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Non Lycra and Staying Warm - Re-Purposing Casual Clothing for Cycling

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Non Lycra and Staying Warm - Re-Purposing Casual Clothing for Cycling

Old 12-19-15, 01:39 AM
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fthomas
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Non Lycra and Staying Warm - Re-Purposing Casual Clothing for Cycling

I purposely chose platform pedals to allow me to just wear what I happen to have on for the day. I ride for pleasure, but my bike also supplements public transportation (OCTA buses are unreliable and terribly slow). Right after purchasing the bike to get started I bought some mountain bike shorts and a couple of Performance jerseys on sale. The shorts are comfortable and work well, but in warmer weather the jerseys quickly start to smell after a 20 mile ride.

The weather here in Southern California is certainly not as cold as what many of you face, but it does get "Cool". Tomorrow will be a high of 60 with rain. I am well outfitted to handle the rain - rain jacket, goretex hood for rain that goes under your helmet, windstopper beanie, goretex pants and goretex hiking shoes. I'm waiting for delivery of leg warmers, arm warmers and warmer waterproof gloves. I also use the rain jacket as a windbreaker by opening the pit zips to keep from overheating.

If at all possible I just as soon ride in street clothes, which consist of hiking pants, which are a nylon blend, or jeans. Cotton is the pits. It soaks up perspiration like a sponge and you end up soaking wet and easily chilled.

Do any of you ride primarily in street clothes? How do you handle the cooler temperatures not wearing lycra / specialty cycling gear. Before moving overseas three years ago I had a nice wardrobe of bibs, tights, jerseys - long and short sleeve, rain gear, etc. I gave it all away before moving.

Ultimately, I want to make jumping on the bike as uncomplicated as possible. There has to be normal clothing that can be re-purposed for cycling like light weight wool sweaters for the cooler temps or other shirts, etc. Any suggestions?
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Old 12-19-15, 02:46 AM
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Mostly I ride in cycling kit, and the further and harder your going, the more functional it becomes. However, I often use the singlespeed for riding around to go to the pub, visit friends, go to the pub, run errands, go the the pub etc., and I have even toured in street clothes in the dim and distant past.

Hiking pants work well. Those that zip off at the knees to convert into shorts can be usefully versatile especially when combined with padded undershort, MTB-style. If you want to wear conventional underwear, you need to think about your saddle. The Brooks B17 I've had for years is comfortable whatever I'm wearing, I suspect I could ride it naked until I got arrested.

Upper body, you're right that synthetics tend to stink and cotton keeps you wet. (This is the best reason for not riding in jeans, of course). Wool is certainly your friend. Merino wool base layers are superb and can double as T-shirts off the bike. And you can wear them a few times before you need to wash them, they naturally resist the bacteria that cause odour. They come in various weights and in both long and short sleeves. Not cheap, but you can get them reasonably priced if you shop around on-line.

Much depends on intensity, of course. If I'm just poodling around town at 10 mph, almost anything will do. Three hours at a pace fast enough to make me sweat? Kit.
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Old 12-19-15, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
I purposely chose platform pedals to allow me to just wear what I happen to have on for the day. I ride for pleasure, but my bike also supplements public transportation (OCTA buses are unreliable and terribly slow). Right after purchasing the bike to get started I bought some mountain bike shorts and a couple of Performance jerseys on sale. The shorts are comfortable and work well, but in warmer weather the jerseys quickly start to smell after a 20 mile ride.

The weather here in Southern California is certainly not as cold as what many of you face, but it does get "Cool". Tomorrow will be a high of 60 with rain. I am well outfitted to handle the rain - rain jacket, goretex hood for rain that goes under your helmet, windstopper beanie, goretex pants and goretex hiking shoes. I'm waiting for delivery of leg warmers, arm warmers and warmer waterproof gloves. I also use the rain jacket as a windbreaker by opening the pit zips to keep from overheating.

If at all possible I just as soon ride in street clothes, which consist of hiking pants, which are a nylon blend, or jeans. Cotton is the pits. It soaks up perspiration like a sponge and you end up soaking wet and easily chilled.

Do any of you ride primarily in street clothes? How do you handle the cooler temperatures not wearing lycra / specialty cycling gear. Before moving overseas three years ago I had a nice wardrobe of bibs, tights, jerseys - long and short sleeve, rain gear, etc. I gave it all away before moving.

Ultimately, I want to make jumping on the bike as uncomplicated as possible. There has to be normal clothing that can be re-purposed for cycling like light weight wool sweaters for the cooler temps or other shirts, etc. Any suggestions?
You're pretty much describing me only that i don't live in socal and don't wear jeans

At 60F for me it's shorts and merino t-shirts, too warm for anything else.

Nylon blend hiking pants for me too but not above 50F. At least 5% lycra in them.
For normal looking pants with enough spandex check outlier or mec

For the top you could wear button down merino shirts. Wool & prince, icebreaker, outlier, ninox, libertad apparel, pendleton, Ibex....
I've noticed that my button down shirts are way more odor resistant than my other merino top, probably due to the way those shirts are made. My icebreaker button down shirts are better for warm weather while my pendleton one are better for below freezing. The button down shirts that i have also offer some wind protection by themselves.

Last edited by erig007; 12-19-15 at 06:01 AM.
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Old 12-19-15, 06:05 AM
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Coming back to the States from the Philippines I do not have much in the way of cool weather clothing and no longer in a financial position to go crazy shopping at REI, Back country, MEC, Eastern Mountain or even Campmoor.

I'm going to start checking out Goodwill and Salvation Army to add to my wardrobe. Target or Wally World might even be worth checking out.

Mental picture: Old guy riding wearing a double knit leisure suit! LOL!
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Old 12-19-15, 07:24 AM
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Below 62, lightweight fleece zip up jackets and pants. Used or new!
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Old 12-19-15, 07:31 AM
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Some clothing can be easily repurposed for winter cycling. For the upper body, I'll wear an old wool sweater over a $15 synthetic base layer. I'll add a fleece vest and that's enough layering to help me stay comfortable down to freezing. I'll use trigger mittens for weather below 40f. From 40f to 55f, full finger work gloves are sufficient.

The lower half of the body is more challenging to cover without bulk and still keep warm. I'll use Pearl Izumi ELITE AmFIB Cycling Tights with cyling shorts underneath. These provide warmth yet breathe just enough to stay dry. They are comfortable over a wide temperature range, from 25f to 50f.
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Old 12-19-15, 07:53 AM
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Went in the local Goodwill a couple of days ago to look for wool sweaters, did not find any, however they had some very expensive looking suits.The G.W. is located in a very nice neighborhood.
Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
Coming back to the States from the Philippines I do not have much in the way of cool weather clothing and no longer in a financial position to go crazy shopping at REI, Back country, MEC, Eastern Mountain or even Campmoor.

I'm going to start checking out Goodwill and Salvation Army to add to my wardrobe. Target or Wally World might even be worth checking out.

Mental picture: Old guy riding wearing a double knit leisure suit! LOL!
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Old 12-19-15, 08:11 AM
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Being a recumbent rider, I do not have to buy into all the expensive clothes DF riders use to protect them from their bikes. I agree with the OP that anyone should wear anything they are comfortable riding in. Simply do not worry about what other people think. The main reason here is the fact that most people dont think anymore anyway. Wearing what other people think you should wear is a waste of money.
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Old 12-19-15, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Being a recumbent rider, I do not have to buy into all the expensive clothes DF riders use to protect them from their bikes. I agree with the OP that anyone should wear anything they are comfortable riding in. Simply do not worry about what other people think. The main reason here is the fact that most people dont think anymore anyway. Wearing what other people think you should wear is a waste of money.
Including you



Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
Coming back to the States from the Philippines I do not have much in the way of cool weather clothing and no longer in a financial position to go crazy shopping at REI, Back country, MEC, Eastern Mountain or even Campmoor.

I'm going to start checking out Goodwill and Salvation Army to add to my wardrobe. Target or Wally World might even be worth checking out.

Mental picture: Old guy riding wearing a double knit leisure suit! LOL!
In this case you also need to take into account how much it costs to wash it with soap. If you have to pay for that in the long run synthetics aren't that interesting.

The safer bet is a wool sweater from salvation army i agree as it can "nearly clean itself" just by air by hanging it.
The problem though is that wool sweaters aren't windproof and you will need something windproof with them.

Last edited by erig007; 12-19-15 at 01:15 PM.
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Old 12-19-15, 12:04 PM
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Bike shorts as a Base layer .. put a snowmobile suit on next, if you wish.

Do any of you ride primarily in street clothes? How do you handle the cooler temperatures not wearing lycra / specialty cycling gear.
JRA Around town (ranging between 40 & 50F) I have a pair of nylon shell fleece lined trousers I Put on over my Briefs..

my other (sweat)pants are Polyester , smooth outside, fuzzy absorbant inside ..

Jersey-Knits flex where woven fabrics resist.

Only "waterproof" gloves are dipped rubber , anything sewn will have seam Leaks

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Old 12-19-15, 12:40 PM
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The only lycra I wear is bike shorts under regular shorts. On really cold days, a hoodie is a good option because you can tie it around your waist if it gets too warm. Very low tech.
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Old 12-19-15, 12:56 PM
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Hi Thomas,
Wool is your friend here. Look for lightweight wool so you can layer and not overheat.
You really don't need waterproof gear here. Cheap windbreaker is good enough, and can take some light rain, you will still be warm with some wool under it.
I buy the casual biking clothes so I can get off, go into a store and not look like I am from another planet.
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Old 12-19-15, 02:11 PM
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Years ago when I bicycle commuted in SoCal I tried to avoid the cliched cycling uniform of soft wool jerseys and shorts, to no avail. Like my home state of Texas, the San Diego-Oceanside winter weather could range from just above freezing around dawn/dusk to 60s and even 70s during the day. My cotton t-shirts would get soggy and chilly or miserably hot and soggy. And at the time I rode a hard saddle and needed the chamois padded shorts for comfort.

The best compromise I could reach was a soft wool green jersey with a single white strip, which didn't look too racer-boyish. And the generic black wool/chamois shorts. They seemed reasonably odor resistant so I only needed to wash them every few days. Usually I'd shower before riding, and again at work if I got there early enough - the military bases and hospitals where I worked had showers. I didn't like the shorts for walking around and usually carried a pair of shorts as well to wear on top of the cycling tighties. But the wool was comfortable year-round. Even got caught in the rain a few times and it was still tolerable.

Now that Texas December weather has been pretty much like SoCal I'm going to try my polypropylene winter undershirts and see how it goes. During some recent rides the temp has gone from 70s to 50s over the course of a couple of hours and with layers of cotton the shirts have been damp and chilly by the time I finish. If the polypropylene doesn't work I'll have to consider wool again.

Mostly I wear jorts and cargo pants with the legs rolled up for casual cycling and errands. They're okay for my purposes. I see some manufacturers offering street-cut walking style cycling shorts with absorptive pads, so I'll try those too. I can't see myself going back to tighty shorts for now, not for riding a comfy/hybrid at an average speed of 10 mph. Maybe next year or so if my conditioning improves and I add a "faster" bike to the stable.
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Old 12-19-15, 02:22 PM
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I ride MTB from here on out, mostly. Just got in from a greuling climbing run. What did I wear?
-longjohns under Jeans
-hoodie under Carrhart jacket
-snowmobile boots with thermal socks
-double insulated work gloves
-light thermal hat under the helmet

It will probably hit 50 by Wednesday up here in NORTHERN Michigan and if it does I will grab the Trek 760 and go with denims, hoodie, cycling windbreaker.
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Old 12-19-15, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Being a recumbent rider, I do not have to buy into all the expensive clothes DF riders use to protect them from their bikes. I agree with the OP that anyone should wear anything they are comfortable riding in. Simply do not worry about what other people think. The main reason here is the fact that most people dont think anymore anyway. Wearing what other people think you should wear is a waste of money.
Who has bought clothing to protect themselves from their bicycle? This must be like many of your other imagined horrors you dream up that we are supposedly suffering through. You are a broken record, or smudged CD that gets stuck and just gets annoying.

FT, look at some of the mtb clothing that is out, it is cut like you seem to want in many cases. Its pretty well made goods, as far as the Cannondale things I have seen in our LBS. I like Chas thoughts about what you may want to look into. When I commuted I liked to wear cargo shorts and most any sport shirt, or t-shirt/polo type shirt. Platform pedals so I could wear running shoes, but with toe clips and straps on quills were my usual choice. Winter time I like khakis, and a strap to keep the drive side trouser leg out of the chain ring. Light weight running and cycling jackets work real well, and Gore-Tex is your good friend for rain gear, IMHO. Hope that you find something you like and are comfortable riding, after all the crap you had to fight with lately you don't need anything else being a problem.

Bill

The mods may delete, or punish me, as they see fit, it just gets old to constantly read his crap. Sorry for stealing your thread, Frank, my apologies to you and everyone else.
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Old 12-19-15, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Being a recumbent rider, I do not have to buy into all the expensive clothes DF riders use to protect them from their bikes. I agree with the OP that anyone should wear anything they are comfortable riding in. Simply do not worry about what other people think. The main reason here is the fact that most people dont think anymore anyway. Wearing what other people think you should wear is a waste of money.
What is a DF rider? And are you on a perma-trip or something? You have been laying down too long, bruh.
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Old 12-19-15, 07:10 PM
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Old 12-19-15, 07:32 PM
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I live in Southern California and the only bicycle-specific clothing I wear is MTB shorts with a simple chamois liner. Shoes are New Balance 548 (tennis) court shoes on platform pedals. Top in the summer is a simple t-shirt (long or sohrt sleeve). When I'm out riding mid-week in Dec-Feb in the early morning I'll add a polypro insulated top left over from my mountain climbing days, maybe a second t-shirt, a sweatshirt, and some full-fingered $10 work gloves from Home Depot or Lowes (no added long-legged pants of tights). It works for me.
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Old 12-19-15, 08:11 PM
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Ride yer bike any way you Like :P


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Old 12-19-15, 08:33 PM
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Unless it gets real cold, I just use long sleeve jersey of synthetic material (Under Armor for example) under by regular jersey and lightweight tights over cycling shorts. When that's not warm enough, a cotton jersey over the other jersey send a jacket with heavier tights. I'll also switch to cycling gloves with full fingers.
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Old 12-19-15, 08:56 PM
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Dry climate, high country rec/fitness rider with normal day max of about 20 miles. Running shorts and shirt in the summer transitioning as needed through same shorts/sweatshirt, sweatpants/sweatshirt, to sweatpants/running shirt and a jacket in winter. No padding, running shoes & toe clips/straps, gloves from non padded fingerless to full finger deerskin a/r, plus helmet & glasses of course. That be my entire cycling wardrobe right now. Tho, gets too much below a high of freezing and I'm done until it warms up.

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Old 12-20-15, 12:29 AM
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Thanks for sharing your methods and ideas on clothing choices. If I had a choice light wool sweaters with a windbreaker on top and comfortable loose fitting pants with old style Army wool long johns bottoms would be great for cooler temps at night and when it is raining. Hard to say what El Nino has in store for us.

I have wet weather gore tex jacket, pants, hiking shoes and a detached hood worn under your helmet so I'm set for what little rain we have here. Wearing cotton under this stuff is asking to be cold and miserable if not actually putting yourself at risk for hypothermia even when the temps are in the 50's if you have perspiration soaked cotton on underneath.

Rivendell Bike has some really nice wool clothing, but the prices are really expensive! Grant Peterson is as anti Lycra as you can get. They have some really nice stuff though.

I am going to start looking for really lite weight wool sweaters and also see if I can find some surplus Army wool tops and bottoms. Army wool glove liners are warm. For those in really cold climates Dachstein boild wool mittens are awesome.

Moisture control, fit, practicality and price will dictate what I can get. Actually, after reading the excellent suggestions I think I am going to have fun pulling things together.
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Old 12-20-15, 02:15 AM
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Long johns? Really? In SoCal? You'll broil.
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Old 12-20-15, 05:27 AM
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Whats with all the self-inflicted drama?

You first claim you want to be able to get on the bike and ride with whatever you are wearing for the day, and yet, go on and on about all of the specialty clothing needed to ride for various conditions.
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Old 12-20-15, 07:39 AM
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Yep, pretty much a non issue if you are riding those distances (20 mi?) Just wear whatever you would wear to go for a walk.
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