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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 10-12-17, 07:06 AM   #1
Abe_Froman
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7.5 mile commute - Spandex ?

Started a new job, 7.5 mile commute each way. I had a 12 mile commute previously, and geared up for my ride, changing into work clothes when I got there. I've had a 4 mile commute...I just wore work clothes on the ride and it was fine.

7.5 seems...frustratingly in the middle. I feel like I'm just getting warmed up once J start getting close to work so it's totally doable in work clothes. But also...it's about 35 minutes through the city and does feel like an actual bike ride. Also..I think i've got a mild saddle sore from riding in regular pants last week

What would you guys do? I should add the new gig is fairly casual...khakis and a polo shirt is totally acceptable for example.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:18 AM   #2
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I'd ride it on Saturday to see what kind of effort is really required, rather than guess. Make the trip on Saturday in Khakis and see how you feel. If it's miserable, no big deal. You go home and relax. You don't have to learn it's miserable and then have to spend all day at work.

If you can't test it on Saturday, wear the comfortable bike clothes TO work on Monday and change into work clothes when you get there. Then ride home in the work clothes, where again...if it's miserable you end up at home and can rest.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:31 AM   #3
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Fleece pants always worked best for me for commuting. Cotton or cotton blend pants didn't feel good to ride in and wore out more quickly. Lightweight fleece pants wear like iron and are less obnoxious than cycling tights. (That wouldn't be a problem for most people, but part of my commute involved taking the train from Baltimore to Washington DC.)
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Old 10-12-17, 07:37 AM   #4
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I would still dress up in cycling clothes and do the backpack thing that I do now. One benefit is that you can get up a little earlier a few times a week and do a longer ride in the morning and not worry about comfort. Or if afternoon is better then take advantage of that. I miss my previous job at Roche since it was only 5 miles away. If I was still there, I'd definately try to "take the long way" once in a while and noodle around and maybe hit a coffee shop somewhere and pose as a bike rider.

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Old 10-12-17, 07:42 AM   #5
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At that distance, I'd mix it up. On hot, rainy, or snowy days, I'd suit up for cycling. On cool, dry days, I'd dress for work. Furthermore, I'd do bonus miles some days, which would definitely require spandex.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:46 AM   #6
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I'd go with spandex. Anything more than 5km I'd probably want cycling clothes.
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Old 10-12-17, 07:57 AM   #7
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7.2 miles for me, plus .6 miles of parking lots so my commute is pretty similar.

I almost always do use "cycling clothes", but that's anything from the full roadie costume to cargo shorts with wicking t-shirt, and any combination. Sometimes slacks or even jeans. Given a short commute that most anything is OK, I have no standard for it.

The only "rules" I have for it is having a fresh shirt, or an option to change into one no matter what, and I don't wear slacks or dockers too often because the seats wear out.
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Old 10-12-17, 08:08 AM   #8
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I do, seasonally.
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Old 10-12-17, 08:58 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneIsAllYouNeed View Post
At that distance, I'd mix it up. On hot, rainy, or snowy days, I'd suit up for cycling. On cool, dry days, I'd dress for work. Furthermore, I'd do bonus miles some days, which would definitely require spandex.
+1

I had a similar commute once, and did not use cycling clothes. This resulted in some problems, particularly toward the end of the week and in extremely hot weather.
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Old 10-12-17, 09:02 AM   #10
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I have a similar length commute. I typically wear cycling underwear under my (casual) work clothes. Seems to work well for me.
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Old 10-12-17, 09:03 AM   #11
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If you got saddle sores from riding in regular pants, why would you want to do that on a routine basis?


Chicagoans like to complain about how hot it gets there in the summers, and how windy it is all year round. There's two more reasons to wear Lycra gear.
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Old 10-12-17, 09:45 AM   #12
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I would wear my work clothes on the bike, but have no opinion about what's best for you.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:14 AM   #13
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Hah, so it appears I'm not the only one conflicted about this - looks like the forum is totally across the board on this as well.

I'm leaning towards what one of the posters above mentioned...just switch it up based on conditions. I'd been riding in work clothes the past week and a half since I started, and it was...fine. In cool, dry weather it really is not bad at all. I used to wear suits, or at least shirt/tie, but now work is much more casual. I really had no clothes in between suits/ties, and stained jeans and t-shirts of varying stages of decay lol. So I bought a couple pair of khakis and a few shirts...and who knew? They're putting spandex in khakis now..go figure. This makes the normal clothes option a bit more attractive.

That said...I really don't want to do it in uber hot, or damp weather. I'm not up for slogging 7-8 miles with heavy, wet, clingy cotton on my legs. So I think I'll switch it up based on conditions for now, and whether I've got time to extend my ride after work.

Thanks, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy in assuming this is a sort of anything makes sense kind of distance.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
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I have a similar length commute. I typically wear cycling underwear under my (casual) work clothes. Seems to work well for me.
Wait - What is cycling underwear? Just regular spandex bike shorts, or something else?
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Old 10-12-17, 10:25 AM   #15
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Mt bike shorts work well for me.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:34 AM   #16
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Wait - What is cycling underwear? Just regular spandex bike shorts, or something else?
They're liners with chamois build in.
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Old 10-12-17, 10:37 AM   #17
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5km - not enough to need a shower, but I do get pretty sweaty in warm weather.

MTB shorts, with lots of pockets and zippers. Knickers in the winter.

I roll my work clothes up in my backpack and we have a locker room at work.
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Old 10-12-17, 12:11 PM   #18
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Wait - What is cycling underwear? Just regular spandex bike shorts, or something else?
As someone else said, their basically like short bike shorts that are intended to be worn under regular clothes. Like this:
https://www.amazon.ca/Baleaf-Coolmax...V2AWKYRZTXZKTZ

Not quite as nice as regular cycling shorts, but definitely more comfortable than regular underwear. On days I ride, I just wear these instead and try not to get too sweaty on the way in.
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Old 10-12-17, 12:43 PM   #19
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Spandex Warrior!

Even the Deliveryroo, Hungry House, Just Eat and now UBER EATS guys doing 30-40 miles every evening here wear street clothes.

So, yeah I'd laugh.
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Old 10-12-17, 12:59 PM   #20
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That's pretty much what my commute is, and I don't have a shower at work, and one of my goals has been to minimize the complexity of the whole process.

That said, for me I wear work pants, but cycling shirts. Temps above 85, either shorts or at least change of underwear. I found that some underwear chaffs, found ones that work. I keep my own supply of body wipes in a less used bathroom.

I'm thinking of adding a few miles to my commute next year, which might up the effort just enough that I'll start packing my work clothes and riding in cycling gear. Am I slowly becoming a Fred?
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Old 10-12-17, 01:48 PM   #21
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Wear what's comfortable for you. I wear my roadie cycling gear for my 8 mile each way commute because it's more comfortable, 30 minutes of comfortable fast riding then having to change clothes is better than 40 minutes of slow riding and being uncomfortable through it all and risking smelling bad all day.

I sweat a lot, to ride in Phoenix with work clothes would probably not work for me at anything more than a mile.
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Old 10-12-17, 01:53 PM   #22
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You've been at this too long to depend on my advise. Wear what works best for you balancing comfort znd the situation at work.

If there's no place to change, consider bike shorts under street wear. Carry fresh underwear and change at work.
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Old 10-12-17, 01:54 PM   #23
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It's really more about time, effort, and sweat than mileage. If it were me riding in Chicago, I would pick bibs and a jersey every time.
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Old 10-12-17, 04:44 PM   #24
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I never wear spandex (except rarely as the built-in liner of baggy mtb shorts), just regular loose athletic shorts and tech-tee for my 5.5mi each-way commute. I shower and change at work.
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Old 10-12-17, 11:06 PM   #25
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I start wearing Lycra for my 4.5-mile commute as soon as the temps cool off in fall. I left any timidity about such things behind in college.
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