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Suggestions for washable clothes for cold weather biking

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Suggestions for washable clothes for cold weather biking

Old 02-17-24, 11:29 AM
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Suggestions for washable clothes for cold weather biking

My mother just died and I've been having to go back and forth between several locations within a square mile area with documents quite a bit lately. It seems I spend more time finding a parking space than traveling between them.
I'd like to take my bicycle, but I've always had a condition where I break out into a sweat with just a little bit of exercise, even if I'm not feeling strained or tired.
Normally I tend not to use my bicycle when it's below 45 degrees because then it's too cold to wear an easily washed sweatshirt over my clothes to keep warm, and both my light fall/spring jacket and my medium winter coat need to be dry cleaned. (So does my heavy winter coat, but I only pull that out when it's going below zero ºF ). I've only had temp work recently and dry cleaning is expensive if I get my coat all sweaty and stinky.

Any suggestions on what to do when it's in the 20's or 30's outside so I can use my bike for these short hops? I've been walking instead since I don't usually start sweating from that (running is another matter) unless the temperature is over 75, and then I don't have to worry about my coats getting sweaty as if I have the light jacket (you can have 30-40 degrees in the morning and 70-80 by the afternoon and more rarely vice versa in Chicago) I'd be carrying it.
It's just that the walking makes these errands take triple the amount of time as the car, and this is one of those rare cases where a bicycle is faster than driving due to the parking in downtown Arlington Heights.

Again, the issue is that my coats are dry clean only, and I tend to sweat when riding. I haven't seen a coat suitable for weather around freezing that isn't, although the last time I was coat shopping I talked to my mother about them all being dry-clean only and she commented she once found one when I was in kindergarten, but hadn't seen one since.
Any idea where to find cold weather gear I can just throw in the washing machine in the NW suburbs of Chicago or suggestions on keeping warm?

Oh, I'm a big man and wear a size 50 coat, although sometimes I can wear size 48 long. Most stores only go up to 48.

Last edited by slickrcbd; 02-18-24 at 10:06 PM.
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Old 02-17-24, 11:44 AM
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Sorry for the loss of your mother.

I have a red Land's End overcoat for biking. Long. Washable. Lots of pockets. Says M 38-40 which is weird because I'm usually 42. Removable hood (stays off). Very wind-resistant. Not puffy in any sense - just layers of fabric. Got it like-new with my senior discount at a second-hand store (I'm only 49 but I guess they were generous that day). Don't see it on their website anymore - probably not in some years.

I agree that finding a bright, washable, slightly fashionable overcoat that seals up tight from the wind and has some insulation is a giant plus for cold weather commuting. When it gets below freezing, I put a sweatshirt under mine. I guess my biggest suggestion is to try a second hand store or two.

Carhardtt also makes lots of washable work jackets that would fit the bill nicely for more money while also being highly abrasion resistant.

Last edited by ScottCommutes; 02-17-24 at 05:24 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 02-18-24, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCommutes
Carhardtt also makes lots of washable work jackets that would fit the bill nicely for more money while also being highly abrasion resistant.
I'll second the recommendation for Carhartt washable work jackets. I have been using the same one for cycling every winter since I bought one at least a dozen years ago for $50 new. One or two machine washes every year and shows no wear at all. It looks just like the one pictured. I prefer snaps rather than a front zipper for better ventilation. When riding at temperatures below about 25F. I add a vest on the outside and/or a sweatshirt inside, warm as toast for cycling without sweat vapor build-up. The hood is good down to zero and a balaclava can be worn underneath if needed. The color is not very bright so I often wear a reflective belt if cycling in traffic.

More pictures on ebay

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Old 02-22-24, 09:32 AM
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I wear a wool t-shirt as the first layer. It doesn't absorb much liquid, and it somehow prevents the next layer from getting drenched.

My new coat for the winter has vents in the arm pits. I think it helps prevent overheating, and I notice I'm not getting hot and sweaty on cold days. Very nice.


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Old 02-22-24, 09:38 AM
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My coat is almost identical to noglider's.
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Old 03-01-24, 11:04 AM
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My usual 15-60°F <2 mile outfit is usually LLBean merino wool longjohns & base shirt, Surly’s merino “Long Sleeve Jersey” in black (it’s pretty much a perfect jacket), a black Castelli Aria wind vest, Lucky 410 stretch jeans, soft sole waterproofed leather boots, Craft hybrid gloves, wool hat & scarf.

The black jacket+vest on LLB shirt, blue jeans & brown boots looks really conformist normie and gives very little Bicyclist Vibes, I think?

The sweat wicking & temp regulation is great.

Sometimes I’m feeling like looking kinda hipstery and will swap out the Surly & vest for a Woolrich plaid coat.

Sometimes I add a Bontrager RXL180 (just a “softshell cycling jacket”) if I’m feeling particularly cold that day or planning on going for longer miles. It is comparatively very bikey looking and doesn’t look odd paired with Pear Izumi AmFib winter bibs and 45nrth Ragnas.
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Old 03-01-24, 04:48 PM
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If you can walk without sweating then you can bike without sweating. The bike requires 20% of the energy of walking any distance. You also have a 10 mph breeze if you are pedaling at that speed and that adds cooling.

The problem is with your bike clothing. I wear a synthetic first layer that is long sleeve and then a warming layer like a fleece vest, and then a windbreaker outer jacket that is bright and easily seen by motorists. The good bike jackets have a special inner layer on the front to block the wind and then there is ventilation on the rear to allow body heat to escape. Some have side vents under the arms that can be opened or closed with a zipper. I wear heavyweight long cycling pants but any thick windproof pant will work or put "rain" pants on top of sweat pants as they will block the wind and your legs will be warmer.
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Old 03-01-24, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun
If you can walk without sweating then you can bike without sweating.
Sure you can, just like if you can climb the steps to get to the second floor of any building without sweating, you can climb the steps to get to the 50th floor without sweating just as long as you wear the right clothing.
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