Before I start, let's make one thing clear: you can bike in any clothes. I see men in suit, tie, and dress shoes. Women in skirts. There's a Streetsblog correspondent who hopes he can revitalize the wearing of top coats on bikes.
But, some clothes work better than others. Herewith, my thoughts ...
There are so many variables that go into your biking commuting costume. How far are you going? What is your access to changing facilities? How fast are you going to ride? What kind of weather are you going to ride in?
Oh, and what kind of figure do you want to cut?
If you’re going to ride regularly, some bike-specific clothing can help.
- There’s a reason that serious bikers wear chamois-padded lycra bike shorts. Centuries of experience have identified them as the most comfortable thing to put between you and your bike seat. If you’re going to bike at any length consider wearing them, even if under shorts or a skirt.
- Get rain gear. Even if you plan to take the T when the weather threatens, keep in mind that you live in New England. You. Will. Get. Caught. In. The. Rain. But, if you are properly outfitted, a ride in the rain can be quite pleasant. Which gets us to …
- With proper gear, you can ride in any weather. From bottom-to-top: shoe-covering booties, various weight tights, rain paints, shirts in layers, a good quality cold-weather jacket, a rain jacket, and gloves for all seasons.
Whether or not you gear up or ride in your civvies:
- Get fenders to save whatever you wear. You can ruin clothes with the road grime that will stripe your back when it rains.
- Get a good pair of bike shoes and keep work shoes at the office.
- Get a good bike jacket and consider keeping an old jacket at the office. In colder weather, you need a lighter weight jacket when you’re on the bike than you do when you’re going out for coffee.
- Use ankle clips to keep grease off your cuffs.
Next time, what to do when you get to the office.