The Recreational Rider Commutes: Clothing (not) Optional
One week in the books and I’m proud to say I commuted every day and logged 68 commuter miles for the week. I made it through freezing temps, found a few different routes to work, saw some interesting things along the way, and no major incidents with cars or people. All-in-all I’d call that a success. As part of this experience I mentioned I’d like to cover a few topics in this series of posts and I’m going to start with one of the most important commuter topics: clothing.
The alarm clock rang dark and early on Monday morning. It would end up being a cool 30 degrees as I set foot out the door to start my ride. Preparing for a commuter ride vs a fitness ride is a bit different. At the end of fitness ride you get to take a nice hot shower after you’ve been sweating for an hour or two. Unfortunately, I’m not lucky enough to have a shower at work and I have to sit around my coworker all day. So, I have to carefully plan what I wear. I also have to dress in business casual so I wear a different set of clothes to ride and pack my clothes in a bag to change into when I get to work. (I’ll cover packing clothing in a later post.)
You want to make sure you have a good balance of clothes to keep you comfortable but realize that after about 15 – 20 minutes you’ll warm up and start sweating if you have too many clothes on. Given the sub-freezing temps for my first ride I decided to put on a little extra just to be sure I was comfortable. It turned out to be a little too much. Most of the items I already owned except for a few items I got from the store. Definitely some items I’ll be purchasing for the coming weeks of winter riding that I’ll get into.
Here is a list of items I wore from top down:
- Nutcase helmet
- Ellum Bag Works Vortex cap with built in ear covers
- Rapha neck warmer (Kristie was nice enough to let me borrow hers)
- Down Jacket
- Long John Shirt
- Cycling gloves
- Standard pair of jeans
- Under armor tights
- Cycling socks
- Tennis shoes
As you can tell, I really don’t like to be cold. I’ve grown up in Texas, I will take a hot 110 degrees over a cold 10 degrees any day. I’m sure many of you will debate that. For the most part I was pretty good for the majority of the ride. There were a few instances were my hands and feet were a bit cold but nothing to terrible. Some items that would have helped are the winter HB Stash socks and a pair of Giro Westerly Wool gloves.
It would have been a miserable ride without my Ellum Bag Works cap to keep my head and ears warm or a neck warmer to cover my neck and face. Even riding just 10 – 12 mph on a bike in cold weather can make for a bitter wind chill across your face.
For the weather I think my legs were just right but 3 layers on top is a bit much. While I was nice and warm throughout my ride, I actually worked up a sweat by the time I got to work. Sweating is great if you want some exercise, but not exactly nice for professional attire. Baby wipes to the rescue! (It’s a good thing to carry in your bag for times just like this). Over the rest of the week I played with many different clothing combinations but still didn’t get it perfect. It also warmed up towards the end of the week so that made judging what I should wear difficult too. By the end of the week, where it was closer to 40 than 30 in the morning, I was down to a TShirt and jacket. That worked well but not perfect, I still need to play with it a bit more but I’ll get there.
Sadly I’m on a plane out of town this week and I’m unable to ride to work but I’ll start back up next week and bring you more tips along the way. Next up: packing gear. Enjoy your rides out there, commute a little for me while you’re at it.