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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 12-15-00, 08:30 AM   #1
RainmanP
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First, Cambronne, I finally found a Payless store that at least knew about the Cross-Trekker Land/Water model you discussed about a month ago. You must have gotten one of the last pairs as that model was out last summer and, alas, is no longer. So I got the bright idea of waterproofing a pair of inexpensive lightweight leather/nylon upper hiking boots. That led me to passing along to the group some info about a brand of waterproofing products called Nikwax.
Nikwax makes a series of products for different waterproofing applications. There are wash-in products for cotton apparel (Cotton Proof), down-insulated apparel (Down Proof), synthetics and sythetic-insulated apparel (Polar Proof); brush-ons for leather only footwear, leather and fabric footwear; spray ons for things that can't be washed; washing products for preparing apparel for waterproofing and maintaining the waterproofing. The wash in products do not mat insulation. They work by treating the individual fibers. So piles and downs stay fluffy, but won't absorb water later so they maintain their insulating properties.
I have used the leather footwear as well as the leather/fabric footwear products, Cotton Proof, Polar Proof, and the Tech Wash prepration/washing produt. The Polar Proof can turn an inexpensive nylon windbreaker into a rain jacket. Water beads up and runs right off, but the fabric is not "coated", remaining pretty breathable.
The only problem with Nikwax is finding it. Your best bet is a well-equipped outdoor store. I am lucky to have one nearby that does stock. Nikwax.com has a dealer locator, but it doesn't seem to work. The website does have extensive instructions/guidance about how the products work and how to get best results.
By the way, I am not on commission or anything. I just like this stuff, and I havent't seen anything even close in terms of performance.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 12-15-00, 03:45 PM   #2
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Thank you for the tip, it has to be better than slipping plastic grocery bags over one's feet and taping around the ankles!

We've a large "Wilderness Outfitter" store here, which specializes in rafting & kayaking. I shall see what they sell. They might also have footwear that is made for such activities. Back home, we have a sport called "canyoning," which is basically climbing up rocks in gorges. Canyoneurs use footwear similar to the Cross Trekkers, but naturally, much more expensive.

I visited a Payless store on the other side of town, and found one remaining pair of the Cross Trekkers, a half-size smaller than I normally wear, but they fit reasonably well. So, I've a spare pair for when the first ones wear out.
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Old 12-18-00, 05:47 PM   #3
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i have a real thing about cold feet on the bike. when it gets down to 30F here, i abandon my cycling shoes (even with booties the front quarter of my foot starts to go numb after about 45 minutes of riding) and cycle with my hiking boots on. the cycling shoes are just too well ventilated to keep my feet warm in the cold.

i've tried just about everything either in the shoe or over it (gore-lined booties, heavy socks, plastic baggies in the shoes, etc.) to keep the feet dry and warm, and nothing seems to work 100%. but i just picked up what i hope will be a nice improvement for winter commuting - a pair of neoprene fleece-insulated socks, designed to be worn kayaking or rafting. but hey, whatever works, right? if anyone's interested and has smallish feet, they're cheap at rei-outlet.com (but only small sizes left). i haven't actually tried them out in the really pouring rain yet, but they do look like they'll help keep me warm and dry.

i thought it might be interesting to mention since they're designed to be water sport footwear...
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Old 12-25-00, 07:32 AM   #4
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Here is how to make the best leather water-proofing

First of all, function rules over fashion and even cycling performance when it comes to cold weather commuting.

I learned that the hard way when I almost lost my toes to frost-bite a couple of years ago when the wind chill was -60 F. Now, I use pac boots (like Sorel) in winter.

ANYWAY, for those of you who are looking for a good way to water-proof leather, here is your recipe for the best leather waterproofing there is:

Mix 1/2 bees wax and 1/2 neatsfoot oil (by volume) and heat in a double boiler until the bees wax melts and gets hot. You can paint this hot mixture onto your shoes directly, or you can let it cool and then spread it like jelly onto your shoes. In either case, you must use a hair dryer or the hot sun to warm up your boots, melt the leather-proofing, and allow it to be absorbed by the leather.

Be wary of leather dressings which have silicon. These are usually a silicon in solvent based dressing. Once the solvent is gone, the silicon eventually falls off the surface of the leather and you have to apply it again. It works great for about two days, then you are in for wet feet again. Also, these dressings attacke the adhesives in your boots/shoes which eventually causes them to fall apart.
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Old 12-25-00, 03:24 PM   #5
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warm feet

I've found that a shoe that is a bit big always helps, there is more room for socks and "Dead air space"- preferably wool and never,never use cotton. I put a small baggie or the end of a muffin package over my forefoot to keep the wind off (over the socks -inside the shoe) if my feet get wet -big deal I stay warm
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Old 03-08-01, 12:38 AM   #6
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Now that our "rainy season" (in So Cal, it's where people can't understand the concept of rain and wet pavement) is underway, I've been looking at better ways to keep my feet dry and somewhat warm. I'd like to see if they had those CrossTrekkers shoes in stock, in my size, but haven't had a chance to look yet.

Hmmm...the plastic bags with tape wrapped around my feet sounds fashionably appealing, I think that would last for a mile before some puddle found a car to wet me with. ;-) .

The neoprene insulated socks sounded a good solution as well, but my eyes started glazing over when I read, "bees wax and neatsfoot oil solution...double boiler" in Mike's post. (Okay, I'm the same person that keeps burning their hand when making frozen fish sticks, and almost burned down my company's break room making popcorn!) ;-) I'm sure it's a good solution, but not for someone as kitchen-challenged as I am. ;-)
I will however, take the advice and stay away from silicon-based leather dressings...
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Old 03-08-01, 03:36 AM   #7
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I use Nikwax on my polycotton smock. It does provide some water resistance for a few weeks, but it wears off.
Nikwax/Paramo clothing works pretty well, it takes up the proofing better and you can vary the degree of breathability/proofing according to the conditions. Its very popular in the UK where mild/cool wet conditions are the norm.
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Old 03-08-01, 06:56 AM   #8
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I like technogirl's quote "Hard work pays off in the long-run, but craziness pays off now" Cool, man.

Hey, cats, if you haven't figured it out already, don't be putting your feet or anything else inside plastic bags.

You might not get wet from the outside, but you will get wet from the inside. That is, your persperation will condense inside any non-breathable clothing. Aish, I wish my well-meaning wife understood this and wouldn't buy me PVC raingear - you are better off in the rain than with plastic clothes.

Remember, everybody sweats. You perspire 'till you expire.

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Old 03-08-01, 08:20 AM   #9
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Thanks for the waterproofing tips, folks! Say, give me some advice about COLD RAIN. That's my "final frontier"...
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Old 03-08-01, 10:12 AM   #10
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The worst conditions Ive ever cycled in was freezing rain. Water at about freezing point, coming down in bucketloads. Sweaty feet are not a problem at this temp, and bags over woolen socks worked fine. A cheap heavy duty PVC anorak and nylon over trousers also kept the rain at bay. I really enjoyed surviving that ride and my gear was all bargain basement stuff.

Check out the Buffalo Teclite jacket. Its not waterproof, but in cold rain you will stay comfortable.
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Old 03-08-01, 11:40 AM   #11
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I sweat in plastic clothes even in sub-zero temperatures. Freezing rain is no exception.

I would be tempted to purchase a good biking poncho.

In China, ponchos seem pretty popular with bicyclists - and those cats are bicycle riding professionals.

There have been a couple of posts in BikeForums.Com about ponchos. I'd say read what the experienced biking poncho users have to say.

Mike
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Old 03-08-01, 02:16 PM   #12
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Mike,
FWIW, campmor.com has a bicycling cape for $29.99. Check it out at
http://www.campmor.com/webapp/commer...30&prmenbr=226
I keep thinking about getting one.
Regards,
Raymond
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Old 03-08-01, 04:01 PM   #13
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Thanks, Rainman. Any hints on things to look at when getting a bicycle poncho?

I understand that bicycle ponchos are slightly different from regular ponchos as they have loops for your thumbs and sleeves for your shoes.

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Old 05-22-01, 10:29 PM   #14
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So far this year I have dealt with torrential rain, hail, cyclonic winds and flash floods. I have just one thing to say:

DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON SO CALLED WATERPROOF PANNIERS.

Sure, they might handle a shower OK or something, but they are hopelessly useless against a torrential downpour. What you are best advised to do is line the inside of your pannier with plastic bags (the thicker the better) to protect your things from the effects of the rain. Oh yeah, and take your stuff out of the pannier as soon as you possibly can.

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Old 05-22-01, 10:58 PM   #15
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I have some Sidetrak booties--made in Taiwan, and the name printed on them is all I know--that keep shoes completely dry in light rain and fairly dry even in a downpour. They also keep feet warm in the cold weather. A nice plus is that they're actually easy to put on and take off.

A coworker friend of mine gave them to me for Christmas one year, after asking my bike repairman what would be a good present for Jon. The repairman had seen me wearing grocery sacks over my shoes, so he suggested the booties!
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Old 05-22-01, 11:39 PM   #16
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Are these similiar to what you are talking about JonR?

On the page, just look for the cycling overbooties.

Take a look at these to keep your feet dry and warm.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_l...lder_id=133063
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Old 05-23-01, 07:47 AM   #17
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I rode home in the rain yesterday. Wearing my nikes, so I thought I would pass on a tip for those of us who get wet feet sometimes. I packed the shoes with newspaper overnight, and they were nice and dry this morning.

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Old 05-23-01, 08:11 AM   #18
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Actually, I think JonR is talking about the booties at this address:

http://www.sidetrak.com/Catalog/cooldays.html
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Old 05-23-01, 09:00 AM   #19
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Servus,

Yo, Chris! I gotta disagree with you Brother! Check out the bags at http://www.ortliebusa.com/. I have seen these panniers float bikes down rivers they are so airtight!
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Old 05-23-01, 10:23 PM   #20
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Rainman, of course-Sidetrack booties. Thanks!

(I was just asking JonR if the ones I know of were similiar to what he has)

Cheers,

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Old 05-24-01, 12:31 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ranger
Servus,

Yo, Chris! I gotta disagree with you Brother! Check out the bags at http://www.ortliebusa.com/. I have seen these panniers float bikes down rivers they are so airtight!
Well, Ranger, I think you and I might have different ideas on "torrential rain". Earlier this year we had over 150mm fall in under six hours here. I was right in the thick of it, and I can tell you that no pannier will survive that for any length of time.

I actually know of a guy who had ortlieb panniers on a world tour (Roughstuff's URL is www.chosin.com), and he claimed they were so useless that he was going to burn them. I think the problem with most panniers is that they weren't designed with tropical downpours in mind, and given the unpredictability of our weather, I tend to go for any additional protection I can get.

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Old 05-24-01, 02:20 AM   #22
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The problem with Ortleibs is not with their water proof properties for keeping out rain. They are built just like Ortleib's Canoe bags, and can take all the rain you throw at them, up to and including immersion.
The problem Roughstuff noted was that in tropical climates clothes get really manky inside a waterproof bag. No moisture can escape, and its a good environment for mildew.

In cooler climates Ortleibs work very well, but the roll-top closure is not the quickest to access for use around town.
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Old 05-24-01, 02:29 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
[...] I tend to go for any additional protection I can get.

Chris
Chris, I agree that wrapping the contents of the panniers in plastic inside the panniers is essential when it does any more than sprinkle--but I also found out I'd better check the plastic I use! Grocery bags (at least in the US they're often thin plastic) are good, but some of them have little holes or tears in them, and it's amazing how little good they do if they're the least bit compromised.

So--something else to check. There's no end to it....
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Old 05-24-01, 07:49 PM   #24
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Yes, so much to check, so many things to do. It's actually stupidly ironic that I do so much to protect my contents, and nothing to keep the rain off myself (I don't even bother with a rain jacket because 90% of the time, it would make you too hot and you would be more comfortable in the rain).

Chris
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