Beautiful morning, generous bike lane, zero traffic; just about perfect.
I don’t often ride in purpose-made cycling clothes anymore. This isn’t a political statement as much as it’s a statement of personal preference; I simply no longer have a desire or need to wear specialized “cycling wear”. And although I think there may be some merit to the idea that people riding bikes in normal clothes present a positive image of bicycling to the general public, I certainly don’t look down on those who choose to wear cycling-specific clothing. I suppose when it comes down to it, I’m pretty much an agnostic on the Cycle Chic versus Lycra question.
My routine in the winter and spring is to wear my work clothes and simply layer up over the top with various fleece vests and coats. It’s usually cold enough when I leave for work in the morning, and I ride slow enough on my inbound commute, that I’m not concerned about perspiration. As the year progresses and the weather warms, I shed layers until I’m down to just a shirt and slacks in the spring.
When the temps approach triple digits like they did yesterday, I switch over to a garment swapping routine that puts me in progressively lighter and cooler clothing as the day warms: on the morning commute while it’s still relatively cool, I wear slacks and a long-sleeved shirt (this could be a tech-T or a lightweight wool shirt ); then, when I arrive at the office I clean up and change into a short-sleeved, lightweight, work appropriate shirt; and for the ride home, I swap the slacks for a pair of lightweight, breathable shorts. On the few days of the year when we’re actually in triple digits, the work clothes are packed from the start and it’s shorts and a breathable shirt on both the inbound and outgoing legs of the commute.
We’re lucky to have such mild weather here in Northern California; by mixing-and-matching the “normal” clothes in our closet (for us that’s a mix of cotton street clothes and all-purpose, REI-style “outdoor” clothing), we’re able to stay comfortable on the bike throughout the year. I’m guessing that in other regions where the weather is more extreme, clothing choices are more difficult and specialized bike clothing is more of a requirement.
What about you? Do you wear specialized, bike-specific clothing on your commute, or do you just wear the street clothes that are already hanging in your closet?
CNN has an excellent article on folders in their Tech section. I particularly loved this quote:
When the bicycle becomes a practical prosthesis, anyone can morph from a public transit commuter to a folding cyclist to an empowered pedestrian.
It’s worth a read.
A study conducted by researchers at the transport research institute at Hasselt University in Belgium, found that bicyclists inhale five times as many toxic nanoparticles as drivers and pedestrians on the same streets. Proximity to tailpipe pollution as well as higher respiratory rates account for the higher particle intake. This is the first time both respiration and particle quantity were simultaneously measured in a study of this kind.
This is obviously bad news for bike commuters who currently ride in heavy traffic. The knee-jerk reaction would be to say that bicyclists should ride less. Of course, we know that many of the most deadly diseases are closely linked to a sedentary lifestyle, so riding less has its own dangerous side effects. Better solutions include more separated facilities to enable bicyclists to put together commutes that bypass major arterials and heavy automobile traffic, riding slower to keep your respiratory rate down, and of course, fewer cars on the road.
Our friends at North Central Cyclery had a few of our photos enlarged and mounted to hang in their shop in DeKalb, IL. It’s fun to see photos of our own backyard hanging on the walls of a nice shop on the other side of the country. Thanks, Tobie!
Thanks for sharing a very resourceful site for us enthusiasts. Wonderful images, great insight, and well comprised and useful bicycle information. I too have often pondered the thought of owning “Just one bike”. My fascination with vintage style bicycles only dates back a few short years, thus making me a kid in a candy store. I do own a few enjoyable bikes that I’m not ready to part with just yet. Here is my first purchase that I would like to share:
- 1970′s Men’s Schwinn Suburban (Chicago Built)
- Wald front basket
- Vintage military panniers
I have a Brooks Flyer and cork grips that I have been holding off on installing…originality is getting the best of me.
Every bike has a story. Mine is simple – Collect and recycle cans,bottles,etc. Cash it all in and purchase a bike to restore. Repeat process three more times. Now our family of four all have a bike to enjoy for under $250 bucks.
Enjoy your saddle time!
I am a Regional Vice President of an Employee Benefits Company, so I have to fly out somewhere about 3 times a month but the rest of the time, I work out of my house or see clients here in South Florida. About 3 months ago I decided not to renew the lease on my car. I began commuting by using my road bike as my main mode of transportation. Well it worked and I don’t miss the car, so I decided with all the money I saved ($1500 in the first three months alone) to get a more commuter friendly bike, the Globe Live 2. It is much more comfy and now I want to be biking all day long. And actually I can now, that I attached a waterproof iPhone kit to my bike to go along with the fenders, full chain guard and the Shimano Nexus 8 speed internal hub. And oh yes that front rack will hold 50 lbs. Next I will attach a rear rack for my canvas grocery bag panniers and I will be set. One more thing, when I ride I always have an old film camera around my neck to record the fact that I actually can now see the world around me. ciao.