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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 03-05-11, 10:08 AM   #1
xunzx
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Would you rather be hot or cold?

Hi all, I'm new to the forums and new to commuting by bike (two weeks into it now).

My question for you is: Would you rather be hot or cold?

I'm out in the Midwest and have an irregular timed commute. I've been having difficulty planing what to wear. For example, yesterday I checked the weather and the high was 35 so I left in the morning with a jacket, fleece, and sweater. When I got to my destination I was soaked in sweat, and kinda regretted the fleece. However when I left in the evening, it was just in time for me to get rained on, and I appreciated the extra layer.

Considering the crazy swings in weather we get out here, this mismatch in clothing and climate seems inevitable. Do yous over or under prepare?

(edit: grammar)
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Old 03-05-11, 10:14 AM   #2
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First, welcome. Second, if you dress to where you are comfortable starting out, then you are over-dressing.

Tip: start keeping a log of what you wore for the various weather/temp conditions. Review periodically, and at the end of the year, you'll have a good reference guide of what works for you.
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Old 03-05-11, 10:34 AM   #3
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Sometimes when it is cool in the morning, I will start out with a hooded sweatshirt, and then either unzip it or take it off completely once I start to get warm. There's no reason to be uncomfortable starting out with, in my opinion. The only problem with over-dressing for the entire commute is that you end up getting to where you are going very sweaty and unpresentable, which might be fine for a roadie who's just riding in a big circle, but not necessarily okay for someone commuting to work.
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Old 03-05-11, 10:51 AM   #4
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I'd rather be cold. Taking off layers once you reach your destination is more convenient than wiping all the sweat off your body and stinking up the place.
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Old 03-05-11, 10:56 AM   #5
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Would you rather be hot or cold?

Hot of course, because nobody likes a cold hearted beatch.

In the summertime here in the Bay Area, sometimes we get a temperature swing of 40 degree. It can be 50 in the morning and 90 in the afternoon. Just last week, one day it was like 36 in the morning and upper 60's in the afternoon. So I pretty much carry what I need that can work for both extreme.

I like to have thin layer that insulate well. I wear thermal Patagonia as a base layer, then a fleece pullover and top it off with a thin wind resistant and a Performancebike Ultra rain resistant jacket. If I know it will rain hard, I use my Shower Pass jacket and that gets me very warm. Removing one layer will not have a huge effect because each of them are only doing so much in terms of warmth. In the afternoon, I just wear the jacket and a top. The other two layers are thin enough to be pack without bulkiness. Try not to have any single layer that is too thick.
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Old 03-05-11, 11:29 AM   #6
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Welcome! When I start my ride, I'm usually just a *little* cold. This only gives me incentive to hit my stride on the bike so I warm up from the exertion. In the winter, I wear a toque (knit cap) that keeps my head warm as I'm usually going at about 18-19 mph on the flats.
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Old 03-05-11, 12:05 PM   #7
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2nd the motion -- you should feel a little chilly when you start out. Because -- unless you ride <10mph for <2-3 miles -- you WILL get warmer.

I have the additional issue of needing to keep certain areas of my anatomy covered up, because I can fall ill to a chill from that. GOTTA keep the top of the head under wraps! (Hair is thin as desert scrub up there.)

Make sure your fingers and toes are adequately insulated, as they will lose circulation benefit first; your face is iffy, too, noses are vulnerable for most people.

My winter commute is only 4 miles RT, and I still bust a sweat, no matter WHAT I wear. I guess it's a good thing I have the type of job where it doesn't really matter, 'cause I'll get sweaty and dirty ANYway.
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Old 03-05-11, 12:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xunzx View Post
Hi all, I'm new to the forums and new to commuting by bike (two weeks into it now).

My question for you is: Would you rather be hot or cold?

...Considering the crazy swings in weather we get out here, this mismatch in clothing and climate seems inevitable. Do yous over or under prepare?

(edit: grammar)
See this similar recent thread, "Winter in the morning; summer in the afternoon":

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-the-afternoon
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Old 03-05-11, 01:03 PM   #9
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My question for you is: Would you rather be hot or cold?
I'd rather be neither. It may take some time, but you learn how to dress eventually. When the temperature fluctuates I like to be dressed in layers.

When its cold and I know it will get warmer I dress as I normally wood for the winter, but take off a layer or two on the way home.

When its hot and i know the temperature will drop I bring an extra layer in my backpack.
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Old 03-05-11, 03:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
Tip: start keeping a log of what you wore for the various weather/temp conditions. Review periodically, and at the end of the year, you'll have a good reference guide of what works for you.
That's a pretty interesting tactic. Fitting, too, since that's all the weather channel does to predict rain/snow. Hahahahaha
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Old 03-05-11, 04:10 PM   #11
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I'd rather be cold. I am a snowman after all : P. Ahehehe.
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Old 03-05-11, 10:04 PM   #12
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I'd rather be hot. Mostly because I really enjoy heat, and can't take much cold. Also, my commute is short and I change when I arrive anyway. Plus, I'm in Texas, if it's a hot dry 95 degrees out and I'm on my bike, I'm practically in heaven!
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Old 03-05-11, 10:12 PM   #13
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I'd rather be cold. I am a snowman after all : P. Ahehehe.
You've been waiting for this thread, haven't you?
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Old 03-05-11, 10:37 PM   #14
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For the record, I'd prefer neither, but will take the heat over the cold. Easier to keep sweat out my eyes than keep my glasses from fogging...
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Old 03-05-11, 11:11 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the responses and advice!

no1mad, Scheherezade, puppypilgrim, DX-MAN - I tried starting off cold today as yous suggested and it went okay. There was some ice on the road which made it difficult to really get going (mostly cause I was afraid of crashing).

Jose Mandez, colleen c, exile - Layers sounds smart and safe, but kind of like a hassle. Still, I think I may invest in some thin ones as suggested and try it out.

Jim from Boston - that thread was handy also, I didn't mean to be redundant.

Beside trying to find a good balance, my other concern is emergency situations. Like if you get a flat, and have to stop to fix it, or wait for a bus. Do those who dress light just suck it up and tough it out, or do you have contingency plans?
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Old 03-05-11, 11:53 PM   #16
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There was a thread not too long ago that was started because the OP had to change a flat in less than ideal conditions. The moral of his story was to take your bike into your house/apartment and practice changing flats until you can do it with your eyes closed.
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Old 03-05-11, 11:57 PM   #17
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I would rather my wife be "hot" not cold ..........oops did I type that
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Old 03-06-11, 01:15 AM   #18
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Old 03-06-11, 08:40 AM   #19
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I'll take hot Summer over cold Winter any time. I have no problems sweating and cleaning up, but I hate being cold and breathing frigid air.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:29 AM   #20
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I can have a 10 degree temperature increase or decrease on my commute some days, coming in from or returning to the colder suburbs along the river valley. Cold air from the water becomes trapped and creates a frigid micro climate. The key to dressing is using multiple layers that you can either unzip while riding or remove and stuff in your bag. As others have said, start out a little underdressed, because you will warm up in 5 minutes. There's nothing wrong with stopping to add or take off a layer if you are getting too warm or cold.
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Old 03-06-11, 09:34 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xunzx View Post
Hi all, I'm new to the forums and new to commuting by bike (two weeks into it now).

My question for you is: Would you rather be hot or cold?

I'm out in the Midwest and have an irregular timed commute. I've been having difficulty planing what to wear. For example, yesterday I checked the weather and the high was 35 so I left in the morning with a jacket, fleece, and sweater. When I got to my destination I was soaked in sweat, and kinda regretted the fleece. However when I left in the evening, it was just in time for me to get rained on, and I appreciated the extra layer.
Your problem is that your shell isn't breathing well enough. If it was then the sweat would exit. You'd then be somewhat cooler, and any heat you did feel would be a pleasant dry heat.

The two most breathable shells are pertex, as found on lightweight windshirts, and Paramo, which you'd have to import from the UK. You'll probably have to mail order one from the UK, but Paramo's "directional" shells are legendary. Like the jacket your friends have, they combine a midlayer with a shell. They'll handle heavy rain as well as dry cold and wind.

The bike specific one is the Velez Adventure Light. More breathable than goretex - especially when it is raining, when pored membrane shells don't really breath at all - and good enough at blocking windchill so that they're used by arctic explorers. The Light has an excellent cycling specific hood. About 180, unless you get lucky and catch an unpopular colour being discontinued as I did. Machine washable, should last for about a decade. Used with the right baselayer the Light is good for everything except summer riding - or even that in the UK. The venting is excellent

Oh - and you can sew reflective tape on and the jacket will still be waterproof - Paramo shells work by having a "pump liner" that fiercely expels water, so any droplets that try to get in will get pushed out. Standard gear for climbers, outdoor sports instructors, mountain rescue teams in the UK. Doesn't get exported much because Paramo can't keep up with demand. Google should tell you everything else you need to know, but:

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&sou...jsPom-4rk2ljuA

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&sou...P1f3BJBQ4nlL9g
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Old 03-06-11, 10:44 AM   #22
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i would rather my wife be "hot" not cold ..........oops did i type that
lol dont we all
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