Author Topic: Biking to work questions  (Read 1879 times)

bosspross

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Biking to work questions
« on: March 25, 2017, 10:17:23 AM »
Last week I began biking to work. I really enjoy it and plan on doing everyday. I have not ridden a bike since I was a kid (approx 15 years ago) so I am learning a lot. I did a search on the forum and could not find an answer for biking in the rain. I have a spare set of clothes and shoes I can wear and change into at the office. As it gets warmer I plan on just wearing shorts and changing into my clothes at work. When the temperature is 40F what do people wear when it is raining? I have a rain jacket I can wear but would some type of waterproof pants be helpful as well? If I wore shorts I feel like I would get too cold. Any suggestions?

katscratch

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1326
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2017, 11:20:07 AM »
I just started biking again last year after years off a bike.

I think for most people it comes down to experimenting with what you already have until you find the right combo. I've now commuted 9 months and am still tweaking what I wear in different weather and temperatures.

Take an extra set of dry clothes to work with you, and just try different things. Our bodies are all a little different in terms of comfort level, so what works for me, a total freeze baby in the upper Midwest, probably won't be the winning combo for you.

That said, biking in the rain means totally different things in different parts of the country. Here in Minneapolis it's most often a drizzle in which my legs barely get damp, or a downpour, and not much in between. I don't worry about rain pants, then, because in a normal rain storm here I'm getting wet anyway. Right now it's been 30s-40s with drizzle and I just wear my regular clothes. Most of the heavy rain I ride through happens in the summer, so for commuting I just get wet and change at work. When I lived in the PNW, however, I definitely wore a waterproof layer or I felt cold and wet all day - 40F felt a lot colder there than it does here.


Awesome that you're bike commuting, by the way!  You should look up 30 Days of Biking :)  (total plug, because I'm massively smitten with the organizers and how much passion they have for helping regular ol' folk find fun in getting on a bike)

frugaliknowit

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1670
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2017, 11:59:50 AM »
In the rain (assuming it's not summer, say below 65 degrees), I wear tights with a storm jacket, change into work clothes at work (have a shower), hang the tights up while at work.  Sometimes, when it's raining, I bring a spare pair of tights in case the morning ones don't dry out enough (that's rare...).  In the summer I do the same with shorts.  Over time, you will likely acquire more and more great gear (on sale).

It's amazing how your stuff doesn't get all that wet (unless it's serious storms...which is why I check the weather radar and sometimes pass on a few times per year...and get caught in several times per year ("I'm not sugar, so I won't melt")).
« Last Edit: March 26, 2017, 01:43:28 AM by frugaliknowit »

GuitarStv

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13919
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2017, 12:59:32 PM »
It has taken me years to figure out exactly what to wear while cycling to work, and to a large extent this is going to be personal.

For rain I'll wear what I'd usually wear for the temperature but throw on the following as well:
- Cycling cap (keeps the water out of your eyes)
- Fenders on the bike
- Waterproof shoes/boots
- Rain jacket
- Extra layer of gloves (none of my gloves are waterproof, so I just use two layers to keep hands warm in the wet)

Lenify

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2017, 01:55:57 PM »
Seattle bike commuter here. It's 40F and rainy at least half the year.

A good pair of water resistant pants and a waterproof jacket are essential. Amazon has a brand of pants called 4uCycling that work great. Runs about $35. Pay attention to their size guide though, I typically wear 36x34 pants and their brand is a size 4xl.

katscratch

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1326
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 12:03:08 PM »
Seattle bike commuter here. It's 40F and rainy at least half the year.

A good pair of water resistant pants and a waterproof jacket are essential. Amazon has a brand of pants called 4uCycling that work great. Runs about $35. Pay attention to their size guide though, I typically wear 36x34 pants and their brand is a size 4xl.

I love these pants! They've been so easy to layer even with multiple tights and socks with boots. They're definitely not sized for Americans ;) but they are much better quality than I expected.

evensjw

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 33
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2017, 03:53:29 PM »
As many others have said, most of it is personal preference, and I definitely prefer to be too cold than too hot when exercising.  When I was commuting by bike I would wear as little as possible when it was raining.  This was in England so it was rarely warm.  I find it is really easy to overheat in waterproof rain gear, regardless of how 'breathable it says it is!  Then you arrive at work soaked in sweat.  If you are too cold, you just pedal harder!

The other thing to consider with the 'just get wet' approach is the ride back home.  Putting wet riding clothes back on is pretty gross!  Although if it's still pouring then you tend not to care too much, since you immediately get completely soaked.  Stuff like Nike dry fit is really good because it dries out really quickly and there is a chance it'll be dry by the time you get ready to go home, if you are able to hang it up or can spend a few minutes with a hand dryer.  I'm sure you can get long pants and long sleeved shirts made of the same material, but I just find it easier to have less fabric to worry about trying to dry.





meddling

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2017, 06:06:18 PM »
40F is pretty cold for shorts in the rain, IMO.

The worst part is that your shoes will get absolutely drenched from the inside if you're only wearing shorts.  Even if they're "waterproof" shoes. Most of that cold water raining down on your head, torso, and legs will end up dribbling straight down your legs, soaking into your socks, and eventually filling up your shoes. Pedaling with water-filled sponge shoes is no fun.

I've been bike commuting rain/shine in Minneapolis for about five years now.  I've found that water proof shell gear is worth the price.  After biking through a storm, I can come home strip off my shell layers, and be pretty dry underneath (minus a little sweat).  Generally, the waterproof gear is also wind-proof too, which makes it great for the cold windy winter commutes.

My cutoff for "just get wet" is about 65F.  If it's raining and warm, it's bearable (and maybe even a little fun!) to be soaking wet on the commute home.  Not so much fun to get soaked on the way in to work.  I'm lucky enough to have showers & a place to hang all my wet gear at work.

Layering is definitely a bit personal. Some people heat up faster than others. I would rather be a little cold than a little hot and sweaty.  For 40F, I am usually rocking:
- Waterproof shoes (mine are hi-tops, makes it super hard for the water to get in). My biking cohorts swear by their Lake shoes. A bit too pricey for me. I use my waterproof hiking boots.
- Merino wool socks crew-length
- Waterproof pants (no need for base pants layer at 40F for me anyway).
- Torso: Moisture-wicking base + insulating layer + waterproof rain shell. It does keep you much more dry if the rain shell hood can fit over your bike helmet.  Make sure it doesn't restrict your visibility though!
- Waterproof gloves - at 40F, I'll use my heavy waterproof winter mitts. Need to be somewhat careful that they don't impede your ability to brake, but manageable.
- Head: Bike helmet + Ski goggles + Rain-shell hood. Goggles because it's no fun getting pelted in the eyes by big water droplets.
- Waterproof backpack

Almost all of my gear is from REI. They do a decent job curating gear, and have good deals on their outlet store at season begin/end.  Everything I've bought there has lasted many years.  My rain jacket (Marmot brand) & pants (REI brand) have lasted five years so far and are still going strong with constant use.  The 4uCycling stuff looks awesome, I'll have to check them out!

Lenify

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2017, 01:30:35 PM »
Biggest splurge has been goretex over shoes. They're pricey ($80) but keep your feet completely dry in torrential downpour, and clean from dirt and grime.

acroy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1702
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Dallas TX
    • SWAMI
Re: Biking to work questions
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2017, 01:53:51 PM »
Badass on you, OP!
I've been biking to work for over 15yrs now. About 30min each way.

60-100+F clothing:
Shorts
t-shirt
bike sandals
Halo sweatband

45-60F:
cotton gloves (the $1 cotton gardening gloves - awesome)
nice warm mtb bike shoes

under 45 (been down to 11F)
ski gloves
windbreaker
head sock / balaclava

-Always wear eye protection
-Rain, I just get wet. No biggie.
-30min ride is enough to get uncomfortable in cold rain, but not enough to freeze. It's rare enough for me I don't have any special gear
-plastic SKF mtb fenders stay on the bike year-round

good luck!!