Friday, September 12, 2014

Taking the Lane: I wear Spandex sometimes

What do you wear to ride your bike to work? This may be one of the most common questions I get asked by someone new to the joy of riding a bike for transportation. There are also countless articles on the internet and each one seems to have a slightly different answer on what the best commuting wear is. Sometimes the difference of opinions can be quite intense. We at Taking the Lane believe that the best thing to wear on your bike is what ever you walk out the door in, however there are a few aspects to keep in mind as far as comfort and coolness are concerned. (Let's face it, if you do not feel cool in what you have on, you will enjoy the experience less.) Over the next couple of weeks, we are going to be really analyzing several aspects of commuting clothing to you make the best choice for you, your bike, and your commute length.

When one thinks of competitive cyclists, one things of spandex. Those bright, skin tight ensembles with a wedge of padding around the tush, otherwise known as a cycling kit. They seem a little silly, until you don your first kit and go for a ride. It feel like you are wearing your comfiest pajamas if they were made of aerodynamic sports fabric instead of flannel. It really is the most comfortable way to ride, especially on long trips. So for some, it becomes a natural choice to wear while commuting.
Commuting through the ice. Just kidding.
Photo by Piper Williams
There are many benefits to riding in kit. It is more comfortable for cycling. This is especially useful if you have a long commute. (I work with individuals who commute 20 miles or more each way and they all wear kit.) There is no danger of having a pant leg get stuck in your chain. The fabric is sweat, wicking and quick drying. And, kit can look really cool, especially if you are using more a performance bike to commute. Of course "coolness" can be location depended. In my area casual commuting is viewed as cooler in London, the actual city, but kit reigns supreme in the London suburbs.

All of us rocking the Sheclismo Kit
photo by Piper Williams
There are downsides of wearing kit. One being that it requires a change of clothing when you arrive your destination. This can mean more to carry. Cycling kits can be on the pricey side. (Nice ones start at $100 and go up from there.) Also, kits, more specifically, cycling shorts, really shouldn't be worn too many times between washing, necessitating purchasing multiple.  Spandex clad cyclists sometimes have a reputation of being snobbish, although I have not seen research data that can confirm any validity to this stereotype.

Is wearing a kit right for you? Well that depends on several different factors,  the most important being, do you want to commute in kit?

And a few other questions to ask yourself: Does it make your ride more comfortable? Do you find it more compatible with your bike? (If you a have nice cruiser bike, it may not be the most idea option.) Does the length of your commute justify the added hassle of changing? A 2 mile commute might be a little short, but that is personal preference. Do you feel cool?

Also, if you want to rock the Sheclismo kit, be sure to get your order in by the 21st this month.

As for me, I sometimes commute in kit or spandex, especially if my ride is longer or weather conditions are adverse and I sometimes ride more casually. Stay tune of the next couple weeks to learn about a few other styles, a bike fashion tips from the experts on our writing team. Don't worry casual commuters, we will write something for you too. And if you need shopping tips for any bike style, we got you covered there too.

But remember, what is most important is that you rock whatever you wear, or don't wear on the bike.

Naked Portland Bike Ride

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