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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 12-28-05, 09:58 PM   #1
yendor28
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Going Places where you need to dress up

Hey,

I love biking everywhere.

One challenge I face is when I need to wear nice clothes somewhere. Generally I can either leave the clothes there (work) or carry them with me and shower and change upon arrival.


Sometimes not though, eg, going to a restaurant , someone's house who I do not know that well etc.

Any ideas?

Also, how do persno's lock their bikes when going places like this. Eg the movies or shopping where you cannot bring your bike in.

I have two bikes and ride my less expensive bike to these places.

thank you
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Old 12-28-05, 10:05 PM   #2
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I never really dress up personally but I imagine I would just ride my bike in my nice clothes if it wasn't summer, and if it was I would put on my dress shirt upon arival. When I had to wear a collared shirt for work I just put it on when I got there.

If I am going to a person's house I ask to bring the bike inside their home or garage. If I am going to a restaurant or a movie, I try to lock up in an area where people will be around to try and deter thieves, as opposed to a dark corner where they would have plenty of privacy to do their thing. A heavy chain lock makes it a lot easier to lock places where a u-lock wont fit. Handicapped parking signs are good, so are no parking signs along sidewalks. Remember that someone could remove the sign if they were motivated enough, so dont leave a bike in these places for too long Also if you can lock somewhere outside the window of the place you are going to be, you can easily check on your bike.
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Old 12-28-05, 10:39 PM   #3
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I face this challenge with some frequency. Unfortunately, I think, one occasionally needs to look respectable for social and professional outings. My professional colleagues have gotten used to me showing up at "semi" formal gatherings on my bike, for better or worse

Like thelung said, if it's a short distance in the summertime, it's no problem to ride my bike in dress clothes. However, for the other 9 months of the year, I carry a backpack with my dress clothes and shoes stowed away. I try to buy clothes that are wrinkle free (and even better if they're light weight and compactable). Wool shirts and poly pants have fit the bill recently. Showering has really never been an issue for me. In the sweaty summertime sometimes I carry wetnaps to clean up with. Sometimes I'll also bring nice smelling aftershave or something. Your climate may very.

The bike gets locked outside with a cable lock, which I also carry in the pack. I guess I'd use a chain lock if I was more paranoid about theft. Less formal restaurants around here usually allow me to bring my bike inside somewhere. I havenít had the nerve to ask to bring my bike in any of the nicer places around.

I'd also be interested to hear what others have to say about dressing up while out and about on the bike.

Have fun...
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Old 12-29-05, 04:44 PM   #4
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To go "car free" is one thing. To avoid the use of a
vehicle altogther is quite another.

Not owning and using a vehicle is fine for those who wish to.
However, is makes sense to maintain your legal abilty to drive
for those rare times when the correct vehicle for the job is
a car, pickup etc. These can be rented as needed while still
being "car free" .

One can not drive because one chooses not to. On the other
hand one must be practical in what one does. To do
othewise is to labled as 'foolish" or eccentric and rightly
so.
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Old 12-29-05, 07:17 PM   #5
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I have to do this sometimes to go to client meetings and the like. Two words: Moisture Wicking. Whether you choose Ex Officio's miracle fiber or nature's miracle fiber (wool), you'll get a lot less soggy in un-cotton clothes.

I've basically started wearing "adventure travel" gear whenever I need to look dressy after a bike commute. A plaid shirt hides sweat and chain-stains, and as long as it's all wool or wicking polyester, the sweat dissipates quickly. If it's a super hot day I'd bring a shirt and change into it after arriving...hopefully in the bathroom off the lobby, but maybe in an alley a block away.

Isn't it weird how we sometimes have to go underground just to be 'normal' in this car-dependent world? Hiding in an alley to change into a clean shirt? Wtf?

That said, I use Flexcar when the occasion demands; for example, if it's pouring rain and the meeting's 20 miles away, and I need to bring a large portfolio. Or I walk, or take the bus.

as for high security outside movies, etc: just use two U-locks. My standard locking system is a u-lock thru the frame and front wheel, and a cable looped around the back wheel, but on campuses and at movie houses I'll use two u-locks.

and carry anything external (lights, pump, toolkit) in a backpack, taken inside with you. Cultivate a pair of panniers that are so grungy and disgusting-looking that no one would ever steal them. THat way you can use them to tote things home, and to carry bungees, etc, without having to worry about them being stolen off your bike.
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Old 12-29-05, 08:02 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
Not owning and using a vehicle is fine for those who wish to.
However, is makes sense to maintain your legal abilty to drive
for those rare times when the correct vehicle for the job is
a car, pickup etc. These can be rented as needed while still
being "car free" .

You have a point but I let my license expire on purpose to keep my parents from buying another car. I will probably renew it at some point though.
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Old 12-29-05, 08:17 PM   #7
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roll my pants and nice shirt in messenger bag, change in bathroom of restaurant or wherever. take some deodardent and hair gel, just roll up your bike clothes in messenger bag.

i've done this plenty of times even when not biking. walked around chicago for a day on vacation there, saw a play in the afternoon, just ducked inside a coffee shop and changed from shorts/t shirt to jeans and nicer shirt.

also keep some dark tennis shoes as part of your rotation, perfect for biking and walking, and dressy enough to match dark pants and shirt and tie.

actually i find it more difficult in the WINTER to get rid of a bunch of layers when arriving somewhere. i walked down to the mall a few weeks ago when it was 5-10 degrees and layered it all up. 5 minutes in the mall i was burning up, got done what i needed to do and darted down that long hallway to the exit.

it's great when you feel completely comfortable to just sit on a park bench at 5 degrees, or go for a hearty walk oops sorry to get OT
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Old 12-29-05, 08:46 PM   #8
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I've solved this problem by arranging my life so that I never EVER have to go anywhere where I would have to dress up. I don't even own any clothes that would qualify as "dressed up".
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Old 12-29-05, 10:15 PM   #9
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Ride in whatever you need to wear when you get there.
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Old 12-30-05, 01:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tightwad
To go "car free" is one thing. To avoid the use of a
vehicle altogther is quite another.

Not owning and using a vehicle is fine for those who wish to.
However, is makes sense to maintain your legal abilty to drive
for those rare times when the correct vehicle for the job is
a car, pickup etc. These can be rented as needed while still
being "car free" .

One can not drive because one chooses not to. On the other
hand one must be practical in what one does. To do
othewise is to labled as 'foolish" or eccentric and rightly
so.
I guess it's alright with me if you think I'm an eccentric old fool.

But how does one know that another one is a fool if one has never met the other one whom one is deriding? If one's life is working well for one, why would another one have to tell one that one is actually going about it all wrong? I don't see anything so rightly about that!
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Old 12-30-05, 04:49 AM   #11
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Change of lifestyle means a change of clothes as well. Having a bicycle as my sole vehicle means that I wear pants that are a linen / cotton mix, and also more shirts that are polyester. I also have a couple of shirts that are "perma-wrinkle". They are great to roll up and throw in the pannier, and then throw on when I get to my destination.
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Old 12-30-05, 07:22 AM   #12
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good points everyone.

I have a license but hiring a car regularly defeats the purpose

I do not ride in the clothes I want to wear as riding in a suit is not the best especially with chain stains.

I guess the best way is to pack and take with me. What are some good bags out there?

Also, why two-locks? If they got through one, surely they could get through 2?

* I have a video of a guy breaking one of my U-locks in under 45 seconds before stealing my bike from a security camera protected area
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Old 12-30-05, 05:47 PM   #13
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Actually I don't dress up much either. My work requires the Dockers type casual look, so I just throw my outfit in my backpack and it looks fine when I change into it at work.

The biggest problem is that sometimes I forget to bring my boxers, and I have to wear the damn cycling shorts under my pants all day. What feels great on a bike is uncomfortable when worn all day at work. In fact, today was one of those forgetful days, and even now I'm sitting at the computer with dampish chamois and spandex bunched up between my legs.
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Old 12-30-05, 05:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yendor28
I do not ride in the clothes I want to wear as riding in a suit is not the best especially with chain stains.
Get a dutch-style commuter with a fully enclosed chainguard.
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Old 12-30-05, 11:40 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
Actually I don't dress up much either. My work requires the Dockers type casual look, so I just throw my outfit in my backpack and it looks fine when I change into it at work.

The biggest problem is that sometimes I forget to bring my boxers, and I have to wear the damn cycling shorts under my pants all day. What feels great on a bike is uncomfortable when worn all day at work. In fact, today was one of those forgetful days, and even now I'm sitting at the computer with dampish chamois and spandex bunched up between my legs.
i leave an extra set of clothes at work..as a back-up..it was really due to the possiblity of getting stuff on what i put on in the morning from the job...but it's nice to have them in case i foget to put something in my back pack that morning
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Old 12-31-05, 06:20 AM   #16
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When I need to go to a meeting requiring nice clothes that is out of my normal ambit, I park my bike a block from the meeting and use a nearby bathroom to change. That way, when I show up, I don't need to immediately head to the bathroom and don't have that sweaty look.
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Old 12-31-05, 09:39 AM   #17
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Clothing:
I ride in my suit to the station when I am going to biz meetings.
I usually wear a wicking/wool T shirt and ride at a non-athletic pace so I dont generate any sweat. You can roll along to cool down.
Toe clips enable me to wear formal black shoes.
In cold, wet weather I use a pair of ultra-light pertex rainpants that pack up small.
I solve the layering issue by wearing an insulating jacket in winter. When I get into a warm building, the jacket comes off in one piece, no struggling with different layers. It is a different strategy to a long training ride but works.
Bike:
If I am travelling less than 2 miles I may not carry a repair kit.
You can make the bike more suit-friendly by fitting a (hard to find) chainguard , a clean/dry lube and the most puncture protective tyres you can find.
Accessories (lights/computers etc) have to be removed at every lockup so I minimize the number of removables. A Dynamo lighting system is bolted on and cannot be stolen.
The 2 lock system is good. A shackle + a cable take different tools. Lock your helmet using the cable.

There are times when a bus or taxi are better options.
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Old 12-31-05, 10:55 AM   #18
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I work at an office where "business casual" is the norm. I commute all year in office clothes, and frequently ride to outside meetings or go to cultural events in the same or nicer clothes (they don't call them "sports coats" for nothing).

My commuter bike has a Wald clamp-on chainguard, which would not work on derailleur bikes, but works great on SS or internal-geared bikes. I still use an ankle strap on the right (I really like the JANDD -- the clipp takes the stress off of the velcro, so they last much longer while holding on as well as anything else I have used).

When it is below about 30F, I wear wool long underwear under my corduroys. I wear a cardigan sweater under my chartreuse bike jacket. The jacket comes off when I want to look like a normal person.

In the summer, I wear cotton shirts, frequently polo shirts, and I wear the button-up shirts without a t shirt. I slow down, but sometimes I get a little sweaty. Big deal. My deodorant does not disappear from light use.

I still drive when it is impractical to ride, but this is a good discussion for those who are trying to expand what is practical.
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Old 01-03-06, 01:40 AM   #19
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I look at it this way. I will take a cab or borrow/rent a car if I am going somewhere where it's important to look good because I am already saving tons of money and being more environmentally conscious by not owning a car and by biking most of the rest of the time.
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Old 01-03-06, 07:43 AM   #20
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Quote:
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I look at it this way. I will take a cab or borrow/rent a car if I am going somewhere where it's important to look good because I am already saving tons of money and being more environmentally conscious by not owning a car and by biking most of the rest of the time.
i'm the exact same way. weather/logistics permitting i'll bike, but i do the above every now and then too when called for.
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Old 01-03-06, 01:59 PM   #21
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Previous responders have covered all the options I use. I pick the one that is easiest for the situation. I've ridden in a suit, taken a cab, changed at the event, shown up under or over dressed, kept clothes at work, bought clothes after forgetting the nice clothes at home. I use the enclosed chain eurobike option to keep everything clean.
My utility bike has an integral lock and I chain it down with a heavy chain.
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Old 01-04-06, 12:58 AM   #22
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great responses - thank you!
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Old 01-04-06, 08:41 AM   #23
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Partial chaincase. My attitude is that, if you have to change clothes to use it, it is not transportation.

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Old 01-05-06, 01:43 PM   #24
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I approuch the business attire in 2 ways. I only own bicycles that are friendly toward wearing non-cycling clothes: 1 full size non folding with ladies step through frame, 2 folding bikes with low step over frames, each bike equipped with internal hub gearing. I adapted my riding style to European slow pedaling style allowing extra commuting time for this way of cycling. I do not get hot, sweaty or too tired riding this way. I use little make-up. I am careful when I step on or off the bike when I use nylon hose. I use a pants clip when I wear pants. My skirts are A-line and just below the knees as to prevent rubbing on, catching on the chain or rear wheel.
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Old 01-05-06, 05:16 PM   #25
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When I went to the company christmas party I just put on my rain shell over my dress clothes and changed my shoes when I got there. Worked great. I have found in the warmer weather it is easy to wear dress clothes and ride.
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