Touring - Very first tour! Excited, but conflicted with clothing.
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11-25-09, 11:32 AM
Hi there, I've been referring to this site for years and its been a great help. I've searched on the subject of tour clothing and found some good posts but I still find that I'm left with some questions. It's been my dream to start touring for years and I'm finally getting the chance to do a relatively short tour from Savannah to Atlanta approx. 240+miles.
So basically I picked up a nice pair of bib shorts, but now I'm having trouble on deciding what to wear up top and on my feet. It shouldn't be too cold during the ride but I like to be ready for the worst. I also distance run on a regular basis so I would like something that could crossover so I can use it for both. Budget is a concern but not limited.
I was thinking of buying a UA cold gear mock, and the tights just incase it got cold enough to toss them over my shorts. Then I figured I could get a nice windbreaker/rain jacket to wear as a shell. I'm conflicted because I see a lot of you don't care for UA, and I have no idea what kind of jacket to get given my crossover concerns. As for my feet, I ride with toe clips and only have regular sneakers that when wet hold water for days. I'd also like be able to use the gear when I move back to NY and commute year round.
Any and all help is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
I would recommend leg (and arm) warmers instead of tights. I also carry rain pants for an extra layer and in case of a deluge (I also wear them at home for trips to the store on rainy days). I rarely wear the rain pants, but I use the leg warmers all the time.
As for a rain jacket, I have an REI (yellow) jacket with pit zips. It doesn't breath so I tend to keep the front as open as possible to keep cool air flowing.
Have a great ride.
11-26-09, 12:26 AM
I too have a similar style yellow jacket. It is advertised as being breathable but in reality it is far from it. I wouldn't tour without it though because it is so light, warm, windproof and waterproof. I'm a big fan of these types of jackets. They are highly visible and have many pockets to put my MP3 player, snacks, chewing gum etc.
You're only doing a relatively short tour. I mean no disrespect, rather, the weather should not vary much from Savannah to your ultimate destination. I don't think you'll need anything too different for a three or four day trip to whatever clothing you'd normally ride in.
Shoes - Many would disagree with this, but I like to wear crocs and, if cold, I simply put a pair (or two) of socks on. I feel too hot and uncomfortable touring while wearing sneakers in warmer weather.
I hope you have a great ride and will be encouraged to continue touring.
MEC waterproof breathable jacket
MEC merino wool long-sleeved top for cooler conditions - can be worn well riding or in the evenings after the ride
A short-sleeved jersey for warmer conditions - can be worn over the merino wool top if necessary
MEC nylon booties
11-26-09, 08:19 AM
I live in north Georgia and have been road biking here for several years and just started touring locally about a month ago. I'll tell you what I have found that works for me, particularly at this time of the year.
I'd begin with standard cycling shorts and jersey. this is all you'll need when temps are above 60F, which is pretty common in Georgia-even on winter days. You already have the shorts...the argument for the jersey is that it wicks moisture, had a front zipper for ventilation and pockets in the back of the jersey that are very handy for cell phone, snacks, etc. Wool jerseys are nice- aside from being warm and cool (don't ask me how) they are odor resistant and you can wear them for days without washing them. Miracle if you ask me.
Long sleeve jerseys and tights are nice, but if it warms up, you could easily overheat.
Those who advise arm and leg warmers got it right. Lighter than tights and just as warm. These let you fine tune your degree of cold protection and just can't be beat. It's very common to start out needing protection in the morning, but by late morning, your body temp is up and you will be looking for a way to shed some clothing-which arm/leg warmers will allow you to do. (I took a pair of tights on my transam and never put them on- just wore leg warmers.)
I'd advise having a cycling jacket (lightweight nylon, pit zips or zippered sleeves, full neck coverage, long tail) in a bright color (visibility), but if you can get one with removable (zip-off) sleeves (Gore makes the one I use, but there are lots of them out there). With this you have a jacket and a vest...again, you fine tune your dress to match the weather and your body temp...start out wearing jacket, then unzip the sleeves and stuff them in the rear pocket, then take off the vest-which give you three levels of protection just with the jacket. I'd also suggest that the jacket fit you loose enough to get an insulating layer on under it if needed.
If you go in winter, I'd suggest you also have something as a base layer (light wool or capilene T neck with 1/4 zipper) for your upper body, a wool (Ibis makes great wool stuff) or light weight down vest (Marmot Zeus or Patagonia down sweater vest) , a wool cap (under your helmet), full finger gloves and booties (at least toe covers if not full booties). Again, in Georgia's winters its common to start out cool and get warm in a couple of hours- your clothing needs to adapt to the change or you're gonna be uncomfortable (either too cold or too warm is a problem).
I am NOT an expert in rain riding, but would suggest that all rain gear is going to do is keep you warm, nothing will keep you dry if you are in it long enough or if it rains hard. Having said that I have breathable rain coats from Showers Pass and Burley (out of business, but a bomb proof coat made in northwest). Friends of mine swear by the hoods that you can add to the Showers Pass coats- have one, never used it. I also have rain pants, but don't know if they're worth a crap or not. I would suggest that unless you can absolutely rule out rain, rain gear is probably a smart thing to include in your panniers.
BTW, I'm interested in riding to Savanah...what route are you taking?
11-26-09, 09:51 AM
First thanks for all the great input! I know the tour is short, but hopefully its the first of many, as I hope on one day being able to do a NY to CA tour, so I'd like to start building up my gear. Also as I feared crossover clothing seems to not be favored, I wasn't to keen on wearing cycling clothing outside of the shorts but if thats what gets the job done then I'm all about it. As for the route, I'm planning to ride along side I-16 and I-75 to Atlanta on local roads. I wish the local bike shops carried more quality gear that I could try on, but I'm going to have to rely on the internet for this one. Any suggestions on good online stores for this type of clothing? Thanks again guys.
11-26-09, 10:34 AM
I think bobframe has got it right on most counts, but I'll add a couple of thoughts...
My favorite piece of bike-related clothing is a Craft ProZero Windstopper T-shirt (http://www.craft-usa.com/cra_shop_zoom.php?back=&category=92&headline=men&area=shop&type=bunderwear&id=506&bcsex=m). I wear one under my jersey any time the wind is blowing or the air takes on a bit of a chill. Riding down the California coast this fall, I wore a Windstopper T-shirt, jersey, arm and knee warmers, bib shorts and was pretty comfortable with temps in the 50's. The Craft shirt has wind-proof Windstopper fabric in the front, but the back is their standard ProZero or ProCool base layer which keeps you from over-heating if the temps increase. The fact that the t-shirt is wind-proof makes it much warmer than it's (lack of) bulk would suggest. Tree Fort Bikes (http://www.treefortbikes.com) tends to have the best prices on Craft Windstopper shirts, though I see they've raised them quite a bit now that it's cold out :(
Like bobframe, I'm a fan of clothing made by Gore Bike Wear. I have a Gore Phantom jacket (http://www.rei.com/product/766288) that I absolutely love! It's a wind-proof, water-proof soft shell with zip-off sleeves. Three pockets in the back, just like a real jersey. It has a bit of insulation, so it probably isn't the best for warm, rainy conditions but for cool and rainy it's terrific! Overall, I've been very impressed with the protection offered by Gore's products. I use the Phantom jacket and a pair of their Windstopper tights when it rains and I only get wet due to sweating... or water seeping into my well-ventilated summer-weight cycling shoes.
P.S. if anyone is looking for a Phantom jacket, mine is for sale; I've lost so much weight that it no longer fits. Red/black, size large, purchased 12/12/2008.
11-26-09, 10:45 AM
Also as I feared crossover clothing seems to not be favored, I wasn't to keen on wearing cycling clothing outside of the shorts but if thats what gets the job done then I'm all about it.
It's up to you, but there is no reason not to use multipurpose clothing. The responses you've received were great advice, but represented the writers' preferences and not the only way to skin a cat. They are meant to help, they're not gospel.
Use a long sleeve top (base layer, over layer, wool, whatever) with or without a short sleeve jersey and you have no need for arm warmers. Whatever a runner might use should work fine.
Rain gear: use what runners might use or use cycling gear for running, as long as there is enough back coverage.
Also, If you have rain gear you do not need a windbreaker/jacket
Short sleeve jersey: Alll you need is wicking, venting and enough back coverage, though many cycling jerseys are pretty inexpensive on sale.
I'm sure you can come up with more if you use your imagination.
11-26-09, 10:56 AM
I like lightweight everything on tour, but also need to be moderately comfortable to enjoy the experience. I usually tour in summer when the weather is warm, but have experienced low temperatures in the mountains, and plenty of wet, cold, miserable days. Here is what I take:
I like to ride in jerseys. I always do. I like the pockets in back. I take 2 or 3 jerseys.
I take a lightweight, hi-vis jacket. It weighs almost nothing.
I take full rain gear - jacket (with hood for camp), pants, helmet cover, and shoe covers.
I bring two polypropelene, long-sleeve shirts from L. L. Bean - lightweight and medium weight. They're very light and compressible. They give me options: one or the other or both.
I bring a fleece vest. It helps keep me warm and with the two shirts I don't need arms.
I used to bring sweatpants. They were a luxury item. It's so nice to put on a pair of comfy sweats after a long day. However, they're bulky and a little heavy, and I also bring tights for riding on cold mornings. This summer I'm going to try some of those nylon, convertible (zip-off legs) pants. If they're too cold I can wear my tights under them.
On really cold mornings and nights I just layer everything on. The rain gear makes a really warm outer layer.
11-26-09, 11:35 AM
Also as I feared crossover clothing seems to not be favored,
I think that you can wear anything you want and have acceptable results.
Over my many years I have found that most sports (I'm most familiar with cycling and fly fishing) place unique physical demands on one and specialized equipment has evolved to meet participant's needs. For example, a short breathable raincoat with a serious hood and neoprene wrist closures has been developed for fly fisherman. It's probably too short in the waist to wear to the supermarket, but when you are wading in a river up to your waist, its nice to not soak the jacket.
Cycling is similar. Jerseys are a good example of a very design that is specialized to meet the needs of a cyclist and probably not much else. They wick moisture, have a long back to cover your lower back while hunched over, have a zippered front to allow one to ventilate, etc. Can you get by without one? Of course, but once you've ridden with a true cycling jersey and experienced how it's functionality supports you as you ride, you would be hard pressed to ride without one.
So, wear what makes you happy and what you can afford. But understand that some of this specialized gear really does work well for a cyclist and can turn your attention from your physical needs to enjoying the ride and the scenery. And at the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about?
11-26-09, 03:15 PM
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanks for the great responses, I have a lot to think about now. I see what your talking about Bob, but since I run as much as I ride now I was hoping to kill two birds w/ one stone. And Roger this was my initial strategy, I was going to get an Underarmour cold gear long sleeve, and then figure out what kind of jacket to use as a windbreaker/raincoat. Though arm warmers sound nice just incase the temp goes up on me... UA had a sale today so I picked up the aforementioned shirt, Ill try it out and if it doesn't working I'll use it just for running and look into these other options further. Thanks again guys, this is just making even more eager to get on the road...
11-29-09, 12:23 AM
I also run and ride equally. When touring, I take my runners and fuel belt, and love the opportunity to get out for a run. I find that many cycling clothes are suitable for running, and always buy jerseys with the idea of being able to use them for running. The back pockets are great particularly for stuffing in the arm warmers or North Face Hydrogen jacket. I use triathlon shorts for running but, I don’t find they’re comfortable enough for long tours. My triathlon cycling jersey is great for running. Check out a triathlon shop if you have one nearby. I haven’t found many running-specific clothes that are suitable for cycling. Arm warmers are great for both running and cycling. I’ve used cycling rain tights for running.
Have a great time on your tour.
11-30-09, 07:19 AM
I was a cyclist before I was a runner so most of my crossover gear crosses the other way (cycling stuff used for running). That said there is no one way to do this and lots of gear from one activity works well in another. I pretty much always ride in a bike specific jersey and shorts, but one of my favorite pieces of touring gear is a kayaking sweater.
I really like to have running shorts to wear in camp and to sleep in. In camp, when the bugs are biting or it is chilly I wear my lightweight inexpensive nylon zip off leg pants.
I personally don't go overboard with the foul weather gear. I am of the if it rains i will be wet regardless of what I wear school of thought and like cheap coated nylon stuff like the Sierra designs pants and jacket. I am wet when I ride in it (from sweat) but I am warm any way. I usually only wear the pants in camp and have never bothered with shoe covers or helmet covers when on tour.
I find that the more I tour the less clothing I take.
11-30-09, 03:52 PM
If riding sufficient distance to need bladder relief, bibs become somewhat of a problem for me.
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