Clothes For Biking Are Just Clothes

Or: You are NOT Lance Armstrong.

It’s summer, so I see a lot of people on their bikes getting around. Generally you can tell the students from the professionals, but I’ve noticed a disturbing trend of not so young professionals on bikes wearing ‘bicycle’ gear. I keep telling people, you don’t need special bicycle gear to commute to work. And unless you’re actually racing or doing those long distance treks without stopping, dressing up like Lance Armstrong makes you look hilarious to the rest of us.

I own three items of clothing that are bicycle only: my helmet, my gloves and my pants strap. I only use the helmet regularly. The gloves I use when I’m doing things like Bike the Drive, or other such long-distance bike runs. The pants strap… I don’t like. I get grease on my pant leg anyway, so I just roll my pants up and wear thick ski socks when it’s cold. And boots. It’s a great look.

But today I saw the following:

  • A guy (Chris, who also has a Dahon) dressed like me, pants rolled up.
  • A guy in tight jeans, rolled up (i.e. hipster)
  • A woman in shorts and Teva sandles
  • A woman in a skirt-suit (I cheered and she smiled)
  • A woman in a regular summerish clothes (I think she works at my library)
  • An overweight, out of shape, beer-belly man in tight lycra shorts and a technical jersey

That last guy gave me whiplash, turning my head around so fast to go ‘What the hell?’

People. Don’t bother with the lycra/Lance Armstrong stuff. It doesn’t make you cool and it makes you look like an idiot. Nuff said.

2 responses

  1. Don’t knock the equipment until you’ve tried it.

    I used to ride ten miles to work. Jeans, cotton t-shirt and cotton socks = clothes drenched in sweat and my legs burning from chaffing against the denim.
    Bike shorts, bike jersey and bike socks = sweat wicked away from my body so I am cool and dry and no chaffing. They also provide great support for whats down there, which makes for am much more comfortable ride.
    It is even worse in the winter because cotton jeans and shirts soak up the sweat and then you ride in a wet blanket. Water wicking long underwear pull the moisture away from the body while keeping you warm.

    Maybe for shorter rides it doesn’t matter, but when you ride hard for ten miles or more the right equipment really improves the comfort level. Sweating is much more effective if the clothing encourages the evaporation process, rather than just soaking it up and making me wet. If you are embarrassed to wear those tight shorts put them on under your regular shorts and they will help. You can also buy solid color jersey’s that look more like a normal t-shirt. If you have to change into “business casual” at work anyway, might as well be comfortable on the ride.

    Trust me, I was very resistant to wear those funny shorts, but my bike shop owner talked me into it and now I wear them for almost every ride.

    1. Tried it and don’t need it.

      I’ve biked 10 miles in chinos and a t-shirt, and never had any issues with chaffing or over-sweat (except that I am a sweaty person by nature). Also I’ve turned to things like wool for ‘wicking’ when needed. But for me, it’s not the milage persey but how much you’re pushing it. I bike COMMUTE, so I’m not trying to ride super fast, and I suspect that makes the difference.

      As for long undies, mine are the same if I’m walking or biking 😉

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