Photo by Dottie, a lawyer in Chicago who bike commutes to work and writes for letsgorideabike.com. She has a great related post on how to bike commute in a suit. The sweat threshold is the level of physical activity above which you begin to sweat. Bike commuters ride below the sweat threshold– sometimes just below it– to arrive at the destination presentable and without using special clothing for cycling. Continue reading →
Posts Tagged: clothing
Over the past couple of winters, I successfully experimented with some wardrobe updates that allowed me to be comfortable outside without a car. Continue reading →
Dottie commutes by bike with style through winter in Chicago, and she’s put together this great video on how to dress for winter bike commuting:
A significant deterrent to everyday bike riding is the prospect of getting chain grease on your clothing. European city bikes generally solve this problem with internal hub gears and partial or full or chainguards. The internal hub gearing also reduces the maintenance.
But here in the US, most bikes now have both front and rear derailleurs. And it’s just about impossible to find a chainguard that works in combination with derailleurs. But the new SKS Chainboard seems to be just that.
Read Patrick’s review of the SKS Chainboard on the Velocouture blog for a full review.
Wrists are prone to getting cold while winter bike commuting. With arms stretched out to reach the handlebars, a gap appears between jacket and gloves. When my wrists are cold, I’m cold.
I tried jackets with sleeves that cinched over my gloves. These slipped. I tried giant over-mitts that tightened over my jacket sleeves. These slipped too, and the big mitts were bulky to carry around in my pockets when I was off the bike.
So I made this simple sleeve extender, shown in this photos after the jump. It’s super to easy to use, doesn’t slip, and is very low bulk. It also happens to look like an extra long shirt sleeve, rather than technical mountain climbing gear. Continue reading →
Today I tried a cheap nylon jacket for rain protection. Like, “ten dollars” cheap. The jacket I wore is from Eastbay, and is discounted from $40 to $10.
It kept me completely dry for a 10 minute bike commute through the pouring rain. Ten minutes is enough time for cotton clothing to get drenched. It’s also enough time for me to get from home to grocery or from the office back home. It’s enough time for a $150 Marmot Oracle rain jacket to begin to leak through the pockets.
That’s precisely why I’m trying the backup jacket– I’m sending in the Marmot jacket for what I believe is a design flaw and which I expect they’ll take care of through the warranty process.
I was so surprised by the performance of the Eastbay jacket, I went online to check to see if it made any claims to be waterproofing. The jacket does not even classify itself as a rain jacket, but simply “water repellent”.
From what I’ve learned about what “water repellent” means, a chemical was probably applied to the nylon, which causes the water to bead-up and roll off, rather than soaking through. Over time, this feature will work less and less well. They are spray-on solutions than can be applied to later to rejuvinate the effect, but from what I’ve read they often don’t work as good as the original repellency.
This also means that had I taken a longer ride, I’m sure the jacket would have eventually soaked through, which a waterproof jacket should not do. Further, waterproof jackets have taped seams, and sometimes have special waterproof zippers, while this jacket does not.
What I’m saying is that the Eastbay jacket is not a magic alternative to the quality of a waterproof/breathable jacket. However, it may just be “good enough” for some around town trips, despite perhaps being less durable. At $10, or even $40, it’s certainly worth a shot for staying comfortable in the rain.
My solutions for comfortable clothing and dry gear.
I was afraid of the rain. The car used to protect me from it when I got around. After several years of being car-free, I’ve been able to replace this fear with an understanding of how to stay comfortable when bike commuting in the rain.
What I’ve learned along the way that is the staying comfortable in the rain takes an all or nothing approach: Repel it or enjoy it.
Here are my strategies for both cases.Continue reading →
I recently wrote about Bicycling Mittens for Five Degrees. That’s a solution for an extreme, so today I want to Back the Truck Up, and describe the gloves that I find work best for everyday bicycle commuting in cooler whether. The qualities I find are important are:
- Wind Protection. This is the primary purpose.
- Light Insulation, to take the edge off.
- Comfort. Not too tight.
- Functional, so they don’t get in the way of braking.
- Compact. Easy to carry when not in use.
The cold wind pressed harder against me as the bike accelerated down Bridge Avenue. Despite the freezing wind chill, I remained comfortable behind my wind shield.
The key things I’ve learned about keeping my head warm on a bicycle are 1. The comfort of my face contributes a lot to my overall perceived comfort. 2. In cooler temperatures, blocking wind is the key to a comfortable face and 3. A lot of the wind I’m blocking is generated from pedaling itself.
Continue reading →
I eased out the alley and navigated through Fairview neighborhood and onto the greenway. Accelerating as fast as I could down the light grade, the computer reported speeds accelerating to 20 miles per hour, with a air temperature of 32 degrees.
My new overmitts were being put to the test. According to a parka website, I had just generated an effective temperature of about 5 degrees Fahrenheit.
This hadn’t fully clicked for me before: moving through space on a bike in cold weather generates significant wind chill.