I wonder if anyone can help with what, to my wife, would be a non-question. Here's the thing.
I started commuting by bike this year in the Washington DC area, it is a 28 mile round trip. Before I came here I lived in California where I would also commute by bike, a 22 mile round trip.
One major difference I find between California and Washington DC is that in California I would wear the usual old shorts, usual old shirts, usual old everything else - all year round.
Washington DC does not seem to work that way so well, like, for example, this morning, it was COLD!
Now, I have this problem:
a) I hate shopping.
b) I hate buying clothes.
c) If I spend more than five minutes in a shop I need oxygen.
d) The above does not apply to bike shops and hardware stores.
So I am at a disadvantage as to what to wear and where to get it. I see folks on the trails and roads with all sorts of odd stuff. I need the following:
a) Keep my ears from dropping off.
b) Keep dry (I actually have a rain-jacket that works fine, but it is plastic and I sweat buckets on a warm day)
c) Keep legs warm.
d) Keep top warm but able to remove layers rapidly.
I have bike gloves, helmet, above mentioned rain jacket, regular gloves and shoes for SPDs. All the rest is up for grabs. Jeans, regular shirts, t-shirts, etc., don't cut it for a commute like this.
Any ideas what I should be wearing over here and where I should get it?
I believe there is a winter cycling subforum as well. You may get better more responses there. If you'd like, there is also a yahoo group called BikeWashingtonDC, you masy also get good bit of info there. And btw, welcome to our 3-metro asylum.
You can order everything you need online from Performance or Nashbar. No need to go inside a store. Or, better yet there is a Performance Bike store in Newark De. Take a ride there one day.
There may even be one closer to you.
Get a skull cap, a balaclava, leg and arm warmers, fleece lined tights and a real cycling rain jacket.
Get shoe covers. And underliners for your fingerless gloves. Then also get fingered gloves. Get them big enough for the underliners. And a real cycling jacket that cuts wind and will keep you warm that has pockets in the back. Wool socks. You need some kind of wicking undergarments. Those you can get anywhere, they aren't really cycling specific.
All of this stuff is considered bike stuff and is sold in bike stores and you won't hate it.
I'm in NYC, which is slightly colder and this morning there was a definite chill. I find that as long as the winds are under 20 miles the cold isn't that bad until it gets down into the 20's. I also sweat and even on light days, I will work up a sweat going over the bridges. I wear layers and avoid cotton on the layers close to me.. First layer is a wicking t-Shirt (Champion or UnderArmour), these I wear all year round. This morning I added a light sweatshirt above it and then a slightly insulated windbreaker. I do change at work into my suit and the clothes get to dry all day if they have any sweat before putting them back on to head home. I also will wear slightly insulated athletic/gym pants - not cotton, when its too cold for shorts - below 50/55 depending on wind. Works fine.
November, Trek OCLV, Bianchi Castro Valley commuter
In addition to Nashbar & Performance, I've had good luck with REI (rain/wind pants, pack), and ProBikeKit (sealskins gloves, glove liners, yet another skullcap, neoprene shove covers/booties). Target's underarmour knock-offs are good base layers when it gets a bit colder and cost a lot less than UA costs. I also use summer gear as a base layer. Make sure your top layer has some wind resistance and water repellency. Don't forget hands and feet protection. And clear or amber lens glasses - I at least tear up easily when it gets below 40. And it's OK to be a little cold when you start out - you'll warm up soon enough and it beats sweating under all the layers for half your ride. Remember lights, too - gotta give the cagers something to aim at and it'll illuminate the "ninja" riders and joggers if you are using some of the local bike trails.
There are several performance stores local to DC (Fairfax VA and Rockville MD that I know of) but I would head to REI first. You might also check out some non-bike specific sites like sportsmansguide.com or cabelas.com
Yes, there is an REI and a Performance bike within 200 yards of each other with ample parking at Rockville, if you need supplies. They should be easily accessible to you either via Metro (Twinbrook Station on Red Line and 1 block walk to REI) or driving on 355 northbound.
Hey: Since you hate going to stores(me too) try Foxwear. Lou, the owner makes all of the clothes out in Idaho. The prices are better than most outdoor stores and the quality is excellent. Not fancy but very good. I wear his E Vap jacket, made to fit me(long arms). The material I use blocks 98% of the wind and breathes very well(power shield). This is the BEST jacket I have ever used in cycling and I've been an everyday commuter for 9 years. Back country skiers have been using this material for years. You can design your own as there are different thicknesses and venting factors. Just tell him your size and preferences for material. He'll guide you if you can't determine what you'll need. He makes most of what you'll need and you save $$$$. Jackets $88.00, pants $85.00, vest $50.00 etc... http://www.foxwear.net/index.html