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  1. #1
    internettubes engineer st3venb's Avatar
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    Newbie clydesdale -- Looking for clothing options for summer commute.

    Hi -- I'm steve, and I just started commuting by bike to work in Arizona. I live down in the valley, so I'm going to get some nice 115* F days... I've already bought a backpack that's big enough to carry my work clothes with me to work... but I'm having a hard time finding stuff that I'm willing to take a chance on to wear for my commute..

    so far I've come across http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/bigsize.htm these guys... Has anyone used them? Can anyone speak to their quality before I drop $70 on a pair of their cargo shorts?

    What do you bigger guys wear in the summer for your rides?

    On a long day (monday / tuesday) I'll be commuting around 15 miles... the rest of the week only about 10.

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    I wear my Bib Shorts from love2pedal year round...I find them most comfortable...even if I am going for a short 5ish mile ride I still throw them on.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    I wear merino wool on the bike. It pulls the sweat away from my skin like a thirsty sponge, and not feeling wet makes me comfortable.

    But I'd suggest forgetting the backpack and going with panniers instead. Your no-longer sweaty back will thank you.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  4. #4
    internettubes engineer st3venb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock31 View Post
    I wear my Bib Shorts from love2pedal year round...I find them most comfortable...even if I am going for a short 5ish mile ride I still throw them on.
    I just don't see myself in a bib anytime soon right now. Self-image insufficiency on my part.

  5. #5
    fishologist cohophysh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    I just don't see myself in a bib anytime soon right now. Self-image insufficiency on my part.
    I weigh 295 and really don't care what people think of my fat a$$ in the bib shorts. You can always put a pair of sport shorts over them till you feel more comfortable. In that heat, you will probably want something that wicks the moisture away from your nether regions. Chaffing is not your friend.
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  6. #6
    Carpe Velo Yo Spiff's Avatar
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    Try some inexpensive technical t-shirts (Adidas, Reebok, etc) that you can get in sporting goods stores like Academy or even Wal-mart. These are made from the same kind of materials as cycling jerseys, available in larger sizes, and usually sell for $10-20.

    I had a couple of very nice pairs of mountain biking shorts from REI that were comfortable and worked well until I lost some weight. You could check REI and see what they currently have. I'm afraid I already sent them to someone else, though. (Who failed to pay me for them as agreed, not even the postage.)
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  7. #7
    Senior Member RedC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    I just don't see myself in a bib anytime soon right now. Self-image insufficiency on my part.
    When you get past your concerns about your appearance( and if you continue to ride you will) Love to Pedal is a great site for us dainty little guys Best fitting bike clothes I've bought and quality has been consistent and if you ask a question they are very responsive.
    Red, like the color my hair used to be.

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  8. #8
    2nd Amendment Cyclist RichardGlover's Avatar
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    I've ridden to work for over a year now.

    My suggestions:

    Get a gym membership near your work. See if you can get a 'shower only' membership if the cost is prohibitive. You really just want a place to get clean and change once you get to work.

    Set up one day a week where you bring work clothes in. Not having to haul clothes back and forth every day makes a difference. Ride them in on Monday, for example, and bring home the dirty laundry on Friday (or do both the same day if your wardrobe is large enough).

    See if you can designate a neutral pair of shoes as your 'work' shoes, and leave them at work. Shoes take up a huge amount of space in bags.

    Set aside some desk space for your clothes (see above), and for healthy snacks. Without a car at work, you'll go out to lunch less often. Things to keep in your desk: nuts, sugar-free powdered sports drink mixes (for the ride home), meal replacement bars (e.g. Clif Builder's Bars), oatmeal, yogurt (if you have fridge access).

    Since you're only carrying clothes to work once a week, you can cart other stuff other days - snacks, facial tissue, cigars for your at-work humidor, etc...

    Set up a gym bag at work with all the stuff you'll need.

    Ride to work, lock your bike up (store it in your office or cube if you can), grab the gym bag, and go shower & change. Come back, work, etc... change when you go home.

    If you can't get access to a shower at work, you can still pull it off. Shower before leaving, ride leisurely into work, and when you're changing, use baby wipes on your armpits, feet, anything covered by underwear, and anyplace else that you have skin-to-skin contact (a problem for some of us Clydes). THEN use antiperspirant (i.e. not before you ride in). Odors come from bacteria that grow in warm, moist spots on your body. Using an alcohol swap to clean and dry those spots off after your ride in goes a long way to keeping your co-workers happily un-offended by body odor.

    Give yourself extra time when the weather is bad. Not only do you ride slower, but it takes longer to gear up and change once you're at work.

    Set up your bike, pack your bags, and lay out your riding clothes the night before. Fill your bottles and put 'em in the fridge. Two bottles for a ride in that kind of heat. Having everything ready when you wake up is gonna make it that much easier to swing your leg over the top tube instead of making an excuse to drive in 'just today'.
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  9. #9
    internettubes engineer st3venb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGlover View Post
    I've ridden to work for over a year now.

    My suggestions:

    Get a gym membership near your work. See if you can get a 'shower only' membership if the cost is prohibitive. You really just want a place to get clean and change once you get to work.

    Set up one day a week where you bring work clothes in. Not having to haul clothes back and forth every day makes a difference. Ride them in on Monday, for example, and bring home the dirty laundry on Friday (or do both the same day if your wardrobe is large enough).

    See if you can designate a neutral pair of shoes as your 'work' shoes, and leave them at work. Shoes take up a huge amount of space in bags.

    Set aside some desk space for your clothes (see above), and for healthy snacks. Without a car at work, you'll go out to lunch less often. Things to keep in your desk: nuts, sugar-free powdered sports drink mixes (for the ride home), meal replacement bars (e.g. Clif Builder's Bars), oatmeal, yogurt (if you have fridge access).

    Since you're only carrying clothes to work once a week, you can cart other stuff other days - snacks, facial tissue, cigars for your at-work humidor, etc...

    Set up a gym bag at work with all the stuff you'll need.

    Ride to work, lock your bike up (store it in your office or cube if you can), grab the gym bag, and go shower & change. Come back, work, etc... change when you go home.

    If you can't get access to a shower at work, you can still pull it off. Shower before leaving, ride leisurely into work, and when you're changing, use baby wipes on your armpits, feet, anything covered by underwear, and anyplace else that you have skin-to-skin contact (a problem for some of us Clydes). THEN use antiperspirant (i.e. not before you ride in). Odors come from bacteria that grow in warm, moist spots on your body. Using an alcohol swap to clean and dry those spots off after your ride in goes a long way to keeping your co-workers happily un-offended by body odor.

    Give yourself extra time when the weather is bad. Not only do you ride slower, but it takes longer to gear up and change once you're at work.

    Set up your bike, pack your bags, and lay out your riding clothes the night before. Fill your bottles and put 'em in the fridge. Two bottles for a ride in that kind of heat. Having everything ready when you wake up is gonna make it that much easier to swing your leg over the top tube instead of making an excuse to drive in 'just today'.

    Thank you for the more in depth explanation... I don't have a gym near my work that I can use their shower facilities. I'm going to look into the panniers -- as I don't have much room at my desk / in my cube. I do pack my lunch, but I'm on a three meal a day plan and... I eat breakfast / dinner at home... so I don't have to worry about carrying a ton of stuff food wise.

    Currently, I'm riding in in my pants ( my shorts ride down while riding )... changing shirts / ready to go... I realize this will entirely change when the heat comes on. Do you guys have any specific brands of like wipes / other stuff that you use on a regular basis?

    Unfortunately my wardrobe isn't big enough for me to bring my clothes in for the week... (I've only got three pairs of pants that I rotate through the week... cause I'm losing weight and pants are expensive. ).

    So many things... argh.

  10. #10
    Watching and waiting. jethro56's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock31 View Post
    I wear my Bib Shorts from love2pedal year round...I find them most comfortable...even if I am going for a short 5ish mile ride I still throw them on.
    +1

    I also add base wear for riding below 60 degrees. Don't care much for riding below 50 as my nose runs too much.

  11. #11
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    Do you guys have any specific brands of like wipes / other stuff that you use on a regular basis?
    I am a fan of baby wipes. I always look for the unscented kind. I bought a container full years ago and now just keep buying refills for the container. Any brand works in the container, I just get whatever is the least expensive and not scented. There are actually recipes online for making your own wipes but I am not that frugal.

  12. #12
    Not safe for work cyclokitty's Avatar
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    I wear Aero Tech classic bike shorts under regular cotton with a hint of spandex as soon as the weather warms up until it's too cold (late April til mid October on average). Aero Tech makes comfy, durable, well priced bike shorts and they are the best shorts for me. I haven't tried their Mtn bike/loose shorts yet but they are on my To Buy list this spring.

    When I commuted to a different workplace, I carried in a pannier a separate set of clothes, lunch and "dry shower" supplies. My preferred baby wipes were any unscented ones because smelling like a baby at work is a crude nickname in the making. Also I liked using a non-baby scented talcum powder and liberally applied anti-perspirant. A dry pair of socks will make you feel like a million bucks after a bike ride in hot weather!

    Have fun!!


  13. #13
    Senior Member gyozadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock31 View Post
    I wear my Bib Shorts from love2pedal year round...I find them most comfortable...even if I am going for a short 5ish mile ride I still throw them on.
    +1. Love2pedal.com. Affordable. Big sizes too. I have the bib shorts and jersey. 3XL.
    Yes, I can roll my own potsticker skins!

  14. #14
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    Unfortunately my wardrobe isn't big enough for me to bring my clothes in for the week... (I've only got three pairs of pants that I rotate through the week... cause I'm losing weight and pants are expensive. ).
    Spend some time at a thrift store (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.) Amid junk you can find some decent clothes, in good condition and in style. I spent ten dollars on the jacket I wore to the interview that led to my current job - I'd lost 80 pounds and my suit fit like a circus tent then.

  15. #15
    Neil_B
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    Quote Originally Posted by gyozadude View Post
    +1. Love2pedal.com. Affordable. Big sizes too. I have the bib shorts and jersey. 3XL.
    Another vote for Love2Pedal.

  16. #16
    Senior Member maidenfan's Avatar
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    Having ridden w/a backpack for a few years, I second the opinion on switching to panniers. Most of the cycling specific (and athletic) clothing is designed to vent heavily in the back and your backpack will negate this. In AZ, this will be even more important.
    "Others don't understand because I train every day of my life as they have never trained a day in theirs." Alexandr Karelin - the most dominating Greco-Roman wrestler - ever

  17. #17
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    Walmart doesn't have a lot of shorts right now, but last summer they had some men's shorts called loose-fit compression shorts that are the most comfortable shorts to wear on a bike. They're so nice and airy that sometimes I have to look down and make sure I really have shorts on. They're a very soft, thin spandex material. Last summer they only came up to a 2x, but they were stretchy and fit me even though I usually buy a 4x in mens shorts.

    About wipes, if you think you have more sweat than diaper wipes can handle, you can find wipes like these: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Assurance-...-48ct/15570955

    Neil_B is right about the thrift store...not the most fun place to go but it's great for clothes when you're losing weight. If you know someone who can hem up the pants for you, then all you have to do is find the right fit at the waist.

  18. #18
    Senior Member bassjones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    Thank you for the more in depth explanation... I don't have a gym near my work that I can use their shower facilities. I'm going to look into the panniers -- as I don't have much room at my desk / in my cube. I do pack my lunch, but I'm on a three meal a day plan and... I eat breakfast / dinner at home... so I don't have to worry about carrying a ton of stuff food wise.

    Currently, I'm riding in in my pants ( my shorts ride down while riding )... changing shirts / ready to go... I realize this will entirely change when the heat comes on. Do you guys have any specific brands of like wipes / other stuff that you use on a regular basis?

    Unfortunately my wardrobe isn't big enough for me to bring my clothes in for the week... (I've only got three pairs of pants that I rotate through the week... cause I'm losing weight and pants are expensive. ).

    So many things... argh.
    That's what bibs are for... If you're self conscious of spandex, just wear regular shorts over them. Also, I'm a huge fan (no pun intended) of aerotechdesigns. I had one issue with a jersey (zipper broke) and they replaced it for free, let me keep the old one too, and shipped the new one at their cost. Took the old jersey to a tailor and had a new zipper installed for $10. Always ship fast and the quality is outstanding. Their house brand clothing is made in the USA too, if that sort of thing matters to you (material is imported, but the stitching is all done here.

  19. #19
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    I just started buying from aerotech. Regular padded bike shorts and a pair of compression shorts. This one fits well: BIG Man Pro Cycling Short SMX010BK, but the cheaper BIG Mans Classic Cycling SX301BI, not so much, the chamois padding does not go all the way up if you know what I mean...your experience may be different but I suggest you give them a try. I plan to try their vests next. Very nice people and quick to respond.

  20. #20
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    My two cents since I have started commuting:

    Areaotech is great. Go with bibs since sometimes other pants will have a tendency to creep down while riding. Wear shorts overtop that to help with self image. I have the same thing where I work, especially since I park my bike right by my office. Also get the jerseys from there too. Awesome and BIG. Just what I need!

    Are you going to be riding in the dark at all? Are you looking for panniers or do you have some? Remember to stay lit up. Check in the commuting thread too and find the guy named ktesh. He is lit up like a christmas tree. I am working toward that as well. Drop me a line if you ever need anything. My commute is 22 miles.

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    Also... go with panniers. I see you are in AZ and not sure if it rains much there or not but I go with Ortlieb panniers from a place called :thetouringstore.com . Awesome place and nice customer service and lowest price on the classic panniers. There are many other brands but I wanted something that was quality and waterproof. Those were it.

    Again, I cant stress enough to make sure you have GREAT lighting when you are riding in the dark. A highviz vest is also something you will want to consider.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by st3venb View Post
    Hi -- I'm steve, and I just started commuting by bike to work in Arizona. I live down in the valley, so I'm going to get some nice 115* F days... I've already bought a backpack that's big enough to carry my work clothes with me to work... but I'm having a hard time finding stuff that I'm willing to take a chance on to wear for my commute..
    Trade the backpack for some form of bicycle mounted bag (pannier and rack being most common, although there are large saddle rail/post mounted setups for randonneuring) . It'll be a lot more comfortable and not leave wet spots in the shape of pack and straps.

    While lycra based cycling clothes won't win any fashion awards, they do a reasonable job wicking away sweat.

  23. #23
    internettubes engineer st3venb's Avatar
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    Since this post, I have gotten a new job... I'm now going to be working from home and my rides will be limited early morning rides. So now I'll just be carrying myself and whatever water I need for the duration of my ride.


    Thanks for all the comments guys.

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