!!

vsk

Anonymous said...

Merino base layers and boxer briefs are super! Stay away from those MUSA boxers. The bottom of the leg will find it's way over the waist of your pants.
Garbage Barge!

McFly said...

$1095 total? Wow. More than I paid for my plastique beik.

Yeah Cleveland! said...

Coulda podioed but I was playing Cops and Rob Fords.
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/11/19/world/americas/his-honor-torontos-mayor-rampages-on-to-citys-shame.html?smid=fb-share

Serial Retrogrouch said...

same position, different day

CommentatorBot9000 said...

"I now encourage readers to avail themselves of the comment section to share their own tips and experience with regard to cycling and apparel, because this is a blog about bicycle cycling."

I bet the readers who “avail themselves of the comment section” are going to “share their own tips and experience with regard” to oral sex.

RoadQueen said...

If I'm not cycling in my beik cycling-specific shorts, I toodle around in jeans. I see no reason to have special clothes to make a beer run/go out to a casual dinner.

Meh. Admittedly, fashion is not my strong suit, so YMMV.

Marcel Da Chump said...

Uniqlo heat tech base layer.

Buffalo Bill said...

Softshells ain't cheap, but they are sure nice. The $250 giro might be worth it.

On the topic of winter, it seems lots of folks bitch about the 'Alberta clipper' effect, like the one that just roared south the other day. I like 'em, cause the next day we get that awesome cold/clear/sunny/snowy day with no wind. Which makes for excellent bicycle cycling conditions, softshell or not.

mikeweb said...

For my Fredly adventures I too wear the stretchy Lycra based wardrobe items in various retina burning colors.

When I bike ride to work though I don't. I'd rather not have to walk through the lobby of the office building I work in wearing shorts that make it obvious whether or not I'm circumcised.

For bottoms I wear lycra based 'performance' sports underoos with either shorts or pants over top as the weather dictates. I do have a few pairs of 'cycling specific' shorts and pants made by Levis, Cannondale and H&M, though I don't wear these exclusively for non-Fredly riding.

For tops, most of the time it's just a cotton t-shirt, though as the tempurature dips, I have a Fredly gillet and insulated jersey that I often resort to.

Luckily at work I have access to a locker room where I can get cleaned up and change and can also keep my work clothes stored securely in a locker. When I inevitably get layed off or transferred to another building, I'm really going to miss that.

dancesonpedals said...

Bicycle stuff? I confess..I have 4 pairs of gloves...a super warm pair of sugois that cost $70 that I wear when the temp is below 40 degrees (below 5 degrees for the fahrenheitically challenged)..they look like ski gloves

an old beat up pair of castelli slightly-less-warm full-fingered gloves that I wear when it's 40-55.

Full-fingered light giros for 55-70

and nashbar specials for over 70

(ok, and cheapo pair of mesh shorties that I only wear in triathlons because they're easy to pull over wet hands)

I didn't mean to be a glove queen...I can't throw shit out & my family gives me cycling presents..

yes..I confessed to triathlonism

babble on said...

I like merino wool under a waterproof layer for winter bicycle cycling. Um... Are thigh-exposing leg warmers very Fredly?

Fourscore and a fuckload of years ago a really smart American had something important to say, and from his inspiration a great nation was born. I am just a dumb Canadian spouting off, but every generation has its cultural revolution and this time around its a global village nation we're busy making.

mikeweb said...

Marcel,

I really like Uniqlo's clothing and have been meaning to try out their heattech stuff. Though I wonder if it might work a little too well. I don't like arriving looking like I was just jogging through the rain forest.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Thanks for the invitation to shelve my modesty for a moment if I may and to comment frankly:

I wear cotton socks with my SPD sandals. My feet stay cool and the ventilation the sandals afford keeps my socks from getting sweat-logged.

It just makes good sense.

Comment deleted said...

For a mere ten miles a day of commuting, I just wear work clothes. The only thing that bothers me is that my day-to-day boxers either work just fine, or give me ball-crushing discomfort. And it's not correlated with how loose or tight they are; I haven't figured out what makes one pair comfortable and another excruciating.

babble on said...

I love the approach of winter-fred cause the LOB gloves come out to play. It has to get really cold before I wear them, cause otherwise my fingers get nasty sweaty, but every time I put them on, I commune with the great LOB on high, blessed be.

Dean said...

I really am old, when I was a messenger we carried around a roll of dimes for the pay phones; and cotton t-shirts and jeans (or jeans cut off into shorts in the summer) were what I wore. Maybe a wool sweater and an army coat when it got cold.

babble on said...

CD - something to do with the seams, mebbe?

Comment deleted said...

Babs, it's something like that; or an interaction with different types of pants. Maybe I need a kukoo penthouse after all.

babble on said...

Ooooh! And I'm feeling like a spring chicken, cause when I was a messenger (through winter in Edmonton before global warming!!) I actually got a radio. No quarters, no dimes.

My favourite thing to wear way back then was a pair of green lycra cycling shorts, but I'd usually just dress like a skier for the winter.

dorkdorkdorkdorkdork mmmm happiness is a dorked out bike dork.

Comment deleted said...

It does make me appreciate junk-hugging lycra fredshorts, though, so I'm always happy to put those on.

babble on said...

CD -Hmm...yes, that makes sense. Tell you what - just send in some photos and the commentariate here will surely sort it our post haste.

babble on said...

You could always wear lycra Fred shorts as underwear. Plus, all the chamois acts like an underwire and a bit of padding in a bra... you might just make new friends!

RoadQueen said...

CD - Your undie-conundrum is why I take the 'less is more' approach.

Comment deleted said...

Babs, you want me to pull a Weiner? I think not! 9 out of 10 Robs Fords find that idea disgusting!

Flyover BC said...

Two rolls of quarters in your pants is not the same as massive street cred.

Anonymous said...

I figured out the drill, comment first, read later.
Then comment some more!

Commuting -
summer is easiest, non-shiny stretchy shorts and charity ride jersey, light socks, pull on black Dickies pants before entering the building so I can keep the job.
Spring Fall - light long tights with no chamwow with above shorts with chamwow. Long fingered gloves, medium weight wool socks. Light long sleeve jersey or short sleeve wool jersey or long sleeve light jersey. Pull on black Dickies pants pre entering.
Winter - Fleece tights, long sleeve light jersey w heavier jersey over it. Full fingered gloves or heavy full fingered gloves. Woolie Boolie socks (with the sheep on them!). Wear the Dickies over the tights- atomic wedgie be damned.

Around da naybahood, regler clothes.

Riding for fun ?? Fleece tights, lighter long sleeve base and one of the rare vintage wool jerseys (rare because they didn't make fat people back then). Heavy gloves, socks etc in winter.

vsk

Anonymous said...

WKRM,
Still Confused. So, what happens to the chain when the bike is apart? And the wheels, do you remove the skewers or not?

-Confused in epic brito land

Serial Retrogrouch said...

if Robs Fords has more than enough pussy to eat at home... and Robs Fords is morbidly obese... shouldn't Robs Fords give away his stash of pussy at home?

discuss

Angry Dan said...

I wear whatever is clean at the moment. If there is nothing clean, I fall back to whatever stinks the least.

Comment deleted said...

RQ, ahh, riding commando. Good on ya. Though, we all wouldn't mind you modeling some chevron'd cycling panties. They looked very, um, comfortable.

mikeweb said...

CD, the underoos I use have no pad and are tight stretchy lycra and give me no problem. Under Armor makes them.

Any kind of cotton under wear is sure to cause swamp crotch if the temps go much north of 75F.

The Shocker said...

2 IN DA MEAT PIE

1 IN DA BROWN EYE

[Keep that ring finger out of the way ya rube]

casey said...

Hate baseball?!?!?!
you belong in canada, you commmie.

Yarpo said...

I am extremely lucky. My workplace has ample employee bike parking, three bathrooms and A SHOWER!!!! Why? So those of us who ride, run, or walk to work can clean up before we clock in.

Therefore, I dress more Fredly to ride and carry a full change of clothing and a pair of shoes in my pan-meh-niers. I don't like working in smelly, sweaty, clothes after riding like Fabian Cancellara (in my overactive imagination, anyway) and I am truly fortunate that I don't have to.

Kotton Kills! With stop-and-go riding I will get uncomfortably cold from the wet sweat, especially at some of the interminable red lights around this Misty Nor-Cal Burrito Dude Festery, if I wear cotton. Since I change back into my Fred-wear for the commute home, I like to use synthetics because I know they will be totally dry when I put them back on. Cycling shorts and synthetic tees, pretty basic and comfortable, layer up when it gets cold (MN-CBDF cold, that is, not NYC or Duluth cold).

For all that, I do have co-workers that work in the same clothes that they rode to work in, and some of them stink, and some of them don't.

The price-points on that Giro clothing are fucking ridiculous. If you want performance fabrics then there are tons of that type of clothes out there at a fraction of that cost, that look just as good.

Fashion? Whatever makes you happy...like...man.
Is it Wednesday? Whoa...

COTN KILZ

babble on said...

OMG!! I nearly forgot! Mkay, so this isn't exactly about bicycles, but it is about riding a friend!

It's my girl Shirl at the Rio.

You're welcome. :)

Anonymous said...

about cotton

SING IT SISTER

COTTON IS FINE FOR REGULAR RIDING, COLD OR NOT


HOT OR NOT

PLASTIC IS ABOUT .00% BETTER FOR .00000% of THINGS

EVERYTHING ELSE, IT DOES NOT MATTER

WHAT MAGIC PLACE DOES PLASTIC PUT SWEAT?

IT DOESN;T

IT JUST HANGS THERE - same as IT DOES WITH COTTON!

Please prove you're not a robot
i am not a robot

wle

Anonymous said...

I like wool. I can cover a wide range from cool to cold. Today: short sleeve pendleton wool shirt (shop ebay), plus wool arm warmers, and a wool scarf under the high-vis wind jacket, until I got a bit warm and took off the scarf.
Lately I've been wearing pile gloves over regular cycling gloves. I ironed more reflectiveness onto the back of the gloves.

dancesonpedals said...

WKRM-

Were those two rolls of quarters in your pocket, or were you just glad to make a delivery

Anonymous said...

I (Anon 1:24) should add - I'm SF Bay area, so my cold is 35F. I know, that's not really cold.

swampjieux said...

Stretch jeans, stretch chinos and stretch cords for typical city riding. You can get them custom sized any way you want for $50 online made in India and delivered within a week or two.

Comment deleted said...

Grouch, I took that "more than enough at home" comment as a reference to the excessive volume of Mrs.s Fords' tuna taco.

chester fields said...

i like those shirts that they gots a chesty pocket for ciggy butts. only problem is they cost about 15 packs of ciggy butts. and they're fugly.

Marcel Da Chump said...

mikeweb, the fabric is perfect for commuter cycling on days where the temps are below freezing...it's super thin and light enough to wear under street clothes with no bulky overheating effect.

the Jimboner said...

Yep. I was SF bike messenger in the early 90's, roll a dimes in the front pocket, dime bag in the back. Pelican Delivery.

DB said...

Oh, well, guess I'll jump in here.
Summer: Lycra shorts and Hawaiian shirt.
Winter: everything I own.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

I have the underbibs and find they are pretty good for the occasional 20+ city mile day where i will want to have jeans and normal clothes on over them.
and in those cases, Kilroy was def here. and I like them - they are lighter weight than wearing a typical bib under normal clothes.

I have those overshorts 'cause i thought i needed 'em after buying the underbibs - i am confused and I should return them.

I have the jersey in short sleeve, it makes a nice change from a typical jersey but yes, i was glad when i accidentally put it in the dryer cause now it don't sag so much.

I also have the light merino polo shirt which has nothing to do with cycling but is comfortable and looks good on me.

so thats it - and no, i didn't pay full price.

and the best thing i can recommend to anyone about wearing stuff when they are riding is that you're more comfortable in so many ways when you put your bag in a basket or rack rather than wearing it.

Anonymous said...

I work in construction, and I ride in clothes designed for construction.

Check out Duluth Trading companys Firehose line. I got a pants and jacket, work 8 hours plus in the NW rains all winter and never bother with "rain gear", got one of the shirt jackets, pants, driving cap for my winter kit on the bike. All three of the pieces costs less than any "bike" clothes.

Bike clothes are for pros and for suckers.

Anonymous said...

I find my bespoked wool work trousers work fine on my short ride to and from work, no need for "special" pants. If I had a much longer ride maybe I would feel differently, like those duders/dudettes who cycle 25 miles into the city from the suburbs at like 5AM. But if I were doing that, finding the right clothing would probably be the least of my worries.

mikeweb said...

ECDO,

I'll definitely second that emotion on not wearing your bag on your back or over your shoulder.

Unless you're into having your back and the back of your shirt/ jersey completely drenched in sweat and/ or sweat stains where the shoulder strap of the messenger bag goes, then by all means go ahead.

Years back after getting tired of 'sweat back' I installed a rack and bought a one-sided pannier bag (under 100 bills for everything). I've never looked back.

mikeweb said...

I will add that the rack and pannier option definitely works better if you have one bike for commutering and another bike for Freddering, assuming Fred-ventures are part of your repertoire.

I would sooner remove my own appendix with a warm spoon than put a rack on my Fred sled.

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

oh yeah - definitely separate my fred from my commuter situations - i'll never wear that jersey to ride to work

McFly said...

Wow. It's a real splooge-fest on cycling ensembles today. FASHION SHOW TUESDAY IS THE NEW TITTY TUESDAY. Ahhhhhsaaahhhmmm.

grog said...

I'll be at my Gettysburg Address today. Please leave a message.

I ride with bib shorts and regular shorts with regular pockets for the same reason you say: stuff. Bright jersey for woods or road. Blinky tailight for on-road, but don't ride at night. If the air is cold, then a base layer of long underwear, nothing special. Gloves always.

BamaPhred said...

Glad Snob posted those thoughts. I would really like some of these nice bikeen outfits, but will continue to shop the clearance rack at the LBS until my Powerball numbers hit.

fredchariot said...

because you somehow need a technical wardrobe to ride your fixie for 40 minutes from your loft to your design studio

No, not 40 minutes. 40 minutes is well outside an acceptable amount of bicycle cycling time for the rider described trying to design buildings or whatnot.

A 4 minute ride with all the gear in the photos to look the part is probably closer to reality.


Am I the only one that noticed none of those product photos have the back of the product lower than the front? At minimum, cycling clothes should address the "plumber's crack" problem. Their manufacturers make regular clothes, so you get junk like that.

Wool jerseys work great for me. Most are worth every penny.

Comment deleted said...

I finally found some rain pants that fit my mildly freakish inseam, but still haven't found a good solution for my feet in the rain. Right now, I've settled for an ungainly pair of Tingley overboots. Whatever happened to the cheap and snug Totes of yester-yore?

Yeah Cleveland! said...

I'm a true blue union hourly man with work clothes and access to showers, I wear my stretchy clothes year round for my 24 mi round trip commute. Because I can and I look so fine...

wishiwasmerckx said...

I have a lightweight merino wool base layer zip-up turtleneck which is ideal from 50 degrees and below. It does a great job of modulating temperature. It is machine washable on the delicate cycle, so long as you take it out of the dryer while it is still a little damp.

Bibs rule for real cycling, but I own a few pairs of lycra shorts for under street clothes. The kind with the thinner chamois work best for this application.

I also own two retro-style short sleeved wool jerseys. They are great for autumn. If the day starts too cold, add arm warmers until you or the weather heats up.

Anonymous said...

I concur on the $20 Dickies shorts over bike shorts. You can put on a pair of poly long johns too (those go under the Dickies, but over the bike shorts). This is way cheaper than $150 chammmy bike tights and people won't eye your junk in the elevator, unless you like that sort of thing. I'm glad Snob is writing this even though I've already figured it out. It should really be in writing.

Anonymous said...

Neck gator to pull up over your mouth when it's cold. Swivels in case one side gets crusted over with frozen snot and drool.

Euro Spondee said...

CD - Goretex overshoes were the best $70 I ever spent on bike gear, commuting or otherwise. Nothing like arriving with dry feet after a wet commute.

T^3 said...

I ride in Montana through the winter, and I usually just wear jeans, a cotton tee shirt, a hoody, and wind breaker. When it gets below 30F, I tuck in the shirt. When it gets to around 20F, I put on a base layer top (wool, patagornia capelene, whatever is clean). When it gets around 10F, I might put on the base layer bottoms under my jeans, but I might also get too hot.

I've found that the lobster gloves kind of suck in actually cold weather (below 15F), but you can make them usable with a pair of crappy cotton knit onesize stretch gloves underneath. Usually I just wear wool glittens with a leather palm pad and internal thinsulate (like $10 at target). Is it above 35?, ride 'em fingerless. Below 35?, ride 'em mitten-wise.

Below 0F you're just kind of cold. Break out the thick wool sweater (pendelton!), maybe the scarf. Workwear behind-the-head ear warmers+beanie+helmet keeps the head and ears toasty.

Below -15F, it really fucking sucks. I dislike riding for more than 2 miles without stopping at a bar to warm up (obviously I live one of Montana's 3 towns).

Below -35F I haven't ridden. Anybody? I hear there are serious cold weather riders in the North Dakota/Minnesota area.

MEN + FASHION said...

MEN + FASHION.

My husband wears my old jeggings because they are comfy and make him feel like a ninja.

I love that all the clothes "reviewed" are painfully expensive for how they look. With that being said I will continue to rock my hobo chic whilst riding my bici.

leroy said...

I have to wear whatever the sponsors my dog has lined up for me provide.

This week it's a re-purposed Halloween banana costume with a handwritten advertisement for erectile dysfunction medication.

Some days, I miss commuting in old bib shorts under a pair of jeans and just enough layers on top to keep warm.

Base layer tights and shirt for when it got cold.

Full-on Fred outfit if I started my commute early to get a ride in before work.

Yes, those were the days.

But my dog assures me I'm living the dream.

fredcycle said...

BamaPhred,

I have a gift for you. Buy your cycling clothes at thrift shops.

It only takes a minute to scan the racks because the bikeen clothes will simply not belong with the rest.

I find lots of cycling clothes in the women's section where 99% of the time it does not belong.

Picked up a circa 1980-something Perl Izumi long sleeve jersey for $5 last month. Hideous graphics and works good. I especially like offending the people riding matching bikes/kit.

Mr Pants said...

Cotton wicks better than any other fabric in fact it wicks moisture so well it doesn't give it up thus the down side. I wear a snug tshirt in all conditions no mater what. Now wet denim on the other hand feels like I am wrestling a bear while riding.

ge said...

If you're from the Pacific Northwest you really owe it to yourself to get some advice on rain gear/riding from a Southern Californian. Or look a little north to Grant Petersen. lulz \(^_^)/

Dooth said...

I'm waiting on my favorite fashion house, Prada, to bring out a cycling clothing line; until then, I'll go with the Montana dude's style.

Etherhuffer said...

Cutoff Levi 501's
Blue Oyster Cult tee shirt
Rod Laver tennis shoes(padded,breathe well)
Ray Bans.

70's bike gear is so cheap and easy. Merino wool tee shirts do really rock on cold days though.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

anyone else suffer from freezing hands in the winter?

it's the only reason i stop cycling when the weather is near or below freezing. i wear half finger gloves, on top of those i wear full finger gloves, on top of those i wear lobster claws... and still the tips of my fingers freeze to the point where the pain is unbearable after they thaw in the heat of the office... i've been heard screaming in the powder room on cold days.

my commute is 7 miles... and no other part of my body freezes during this commute.

CommieCanuck said...

I now encourage readers to avail themselves of the comment section to share their own tips and experience with regard to cycling and apparel.

What, without poop jokes?

NEED POOP

Comment deleted said...

Commie, lycra Fred shorts do make one look as if they have a load-on.

FRED DIPR

CommieCanuck said...

anyone else suffer from freezing hands in the winter?

Yes, I just turn up the heater until toasty warm. Riding in the cold bites monkey balls.

McFly said...

Serial, check out some Seirus gloves. They are pretty nice.

CommieCanuck said...

Commie, lycra Fred shorts do make one look as if they have a load-on.

Yeah, uh...look like...

Serial Retrogrouch said...

commie, my balls stay toastie warm during my commute... but when i go to touch them with my hands, i can't feel'm because my hands are frozen...

hence the dilema.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

mcfly,

thanks... i will try some... i will report back in march.

judbrvt 154

leroy said...

Serial Retrogrouch --

When it gets really cold, I go to down mittens. For me, lobster gloves aren't any better than a full fingered glove below 40 degrees.

This winter, I'm going try Bar Mitts with a full or half glove. Tried them the other day and they may take some getting used to, but should keep the fingers warm.

My hands already look gnarly and the cold weather has barely arrived.

One other thing: three layers on the hands may be too tight. A little breathing room helps insulation and blood circulation.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Serial Retrogrouch,

You may be wearing too many gloves. I think it helps if there's a little bit of room in there so your hand warms the air in the glove and creates a little igloo action--especially with the lobster gloves, which group your fingers together so they can warm each other. Sometimes layering works against you.

My theory anyway.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

BikeSnobNYC said...

Leroy beat me to it...

CommieCanuck said...

commie, my balls stay toastie warm during my commute... but when i go to touch them with my hands, i can't feel'm because my hands are frozen...

Get a tandem, then let her touch your toasty balls.

RECH ARND

Roille Figners said...

What do I wear for bike-cycling? Yeah I dunno, in the PNW for commuting I'm still basically like "regular clothes on the inside, nylon on the outside to shed the rain." Which doesn't really work per se, because if the rain don't get ya then the sweat will. In other words you WILL arrive wet. So fuck it. I was about to start experimenting with surrendering to the rain, forget about staying dry, just stay warm, and change clothes when you get there (which involves standing on top of my shoes in the men's room stall on the rare occasion when I can find one not occupied by someone luxuriously shit-texting), but now I think I may just lease the fucking Hyundai already. As for recreational riding, I really don't tend to do it ever -- a further sign that I don't really enjoy bicycling. I'm at a watershed moment. In different ways, yesterday's post and today's both seem to make a pretty good case for saying Fuck It.

Anonymous said...

@Serial Retrogrouch: For me, sheepskin rug gloves (one piece, no fingers, no lobster claws) are the way to go when it's really cold. And those crappy cotton knit onesize stretch gloves T^3 mentions above are really helpful as a base layer.

At very low temperatures, a sheepskin rug saddle cover is a very nice thing too - especially on Brooks leather saddles which tend to be very cold otherwise.

P. S.: It's true that wool does not stink ever - something I appreciate very much as a cyclist.

Andrew Rockman said...

http://www.mulletonthego.com/products/thesilverfox

Anonymous said...

In Adelaide South Australia i commute in a long sleeve polypropylene orange hi vis top because its hi vis and it stops most of the bogans in utes and v8 commodores from hassling me just in case I might be one of them.

CommieCanuck said...

I wear these when its cold. . Yes, those are my legs, and the shoes push warm blood to the toes.

Billy said...

I bike to work in the same clothes I wear all day. Sometimes it's jeans and a sweatshirt, sometimes it's dress pants and shirt. Cotton, polyester, whatever it happens to be made of.

Today my crotch got really cold when I stood up in the saddle because I was sweating on the seat.

Aside from that, it's fine.

I do have a ton of gloves, though, because I hate it when my hands get cold or sweaty, so I have four pairs, each for a different temperature range. This summer I didn't wear gloves at all a lot of the time, though.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

WRM,

i think your theory is sound because i kept telling myself that the only reason only my hands freeze is because i have poor circulation in my hands... all this time i just thought something must be wrong with me...

the igloo action never occurred to me.

Serial Retrogrouch said...

...now i want me some igloo action.

BamaPhred said...

Thanks for the thrift store tip.
Retrofredism follows:
I actually remember 1971, it's the later years that kinda blurred out. What I thought what a well dressed cyclist should wear , but I rocked the cutoff Levi's and a whatever shirt I felt like. Still wanting a Paramount.

Billy said...

SRG,

I wear these mountaineering mittens when it gets really cold. Fleece liner and wind/waterproof outer shell:

http://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/meteor-mitts.html

I have yet to be outdoors in conditions that are too cold for these.

When it's above 20 deg F, I ditch the fleece liner (too sweaty!) and wear my regular full-finger bikey gloves inside the windproof shells. Works great.

Never had a problem using my brakes and shifters inside the mittens, but the mittens are getting a little worn out on the end from rubbing against the levers.

Comment deleted said...

1000+ points to the commentariat for not using "rocking" today.

Billy said...

The "igloo effect" is why my uncle says you should sleep naked in your sleeping bag when camping.

Comment deleted said...

BamaPhred, is the comb-over de rigueur?

Comment deleted said...

Oh, fuck, Bama... -1000 to you!

I'm sorry, but that's the way it has to be.

BamaPhred said...

Only if you have enough hair left.

Or you could rock a plug job mullet.

Anonymous said...

"Okay, sure, if you do a 100 mile ride in a cotton sweatsuit you're going to be really fucking miserable."

I dunno about that. I've done plenty of 3-day bike camping trips, in the fall, in the winter, in the snow, wearing a cotton sweatshirt and cotton cargo pants. If you get sweaty, you "unzip" the sweatshirt. If you get really sweaty, you "take off" the sweatshirt.

Herschel Raney said...

I like Pearl and Primal. Go Colorado I suppose. Even before the genius weed vote.

I did just get chased by a loose steer on my ride. And fortunately I was not wearing red. I think red pisses cattle off. But then dogs can't see red. Fuck if I know what to do now. Had on some blaze orange Pearl long sleeve. It is deer season here and these rednecks will shoot your ass off a bike if you act deerish. In any way. Like having white on your helmet. Or snorting.

I don't feel so angry after today's blog anyway. So thanks for that. Will be interesting to see what my heart rate monitor did while the steer chased me.

Have a good evening bicycloids.

BamaPhred said...

Well, I was going to use rubbed, but that's what the Levi's were doing to my scranus. I apologize for the faux pas, hope it doesn't happen again.

crosspalms said...

Wool for me, pretty much year-round. When I first wore it in warm weather I was surprised at how comfortable it was. I expected to get hot but didn't. And in Chicago, a wind shift near the lake can add or subtract almost 20 degrees in spring and fall, so wool works. There have been times I've left work in full sun and by the time I'm at the lake 10 blocks away, fog is rolling in and it's chilly.

Ibex sells some wool pants that this time of year I can wear to work and not worry about changing. If it's really cold, wool base layer underneath.

Serial retrogrouch,
My fingers get cold really easily, I like Icebike Mittens from Empire Canvas Works. They've too warm for me above about 30, but from there down to near zero they're great. Anything colder (or in a headwind) I add wool glove liners underneath. Props to Montana guy, but much below zero and I start looking at the bus anyway...

And CD, I like the Splats that Rivendell sells, they've kept my feet dry many times in spite of their goofy looks.

Yarpo said...

Lest we forget...

An Unruly-Mob-of-Belgian-Cycling-Fans-Cheering-Drunkenly for BamaPhred, Jasper, and Flyover BC!!!

Podium Girl Butt-Pinching Incidents will be followed by interviews with Sporza, autograph-seeking mobs, all the ale you can drink, and all the pommes frites with mayo you can eat!!!

A fine day's work, Gentlemen. Goeie Werk!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm, very interesting. Bikesnob wears similar clothing I do, with the exception of the spando diaper, which I find completely unnecessary and an admission of taintal weakness.

Dickies are pretty good, though Ben Davis are better. They are more durable, they come in a slimmer cut, and they ONLY COME IN BLACK, so you know they are good. I also like the fact the company has been around since 1936, and they only make 5 items of clothing. I also like that they are more stereotypically associated with Japanese Hip Hoppers than the cholos that Dickies represent.
They also have a cool Gorilla logo.
http://bendavis.com/product/original-bens-pants-trim-fit/

ge said...

@Serial Retrogrouch - shop in a ski shop instead of a bike shop. Even the cheap gloves are warmer than anything bike $pecific. Plus, they usually have grippy palms too. Of course, like others above, I need a different pair of gloves for every 3-4°C variation in temperature.

Fredrik J├Ânsson Norrstr├Âm said...

Fredly clothes for fredly activities.

Otherwise not so much. I've, eg, never understood the need for padding in my trousers. If you do need padding, why not put it on the saddle?

But the wife gave a pair of Levi's commuter for present a while ago and they are kind of nice. The regular jeans I prefer are tight enough over to make cycling a bit awkward. And since I enjoy the strapped in feeling of clickety pedals as well as using them in the often less than favorable weather around here this time of year I bought a pair of DZR H2Os a while ago and have yet to regret that. I have for similar reasons a pair of Seal skin gloves since non-cycling gloves has a tendency to hurt my hands occasionally due to seams in poor places, and a Gore gore tex cycling specific jacket 'cause it was on sale and it works.

But the rest is just clothes.

ge said...

Oh yeah, if my commute didn't involve 2 kangaroo miles of 8% climbing I'd totally rock/rub/slay/palp the cotton. How many points is that?

Uh oh, ICpagis 13

wishiwasmerckx said...

Sure, you can spend $70.00 on some gore-tex shoe covers, but you can obtain identical results with two empty bread bags.

Etherhuffer said...

@BamaPhred, Yep, that's the era for me. But in poverty-land it was the cutoffs and the Varsity, not shorts and a Paramount.

BTW, Levi seams will tear up your scranus over long miles, Wranglers won't. But cutoff Wranglers make you look like some Lil Abner straight off the cattle farm. And of course cutoff Levis are also a swimming suit, whereas the country club shorts in the Spokane River in 1971 would have gotten some nasty catcalls.

Anonymous said...

Socks that are long enough to tuck the hem of one's trousers into are the only bicycle specific fashion items the cycling gentleman needs.

Womenfolk are mystery to me so I couldn't possibly comment on what they may need.

Probably something that defies description with confronting contours and peculiar proportions. One shudders to think.

Anonymous said...

Woah, woah, woah there... Let's clarify "Northern California" here. We in the true north part of the state are in a constant battle to defend our reputation (and our natural resources) from our southern counterparts, who obviously made this stuff... We true northerners don't even claim San Fransisco (it's obviously 'central' if you look at a map). My low temp bike commute record is 5 below zero, I ride in all weather and have a separate wheelset for my studded tires, and I wear a softshell jacket all winter. You nailed it...one of these items serves a purpose, the others are fixing a problem that doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

DORK DUDS

Vegas said...

When I rode the whole 21 mi to work I wore my full team fred kit and sponged off in the shitter and switch into work clothes. We have a one-holer so I could lock the door to change. All the traffic signals kinda bummed me out, though, and it was hard to do the drills I wanted.

When I took the train it was 1 mi from home and then 7 mi to work, so I just rode my steel singlespeed and normal work clothes (slacks & button-up) and just added a velcro loop for the pant leg. The seams in my boxerbriefs seemed to wear out faster, though. In the summer when it was hot I would wear a tech T and shorts-over-chamois cuz I didn't like how much I sweat. And you can get that stuff at clearance at Performance for cheap, or at fricken Target (except for the chamois) for eeeeeveeeeen cheaper Activewear Page 2 NEVER pay full price, even for cheap stuff! That Giro shit is nuts!
But anyway then I got tired of that cuz it took so much time and wasn't any cheaper than driving, even with a monthly pass.

Now I do my stretchypants ride first, then ride my motocicle to work. 42 mpg and the carpool lane the whole way. I have a leather fred suit for that.

For more technical "casually" stuff that suits the moontainbeekcicling riding and post-ride epic burrito and cerveza consuming Royal Racing makes the best stuff with hidden chamoieeses. They have some expensive shit, too, but of course you don't NEVER gotta pay full price!
competetivecyclist.com/royal-racing

Vegas said...

oh, dancesonpedals,
I too have 4 pairs of full finger gloves. All Royal Racing, of course shaka brah
Obviously since I'm in SoCal I don't need any sub-zero stuff, but for rain and the light snow we get in the local mtns a few times a year they are great.

Anonymous said...

Price points? Isn't that - priceways?

ge said...

Now I remember why I quit bicycle cycling forums 12 years ago. Snob, you tricky bastard. I hate you for this. You evil, evil blogger. Playsomebobmarleyandeverythingsgonnabealright

Isolation Helmet said...

I wear wool because my morning commute because I need to keep my riding clothes with me in my cubicle. Whenever I wear the lycra stuff I notice that it smells pretty bad and I am not looking to alienate my co-workers....yet.

McFly said...

I got the Seirus gloves in a ski shop. Wish I would have known about them when I used to race a winter enduro series here. My hands would be freezing.

This glove talk reminds me of the scene in Dumb and Dumber when Lloyd had 2 pair on and Harry starts choking him cause he didn't have any and he says HARRY YOUR HANDS ARE FREEZING!

dancesonpedals said...

I ride to work full on fred...long-sleeved brooklyn shirt, which my co-worker broooklynites love..plain short-sleeved shirt for summer or my short-sleeved Bauhaus jersey (my 16 yo daughter wore it to her AP Euro history class & her teacher was verklempt)

In summer, I will put on action wear shorts over my bib shorts to avoid making the wrong kind of sensation. In the fall, riding shorts over the bibtights work.

I'm lucky to have a locker room with shower at work

Booties...an ancient pair of neoprene nashbar specials that are held on with duck tape, long after the zippers have died

ethrhuffer said...

Nordstrom Rack is great. All the dayglow colors of Nike and Adidas running shirts that nobody in thier right mind will wear are perfect for riding. High vis, 15 bucks, done. The checkout gals will however laugh their asses off at you as they ring up your stuff

babble on said...

Commie - you too?! That's great.

I'll wear whatever I've got on if I'm riding the Electra, including the occasional pair of seven inch heels, but never ever do I wear jeans on a wet day. Holy McFreezing, Batman!

Lumpen Fredtariat said...

Neoprene can be pretty sweet for hands and feet - Castelli did some neoprene gloves a few years ago that kept me pretty toasty. And when they get wet, they are at least warm and wet, not cold and wet

Serial Retrogrouch said...

i heard assos is making a mtt for the male member... kinda like the cuckoo door on their bibs, but the opposite, to keep it warm... they're calling it a member-mitt

Gee business said...

Dickies and the monkey logo clones - pshaw. What you want is something with a little stretch to it. http://www.sportif.com/stretch-pants-shorts/6-pocket-cargo I wear the shorts or the long pants. Works great with lycra chamois fred diapers underneath. They are basically what Rapha and outliers have been trying to do unsuccessfully for the past ten years.

Anonymous said...

ride bike on sidewalk, get beaten up:
http://www.ktvu.com/videos/news/san-francisco-protest-planned-after-violent-breaks/vCJbjp/


http://uptownalmanac.com/2013/11/new-video-shows-sidewalk-cyclist-dparis-williams-screaming-pain-unable-walk

HHO said...

I sincerely will always love my bike.

Yarpo said...

If the entire Commentariat were to gather for an Urban Group Ride...it would look like Baron von Richtofen's Flying Circus...or Monty Python's Flying Circus...or BOTH. We would be alternately admiring and laughing at each other, leading to the biggest bike pile-up ever cuz none of us would be looking at where we're going.

That would be some crazy, crazy, shit........

Fuck it, I declared it Wednesday...man.

Nopainnogain said...

I use lined leather gloves for coldish, wetish rides. With liberal use of boot waterproofing they are quite resistant to rain and they seem to last forever, as a plus they also match my bondage hood.

Pur-leeaze said...

@Gee Business... yeah, but cargo pockets?

anonymoose said...

Ordered a Columbia windbreaker/winter jacket off the Amazon. 60 bucks to my door, and fit like shit. Sent it back, and THE VERY NEXT DAY whilst perusing the underwear at THE Walmart,I see an identical "Tech" jacket. Fit just fine, but I'm too much of a snob to buy it. What is my problem?

dancesonpedals said...

lumpenfred-neoprine castelli's rock...I wear them for xc skiing & cold weather fishing

Vegas-
Looked at the comp cyclist link...always good to discover a new place to buy cheap bike stuff

anonymoose said...

By the way, if and when I find out who's impersonating me, you will be flamed. Just sayin'. McFly should follow suit.

Dave said...

I've tested this hideously ugly shirt:

http://www.seemewear.com/

It really works - it triggers an involuntary "I MUST STOP FOR OFFICIAL BARRIER" reflex in many drivers. Makes the "didn't see you" gag a little less plausible.

In the warm months I just wear the Green Python Speedo and a nice bright orange Dogfish Head jersey or the SEE ME jersey. In the cold I wear any damn thing that is lying around in the garage, cotton, old ice climbing gear, whatever. If cold enough a double-walled ski mask is good, hard to fog up.

We recumbonauts are both indifferent and immune to fashion.

Gee business said...

Pur-leeaze,

They're not really traditional cargo pockets like those pleated jobbers you find on military pants but rather small, buttoned pockets high up on the thigh - perfect for stowing stuff that would otherwise fall out of hip pockets. Trust me, they rock and wear really well - basically a 60/40 fabric with approx. 3% lycra for a bit of stretch. I find mine for between $10-30 on ebay.

Anonymous said...

#Bloodycyclists tweeter Emma Way convicted of driving offence

http://www.smh.com.au/world/bloodycyclists-tweeter-emma-way-convicted-of-driving-offence-20131120-2xtz4.html

Bogusboy said...

Bib shorts. I don't get it. I never have. They're uncomfortable and needlessly expensive.

Should we wear them because Grand Tour racers wear them?

Anonymous said...

I wear wool when it is cold and no matter what anyone thinks the more Rapha I have the better. I love the stuff! It just fits me better and is more comfortable on the bike.
I wear older jerseys I have for commuting (PI mostly)and whatever shorts /bibs I hope to wear for an after work ride.
When the temps are around 20 F I ride me 29" unicycle to work in normal winter regular clothing. It is much easier to keep warm on a uni because it is good work especially portaging food and extra clothing along.

Matt said...

In warm weather and through the autumn I like seersucker shirts. This is a Grant Petersen idea but I buy mine from LL Bean because they do tall sizes. I wear and wash them constantly and after two years the collar starts to wear through at the neck from all the grease, sunscreen and insect repellent.

In winter, shearling mittens work great. Those Lobster mitts are ok but you sweat them up and they're hard to dry out. It's that second use, when they're clammy and damp, that they suck. A big pair of shearling mittens is super warm (too warm above freezing, great down to 0F), dries out well, are easy to get on and off, and covers up the vital wrist area where gaps make themselves coldly evident.

In the below-freezing or when snowing, I highly recommend Rainlegs assess bike chaps. They keep the wind off your knees, top of our legs and crotchal area, where your pant legs are stretched tightly and cold gets in. And snow doesn't stick to them. Keeping my upper middle-aged knees a bit warmer is nice too.

Anonymous said...

Get some Graber hand warmers and stick 'em in yours gloves....that'll fix it.

Allen said...

Over the years, I've slowly gone from jeans/cotton/sweatshirts to more tech-ish solutions. I wouldn't recommend taking a huge plunge into the world of expensive clothes. I started with one wool jersey from Ibex. Worth every penny. Now I have a lot of stuff, but it suits my style/needs. I'm happier riding in better gear, but I'd still ride every day if I had to go back. I'll make my pitch here for Swrve jeans and anything made of wool. Versatile, comfy, natural, and much less stink than plastic.

Hbomb said...

Hi all.

Great advice here for winter commuting; I particularly appreciate the glove recommendations. Like SR I have problems with numb/cold hands; I also do the short gloves - longer gloves - lobster claw thing. Plenty of igloo room in mine and I still freeze.

Nevertheless, I'm thinking of occasionally commuting to work this winter in the frozen north. I'm thinking of trying embrocation under my longer fleece-lined lady-Fred pants. Problem: I change at work but have no access to a shower at work. If I embrocate will I smell funny all day long? More importantly, will I be too hot, or too cold, or melt my work clothes if I use that shit?

I am not a robot.

Dream Job said...

100% Salvation Army: Tech shirt, tank top, leggings and downtown style dress. Whip off the shirt and put on the dress, carefully rolled in your pack. professional, but cheap! you can do it in the parking lot or wherever.

Teed said...

I ride an 80's schwinn roadie (unmolested, unfixiefied) so I would look dumber in spandex than in regular clothes. I usually wear whatever in the dreaded cotton to commute or for rides under 15 miles. For longer rides and stuff I have some MTB baggies with a liner short and a shitty wal mart schwinn jersey. Too unhip for the urban crowd, too un-Fred for the competitive types. At least my dog still likes me. Or at least the smell of my butt.

leroy said...

of course, the only gloves i had for a 38 degree windy ride home this evening were fingerless half gloves.

ouch

my fingers still haven't quite thawed.

fortunately, my dog graciously agreed to type my dictation.

leroyisaboneheadleroyisaboneheadleroyisabonehead

Vlad said...

Hello dear Bikesnobnyc (are you from Dubrovnyc? Cos it rhymes, tee-hee). I am an urban bicycle cyclist from Bucharest, and a long-time fan of your works, even though it is only today that I worked up the guts to comment. Bucharest is a lot like the NYC you describe in terms of cycling: a lot of holes in the streets, no infrastructure (we used to have bicycle lanes ON THE SIDEWALK for ten years until someone realized how stupid it was), cars that will kill you and get away with it while policemen will scratch their noses' insides, divers having legal supremacy over everyone elses rights. And we also have hipsters and Freds, lots of them. Freds are usually upper-middle-class privileged nouveaux-riches, since 1000$ is my salary for 2 months here (I'm a doctor btw), so I could never afford any real bike clothing without having my own 18 children suffer from hunger a little more.

I ride a very old Lejeune bike in town, which I fixed myself. I wear work pants, a teeshirt, and a green-fluorescent sweater on top of everything else, which is made of some sort of undamageable, unrecyclable and non-degradable polymer that has been banned from the civilized world, like polyacrylonitrile, made in the 80's during the communist era. In the winter it's very cold, so sweat is not a problem. In the summer, I wear cotton. When I get to hot on the Romanian deserted countryside, I simply remove my teeshirt and enjoy the summer sun giving me skin cancer. I don't use a chamois, since the chamois normal regular people can afford here will make your penis go completely numb after 10 km (that is not a lot of miles in your metric system).
Hope this comment was useful though I really can't see how.
Yours truly,
Vlad the Romanian

RoadBeardy said...

One thing I've noticed about my getup for the 15-20 mile commute is that I can wear jeans somewhere in the skinny neighborhood because they stay out of the chain and keep in warmth. I have to wear a techier boxer for sweat, they dry quicker and reduces discomfort. I have to bring an extra shirt for sweat. But the upper layers need to be breathable and preferably not cotton. So I have to say I subscribe to the idea of these techy/style clothes, but I've always seen regular activities and athletic ones as the same or at least interchangeable. Thanks for the post Bikesnob and this was eerily relevant to my recent internet history, which makes me believe that the nsa is involved in the proliferation of upscale cycling apparel vending.

babble on said...

Grouch - when I was riding in the dead of Edmonton winters (and yes, I used to ride even when it was below -30c)I wore silk liners inside massive leather on the outside and fur on the inside gauntlet mittens, made by a cool old trapper up on the arctic circle.

And Sorrel boots.

Worked a charm.

Anonymous said...

"I come from a land down under" and cotton is the best for riding around town.

Bicyclosis said...

I wouldn't buy something expensive as this, but I've tried merino before and it's prerry cool material!

Anonymous said...

Dunno if helments count as bike clothes - plastic hats anyone?

Here is an example of Australia's finest giving a fucking cyclist a fucking fine for not wearing a fucking helment.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/20/perth-police-officer-caught-swearing-in-video

At least you don't get helment fines in NYC - unless you are a courier.

Cool Old Trapper said...

I used to lure the lass up to the arctic circle with promises of hand-crafted gauntlet mittens and flowing rum. She was always down for some igloo action.

Anonymous said...

HBomb,

If I worked with you I would totally let you change in my cubicle.

For some prarie-doggin' of a different sort.

McFly said...

Sometimes if it's too cold you got to just crochet up and take the train.

Liz said...

I'm a cotton wearer, year round. It's the best for the cycling I do. In the summer, seersucker cotton is even better. Goodwill is a great place to find seersucker and regular cotton shirts at a great price.

semi serious cyclist said...


Scathe it - 'tech clothes' for everyday riders jumped the shark with mountain bike 3/4 shorts back in the late 90's.

That's nothing to what's become. Tally up what Rapha-philes wear to ride for a latte, it's serious coin.

I commuted year round for twenty years in Seattle in a raincoat over whatever and cotton pants. If it's raining, i would just drip dry on the job.

Now, in some seriously frigid Lake Superior winters, i ride in 15 buck flannel lined cotton khakis I pick up at the hardware store. They work like a miracle layering system, breathable and warm, and not too hot for wearing inside.

Changing rooms for bike commuters are oversized diaper stations for Freds with layering issues.

Anonymous said...

Nice job Wildcat Fashion Machine. If you're gunna jump the shark you might as well look good doing it.

mikeweb said...

I had used a wool middle layer occassionally before but forgotten until many people mentioned it here yesterday.

This morning since it was 33F when I left home, I did a t-shirt with a regualr merino wool half zip turtle neck. I find that cycling specific wool jerseys go from about $100 on up but that just substituting a 'civilian' wool half zip turtleneck accomplishes the same result for half the price. Of course the fit is baggier, but we're talking commuting here and then there's always the igloo effect.

These are the pants I've been using lately. A tad pricey, but they fit perfectly.

I topped this off with a Shaver sport thin soft shell hi-viz jacket that I've had since about 1990.

I also wore my Sugoi windblocker gloves with light insulation inside. They work great in the 30-42F range, above that and I use my Defeet thinner wool gloves that don't have an outer shell.

This all worked perfectly, even with the blustery winds we had.

Gee business said...

For all you folks who are using sheering lined gauntlet mitts - any suggestions as to where to find a decent pair?

JLRB said...

Dorking about bike clothes?!? and I almost missed it...

My commute is 20-28 miles round trip. Not a grand tour, but enough to make my balls sweat plenty.

Hot sticky DC Summers - I go full on Fred. I carry cargo shorts in the back pack and throw them on before getting on the elevator so I don't disgust fellow workers.

Winter - I wear bike undies with bike cop pants or other water resistant pants. For a top I wear a silk skiing base layer, and either long sleeve jerseys or jackets, with up to five layers depending on temps.

I have zero urban street cred - I ride in a city but I am just a dorky utilitarian sort.

JLRB said...

Mikeweb - your levis link is a good example of the problem I have with bicycleccyling jeans - the tend towards skinny/slim jeans - my Clydesdale thighs aint getting into those things.

Stevil said...

One time I wore clothes outside.

McFly said...

MikeWeb,

What happens if I have the Sugoi Windblocker gloves on and the ambient temperature reaches 43*F?

WHAT HAPPENS? Don't f-ck with me.

HAND FIRE

EXPL SION

dnk said...

Hbomb,

I had to google "embrocation."

With that in mind, I think the answers to your questions (in order) are:

Yes. And yes.

DB said...

Well, it took 22 hours, but the funniest comments today go to Leroy at 12:30 and Stevil at 10:09.

Ernesto Cisneros said...

You know, there are millions of us around the world: city commuters who ride normal clothes to work (i.e. jeans and cotton shirts). If it's cold we simply add layers and if it's hot we just subtract them; basic math.
Paying 120 usd for a shirt seems ridiculous considering the fact that it would double the price of the bike I use for my daily commute (around 20km, not a stage of le tour, but i'ts the distance between home and my job).
I understand that you might be very attracted to expensive clothes (smugness and stuff) but don't forget that regular clothes work just as well as those.

JB said...

"bike cop pants" exist?

Vlad at 12:31am; comment of the day.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Mikeweb, nice to see a Shaversport reference. I still have a few pieces. The company is long gone, but their gear was of such high quality that it lives on even today.

wishiwasmerckx said...

I also just bought a pair of those Levi commuter jeans in black, but every time I wear them, people keep asking me if I am a cop because they look like tactical wear.

mikeweb said...

JLRB,

Good point. My thighs arent emaciated hipster skinny by any measure, but they're not Clydesdale/ Greipel-ish either.

I have the slim fit jeans from that same line and they're about as tight as I could go.

McFly,

That's why those gloves have a built in tempurature graphic, a la the Coors Light cold activated can. I'm assuming it would be more of a melting thing than an explosion or fire. Like taking a blow torch to one of the statues at the wax museum.

dnk said...

Vlad,

My wife if from Bucharest (Strada Vlad Judetul si Calea Dudesti) -- she and her family left in 1980 for NYC during the good ol' days.

I enjoyed your story.

Noroc!

ge said...

+1 for Vlad

AnonSJ said...

Talking Rain, not cold:

I'm with Comment Deleted: TINGLEY overboots solve the problem, covering feet and ANKLES, but are a lot to carry around if you're not in a constant downpour. Plus, you must wear shoes that fit inside them.

I find that Splats, from Rivendell, are a 90% solution, and fold down to nearly nothing when not in use. I can carry them around when the weather is threatening, and suffer the occasional wet at the ankle socks. In other words, I carried in the Splats today, but have not been concerned enough to pull the Tingleys out of storage. Go Splats!

db said...

RE: Cold hands.

Bar Mitts are worth every penny. I've been riding with them for 2 years (drop-bar) and 3 years (flat bar) now. My lobster gloves do not get used much anymore.

AnonSJ said...

Next post - cold rain dork out: ponchos, splats, fenders, mudguards, tires, hats with big brims, foot protection, keeping hands warm, for commuting or fredly training in the Pacific NW ... ???

Comment deleted said...

AnonSJ, Splats look like they don't even protect the toe area of the shoe. Why didn't they make a little lip to slip over the toe? Doesn't the wet force its way up under them?

JLRB said...

JB -

The bike cop pants I use

I have used a pair for 4 or 5 years and they are still in good shape.


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