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Thread: On a budget

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    Member sharkmaul's Avatar
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    On a budget

    I'm a college student who recently got a new bike and really would like to ride a lot, but in Kentucky we get cold and all I have is jeans and T-shirts and jackets. I'm looking for a way to ride warm on a college student's budget (not even $400 a month...and take out utils & groceries, etc.)

    Any ideas?

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    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    Thrift store, ftw! Even if money is not as acute an issue, it is a great place to find wool clothes. I get base layers there, and all the wool sweaters you could ever want, and wool pants too. I usually modify the pants to slim down the legs so that they do not get caught in the chain.

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Dollar store - headband, neck gaiter, mitts/gloves, etc.

    Thrift shop - wool tops, tights, etc.

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    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkmaul View Post
    I'm a college student who recently got a new bike and really would like to ride a lot, but in Kentucky we get cold and all I have is jeans and T-shirts and jackets. I'm looking for a way to ride warm on a college student's budget (not even $400 a month...and take out utils & groceries, etc.)

    Any ideas?
    Thrift stores are one good option.

    Basically here's what you need above your waist and below your head (your trunk in other words):

    3 layers. A base layer (like long underwear), a warmth layer (like a fleece pullover or wool sweater), and a wind resistant outer layer (like a good wind breaker)


    Here's what you need on your legs:

    2 layers. A base layer (like long underwear or cycling tights). A wind resistant outer layer (like a good pair of wind pants)


    You can add another layer if it gets really cold but the above serves me pretty well in temps above zero. People vary though.

    The problem with T-shirts and Jeans is that they're made of cotton and tend to hold moisture. The moisture can either come from the outside (rain, snow, slush) or the inside (sweat). Either way it can chill you. If it's not too cold or wet then you're not doomed if you wear jeans as an outer layer, just be aware. Same goes for T-shirts. You could wear two t-shirts as a substitute for a warmth layer but you're much better off with wool or a man made material that wicks moisture.

    Costco sells merino wool socks cheap. Merino wool doesn't itch. Wool socks will keep your feet a lot warmer than cotton socks.

    Target sells inexpensive "Champion" labeled stuff than can make an OK base layer if you can't afford a good set of long underwear. The base layer is usually thin and tight fitting. Since it sits next to your skin, it really needs to wick moisture so no cotton here.

    Remember that Xmas is coming up and you might be able to get something as a gift that you can't afford on your own.
    Last edited by tjspiel; 12-07-08 at 10:01 PM.
    If you're not riding with a psychedelic gecko on your shirt, you ARE having a substandard experience.

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    Member sharkmaul's Avatar
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    @tjspiel Thanks. Hopefully Xmas will yield some warm stuff. First I need blankets for my house (no heat) but after that it is definitely some cold weather gear. I read some of the guys on the forums like silk...I could spring for maybe a $20 set of something if it'll last me a good while. Thanks.

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    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    + 1 on the Thrift stores. Just check the labels and find the wool or wool blends. If you have any discount or closeout stores like TJ Maxx, you may luck into something there. I lucked into some Icebreaker socks the one day I went up.

    Military surplus shops (look online too) can be good sources of cheap clothing and other items. I found a wool balaclava for $3 online and wool pants for $6. The online discount sporting goods, like Sierra Trading Post, can be good for base layers.
    Andrew

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    I have had luck finding good deals at Marshalls and TJMaxx. I was able to get 2 pairs of Nike Pro Cold Weather Drifit leggings for $17 each, usually $50. I was able to get dri-fit tshirts for $10 each and compression shirts for $13 each. Those under a soft shell is all I need until it gets below 25.

    I have also heard good things about the c9 stuff by champion that Target carries.

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    Fax Transport Specialist black_box's Avatar
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    +1 on TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Each store is different so find all the ones nearby. You can also find some nice jackets there (i've seen a couple marmot, cloudveil, and patagonia jackets).

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    Polyester microfiber slacks (20 dollars) from Walmart actually make a good cheap riding pant with some synthetic tights underneath them. They breath and are pretty good at breaking the wind and they are light and stretchy. The material is similar, but a little heavier, to what some of the cycling wear companies use to make lightweight breathable jackets.

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    surly old man jgedwa's Avatar
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    THe C9 stuff at Target is good and not too expensive.

    Also, Campmor.com has lots of things.

    Army/Navy was a good suggestion.

    jim
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    Senior Member MNBikeguy's Avatar
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    On your shoestring budget I agree about the thriftstores. Great place to find wool which is normally pretty expensive. You could get a couple of long sleeve polyester running shirts from the likes of Target (run about $10) for a base layer.
    "I thought of that while riding my bike."
    - Albert Einstein on the theory of relativity

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    And don't by-pass the Dollar stores ... they've got a lot of good things in them.

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    My bike's better than me! neil0502's Avatar
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    And a nod for military surplus stores.

    Stopped by today, and picked up sock liners, wool socks, a balaclava, a wool watch cap, and two pairs of insulated, rather snug-fitting snow pants ... all for about 45 bucks.

    If you're using platform pedals, they've got LOTS of great surplus snow boots, too.

    You won't win any fashion contests, but ... it's good quality, warm stuff

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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    I have to confess that last winter I did quite a bit of riding wearing an old pair of Dockers (I think they were 100% polyester though) with the legs secured with wool socks. Under them, I wore a pair of black Target polyester long johns.

    On top, I wore a very light high-viz windbreaker that I bought at Sports Authority for $5 with another Target baselayer and wool sweater underneath.

    Add cheapo gloves and a balaclava and wool scarf... good to 10F.

    I'm dressed a little more stylishly this winter, but overall last year's fashion statement worked for warmth and comfort, even if it did look a little odd.

    So before you head off to the Dollar store, you might want to check your existing wardrobe. You might find a gem or two.

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    Member sharkmaul's Avatar
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    Awesome. Thanks guys. Since I'm pretty new to this stuff it's nice to know that not everyone buys the $150+ clothes on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel I only get into expensive hobbies...Thanks. I'll be goodwill and walmart shopping soon.

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    Peace, Love, Bikes
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkmaul View Post
    Awesome. Thanks guys. Since I'm pretty new to this stuff it's nice to know that not everyone buys the $150+ clothes on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel I only get into expensive hobbies...Thanks. I'll be goodwill and walmart shopping soon.
    Yeah, the only thing I have splurged on is a good cycling jacket. It's been well worth it so far.
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    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkmaul View Post
    Awesome. Thanks guys. Since I'm pretty new to this stuff it's nice to know that not everyone buys the $150+ clothes on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel I only get into expensive hobbies...Thanks. I'll be goodwill and walmart shopping soon.
    One thing about getting around by bike is that you save so much money, you eventually treat yourself to some nice new clothing or equipment. My trip to work cost $4 by bus or the equivalent by car. It doesn't take many bike commutes to have paid off some nice gear.

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    jwa
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    The big-box hardware stores (Lowe's, Menard's) in my area (Mich.) have great gloves for cheap - $2.50/pair - nice fuzzy inside & waterproof outside, advertised as "ski gloves" - did nicely for me biking 2 hrs @ 19 deg F this weekend. Similarly, discount outdoors stores (Gander Mtn, Dunhams) now have bright orange waterproof "hunting" gloves & caps on season-end sale.

    Agree with Sierra Trading Post & Campmor if you like on-line shopping.

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    where in ky?

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    Member sharkmaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by metalchef87 View Post
    where in ky?
    Bowling Green.

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    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharkmaul View Post
    Awesome. Thanks guys. Since I'm pretty new to this stuff it's nice to know that not everyone buys the $150+ clothes on a regular basis. Sometimes I feel I only get into expensive hobbies...Thanks. I'll be goodwill and walmart shopping soon.
    Regardless of what kind of money one spends on clothes, the most important thing (IMO) is learning *how* to dress appropriately for the weather. Seems obvious, yes, but cycling poses certain challenges that are not necessarily present in other outdoor activities.

    Yes, dress in layers. Learn to dress a little "cool" so you don't generate sweat. You'll heat up when you get going! Watch the hands and especially the feet. Watch those feet!. And, use what you have!!! Perhaps look at it this way -- If you are comfortable walking around outside for the same amount of time that you intend to be on the bike, then you're probably already set. If not, just get those few things to make it so.

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    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Also don't forget your head - it will affect how cold your feet and hands get. I usually tape my vents. It can be removed if things warm up.

    FWIW, Last week Job Lot stores in New England had mid weight merino wool boot socks for 3.50pr and Waterproof, thinsulate gloves for $4
    Last edited by rogerstg; 12-12-08 at 06:41 AM.

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    Member sharkmaul's Avatar
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    I got some thermals today. I had to help shovel snow and did so w/o more than a jacket and thermals and pants. Once I get back I should be able to ride! Thanks for all the help.

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