Commuter clothing & how to for a starter

SurfTech

New Member
Region
Europe
I've had the thought about commuting to work with a bike.
But I've been putting it off and want to make work of it.

Rain and cold weather make me put it off even more so I'm looking for equipment & clothes that are really effective.
I always use the car.

What I don't want

Being wet by the rain
Cold hands
Sweating and sitting in sweaty clothes whole day (probably hard to solve this one)

What I want
I want a simple solution
Something that is not like a parachute, I want it to be fairly tight fitting
Rainproof shoes? Or how to make my shoes rainproof?
Etc.
 

RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
Well, the ebike solves the sweaty clothes problem. You can take it easy and let the motor do the work in the morning and then get your exercise on the way home. They make rain gear, including shoe covers, but my experience is that you are probably going to get wet if it is raining hard and it may be best to bring a change of clothes when it rains. Showers Pass is a well known brand for cycling rain gear. I tend not to ride the bike in the rain, but there are some hard core commuters here that do and can chime in.
 

Dave Rocks

Active Member
Region
Canada
Do you plan on going to work on your Ebike in a suit & tie?

I commute on my Ebike every weekday to work.
Rain, Snow to 30 below.
I have a high viz parka, windbreaker and raincoat.
Snow pants and rain pants.

If you have a back pack throw your work attire in it. or get panniers.
if you are sweating on an Ebike to work you are doing it wrong.
(unless your commute is 116ºF in the morning.)
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
First pro tip: stash your work shoes in your office and leave them there. If you workplace is dressy I'd probably also leave the suit jacket or blazer at work as well.

Bring your work clothes in a pannier (should fit in one easily) and ride to and from work in comfortable clothes. Change into your clean work clothes at work and put on your clean dry work shoes you stash at the office. Change back into your riding clothes when you go home. Repeat.

Also, stash some handy wipes and if you are excessively sweaty or dirty after riding to work you can give yourself a reasonable sponge bath before putting on your clean office clothes.
 

BlackHand

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Western WA
I worried a lot about prepping for wet weather when I first started commuting. Like you, I didn't want to get wet or be dissuaded by bad weather. Trial and error helped a lot but I also just learned to embrace the experience to a certain extent.
- work shoes stay at work
-keep an extra change of work clothes at work in case you forget to pack something or your clothes get wet in your pannier.
-wear stuff that dries quickly and has a dwr coating.
-raingear is for seriously RAINY days. It's just not as comfortable to bike in and I'll trade a little dampness to avoid putting it on in most cases.
-I hate putting on cold wet shoes and gloves after a long day at work. A cheap shoe drier from Amazon under my desk solved this. It's a piece of crap and the timer broke after maybe 10 uses but it's great on those soaker days.
- I stopped worrying about trying to find the perfect waterproof shoes after I got some good Showers Pass waterproof socks. They breathe surprisingly well but block all wind and water.
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
I have a small locker at work, so I pack clean work clothes in (and take dirty out) once a week with a dry bag. I leave a pair of shoes there and a spare battery charger all the time, along with a little toiletry bag. Here on the west coast, it can be quite cool in the early morning, so I have a Helly Hansen rain shell that doesn't breathe very well, but does keep me perfectly dry and cuts the wind well when needed. I wouldn't recommend it for normal biking, but fine for the e bike since I use more assist when commuting. Most days I just wear riding pants with wind proof fronts and a base layer merino wool long sleeve shirt. The ride can start a little chilly that way, but I warm up fast once I get going so I just have a little sprint for the first kilometer to get the blood flowing. Hot weather (like right now) it's mesh shorts and a loose fitting light button up shirt, which keeps my drying off as fast as I'm generating any sweat. In general, I don't worry about a little sprinkle of rain or brief showers, but I do have pull over rain pants in the pannier all the time if it looks like a downpour is coming.

I don't bother trying to waterproof my riding shoes as I like to toss them in the laundry every month or two. They are leather though and shed basic water fine. If it's going to rain heavy and non stop, I just take my truck or motorcycle as riding the bicycle all sealed up sucks. For gloves, I find some light fingerless leather gloves work well 80% of the time, but I have some full neoprene & leather palmed gloves for cold or wet days. For truly cold spring/fall mornings, I have some gore-tex and insulated motorcycle gloves that come out.

Finally, I have two pairs of sunglasses that live in my pannier. One pair of photochromatic that can work well in cloud/low light, and after dark (I work rotating shifts with regular night shifts) - and some ultra dark grey Oakley's for the sunny days. I also have to main commuting helmets. A Thousands Heritage that does a good job of shedding water and keeping my head dry on cooler or wetter days, and a highly vented Giro with a visor (MTB Style) for hot weather.
 

SurfTech

New Member
Region
Europe
Thanks all for the quick replies!
I'm not entirely sure the ebike solves the sweaty thing.
Where I live rules are up to 25km/h so pedalling is required to go faster.

What currently seems like the best option is

Work clothes at work or bring work clothes in backpack.
Commute with commuting clothes. Commuting clothes need to be easily taken off.

Commuting clothes, dress light regardless of weather. Maybe an extra layer or two in winter but still pretty light.
The clothes should be of material that dries quickly.
Have warm gloves that are rainproof for when it gets a bit cold, the same for shoes.

Any brands you would recommend?

Taking notes beneath

DWR Coating
Shoe dryer
Showerpass waterproof socks
 

dmourati

Member
Region
USA
City
Mountain View
First, move closer to work or take a job closer to home.
Second, get an ebike
Third, profit.
 

Mr. Coffee

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
A Demented Corner of the North Cascades
One of the things you'll hit pretty quickly is that there is no one simple universal clothing solution. There is more like a toolbox, and you start with the tools you frequently use and gradually add other tools over time as you find them necessary.

Also, a lot of stuff that works for bicycling is not bike-specific. Some examples are great wind shells, button-front cotton shirts designed for hot weather, Buffs, lightweight nylon shorts, and low-cost waterproof-breathable raingear. Great, functional clothing need not be expensive, but at the same time you should not hesitate to spend money to get the right tool for the right job. (Note: all of the linked items are things that I wear on my bike, and many of them are things I wear every day).
 
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RunForTheHills

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
I used to commute to work on a non-ebike in Northern California. It was around 2.5 miles. If I took it easy on the way in, my face would be a little sweaty in the summer, but nothing a quick rinse in the sink couldn't take care of. Anything longer than that and I would have needed a shower and a change of clothes (we had a gym and showers). You can get sweaty if you dress too warm for the weather or have rain gear that isn't breathable. As Mr. Coffee said, you will learn what works for you.