Rapidly changing weather makes for tough clothing choices. Layers as a concept is fine, but making that work in urban, suburban, on bike, off bike, in and out of stores kinda a deal can be harder. A few thoughts on that.
Being perfectly comfortable all the time with the range of weather we’ve been experiencing is difficult. If you want to simplify what you’re carrying, change your expectations. Be prepared to be cold or hot some of the time and it all gets easier. Do figure out how hot or cold you’re willing to be, and layer accordingly, but if you’re determined not to carry clothes, it’s hard to cover the range from 36F to 72F, both indoors and out, on bike and off, without some sort of compromise. If you can, please let me know what clothes allowed you to do that.
A great piece for me is a light sweater with a standing collar (1/4 zip). It keeps me warm, rarely gets too hot in an conditioned office or light breeze while keeping me from getting cold and clammy feeling. I have one from North Face (it has a nice fleece lining on the collar) I bought on clearance at EMS on club day (who doesn’t like a double discount) but any brand will do… just make sure it’s light.
But even as I play chess with the weather I try to simplify other aspects of my life through the continuing search for products that work in more than one setting (thus allowing me to have fewer or less, which in turns reduces my option anxiety). In the shoes that are comfortable in numerous settings category I’ve inducted Dansko clogs.
“It began with a uniquely designed and patented Danish clog, discovered by company founders Mandy Cabot and Peter Kjellerup, in a tiny shop in Denmark in the late 1980s. This husband and wife team, then professional horse trainers, flipped over their discovery of “the perfect barn shoe,” and, quite literally, put them through two years of “acid-testing.” Mandy and Peter found these shoes to be extraordinarily comfortable, virtually indestructible, and attractive enough to wear almost anywhere. They were the only shoes they ever wore. Mandy and Peter secured the exclusive rights to the stapled clog product line from Denmark, and “Dansko, Inc.” was up and running in 1991.”
Nice story eh? Anyway, they’re plenty comfortable and can easily fit into work, casual, and chores situations. Casual biking only please (atmo).
I have a couple of pieces like Chrome’s Shins that have a bit of padding to make biking more comfy without the “it works on the bike but not off” effect of regular bibs or shorts. But because it’s built into the clothes, if the look ain’t right (I can’t really wear knickers at work) then they’re not a choice. Providing more options, I’m really enjoying Rapha’s new merino boxers. Merino is a true wonder material, the Cyfac pad is useful on the bike but not overwhelming off, and for those trips to park where TheKid™ is on, then off the bike, in, then out of the trailer, playing on the bars and then onto the next thing, they’re a great option making the riding more comfy and hanging out off the bike more casual and less technical. Rapha warns to order down one size, I’d say for sure.
Now I know what you’re thinking… Aren’t they a bit warm? I’ll have to keep you posted. So far? Nope. They do sport light mesh panels on the sides which helps them breath. They have flatlocked stitching so the seams won’t chafe, and they do have a fly if you find that helpful. And no… I’ll not be modeling them (count yourself lucky).
[Seriously? You need to ask me if something from Rapha is expensive? In this case, moderately so if you consider what you pay for cycling shorts, significantly so depending on what you pay for underwear.]
Not that it affects any improvement on the layering or performance issues, but a cool T is just that. Johan Bruyneel is branching out from his role as one of the most successful cycling team managers to a purveyor of shmatas. Pave is cool though, so I sport this in good fun. Watch out for the women’s sizing, they run small, order up one.