Monday, November 23, 2009

Dressing for winter bike commuting

One question that we often get here at Bike Omaha is "How do I dress properly for winter bike riding in Nebraska?". It's a great question and most bike commuters will answer that question with recommendations about high tech fabrics, special shoes, special bike equipment, and many other suggestions that will likely equal up to big money. But if your not biking 10+ miles each way, every day clothes and a bit of layering can work wonders and you can even look stylish at the same time.

While doing a bit of research on an upcoming article about winter bike commuting, we ran across this article at Let’s Go Ride a Bike and we thought it was a great How-To on winter cycling.


dale said...

I really like the scarf idea, doubling it and pulling the end through the loop. Keeping my neck warm keeps me from getting a sore throat. Couple that with a cap and ear muffs and I accomplish the same thing as a bellacalva.

I also liked hearing the "EL" train going by at 2:20 and 8:10. Brings back memories. Doing this in a single take reminds me of older movies with Fred Astaire with long single take footage, but nothing as long as this.

Except for the Craft wind breaker and helmet, everything else was non biking apparel.

munsoned said...

Now, if only she'd get a fellow stylish guy commuter to give his take on winter commuting in regular clothes. That's the one thing that's kinda frustrating; girls can layer up with cute, stylish clothes that can make a complete outfit look good. Us guys have to cuff/velcro pants or wear manpris, and generally look like a doofus to get around in the winter.

I guess that's why they're called the "fairer sex."

Cool revamp of the blog also. Great job!

The Douglas said...

I like the new format Bob. Looks nice and clean. Good job!

Chris G. said...

I also think that trying to dress "normal" while on the bike helps us to encourage more people to ride. It helps bikers seem less like a sub-culture (with all the associated barriers to entry and perceived elitism) and more mainstream.

Biker Bob said...

Dale, the scarf idea was pretty cool. I'll have to remember that for off the bike as well.

Munsoned, actually, if you had a bike with a fully enclosed chain (chain guard) you could ride with watever clothes you want. This lady rides a dutch style bike. It's big but completely utilitarian. It even has a skirt guard so you can ride in your Kilt if the mood strikes you. Thanks for the blog revamp comment. The 3 column format should give us more room to information and links on the sides.

The Douglas, thanks. It's pretty much the standard "Sand Dollar" format with a few tweaks to make it three column and allow the header to stretch. But on my 1920x1080 monitor at home, a full screen browser runs out of header. I need a wider header graphic.

Chris G., the lady that runs that blog does a good job of just making biking normal (as it should be) and not a sport or sub-culture thing. If my commute wasn't 13 miles each way, I'd be looking seriously at a more utilitarian bike like was she rides.

munsoned said...

I guess I'm still trying to figure out what looks "normal" and also will provide warmth in the cold rain, snow, and chilly wind. Jeans and a button down shirt, about as normal as you can get, works well between 50 and 30 degrees with no wet stuff. But that weather happens only a couple months out of the year.

As soon as you put on overpants, or a cycling specific windbreaker(which will work way better than non-cycling specific, due to fit), you lose the "normal" look.

I guess I'm still struggling with the idea of whether me commuting in plain clothes is going to change anyone's mind about how to treat me and/or give commuting a try themselves.

Maybe once the bike lanes are up and people have a safer route to travel, it'll make things better. After watching this video about cycling booming in NY again, it made me realize how important bike lanes are. Once lanes are visible and used often it makes bikers more viable. Right now we're such a minority that no one takes us seriously.

I hope Omaha gets there someday. That will be the day...

The Douglas said...

I think man'pris, or knickers are as "normal" as I can get. My commute is 12 miles each way so straight pants aren't going to cut it. I've tried. Knee flex is an issue. Cuffing the legs work on short distances. Thanks to knickers/shants/man'pri's I can go into stores without too many stares. Having a messenger bag and helmet help people understand why I'm wearing knickers. I work in the most judgemental environment you'll find, and even my coworkers "get" why I wear knickers in public. When the temp drops below freezing I throw a pair of tights on underneath. In rain I wear rain pants. A thin wind-breaker does the job of two long sleeve shirts.

AOJules said...

I am giggling at the idea of guys being jealous of girls and their cycling fashion options. If you only knew how jealous we are of your hair and makeup (non) issues!! :).
I have also made the effort lately of choosing more regular clothes, but agree that precip makes it very hard.

I think just being out there on a bike in the colder elements is an awesome statement in and of itself! Kudos to all of you who do it!

Biker Bob said...

I bought this darling wool skirt that I plan to start riding in....;-)

I think we all realize that at longer distances it's difficult to dress casual. I also wear knickers in the winter for commuting. But for shorter distances everyday clothes can work just fine. Even bad weather can be handled with non-technical clothes.

I don't think any us need to change what we are wearing (unless we want to). I think the point is that we don't want people to think they have to dress up in $500 of technical gear to ride their bike in the winter or rain.

Scott Redd said...

I've been riding home in my regular work clothes all November. I prefer to ride to work and shower at the gym facilities, so I do wear my knicks, cycling jackets, etc.

I like the part about the cookies. :)