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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 10-04-10, 11:56 AM   #1
CptjohnC
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budget oriented long pants options for autumn commuting

The last couple of days has made me realize that I can't get away with street shorts over cycling shorts for much longer. I will need to move to running tights or some other long layer to avoid being too cold, but I can't quite picture wearing the tights when I am riding Metro or other public transit. One of the main reasons I wear shorts over the spandex, besides avoiding scaring the eyes of those around me, is that I like having pockets. But shorts over tights strikes me as unseemly (although I suppose color matched shorts over the tights would be okay).

I know someone mentioned some REI pants here, but at $75 a pop, this is beyond my present budget for commuter wear. I could probably just wear an old pair of khakis over cycling shorts or tights, and bring the ankles in with straps, but I'm hoping I am missing some really obvious choice.

Anyone have some great ideas for the multi-modal guy? I am hoping that I have shower options at my new workplace, based on my preliminary investigations.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:03 PM   #2
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zip-off pants make a nice wind-blocker and don't have to cost too much:
http://tinyurl.com/3ynb7y3

I, too am a multi-moder in DC area. I also like pockets for my Metro card, etc. I do sometimes wear longjohn's under my non-bike shorts anyway, but usually just the thin zip-off hiker-style pants are enough to keep me warm until it gets into the 30's.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:07 PM   #3
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I use polyester-cotton hiking pants with a couple of zip-pockets. You can get big-brand versions and no-name ones.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:10 PM   #4
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I wear athletic pants over shorts. I got mine for $12-$25. I like that they are roomy, warm, and dry pretty quickly if caught out in the rain. I also like the fact they have side zippers down the ankle part so when I go to the gym I can take them off without taking off my shoes. When it is really cold I wear leg warmers underneath and can remove them without taking off the pants as well.

Just make sure you use an ankle strap or rubber bands to keep the pants leg from being tangled.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:24 PM   #5
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I usually wear a slightly looser fitting cotton/twill pant than what my regular jeans would fit. Tight jeans restrict my legs too much, loose ones are ok.

Wind pants and jogging pants work great -- dry fast and cause no problems.

Tights and knee warmers suck IMO - I have frog legs and can't keep up knee/leg warmers (tried many types, including one dude's Ibex expensive ones).

Tights look too much like tights. Plus I don't like to layer things "under" other garments that I have to do a full bathroom change at work. I prefer to mostly wear things that are easy to take off the top or things that I'll just wear at work anyway.

Note: my legs rarely get cold, so I usually just pull a sweat shirt on in the fall and continue shorts until it gets in the 30's.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:25 PM   #6
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I just ride to work in whatever pants I'm going to have on that day. Cargo pants work really well. Or slacks. Or just about anything - except maybe jeans.

You might have to Fred it up and tuck the bottom of your pants into your sock, though.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:35 PM   #7
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I just picked up a handful of windproof-ish straight legged running/warmup pants by Avia at TJ Maxx for $12 each. Black with full-length reflective stripes down the sides.
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Old 10-04-10, 12:48 PM   #8
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I'm going through the same exercise myself - if I buy a pair of tights I'll need a paper bag to wear over my head at the same time and i could scare more than a few motorists........

Under Armour has cold gear tights that run around $50 a pair (still a little rich for my budget) - I'm leaning towards wind resistant track pants (available pretty cheap if you hit the outlet stores) myself and when it gets even colder a pair of wicking long johns underneath.
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Old 10-04-10, 01:24 PM   #9
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Got a pair of Polyester slacks at the charity shop, then got them altered for a tapered leg,
and ankle zips to make them easy to put on/off.

there are nice wool ones made for the purpose , but wool will wear out in the Butt.
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Old 10-04-10, 01:41 PM   #10
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army surplus BDU's - you can cut them to knicker length if you want or do the ankle band thing.
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Old 10-04-10, 10:12 PM   #11
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Cycling tights under my MTN bike shorts because I like the zip up pockets in the MTN shorts. Fortunately the tights and shorts are the same colour. Too bad the tights are kinda shiny. I'm disco from the knees down! At least I am warm.
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Old 10-05-10, 03:32 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cali2ia View Post
I just picked up a handful of windproof-ish straight legged running/warmup pants by Avia at TJ Maxx for $12 each. Black with full-length reflective stripes down the sides.
I'll have to look for these; sounds like a great option!
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Old 10-05-10, 03:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Sharpe View Post
I'm going through the same exercise myself - if I buy a pair of tights I'll need a paper bag to wear over my head at the same time and i could scare more than a few motorists........

Under Armour has cold gear tights that run around $50 a pair (still a little rich for my budget) - I'm leaning towards wind resistant track pants (available pretty cheap if you hit the outlet stores) myself and when it gets even colder a pair of wicking long johns underneath.
I'm not a huge fan of the tights, but I admit that they do keep my legs warm. I don't know if this is an option for you, but Costco sells tights (unsure of brand) for about $20/ pr. (no reflective, no chamois) Matching tops (1/4 zip, no reflective) are about the same$$$.

I'm thinking about trying TJ Maxx or Marshalls or the like for wind pants :-)
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Old 10-05-10, 03:57 PM   #14
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Knickers or MTB shorts over long cycling tights has worked very well for me in winter time. I like to have lot's of pockets to carry different things. It's very comfortable and looks good.
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Old 10-05-10, 04:27 PM   #15
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I use regular baseball/softball pants;
they have a pocket and knit cuffs.
Plus they are fairly inexpensive, wear and wash well.
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Old 10-05-10, 05:30 PM   #16
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5.11 tactical pants for law enforcement. They got more pockets than most pants I've seen. Their material is very durable. I used to rip my jeans with the chain ring all the time, but not so with the 5.11 pants. Some of their pants have built in knee pad that are great for working on bike. If you cuff the opening of the leg, they are warm enough for cool weather.
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Old 10-05-10, 07:56 PM   #17
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5.11 tactical pants for law enforcement. They got more pockets than most pants I've seen. Their material is very durable. I used to rip my jeans with the chain ring all the time, but not so with the 5.11 pants. Some of their pants have built in knee pad that are great for working on bike. If you cuff the opening of the leg, they are warm enough for cool weather.
Me likey.
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Old 10-05-10, 10:00 PM   #18
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Target has some pretty reasonable polyester running/exercise pants... around $20... that have a very narrow leg. I've been using them for more than a year. They are actually so comfortable I sometimes forget to take them off at home... great for lounging around the house.... but also good for commuting.
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Old 10-06-10, 01:29 AM   #19
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Target has some pretty reasonable polyester running/exercise pants... around $20... that have a very narrow leg. I've been using them for more than a year. They are actually so comfortable I sometimes forget to take them off at home... great for lounging around the house.... but also good for commuting.
+1 I've been using a pair of the C9 running pants for a year now and just bought a second pair last night. I like the tapered leg so I don't have to mess with the ankle strap. C9 also makes good jersey-like tops for $20. Beats $75 for a jersey from a bike shop.
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Old 10-06-10, 10:31 AM   #20
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+1 I've been using a pair of the C9 running pants for a year now and just bought a second pair last night. I like the tapered leg so I don't have to mess with the ankle strap. C9 also makes good jersey-like tops for $20. Beats $75 for a jersey from a bike shop.
This also sounds like a winner! I may have solved my 'appearance' issue, as I've taken to riding all the way in, rather than taking metro, but I do want to preserve that option for inclement weather, and esp. as darkness becomes more and more a factor.

I should mention that whatever I wear to ride, I will be changing into work clothes at the office.
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Old 10-11-10, 03:12 PM   #21
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I picked up the Nashbar C-Pant last fall. (On sale now for $30.). I can wear them through most of the fall. When it starts getting down near freezing, I just add a layer of Under Armor underneath.
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Old 10-11-10, 03:44 PM   #22
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I wear Carhartt work pants with wool long johns underneath. I chose the Carhartts because of the pockets, and the durability. As an added bonus the Carhartts look normal.
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Old 10-11-10, 03:50 PM   #23
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I make it all winter with cheap lined running shorts, about $18 at Target or whatever, over shorts, and sometimes long underwear. In extreme cases (like below -10*F) I put sweat pants under them. I've been down to -25*F with this.

My only real problem is feet. Last winter I tried toe covers, made myself out of a plastic grocery sack and some duct tape, and it worked great. My toes kept reasonably warm (at least, I could still feel them) down to about -10 which was about as cold as it got last winter.
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Old 10-11-10, 05:08 PM   #24
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I second the recommendation for Target's fall/winter running gear. Lately, I've been wearing a layer of that stuff over my biking layer for the cold morning commutes.

Honestly though, when it comes to legs, I like the leg warmer tights the best because they come off and pack away easier than pants when you don't need them.
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Old 10-12-10, 04:24 AM   #25
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Target has some pretty reasonable polyester running/exercise pants... around $20... that have a very narrow leg. I've been using them for more than a year. They are actually so comfortable I sometimes forget to take them off at home... great for lounging around the house.... but also good for commuting.
Same here. Work well with cycling shorts/bibs underneath. Also picked up "Starter" brand pants and jacket sets from Wally World for like $15 for the set.
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