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What is the best ride clothes, work clothes plan for a short commute?

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What is the best ride clothes, work clothes plan for a short commute?

Old 03-10-12, 09:21 PM
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Barnabus Reynol
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What is the best ride clothes, work clothes plan for a short commute?

I've got about 5 miles to get to work. I've never ridden my bike in anything but my spandex kit.

So, I've got flat pedals on my bike, but I am wondering how exactly people like to handle wearing work clothes, sweating, showering, all that. Do most people just wear their regular clothes? What do you do about your pant leg getting caught in your gears?

I do have a shower at work. But I really am not sure I want to haul clothes and a kit to work and back every day. So if I could wear some regular clothes during the commute, that would be great, but I don't want to arrive at work all sweaty... so then I'm back to carting work/ride clothes back and forth every day.

Thoughts on this?
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Old 03-10-12, 09:55 PM
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Shower in the morning before leaving, take it easy, maybe invest in some wool, and you should be good. However, some people could sweat in 40F temps with minimal exertion. As far as the pant leg getting shark bit thing, they make a strap for that. Or roll the cuff up or tuck into your sock(s). I've used rubber bands and I've even seen someone post pics here of theirself using a binder clip.
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Old 03-10-12, 09:59 PM
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I just posted this in another thread, and it seems just as applicable here. And no, I don't work for Outlier.

https://shop.outlier.cc/shop/retail/4season-og-pant.html

I know these are expensive, but much less so when you consider:

1. They're so comfortable on and off the bike (temperature, stretch)
2. They're virtually waterproof.
3. They're virtually stain proof.
4. They're stink proof (rarely need washing; one pair will be enough unless you want to mix it up).
5. They look decent.
6. They show no apparent signs of cycling-related damage such as crotch erosion.

I love mine and pretty much only wear them.

Everything else--socks underwear and sweaters or t shirts--merino. Although Levis just started to sell a treated cotton commuter shirt, and Outlier has those too.

Pants are most important.
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Old 03-10-12, 10:00 PM
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What's your job? How well do you have to present yourself at work? Are you working directly with customers?

My previous job, retail, was 6.5 miles from my apartment. I found that if I got there 10 minutes early, I could tidy up a bit and make myself presentable. Having a neatly groomed appearance wasn't all that important as I was working in the back room and wasn't seeing customers as a primary function of my job. It wasn't a big deal if I came in looking a bit disheveled. But it didn't take long before I looked as presentable as the people who drove their in their fancy cars fresh out of the shower.
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Old 03-10-12, 10:22 PM
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I stuff my trousers into my socks.

Wool dress trousers work great in fall, winter, and spring. In the summer, linen is lovely.
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Old 03-11-12, 06:35 AM
  #6  
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It all depends on you--how you ride, how much you sweat, how long it takes to cool down.

I sweat profusely. There's no way I could possibly ride in work clothes, so I ride in kit, 52 weeks a year, even doing just my basic straight-to-work 4.5 mile commute.

We don't have showers at work, but I've found that jumping into clean kit (as in freshly laundered) right out of the shower works well enough when combined in the warmer months with a quick birdbath at the mens' room sink. I arrive a half-hour early so I have 15-20 minutes to cool down before cleaning up and changing. This also builds in flat-fixing time.

There are all sorts of ways around having to carry clothes every day, as long as you have some place to keep both clean clothes and laundry at work.

At the library have just plain old lockers. I use a bike with a rack on Mondays and Thursdays, loading clothes in the panniers. I leave the panniers at work during the week too, loading them with the laundry as the days go by. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I can ride any bike I like, completely unencumbered. It's only on Monday mornings and Thursday nights that I actually haul stuff.

I understand that folks who own cars drive their clothes to work, but to me it seems like a waste of money to buy a car just to drive my clothes to work. Especially since a good rack and panniers cost less than a tank of gas.
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Old 03-11-12, 06:48 AM
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You and I have a similar commute. It depends on how much you tend to sweat, what you need to look like at work, and your weather.

I ride every day, all-year in DC here, and our temps range from about 17F at the very coldest to 104F with high humidity last year in August (ugh!). Many people have much more harsh winters, so I can't speak to extreme cold. However, extreme heat/humidity I can. Regardless of what anyone tells you, cycling-specific clothing for summer sucks. Unless you can completely unzip it - then maybe it works okay. Basically, you want to have on the least amount of clothing possible while not getting arrested, lol. Cotton and linen are your friends here -- they breathe really well and don't stink like polyester crap does. You don't want to "wick" moisture in the heat, the moisture keeps you cool! For the exact reason that many people don't wear cotton in the winter. I just wear thin, button up short sleeved shirts like seersucker or linen and just unbutton them when it's about 80F in the mornings (about as hot as early mornings get in DC). I wear thin cotton/linen shorts and tennis shoes to match. I pack khakis/jeans and a polo shirt or some other button shirt for work. It works just fine for me. I have a bike locker and showers are provided for cyclists, but I don't use them.

My wife does, however because she has her hair to deal with and stuff. I have a shaved head, which simplifies my commute.

In the winter, I just wear what I am going to wear in the office -- jeans/pants and LS, heavy Cabelas-type button shirts (heavy flannel, cotton).

My tips -- I don't sweat too badly, but I further avoid this by riding at a medium pace with my wife (we work in the same office). No rush. This avoids most of the sweat issue to begin with. I prefer commuting to be as easy as possible. I just wear tennis shoes or hiking boots if weather is cold and snowy, with flat BMX pedals with pins. The only cycling-specific gear I actually use regularly is padded gloves in Spring/Summer, and skull caps under my helmet in winter.

Basically I try to make it as easy as possible, with the least amount of planning and prep involved.

HTH

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Old 03-11-12, 06:54 AM
  #8  
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I use two sets of clothes, one for the ride in, and the other for work. I bring the clean clothes in my panniers each At the end of the day I change back into the riding clothes and bring home all my clothes. I did the same when I went to the gym before work. I also shower at work, so I bring a clean towel every day. I do have a locker that I keep my shower items in. I work in a business office.
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Old 03-11-12, 09:36 AM
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There's probably very few people out there who should ride in their work clothes. (Someone in a mild climate, with a short commute who doesn't sweat much, maybe)

So you'll want to ride in a weather appropriate get-up and carry your work clothes.

A sponge bath on arrival helps. I also carry a small spray bottle filled with rubbing alcohol.

I spray my feet, armpits, etc. (And this is really refreshing when it's hot and muggy, by the way) Yes, it smells. But that wears off quickly and it leaves you squeaky clean. I suspect that it has an additional benefit; though no one at work has mentioned it, it's possible that they smell the alcohol and think, "Well...at least he's doing what it takes to avoid being disgusting..."

Last edited by bluegoatwoods; 03-11-12 at 09:38 AM. Reason: a little more detail
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Old 03-11-12, 11:23 AM
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Have posted this before, but I'll post it again, anyway. "Don't commute in one's work clothes or work in one's commute clothes."

I bring a weeks supply of food and clothing in on Mondays and each day bring food containers and work clothes home. A complete supply of deo, medicated talcum powder, toothbrush and paste, witchhazel, mouthwash, disposable razors, small heater/blower, towel(s), face cloth and an extra set of emergency clothes. 3n1 oil, disposable gloves, a 'wet wipe towel' for rain days and 'mechanics cloths'...that I don't leave piled in a corner...spontaneous combustion, anyone?

My work environment is warehouse casual, so I get by w/t-shirts, shorts, pants, etc. I leave a pair of sneakers @ work that I hit w/a dis-infectant daily before leaving.

My routine is that I shower the night before and put on clean cycling clothes everyday. During the winter I'll wear full-length bibs for a week straight, sometimes, but always have a different pair of cycling shorts underneath. They get sprayed w/a dis-infectant as well when changing clothes. All my internal layers get turned inside-out and are hung up to dry. I use the bike(s) as a clothes hanger w/t heater/blower aimed at everything. For shoes/gloves I've got a couple of sets of electric heating inserts that work really well. By the time my shift is over usually everything is dry even if it was a torrent comming in.

Seems like alot of bother, but I've been doing this for 25 years and have it down to no wasted motion, so it takes about 15 mins to strip, freshen and dress in the morning and maybe 10 mins to do the reverse for the ride home.

Btw, my commte is 42.2 miles rt, so sweat/smell could be an issue, but it's not.
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Old 03-11-12, 02:40 PM
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Round trip is 11 miles for me. Below is what I wear and as has been mentioned if you shower before you ride it makes a big difference. I don't sweat much so those are the clothes I work in also.

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Old 03-11-12, 03:04 PM
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Work clothes for me means dress shirt, dress pants, dress shoes, & a tie. I can leave some things at my job but usually I will just keep my dress shoes there. The main thing for me is to take a shower in the morning and do a bird bath shower after I cool down once I arrive.

I ride in the dress pants and wear sneakers. I keep an iron at work so I can store my tie and shirt in a pannier or wear them draped around me. I also have the Jandd pants leg strap to keep my pants from getting caught.

I'm a slow a steady kind of rider and try to coast on my way in because I don't want to get sweaty. You can also keep baby wipes with you and use those to wipe off with.
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Old 03-11-12, 07:10 PM
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My job is hands-on, with tools and such, and I'm expected to get sweaty, so if I arrive at work sweating, it doesn't matter.

In the cold, I wear athletic tights under my work pants (jeans), and either a winter coat or layers of jackets (temps below or above freezing determine that). In the spring and fall, the tights are packed away. In the summer, I carry the jeans and wear shorts to ride.

In the cold, I tend to take the direct route to work, 2mi. When it gets warmer, I begin to loosen up and choose 'scenic routes', of anywhere from 3-9 miles. I always arrive at work early enough to get some breakfast, since it will be 5+ hours until lunch.

BTW, I commute on my do-it-all MTB.
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Old 03-11-12, 07:19 PM
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Sweat pants.. One sort ,is a compound knit Poly, slick outside , fuzzy fleece inside .
Russell is on the rack at the local Big Box store.

wore a pair of Tights that PataG calls their 'cool weather tights' on a long Bike tour ..
a bit thicker fleece.

I get black..
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Old 03-11-12, 09:00 PM
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I have about 17.5mi round trip, and wear cycling kit for my ride. I iron my shirt and pants, folding them and putting them in large ziplock bags, squeezing out the air. I either use a BanjoBros backpack or my bike trunk for the clothes and my lunch - I leave shoes at work and have all the toiletries there for showering etc.

Some weeks, like this one, I have to work on the weekend. Those weeks, I haul my gear in when I drive in to work, and then just bring clothes home each evening. But there is no way I can ride in without a sweat, unless I want to take far more time for the ride than I want to, and since part of the purpose of my commuting is fitness, I am going to sweat. Fortunate to have access to a shower, for sure!
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Old 03-11-12, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by megalowmatt View Post
Round trip is 11 miles for me. Below is what I wear and as has been mentioned if you shower before you ride it makes a big difference. I don't sweat much so those are the clothes I work in also.

Screw the south of France. San Diego has the best weather on earth.
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Old 03-11-12, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by nashcommguy View Post
Screw the south of France. San Diego has the best weather on earth.
And some of the highest rental/mortgage rates to go with it . Never been there, but I imagine I'll have to make a pointed attempt of getting out there someday- my wife was stationed out there in the Navy and she won't shut up about Del Taco...
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Old 03-12-12, 04:14 AM
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I don't know, I think the DC metro area could probably match or exceed San Diego...
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Old 03-12-12, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by no1mad View Post
And some of the highest rental/mortgage rates to go with it . Never been there, but I imagine I'll have to make a pointed attempt of getting out there someday- my wife was stationed out there in the Navy and she won't shut up about Del Taco...
lol just say no to Del Taco. Haven't been there in probably 20 years...or at least since college. Lots of much better Mexican places than that.

And I'm a planner so our mortgage is real low
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