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Commuting clothing / system (beginner advice needed)

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Commuting clothing / system (beginner advice needed)

Old 06-25-21, 09:33 AM
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Commuting clothing / system (beginner advice needed)

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum. I need your expertise and suggestions.

I've been thinking about going to work by bike.
But as soon as it rains or gets a bit cold those thoughts evaporate quickly.

To counter this, I'm looking for equipment / clothing / a system that works.
Anything that might be obvious to you, probably is not obvious to me. I haven't rode a bike in 10 years or so.

Problems I'm looking to solve.

1 Rain
2 Cold hands
3 Sweat

Tight fit or slim fit

Solution for winter season
Solution for summer season
OR all seasons
Preferably not too expensive, unless it's worth it.

No leather, unless it's fake leather (vegan)

I'm based in Europe (if certain brands are not available here)
No shower at work.
No dressing room, but that's not an issue for me.
I hate large capes.

Rainproof shoes?
Rainproof & cold/wind cutting gloves?
Are there tightfit overalls or almost ninja like suits that are rainproof?
How do you guys do this?
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Old 06-26-21, 07:41 AM
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I think you may want to start out with a jacket, rain pants, full fingered gloves and shoe covers.

I like a light, waterproof jacket so I can dress in layers, but if it is quite cold on your commute often, you may want a heavier jacket.
DHB makes a full line of reasonably priced jackets, and other gear. Chain Reaction cycles is a good place to start, as they have discounted gear.

You would only want to use the pants if it's quite cold/wet, otherwise you sweat heavily and defeat the purpose.

Additionally, a pair of long cycling tights, with the addition of pants if it is very cold is what I use for lower body.
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Old 06-26-21, 08:07 AM
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Silver_Bike Welcome. I commuted year-round for 28 years, rain, shine and snow without a shower at work, but with a dressing room, and things got so much better after I discovered bikeforums. So, you're in the right place.

Google "bikeforums.net rain" or "bikeforums.net rain commute" to find dozens of discussions and tips on all this.

You should not have to spend a lot, I didn't. I also turned a couple of ponchos into rain capes, which don't billow if you add hand-holds and an internal belt like the store-bought capes have.

Your desire for "tight fit" or "slim fit" leads me to believe you are interested in maintaining a stylish appearance. That's something I can't help with as I am style-challenged.

I'd say the most important gear for wet weather commuting is a long front fender with a flap that just skirts the ground, and of course a rear fender to keep the spray from off your back.

Also, if you are able to dress for riding and bring dry clothes to change into at work as I did, you should be fine.

Good luck...you can do this.
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Old 06-26-21, 08:36 AM
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I wear normal office clothing with a light Gor-tex hooded raincoat and rain pants. Everything is loose. Why is a tight fit important? Loose fit keeps the moist clothing away from you. I have nylon, waterproof overshoes. These are vastly better than the old style rubber ones and come on and off much more quickly. Ski gloves with liners work well for me. In fall and spring, I just wear the liners.Zippers are important for ventilation. So is quick don and quick doff. The convenience of cycling goes away if it takes more than a minute or two to throw the raingear on or take it off. There are two kinds of raingear --- 1) waterproof (plasticized or rubberized). These stop all rain. They also cause you to sweat like mad and you will be soaked. -- 2) Water-resistant (Gore-tex and the like). You will get slightly damp wearing these. After you take the gear off, people will not notice the dampness, although you will feel it. Damp beats soaked. You should have saddlebags or panniers to store your weather gear in so you are always prepared for conditions. Your bike should also be weatherproof. I find fenders are essential. So is a chaincase, full or partial.
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Old 06-26-21, 03:43 PM
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something that helps me is quick drying clothes under the rain gear, so if I do get a bit damp, I'm usually dry before anybody notices.

I work in a casual office, so I can get away with synthetic hiking pants.
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Old 06-29-21, 09:17 AM
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Don't know what the weather is like where you're at.. Here it's not usually subfreezing. I have a complete change of clothes at work. This time of year rain or no rain I'm completely sweat soaked by the time I get to work. I wait about 15-30 min to stop sweating. That may not work for everybody.

As a young man commuting in Tucson I tried several types of rain gear. From the cheap Yellow Front plastic rain suits to a trench coat. For the most part I was soaked rain gear or none. Either rain soaked or sweat soaked. Choose your poison.

Nowadays in Phoenix rain is rare. Even if it does rain, it's usually for an hour or so. We literally have showers where you're getting drenched and one mile over it's sunny. Or vice versa. My rain preparation consists of having plastic bags to put my stuff in. Extra clothing not usually needed.
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Old 06-29-21, 09:22 AM
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Old 06-29-21, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Silver_Bike View Post
I've been thinking about going to work by bike.
welcome, how long is the ride?
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Old 06-30-21, 06:19 AM
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You could also look on youtube for videos regarding cycling commuter gear.
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Old 06-30-21, 01:06 PM
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Rain in warm weather doesn't need to be blocked. Allow yourself to get wet, but be prepared to fully change clothes after showering on either end of the ride. You may have a spare set of cycling clothes left at work in the event that the morning's cycling gear remains wet at the end of the work day. Pay particular care to dry out your cycling shoes during the work day by removing any inserts, stretching the shoe's tongue out, and getting some airflow into the shoe by a heating radiator or whatever you can.

The feedback about full fenders with flaps that extend down (especially on the front wheel) is a good one. Start there.

In colder weather, being wet is no fun, of course. On the way home, I don't particularly care, because a hot shower awaits.
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Old 07-02-21, 08:11 AM
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Thanks all for the quick replies!
That's a lot of answers! I'm not used to this, I like this forum already

The distance is around 15 km's (a bit less)

Regarding the tightfit, it's not really about stylish appearance.
There are actually capes and poncho's that look really cool or that can look cool.

It's more about aerodynamics and safety and sound.
Those capes can block your view when looking around your shoulder.
It makes it harder to hear things in your surroundings.

An outfit to ride and an outfit to work seems a necessity or atleast adviseable.
It should be something that is very doable for me.
Good tip on an extra ride outfit staying at work Phil_gretz

No shower at work though.
It's probably a good idea to dress light with clothes that dry quickly.
And have warm & rain protected gloves, and warm & rain protected shoes.

If there are brands I should look into, let me know

Weather here is pretty cold in winter and pretty hot in summer. (Europe, Benelux area)

alloo do you have any particular channels you'd recommend?

Taking notes beneath

Brands to look into
Chain reaction cycles

Type of rain protection gear

Let me know if I should look into other brands etc.
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Old 07-02-21, 09:50 AM
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I'm pretty happy with my J&G raincape + helmet cover. That combo, plus full-fenders + mudflaps, keeps me completely dry. The rain cape is open enough to keep sweat from building up.
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Old 07-05-21, 04:33 PM
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I work from home now, but I used to ride my bike to work. Here's what I used, depending on the weather:
  • A Gore-tex or other waterproof cycling jacket
  • A helmet cover
  • Clear cycling glasses in the rain and sunglasses in the sun
  • Waterproof shoe covers
  • Gloves of different thickness, depending on the weather
  • Clothing for work rolled and in a pannier lined with a garbage bag to keep it dry
  • Extra socks at the bottom of the pannier in case mine got wet
  • A plastic bag kept under the bike seat to put on the bike if it got wet
Enjoy your commute! I loved arriving at work all pumped up from the ride.

Last edited by writespeak; 07-05-21 at 04:36 PM. Reason: Formatting
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Old 07-07-21, 12:35 PM
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Spring, early autumn, and Summer:
Bib shorts and cycling jersey
waterproof cycling jacket
knee and arm warmers

Late Autumn, early spring and Winter:
Long sleeve thermal cycling jersey
Thermal bib tights
Winter cycling boots
Buff or balaclava
fleece beanie
winter gloves
bar mitts
wool socks
rain jacket

For all seasons, layer as appropriate.
I put clip-on mudguards on my gravel bike (doubles as rain and wet weather commuter), and I tend to use a 6 litre saddlebag to carry my clothes in. I wear jeans/shorts and a t-shirt at work, so don't need to look smart. If you need to dress smart for work, a saddlebag isn't the best option for carrying your clothes to work. A pannier and rack may be better. I keep a spare pair of trainers and a hoodie at work.
I live in the UK, so on occasion arrive at work completely drenched. My saddlebag is waterproof. If I take my backpack to work for any reason (need to take more than just my clothes to or from the office), and it rains, I have a rain cover for my backpack. At work, I am lucky to have to have a dressing room where I can set up a drying station for my clothes if needed. So something to think about if you will be cycling in the rain (having somewhere to dry your clothes).
DHB from Wiggle/Chain Reaction are my go to brand- good value for money. Don't go for their basic range. Their classic range is really good. I also have a few things from their aeron range. I also have kit from the usual suspects- castelli, chapeau, and no pinz. My club and race kit is from no pinz.
Don't forget tools, pump, and spare tubes in case you get a puncture or mechanical.
Bar mitts are the best thing ever for cold hands. They are neoprene covers that go over your handlebars and help keep the wind and the rain off. In the winter when it is negative 3, I can have a medium weight pair of gloves on underneath and still have very warm hands.
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