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ryanknapper
12-04-2007, 07:10 AM
I'm hoping to start commuting by bike soon, however yesterday's weather made me think about my gear. While the rain was warm it was still wet, which doesn't go well with work.
What has survived the test for you? How exactly do you get to work and remain presentable throughout the day?

artizin
12-04-2007, 10:05 AM
some good tips. Have good water proof gloves and booties to keep your hands and feet dry. A good water resistant or waterproof light rain jacket. And of course either rain pants or your regular or cold weather cycling tights. They tend to dry quickly if hung up somewhere... And because we work in the glorious pacific northwest fenders are a must.


To remain presentable at work.... the goal for me is not to bring everything with me everyday, which would be a heavy load. I keep my work shoes at work with 2 pairs of wool socks... I keep a pair of pants and a belt at work... I only really carry a new shirt everyday and then I leave it at work... maybe to wear again later in the week?

I also keep some toiletries at work... like deordarant, a comb, some hair gel, it also helps if your work has a shower to use... but if you have alot of bike commuters you might have a long wait.

And if you have an office you can change it... that helps to.

Good luck, see you out there.

Oldguyonabike
12-05-2007, 07:35 AM
I was thinking about this while riding home in the monsoon Monday.
I think that if your goal is to stay dry you will forever be frustrated, learn to hate the ride and give up. If your goal is to stay warm while wet and one with the weather you'll find yourself happily pedalling in any condition. I have actually arrived at a perverse preference for the winter extremes than the "ideal" hot August days.
That being said: think layers. Avoid cotton. I start with a thin long sleeve poly undershirt and layer on more poly sweatshirts as weather indicates. Burley jacket over it all. Rain pants are a waste of time. Remember, the goal is not to stay dry. I bought a pair of winter running tights at GI Joes and wear those over my bike shorts. My legs are wet and warm on days below freezing. Liner socks under wool socks. I like Sugoi booties. There's another forum going on about booties for other opinions. Same for gloves. I don't think there's one glove that works for all conditions. So, buy an over sized glove or lobster mit and layer your hands as well according to the condition. Finally, you lose 30% of your heat through your head. A wool cap or poly skull cap "tops" it off.
Be safe. Hope to see you smiling on the next rainy day.

true
12-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Oldguy said it - you're going to go crazy if you try to stay perfectly dry, and if you cover yourself in 100% water proof gear you're going to sweat like the devil in there. Wool is your friend for top layer and socks. Cycling specific stuff is crazy expensive. I suggest a decent jacket like the shower's pass brand, and maybe some shoe covers. Get a wool sweater at the thrift store. I have a beautiful 80's wool sweater that blazes in teal and coral. I couldn't care less if it gets trashed, and I have a clean sweater to change into in my bag. I let my legs get wet, because they dry. I wear dark colored cotton/poly work pants that can brush off dirt and dry reasonably quickly. But so what? Everybody has a different system, so try a couple of things out. Check the thrift stores.

Remember - most days it doesn't rain like that, and when it's cold, you should be plenty warm because your body is working. Most days it's just damp and not very cold.

Now get out there and be safe.

bp071117
12-05-2007, 12:47 PM
I take the bus to work once a week with a weeks worth of clothes and food. I leave a pair of shoes and toiletries in my desk. If no shower at work, just towel off, shave, etc in the bathroom.

I agree with the others about staying warm rather than dry. You'll get wet from either the rain or your sweat and the rain smells better. :)

ryanknapper
12-05-2007, 12:59 PM
Excellent tips. Thank you, my moist compatriots.

artizin
12-06-2007, 09:24 AM
Yeah I agree and should have stated this, staying dry is impossible... it's being comfortable that matters... and i just wear my knickers, for my commuting. No rain pants for me... I'll just sweat like hell in them. and get wet from the inside, no fun there.

But I might get some warmer tights as winter progresses here. I hear we're going to have one of the coldest winters this winter.

:evil: Forget dry, stay warm.:evil:

mike_khad1
12-06-2007, 11:40 AM
To repeat - don't worry about staying dry. You'll either be rain-wet or sweaty-wet depending on what you do.

What I do:
I wear bicycle shorts and shirt. Over that on colder days, I have tights and a fleece light sweater. I wear either a Burley Rain Jacket or a lighter windbreaker depending on the temperature. Last few weeks, its been the Rain Jacket most all the time.

For my head, under my helmet, I have either a cycling cap with bill or a balakava or both depending on weather.

I wear cycling shoes/socks and cover my feet if needed with booties (open on the bottom, zelcro in the back).

For my hands, I have cycling gloves and last week I bought an oversize pair of seal-skin gloves for when it's cold.

I'm a cubicle rat. I leave my work shoes at work. I carry panniers on my bike that has a work shirt and work pants and whatever bicycle items above that I'm not wearing (and my lunch). When I get to work, I strip down to the cycling shorts and the bicycle shirt and add my work shirt and pants over it. Then change my shoes and I'm ready to go.

scdurs
12-06-2007, 12:37 PM
When I get to work, I strip down to the cycling shorts and the bicycle shirt and add my work shirt and pants over it. Then change my shoes and I'm ready to go.

Yikes - get out of the shorts and dress in your regular street clothes. Let the cycling gear dry somewhere. If you have a long enough commute that you sweat at all, the pad in the shorts will become a nasty breeding ground for bacteria causing a rash or sores just where you don't want them.

I've had jobs where we didn't have a shower, so I would carry a wash cloth in a zip-lock bag and clean the pits in the restroom. Baby wipes work in a pinch,too. Carry your work clothes with you, or like others mentioned keep a supply of clothes at your desk or locker. If you work in an office environment and you ride in your work clothes be considerate of how you smell by the end of the day. I have had to work with someone who rode in their work clothes, and it wasn't pleasant. Take care of your skin by keeping it reasonably clean and dry (when off the bike) and it will take care of you.

You don't have to buy expensive bicycle clothing, but do use the essentials such as lycra padded shorts and gloves. Cheap alternative to a helmet cover are those freebie shower caps you get at motels. They're large enough to fit over most helmets and keep your head warm & dry. Keep one on your bike in case you get caught in a downpour.

Psyfalcon
12-06-2007, 06:14 PM
I've got a short commute on the bike, 1mi to MAX and then 1mi to school. If its short like that you can wear normal clothes under nonbreathabler rainware and not sweat to death. You have to go slow, but not everyone is commuting 5mi+.

In case of a sudden rain or fall into a puddle, i do keep an extra set of clothes in my desk.

mike_khad1
12-07-2007, 11:22 AM
"Yikes - get out of the shorts and dress in your regular street clothes. Let the cycling gear dry somewhere. If you have a long enough commute that you sweat at all, the pad in the shorts will become a nasty breeding ground for bacteria causing a rash or sores just where you don't want them."

I have 6 different cycling shorts and 7 different shirts. I only wear one set per day and then throw it in the hamper at the end of the day. I've been doing this for over a year and haven't developed a rash or sore. I do admit that at the end of the day, I get home pretty ripe and in need of a shower (before dinner).

scdurs
12-07-2007, 11:32 AM
I've got a short commute on the bike, 1mi to MAX and then 1mi to school. If its short like that you can wear normal clothes under nonbreathabler rainware and not sweat to death.

If I had that short of a commute I'd ride in my work clothes, too. I ride 12 miles one-way with some hills in it, to boot. Mornings I don't sweat much if its cool and dry, but always get wet under rain gear.

scdurs
12-07-2007, 11:37 AM
I've been doing this for over a year and haven't developed a rash or sore.

Some people's skin can take it better than others, that's for sure. Daily riding for long hours on bike tours does me in. I don't have a problem on short commute rides if I take care. Sometimes my clothes don't dry completely by the time I head home, so I just have to put them on damp.

K'Tesh
12-07-2007, 09:25 PM
My commute is 6mi one way to work. Often I'll take a longer route on the return.

At my workplace, we have a shower, that last washed a body about 11 years ago. I converted it into a very large locker (w/o the lock) got a shower curtain rod in there to hold several hangers on... I keep a spare work shirt (Hawaiian Print), and a pair of work pants there.

I often will ride (physical condition permitting) with a pair of shorts, wool socks, a tee shirt, sweat shirt, and a rain jacket...

Naked legs dry faster... (so do naked bodies... but I'll spare you the details)(I was the sole commando style rider on the First Day Ride this year!)

Wool still is hard to beat for warm when wet. If it's really bad out, I'll put my socks inside a plastic bag, then use a rubberband to keep it as dry as possible. Dry SOCKS are a real nice thing to slip your tootsies into when you get to work (Or Home!)

The rest gets wet thru sweat, or venting (I often ride w/coat open). Cotton sucks up water, so have a dry set on hand for the return.

I bought 6 pairs of the same shoes, and I'll keep a pair or two at work under my desk, as a set gets wet, I'll rotate them out.

When it gets too cold out, there's always the bus.

Rubberside Down!
K'Tesh

tinaaj
12-08-2007, 08:10 AM
Yikes - get out of the shorts and dress in your regular street clothes.

LOL. I wasn't sure if I read it right - keeps the biking shorts on all day? yama.

But hey! Whatever works! :)

Think you guys covered it pretty well. I know people whose commutes would cause them to sweat (i.e., heavy uphill) then freeze (long downhill) so they Max it to work and prefer the workout afterward.

PhatLipMagee
05-31-2008, 12:26 PM
Rather than start a new thread looking for one piece of clothing, I searched and pulled up this thread, which is suitable enough.

I'm looking to get something like this (http://www.discountbicycles.co.uk/biz/product.php?xProd=4592) for when it rains down here. I don't care much for heavy clothes, but this is light and durable, with straps that attach to your hands to bring the front portion of the jacket over your handlebars. I took a class recently and the instructor showed one that he purchased in Holland (I think). All the searching online has yielded only European stores and I'd rather buy stateside to avoid high shipping costs.

Anybody know where to get this?

scoot
05-31-2008, 02:20 PM
Rather than start a new thread looking for one piece of clothing, I searched and pulled up this thread, which is suitable enough.

I'm looking to get something like this (http://www.discountbicycles.co.uk/biz/product.php?xProd=4592) for when it rains down here. I don't care much for heavy clothes, but this is light and durable, with straps that attach to your hands to bring the front portion of the jacket over your handlebars. I took a class recently and the instructor showed one that he purchased in Holland (I think). All the searching online has yielded only European stores and I'd rather buy stateside to avoid high shipping costs.


Anybody know where to get this?


This doesn't look quite so streamlined as the the one you really want, but it's in the same category, at least: Item Number: 50258 (Bicycle Cape) (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___50258)

http://www.campmor.com/images/bicycling/50258.jpg (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___50258)
Item Number: 50258 (Bicycle Cape)

PhatLipMagee
06-01-2008, 07:27 AM
Thanks Scoot.

That does look suitable.

djasonpenney
06-01-2008, 08:24 PM
Never used one myself. I went straight for the high-tech clothing, including a jacket (http://showerspass.com/cart/product_info.php?cPath=21_25&products_id=59&osCsid=45a14b5048f287863553839b16a00f3f)
and, very occasionally, some Gore-Tex rain pants.

The trick with rain gear, especially here, is to avoid sweating from the inside while you're cycling. That's why I like my jacket so much, even though it's mucho dinero.

PhatLipMagee
06-01-2008, 08:47 PM
I prefer to stick to low cost items. I've been riding without raingear for years, usually catching rides when it does rain.

The biggest thing I dread about riding in the rain is wet shoes. I don't have suitable weather-proof shoes, just the one pair I wear for all occasions. I am looking to get a pair of Salomons soon though and I figure if I have inexpensive rain gear to ride with, I won't have to rely on other people during adverse conditions.

ratell
06-02-2008, 01:57 PM
I have a pair of REI rain pants that I think work well this time of year. I wear them in the morning over shorts. They keep the chill off and protect me from rain. In the afternoon when it's warmer and sunnier I just wear the shorts. I have a 5 mile commute and don't get too sweaty.

Tait
06-02-2008, 11:24 PM
Speaking of wet feet... since my waterproof boot covers got stolen along with my backpack, I've just been letting my clippy-shoes get wet and bringing along an extra pair of socks. My work shoes live in my desk, so I just dry off my feet, swap socks, and throw the wet socks in a gallon ziplock. Sometimes my shoes don't dry by the time I ride home, but since I'm going home anyway I don't usually care too much about getting my feet wet again. It's a system that works well enough that I'm not sure I'll get boot covers again.

djasonpenney
06-03-2008, 07:33 AM
There are several different kinds of cycling sandals available out there: Keene, Shimano, and Lake come to mind.

The benefit of these sandals is that they dry out very quickly. Don't give up the booties, just put them over the sandals in inclement weather. Everything dries out nicely during the day for your ride home.

Yes, carry an extra pair of socks just in case. I also keep a pair of shoes at my desk, or the Keenes are comfortable enough and stylish enough to wear all day.

lynnef
06-03-2008, 11:59 AM
if you've got an older computer monitor, THOROUGHLY wring out your wet socks and put them on top of the monitor. good sock dryer.

beelnite
06-05-2008, 01:06 PM
I'm using some long fingered neoprene canoe gloves ("Warmers" @ REI) for wet riding... they keep your hands warm even when wet.

Only problem: After about 2 weeks they stink. I soaked them in warm soapy water then washed them with the rest of my gear. Did OK... then about 2 weeks later... stinking worse than my helmet.

Febreeze - followed by the warm water soak did ok, but you gotta let those suckers dry out every night.

To dry them overnight I put them on top of the refridgerator.

Dry fit or a rain resistant shell is really all I need to stay "dry" with the use of fenders - which I think reduces about 90% of the wet weather riding misery!

Bring on the spray from above... but picking wet gravel out of my teeth - and the "bike enema"... totally not cool.

tonyt
06-05-2008, 03:17 PM
But for me, most of the time, the challenge is staying cool and dry.

Yeah, sometimes warm and dry is the struggle, but ride a long enough distance, and it's dumping the heat that accumulates in rain gear that's the problem. I see so many people totally over dressed and they're riding at about 7 mph because the body does not work well when it can't dump heat.

Rule of thumb; if you're not a bit cold for the first 5 minutes, you're over dressed.

In order of importance:

1. Attitude - Make the decision to just ride everyday regardless of the weather. If you already have made the decision, it's a heck of a lot easier to just do it. In the depth of winter, when you know it'll be raining, lay out your gear the night before. That helps.

2. Fenders - Get the full coverage ones that attach to your bike with bolts. The rubber bandy ones rattle and don't keep you nearly as dry. It helps to have a bike that accepts full-coverage fenders.

3. Booties - Sooping wet feet suck. And what's worse is putting wet shoes on at the end of the work day. Splurge here. They will be your best friend.

4. Gloves - I put these high on the list because these are your connection point to the bike. You want to have a good comfortable, and DRY grip on the handlebars. Get some thinner waterproof/breathable shell type gloves. I also have windproof fleece gloves and they actually get the most use by far. They work great in light rain.

5. Jacket - Ventilation, ventilation, ventilation. Event fabric really is nice if can afford it. Get a cycling specific jacket. An hiking style parka ends up just getting in the way and doesn't do much of anything well on the bike. Get a nice trim fit, no bigger than you need. A good jacket will last for years. Make sure the sleeves are long enough for you.

6. Pants - Make sure they fit well and have some system to cinch the legs up at the bottoms.

Oh, and this is my own personal deal, but don't wear your rain gear when it's not raining. It's too warm and you miss out on the breeze and freedom.

lynnef
06-05-2008, 09:36 PM
Gloves - I have not yet found gloves that are really waterproof. For reference, my idea of a fun bike ride is one that can last up to 24 hours. Perhaps my requirements are a bit high.

Wool. Wool. Wool. You may be wet, but you'll be comfortably wet. I also bought some REI Mountaineering mitts (http://www.rei.com/product/725077)that I wear over my gloves. They are sufficiently grippy. Felted wool mitts (Dachstein is a brand I remember) would work well, too.

raruss1
06-06-2008, 10:09 AM
Being too warm is just as bad as being too cold in my book. I also dont like things that are total fuss like over the shoe booties, I think they are a pain to deal with.
My last winter setup was the best one I have found yet and I have been winter commuting since the mid 90's.

Headgear: For anything below 42 I use some thing wool hats that will fit under my helmet (the kind with the turn thing that adjusts fit helps here).

Hands: I bought some ski gloves at a grage sale for 25 cents and they were perfect, no brand name was on them. Over that I have a pair of Glo-Gloves (http://www.gloglov.com).

Feet: I ride with some Nashbar Sandals that were on close out for $30 and are like the Shimano ones. I wear some smartwool socks and if need be some Stormsocks (http://www.rei.com/product/729120) over the wool.
They work great down to about 35 degrees and rain. Some sort of rain shield is needed below this temerature. I am eyeing the Keen Commuters (http://www.keenfootwear.com/product_detail.aspx?sku=1264) with the toe shield that should work down to 20 degrees.

Legs: I bought a pair of Novarra wind proof tights. These were perfect! They are made of some thin material in the back so you wick a bit of heat out the back but the front blocks the wind. When it is in the low 30's and downpour I add on some RainLegs (www.wallbike.com/oddsnends/rainlegs.html)

Torso: I wear a wool shirt and depending on the temp and precip I either wear a windproof vest or an old Burley Jacket. The jacket is OLD and beat up but I can't seem to part with it even though there are better ones now.

The total setup is inexpensive, comfortable and adjustable for the conditions.
I am comfortable even in low 30's and downpour weather and riding all day.
The main drawback is the setup is dorky looking but I would rather be safe and comfortable then miserable/broke and cool.

tonyt
06-06-2008, 10:20 AM
I've never found them to be a pain at all.

I'm using a pair of Sugoi that have gone through I think 3 winters now and they're pretty easy to get on and off. I wouldn't do a winter without them.

Different strokes . . .

mark
06-09-2008, 07:21 PM
I have found some inexpensive winter gloves that I really like. They are from TurfKing and they are called WarmGrip Termal Gripping Gloves. You can find them in home improvement and garden stores.

mizake
06-10-2008, 09:49 AM
I've been commuting to and from work by bike for over 12 years, year-round. 8 of those years have been in Portland.

On rainy days I resign myself to the fact that I'm going to get wet. So I pack my work clothes in my bag and dress for the bike ride with keeping warm in mind.

Between 50-55 degrees with rain this is what I wear:

Base layer - a relatively thin, long-sleeved wool blend shirt made by Craft. I don't remember what I paid for this shirt because I bought it over 7 years ago - so it's been well worth whatever I paid...and I was poorer back then.

Over the Craft shirt I wear something short-sleeved and synthetic. If you're biking over 5 miles you don't want to overdo it or you'll get too hot.

Gloves - I'm currently using a pair of wool, fingerless gloves I got from an army surplus store, and they work just fine.

Legs - A pair of spandex shorts that go down just below the knee. Over those I wear a pair of synthetic/cotton blend cut-off (just below the knee) shorts.

Feet - Your feet will get wet. Don't skimp on socks! I use Smartwool's thick wool socks which keep my feet toasty, even when wet. They're a little pricey, but they'll last a really long time.

Use full-fenders with the mud flaps like indicated on previous posts.

Head - Rox (and others) make a polyprene thing you can put over your head, which covers your ears, and is held snuggly in place once you put your helmet on. This works very well and I've been using the same one for around 5 years. (Rox is carried at Bike Central).

40-50 degrees:

Instead of the thin synthetic shirt, I'll wear a long-sleeved synthetic shirt over the Craft. If it's in the low 40s I'll wear arm-warmers (Pearl Izumi makes nice fleece-lined ones) under the Craft shirt.

40 and below:

Everything the same as above except:

Instead of the long-sleeved synthetic shirt over the Craft base-layer, I'll wear a thick wool sweater over. Again, I got a nice one from an army surplus store for pretty cheap.(Arm warmers might be a good idea under everything)

Gloves - You'll want some full-fingered gloves at this point. Sidetrack makes some really warm ones.

Balaclava - Pearl makes these cool, ninja looking balaclavas you can wear over your face for when it gets really cold (like 32 and below)

If your calves start to get cold in colder weather, Pearl also makes leg warmers.

briandlacy
06-15-2008, 07:34 AM
Hi psyfalcon,

Brian from www.BIKEmpowered.com (http://www.BIKEmpowered.com) with a few extra points:


The factors I’ve found in coaching thru the years is to consider how hot you run, your sensitivity to cold / wet , and what part of your body is most effected. I’ve known people who get super chilly in the legs, but their torso stays warm – and vise versa. Some have to have a hat or freeze, while others will sweat like crazy if they have a hat on. Some on short commutes are fine in the cold – but then after 4 miles they freeze up. Your body will tell you.

Same for fabric choice – some love wool, other polypropylene – even cotton works for some.

Just about everyone loves neoprene booties, thick 5-finger gloves and face (cheek) covering – a balaclava.

Layers and long sippers for ventilation are very important, except for the nastiest of days.

Re bike / work clothes transition, here are the main points I coach:
1. Arrange a good spot to dry your bike clothes – from shoes and socks to cap - where you can arrange to have a gentle safe heat source to dry off your clothes through the day is very very helpful. You can wash bike clothes at home as often as you need to. Ideally you can hang work clothes at this spot too.
2. Bring a few days work clothes on Friday rolled up – bring a small iron if you have to be wrinkle-free. Hang them Friday for use on Monday/Tues etc.
3. Have small thick towels to mop sweat, comb etc.
4. Deodorant and other nice smell makers as needed for you and your wet clothes area depending on your particulars.

If you’ve found this to be helpful – please visit my coaching web site and spread the word. If you or your need it, I can coach you to repair your ride and ride on anything – even ice over railroad tracks.

Spinning wheels for good,

Brian