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  1. #1
    Senior Member highpants's Avatar
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    Calling all Minneapolis Vegans who ride in cold weather...

    okay. so i realize that might be one other person, but seemed worth a shot.

    i wonder about cold weather gear that isn't made from animal parts and isn't going to leak wind and cold all over everywhere and maybe isn't going to cost that much, although this last part isn't as important. does anyone have any reccomendations? usually i just go to kaplan brothers every year when it starts to get cold out, but then usually i'm cold all year, too, because their vegan selections are a bit sparse.

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    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    As a semi-vegan (I have broken myself of eggs and milk, but occasionally indulge in a pizza) I, too, try to avoid buying animal products. They only animal on any of my bike gear is the little bit of leather on my cycling shoes. Gore-Tex makes excellent winter gear. But, if one is trying to stay 'natural', I suppose wool would be the best bet, although I don't know how wind-proof it is.

    (I once heard milk referred to as "cow puss". That pretty much did it for me.)

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    Vermonticus Outdoorsus CommuterKat's Avatar
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    I am mostly vegan, although I too will occasionally cave for cheese pizza or a bit of creamer in my coffee. I was having a hard time with this very dillemma for my feet. I finally found a pair of boots made by Garmont that are pretty toasty. They are sort of a winter hiking boot. Not exactly made for frigid temps, but they are a bit big, so I am layering socks in them and they work so far. The model is called "Vegan" oddly enough, and they contain no animal products at all. As far as other gear, I think lycra stuff is vegan and toasty when it wicks the sweat away from your skin.

    Good luck!

    Kat
    "Methinks my own soul is a bright invisible green" H. Thoreau

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    Quote Originally Posted by highpants
    okay. so i realize that might be one other person, but seemed worth a shot.

    i wonder about cold weather gear that isn't made from animal parts and isn't going to leak wind and cold all over everywhere and maybe isn't going to cost that much, although this last part isn't as important. does anyone have any reccomendations? usually i just go to kaplan brothers every year when it starts to get cold out, but then usually i'm cold all year, too, because their vegan selections are a bit sparse.
    Vegan jackets, pants, undergarments, and gloves are not hard to find. <p>

    As for winter shoes and boots, check out K-Mart and Payless Shoe Source. They have plenty of cheap, non-leather shoes boots. They are much warmer than leather shoes, actually, because very little air circulates into or out of them. <p>

    A lot of higher quality running shoes now have no leather, too. Those shoes are usually too ventilated to make good cold weather shoes, though.

  5. #5
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    Ventile jackets and overtrousers. Expensive but they're just clever cotton, so there's not even dead prehistoric animals to worry about. www.howies.co.uk.

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    Designated Drinker Wulfheir's Avatar
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    It's great to see other animal conscience people out there. I still have a few pieces in my wardrobe that I'm replacing with vegan items as I can afford and find suitable replacements. I fall into the category of people who cave for delivered pizza and creamer in my coffee.
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    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    I don't get it... I never wear leather on a bike- most good gloves are non-leather, as are high end shoes (so they don't stretch). This might sound like blasphemy, but there are all sorts of high end technical wear out there that fits the bill.

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    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steele-Bike
    But, if one is trying to stay 'natural', I suppose wool would be the best bet, although I don't know how wind-proof it is.
    Now that I re-read my post, I realize that my wool suggestion does not fit in with vegan fashions. Wool is one of those 'fuzzy' areas, but is an animal product none the less. Wind/rain proof and vegan...does such a product actually exist?

  9. #9
    The Land of Living Skies
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    Please educate me.....I believe that all of my winter gear would be "vegan approved" except for my outer mitts.l I wear NorthFace boots which are supposed to be made of synthetic materials. My pants are made of polyester, acrylic, rayon and spandex. My socks are made of Smart Wool (is that synthetic?) I was told polypropilene socks are warm as well. Would they be synthetic and therefore "vegan approved". My inner gloves are made of polyester, nylon, elastane and polyeurothane (North Face). My belaclava is made of the same material as my inner gloves (North Face). My shirt is made of polyester and spandex and my outer jacket is made of polyester.

    I hope I am not being ignorant....I just would like to understand the impact of choices I make.

    Thanks in advance for the info.

  10. #10
    Senior Member highpants's Avatar
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    I hope I am not being ignorant....I just would like to understand the impact of choices I make.

    no, i think maybe i'm the one who is ignorant for doing all of my winter shopping at the workwear store, trying to save a buck. from what everyone is saying, it sounds like i need to get myself down to a real deal outdoor store (i.e. midwest mountaineering, for those in mpls.) for some synthetics.

    as for the question about smart wool, i have no idea.

    someone suggested payless/k-mart, and while i don't mean to be a stickler for ethics, this is sort of a thread about them, so i'll mention that human rights are as important to me as animal rights (probably moreso), and i believe those joints use sweatshop labor.

    one might counter that it's likely that goretex is sweatshop as well, and since i don't have anything to counter that with, i won't. but i will say that silk makes a good non-dairy creamer. too bad they're owned by dean's foods.

  11. #11
    Senior Member SteelCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highpants
    okay. so i realize that might be one other person, but seemed worth a shot.

    i wonder about cold weather gear that isn't made from animal parts and isn't going to leak wind and cold all over everywhere and maybe isn't going to cost that much, although this last part isn't as important. does anyone have any reccomendations? usually i just go to kaplan brothers every year when it starts to get cold out, but then usually i'm cold all year, too, because their vegan selections are a bit sparse.
    Hey Highpants. This is a long response, because I share your concerns and have given this some thought.

    I've been a vegan for nine years, and anyone who knows me would tell you I am a "strict" vegan. I don't eat or use anything made from animal products, and I also believe in supporting workers, so I try to buy from union shops or companies known for good working conditions. I was the head union officer for a workplace with 1400 workers; I've always tried to walk the talk.

    So I can sympathize with your problem. And in the last several years, I've acquired with a meager salary a number of functional clothing: REI windstopper fleece zip-up jacket, thermal underwear from Carhart, a Burley rain rider jacket (they are a worker-owned cooperative in Eugene). Gloves and socks are not really a problem, they are easy to find.

    But the clothing issue is more complicated than looking at a label and seeing no animal products. Most of the performance wear made w/o animal products is usually out-sourced to Latin America or Southeast Asia, something you appear to be critical of as well. Additionally, they are usually made of whatever the latest technoplastics are being called, be it microfiber, Gore-Tex, Capilene, polyester, etc. I know, because I have a closet full of this stuff. But then it struck me that here I am buying clothing made from a non-renewable resource--petroleum--that wars are being fought over, ecologies are being critically disrupted for extraction, and that can be recycled, but is not biodegradable in any substantive sense. Humans and non-humans have paid a dear price for this energy commodity. It is generally, but not always, less durable and attractive than natural materials. And, less politically significant but not socially irrelevant, plastic clothing stinks after use. God almighty, it stinks. For somebody like me who sweats a healthy amount during exercise, that means more washing and less friends (just kidding).

    Unfortunately, the animal rights organizations that I respect and support often ignore or miss these other issues. The same principles that motivate me to be a vegan, and to bike for transit, also motivate me to consider the workers' rights and the environment. So I have begun to introduce things into my wardrobe I would never have considered, particularly wool clothing. Wool is a sustainable product, and make a lot of sense for someone like yourself. It breathes well, stays warm when wet, and does not stink after frequent use the way plastic does. Unlike non-organic cotton, it does not involve absurd amounts of Monsanto-style agri-chemicals in its production. The sheep do not have to die to give this up. It's also faily easy to find cycling-appropriate clothing made in countries with reasonable wages, from companies with good reputations. It's not always cheap, but that's what you get when labor gets what its due. And it will last a long long time as long as you follow the care instructions diligently.

    Here are some of the best websites for buying winter clothing for cycling:

    Rivendell's "webalog" of clothing, includes organic and non-organic cotton and wool clothing for cycling. In a month or two they will be starting a line of their own clothing called MUSA, made by a local manufacturer who they interviewed closely regarding the working conditions, wages, and benefits.
    http://rivendellbicycles.com/webalog/clothing/

    Burley's line of clothing for cyclists, made in their worker-owned shop:
    http://burley.com/products/raingear/default.aspx

    For layering your thermals, shirts, etc., go for American Apparel. The men's line is Standard American.
    http://www.americanapparelstore.com/

    As I mentioned before, Carhartt makes good base layer stuff, cotton thermals. You can find that at many stores, brick-and-mortar and on-line.

    Smartwool is wool, by the way.

    There are many other places to buy, and issues to think about, but I've already used up my fair share of time and space.

  12. #12
    Just riding andygates's Avatar
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    Wind and rain proof, yes it exists, it's ventile. My housemate wears a ventile jacket when riding and claims it is as good as my Sympatex.

    Smartwool is pure merino wool, but there are merino/polyester blends around with similar brand names, and they're used in cycling gear (for price mostly, and also for robustness), so check the label!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterKat
    I am mostly vegan, although I too will occasionally cave for cheese pizza or a bit of creamer in my coffee. I was having a hard time with this very dillemma for my feet. I finally found a pair of boots made by Garmont that are pretty toasty. They are sort of a winter hiking boot. Not exactly made for frigid temps, but they are a bit big, so I am layering socks in them and they work so far. The model is called "Vegan" oddly enough, and they contain no animal products at all. As far as other gear, I think lycra stuff is vegan and toasty when it wicks the sweat away from your skin.

    Good luck!

    Kat
    I have a pair of these as well and really like them. I wear them in the winter when I'm riding to work. It took me way too long to find a good pair of non-leather winter footwear, and I'm really happy with these. I think I paid a little over $100 for them. 130 maybe? They come in big sizes and are pretty comfy.

  14. #14
    dangerous with tools halfbiked's Avatar
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    So, is wool vegan or not? You don't kill sheep for it...

    (not that I care, lamb kabobs are nice too...)

  15. #15
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by halfbiked
    So, is wool vegan or not? You don't kill sheep for it...
    Since it is an animal product it is not technically vegan. And while the sheep are not killed in the wool collecting process, it does encourage the 'farmed animal' business. Most wool producing sheep and lambs are sold through stock houses which are well known for their mis-treatment of livestock. (Am I starting to sound like PETA?)

  16. #16
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    As far as I can tell, the only three commonly used materials that need to be considered are leather, wool, and down. There is no shortage of non-leather winter clothing. Even boots (high and low end) are very often made from synthetic leather. Wool is generally a premium priced item and is easily avoided except possibly for warm socks. Down is certainly a premium item and is no problem to avoid.

    I think this is basically a non-issue.

  17. #17
    Senior Member highpants's Avatar
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    cool, supcom, that you were able to distill what was actually a very complex moral argument into a non-issue. i guess i might suggest that if it isn't something that hasn't come up as a problem for you (i.e. you're not vegan, opposed to sweatshops, etc.), then don't worry about it. maybe i'm reading too much into your post, but that last bit seemed somewhat condescending. i guess i know that i can be somewhat reactionary, though, so maybe i'm out of line. i don't know.


    SteelCommuter, thanks for your info. i've actually got a little extra money kicking around this weekend, so i'll check out those websites. i think that argument about synthetic materials would have totally gotten by me if you hadn't raised it here. who knew life could be so complicated?

  18. #18
    Senior Member SteelCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highpants
    cool, supcom, that you were able to distill what was actually a very complex moral argument into a non-issue. i guess i might suggest that if it isn't something that hasn't come up as a problem for you (i.e. you're not vegan, opposed to sweatshops, etc.), then don't worry about it. maybe i'm reading too much into your post, but that last bit seemed somewhat condescending. i guess i know that i can be somewhat reactionary, though, so maybe i'm out of line. i don't know.


    SteelCommuter, thanks for your info. i've actually got a little extra money kicking around this weekend, so i'll check out those websites. i think that argument about synthetic materials would have totally gotten by me if you hadn't raised it here. who knew life could be so complicated?
    I sure didn't.



    To be fair to Supcom, alternatives to animal-based clothing are so widely available that in the narrow (but not unimportant) quest to find "vegan" clothing for cycling, or any activity, it is not so distressing and frustrating a shopping experience. I think that was supcom's point. But Highpants, you've also made a good point: calling it a "non-issue" is reductive.

    At the expense of being off-topic bike-wise: Someone asked, so is wool vegan or not? Well, no, it's not. Wool is an animal by-product, and vegan means no animals involved, used, or exploited. So, a normal response might be, are you still vegan if you use wool, when you refrain from any animal products in your diet, and most purchases? I think so, but I have other ethical prerogatives like reducing my use of plastics, encouraging ecologically sustainable practices, etc etc. This is a far more complex subject than a simple post can address, but one way to keep it bike related is this: Many of choose to ride bikes because they are fun, to be less dependent of fossil fuel consumption, to be more active, and other reasons. A bike commute requires much less space and other social resources. But a bicycle is still part of a production process full of problems; the mining of steel and especially aluminum has its own ecological costs, the tires are made of petroleum and animal products (sorry), the saddles are made of either, the components are energy intensive to make. The roads we share with cars used to be habitats and water sheds. So our choices are limited, and I hope no one on this thread starts getting more vegan-than-thou.

    Yadda yadda. All apologies for going on and on.

  19. #19
    Senior Member SteelCommuter's Avatar
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    BTW, Highpants, John at Rivendell is a vegan, and probably knows everything you might want to know about their products. Nice guy on the phone.

  20. #20
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    All you vegans seem to be forgetting something...

    Many "man-made" or synthetic fabrics and materials come from OIL. And we all know that has contributed to polluting the planet and contributing to global warming. Living without exploiting animals is all well and good but there is some give and take for humans to exist.

    I believe that if we all live as lightly as possible on the planet the world will be a much better place for all of us.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

  21. #21
    wonderer, wanderer gonesh9's Avatar
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    I second the post about the Burley gear. They are a great co-op in Eugene and are very community/socially/environmentally conscious. My Burley jacket is totally wind/waterproof, yet is well ventilated to keep the sweat out. The Burley rainpants aren't ventilated, but work great. I also agree that its not too hard to find vegan outerwear, as most of the better products are already nylon or similar.

    As for smartwool, I don't think it's vegan. From what I understand, it's just a more technically advanced version of wool.

    As for smurfy, so far it's been a nice cordial discussion, and no one has attacked non-vegans in any way. If you have a problem with vegans, maybe just don't read threads relating to the issue in the future. I realize you merely brought up a valid philosophical point, but Highpants just wanted to know where to get a certain type of rain gear.

    Nice to see there's some other vegans on the forums.

  22. #22
    Senior Member SteelCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    All you vegans seem to be forgetting something...

    Many "man-made" or synthetic fabrics and materials come from OIL. And we all know that has contributed to polluting the planet and contributing to global warming. Living without exploiting animals is all well and good but there is some give and take for humans to exist.

    I believe that if we all live as lightly as possible on the planet the world will be a much better place for all of us.
    You should actually read through the thread before squawking off, "Smurfy." This has already been brought up.

  23. #23
    Senior Member smurfy's Avatar
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    Sorry - I didn't mean to offend anyone here - It's hard to get a point accross on forums since we're not face to face.

    I'm not a vegan but I do avoid meat and try to go towards veggies if at all possible. I do, however, think that veganism can be too dogmatic with some people. I'm not attacking anybody here - I actually praise all of you that are vegans!

    I believe that if everybody would just cut down on meat we wouldn't have any problems with factory farms and animal confinement. Having a tiny percentage of vegans here in North America is good but not really helping matters any.

    Well now I regret posting here, I knew it would be taken the wrong way.
    "You handle it like you handle a bicycle" - Jacques Rosay, Airbus A380 test pilot

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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    All you vegans seem to be forgetting something...

    Many "man-made" or synthetic fabrics and materials come from OIL. And we all know that has contributed to polluting the planet and contributing to global warming. Living without exploiting animals is all well and good but there is some give and take for humans to exist.

    I believe that if we all live as lightly as possible on the planet the world will be a much better place for all of us.
    you also forget wars fought over it. and without those abused animals organic farmers would not have enough fertilizer to grow food.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by smurfy
    Having a tiny percentage of vegans here in North America is good but not really helping matters any.
    You biking instead of driving is good but not really helping any.

    It's comments like that, that are just dead wrong.

    I'm vegan because I think what they are doing to animals is wrong and should be stopped, however if I was given some animal parts to eat (so my money is not going to the company, and in fact they are losing money by giving it to me) I would not take it because it's also gross to me. So even though me individually may not have as large an effect as I would like, I also do it for my own reasons, not just for economic effect.

    All that said, I do agree that the environmental impact of synthetics should be taken into account. But there are lots of other factors too (Why buy new when you can buy used [of either type]? What if the synthetic will lasts longer? What if it won't? If you got wool would you feel uncomfortable wearing it (not itchy so much but mentally)? If you got the synthetic would you feel uncomfortable wearing it (again, mentally)?)

    "We must become the change we wish to see in the world"
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