Cycling Fashion

I’ve seen a bunch of recreational cyclist out the last couple of weeks and over 90% of them seem to be clad in spiffy cycling jerseys and shorts. I’ve also seen a few other commuters this week and they’re outfitted the same way.

I don’t want to upset those of you who are used to wearing Lycra / Spandex for your daily commute — but I just don’t get it. Fritz kids me sometimes because I tend to commute in a tee-shirt, jean shorts and old tennis shoes. I only rack up 10 miles a day on my commute so it works for me; plus I want people who are driving by thinking they might want to take a crack at bicycle commuting to see me and know that they don’t need to go out and buy a whole new outfit to give it a try. I like this comment from the Rivendell Bicycle Works site:

“In America, cyclers who are otherwise normal wear spandex shorts and skin tight jerseys with psychedelic geckos, skulls & crossbones, wilderness murals, flags and serious-looking bald eagles, and advertisements for the local coffee shop or podiatrist. The message it sends potential riders is that without special clothing, they’ll have a substandard experience on the bike, but of course that’s not true.”

Is there really an advantage to the Spandex for shorter commutes? I truly am interested in your comments.

Dashing Tweeds

Now, on the other hand, I was checking out Velorution last night and wonder if these fashions are the anti-spandex. Perhaps it might be a bit cooler in London than it is in my home base. Still, I think it would be a blast to have one of the tweed outfits with the woven reflective thread in the late fall — I’ll bet more drivers would notice me.


Photo from the Velorution site by Giovanni Canitano and used with permission. (Thanks Andrea)

Sign up for our Adventure-Packed Newsletter

Get our latest touring, commuting and family cycling posts and sales delivered to your inbox!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

0 thoughts on “Cycling Fashion”

  1. Othemts says:

    I wear what I wear to work unless it’s really hot and then I go with t-shirts and shorts. I’ve never even owned a cycling jersey, although I do have the lycra shorts for longer rides.

    I love the tweed outfits, but I’ll wait until the fall. It’s 97 degrees in Boston today!

  2. Josh says:

    I used to wear my work clothes when my commute was less than 4 miles. In the morning it’s not warm enough to break a sweat, so I could wear long pants and a polo shirt.
    Now that I go 8 miles one-way, I usually wear spandex for a more comfortable ride. Sometimes if I don’t have a clean pair, I’ll wear jean shorts or something.
    I’ve never owned a jersey. I don’t understand the need for one unless you’re in a race or something, or your sponsor is paying you to wear it.
    Hmmm… I wonder if I could sell advertising space on my body?

  3. nic says:

    I wear whatever on my commute, but lately have been wondering if I should at least wear a shirt that doesn’t hold so much moisture and then change when I get in. I stink!

  4. JiMCi says:

    My commute is 15 miles each way. Spandex is the only way to go… plain black shorts with a “safety” red jersey. No logos: I am a commuter, not a moving billboard!

  5. Ben L says:

    The only time jorts (jean shorts) should be worn is if you’re commuting to an Ozzy concert.

    There’s a gym and shower at my new office, so I’m tempted to try riding to work, but I haven’t figured out the logistics of getting the work clothes/laptop to the office. I can’t leave my laptop overnight. It’s definitely too hot to wear my work clothes on the ride.

  6. GeekCyclist says:

    Lycra/Spandex – Bibs and Jersey. But my commute is 14 miles one way. I just switched to ‘coffee shop’ pedals on my secondary commuter bike so I can make the shorter runs around the neighborhood without switching shoes.

    Ben L – try a rack and panniers, especially those from Arkel

    They have bags specifically designed for work clothes, laptops, etc.

  7. wolfy says:

    Shorts when it’s too hot for my work pants. Cotton shirt cause they stink less and don’t give me a rash.

    All this might change if I get a new job and have to look presentable.

    I use a Chrome Ranchero Pack to hold laptop. change of clothes, ipod, camera, lunch…


  8. Nicole says:

    I commute in my work clothes, heels and all, with a messenger bag to hold my laptop (when necessary), food, etc. During my 1 mile commute, I’ve been surprised to see quite a few professionals bike commuting in similar attire — skirts, shirts and ties, and even a suit occasionally.

  9. Harry says:

    Work clothes, but with bib shorts underneath. I gotta have chamois, and they prevent “plumber’s crack”. And DON’T forget the helmet.

  10. Matt says:

    I sweat a lot. I found road shorts to be more comfortable than MTB shorts, which were more comfortable than regular shorts. I like having pockets I can get to while I’m riding.

    So yeah, I wear Lycra.

  11. Gregg says:

    When my commute was only about 2.5 miles each way, I wore whatever I was wearing to class, but now that I have a job about 6.5 miles away, I wear spandex and a jersey. DC in the summer is too sweaty to wear the same clothes I’m going to have to work in, and the real bike clothes are more comfortable for a ride of that length.

  12. George says:

    I commute 13 miles each way, and I wear regular shorts and $10 nylon shirts. Cotton gets soggy.

    I’ve never tried lycra, because it’s too expensive.

  13. Adam says:

    I wear gym shorts and a tank top or t-shirt. It’s way too hot here (Tokyo) and I sweat too much to even think of wearing normal clothes. I leave a pile of t-shirts and jeans in the office and rotate it every week or so.

  14. nailhead tom says:

    I have a short commute so I can wear my blue collar duds to work without offending the other wage slaves. After work, however, the heat might require shorts and a T-shirt if the trip is straight home. If running errands in ordinary weather, I prefer to wear knickers and knee socks. This might seem a little eccentric to some, but if it’s socially acceptable for a person who has never stepped on a football field to wear a football jersey, I guess I should be able to wear clothing that actually facilitates the biking experience. I’m not racing so I don’t wear Lycra or Spandex.

  15. Brent says:

    When I go mountain biking I wear baggy shorts (biking shorts) and a jersey. On those hot summer days there is nothing like a jersey when riding for a couple hours. It keeps me so much cooler. Plus, it can get wet from my water bottle and the jersey doesn’t get all clingy.

    However, when I commute I where cargo kahki shorts with a t-shirt and Birkenstock. You read that right, sandals 🙂 They work really well with my Truvativ Hussefelt pedals so I don’t have to change shoes when I get to work.

    Though, the hotter it gets here (in the mid 90s with a heat index pushing past 100) I start wishing for a jersey just because it doesn’t keep the heat in.

  16. Dan says:

    I wear my work clothes in on my 3.5 mile ride, but I ride slow to minimize the perspiration. Going home I wear baggy shorts with a liner and a T-shirt. It’s a longer ride and I tend to push myself to work off the workday stress.

    I’ll wear spandex for a recreational ride, and shorts and a T for errands and such.

    Everything works!

  17. Eric J Smith says:

    With my 15-mile each way I bought a few sets of “baggy” bike shorts and a bunch of cheap “wicking” sports shirts from Wal*Mart. Fortunately I have showers at work – and with the summer temps that great since I show up soaking wet. I use Power Grips on my pedals with cheap sneakers. (Have to save costs somewhere). Works pretty well, but I think I generally look kind of geeky. Rode the full 15 miles home in a thunderstorm today. Kind of feel like I just went “hardcore”…

  18. Carrie says:

    When it was cooler, I just wore work clothes, but now that it’s hot I wear the spandex shorts and cycling top. I guess I’ve come at it from a different route than others. I had all the cycling gear first because my husband and I would go out on long rides on our tandem. And I just came to commuting recently, so I use what I already had.

    I wear the shorts and tops because I find them comfortable, but to each her own. I also like the tops because they have nice big pockets in the back for quick access to keys and my work badge. I don’t use a shoulder bag, I use some of my husband’s old paniers. And I have to admit my one big “techie” purchase was the clipless pedals – I love them!

    We get such a variety of cyclists in our community (Twin Cities, MN) that I wouldn’t think it would keep anyone from trying commuting. You see the hard core riders in the rainbow of colors along with the street clothes commuters, the students, etc.

    Maybe I look odd in my spandex – or like a “poser” – but I’m out there having a good time. Happy riding, everyone!

  19. Jason says:

    I wear a suit of armor made from recycled Bearito Refried Beans cans. It’s hotter than I might like, but it protects me from the slings and arrows of the car culture and the rapier-like wit of drivers who yell “use the sidewalk!”

    On my feet I wear fuzzy slippers shaped like badgers, which helps convince cats, birds and small dogs crossing the street to get the lead out.

    I find that a helmet tends to scrunch up my tinfoil hat, so I usually just wear the hat with a few layers of bubble wrap wadded up inside.

    I carry all my gear in the skin of a unicorn. Well, the imitation skin of a unicorn. I’m not a monster!

    (If I can’t find all those things, or it’s laundry day, I wear mundane shorts, a t-shirt and sandals. And a helmet and gloves.)

  20. Fritz says:

    Do I really kid you, Warren, about wearing a T? It’s all in good fun. I usually wear my regular slacks that I’ll wear. I do shower and change into a clean shirt at work.

    Here are various photos of me in my bike to work clothing. I don’t see anything wrong with the full kit of lycra + jersey either, though.

    You all might also be interested in the “Velocoture” photo group at Flickr. It’s for stylin’ cyclists, many of whom spin their own clothing!

  21. dipy911 says:

    My commute is 9 miles. It is much more comfortable in the full outfit. I can’t imagine wearing cotton in the 90+ degree Overland Park Kansas weather for 9 miles. I’d end up with 5 pounds of sweat when I got work/home.

    My pedals are double sided, so on shorter trips I can use normal shoes and whatever else I happen to have on.

    Skirts on bikes are what I can’t figure out.

  22. jeff says:

    Lycra is obscene. I used to wear it (that was back in the 80s, though), but no more. I’m not trying to win any races, and I’d rather just grab something comfortable and convenient. I *am* anti-cotton, but that’s a general principle of recreation generally. I don’t hike in cotton, I don’t jog in cotton, so I certainly wouldn’t ride in cotton.

    Since there’s more to life than simply cotton and lycra, I have plenty of options. Mostly I’ll wear a wicking running shirt, a few of which I picked up cheap at Target. Maybe a little chamois would be nice, but I’m not too concerned about it at present. Then again, I’ve been off my bike for the past couple of days when the weather has been in the 90s and near 100% humidity. Me = wimp.

  23. Ben L says:

    I’ve always mountain biked in a cotton t-shirt and cargo shorts. My ability on the trails didn’t really justify dressing up as a mountain biker.

    I brought a running shirt with me one hot, breeze-less day this spring (got it for free when I ran in a 10k with some people from my company) and changed in to it after riding for 1/2 an hour. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes. Now I can’t imagine wearing anything different.

  24. Juan says:

    My commute is 19 miles each way, so it’s real bike clothes for me. I have a large collection of jerseys from the racing days, so I don’t mind wearing them, but I do prefer plain color riding shirts without any logos. I have a rack and trunk that I bring my clothes into work with, and I have a pair of shoes that I keep at work so I can ride clipless. I think it’s a bit of a stretch to believe people will be turned off by bicycle commuting, if they see others wearing clothes that they don’t have. If that’s enough of an excuse for them not to ride into work, than they were never going to do it in the first place.

  25. Tim Grahl says:

    I’m all about riding in regular clothes. No dress code where I’m at so I just show up. It also fits better when I make the run to the coffee shop or book store to hang out.

    On hot days I usually just bring along an extra T to change into once I cool off.

  26. Steve says:

    I wear the cheapest spandex shorts and loose jersey I could find. My ride is 24 miles and is really the only exercise I get. So I make the most of it. Wearing anything else that distance would be lunacy since I get really, really sweaty. Lucky for me I have a locker room at work.

  27. Patrick says:

    Doesn’t anyone get really smelly in biking shirts? Cotton never stinks for me. Non-cotton wicks, but then it keeps in the smelly stuff. I have a fan at work (it’s really hot in Austin, even in the mornings I’m dripping), and I hang my clothes up and the fan dries them off really fast. I put the same clothes back on when I get off work. I have had no complaints so far…

    My commute is 5 miles one-way.

  28. Anitra says:

    When I rode one mile to a very casual workplace, I didn’t bother changing clothes. Now that I’m starting a hybrid commute (drive, then bike ~6 miles) to a business casual workplace, I wear a bright T-shirt and bike shorts… the same outfit I wear for “serious” cycling, as I haven’t bothered to pay for a jersey. I figure I’ll be showering at work anyway, so it’s not worth it to sweat into my work clothes.

  29. RocBike says:

    Podcasting by bicycle…

    Early this morning, I chatted with guitarist Gene Bertoncini for my weekly jazz interview show, The Jazz Session. Gene was teaching at the Tritone Jazz Camp at Nazareth College, a week-long camp for adult musicians who want to learn from the pros.

  30. Kaz Koyote says:

    I commute 8 miles one way but tend to push it pretty hard and try to get a decent workout. I’m relatively new to the whole cycling world and a non conformist in most regards of anything that I do, that being said I can’t justify the money to spend on the spandex/lycra clothes. I have a couple pairs of knickers (capris) or man-pris, as I like to call them, which are perfect for cycling in warm or cold weather. One pair I was actually able to find at Ross for like $12, the other pair I made. In addition, a tee shirt or wife-beater or a sweatshirt in the sub freezing temps and I’m set. Thankfully we don’t have humid heat to contend with in Oregon, it’s relatively dry heat so perspiration is as minimal as your workout.

  31. Christian says:

    Its seems that distance and intensity factors in why people wear spandex. Its been years since I did any amateur or college race. No training no racing therefore no spandex. Anyways without the chamois your butt gets used to the saddle quicker I think. Then when you have those super long intense rides wearing that bib is just added comfort.

    Besides my rides are relatively short and flat (commuting under 8 miles one way and around town 2 or 3 miles at the most). I rarely break a sweat for work. So I pretty much where civilian clothes going to work; rolled up pants, dress shirt and save the tie for later.

    I tend to agree with the Rivendell philosophy. Some people just can’t break out of the spandex mode even if its for a short 3 mile ride.

    I would totally sport the cycling suit to work and go to a meeting. I especially like the cuts, but I’d maybe start with a solid color first.

  32. John says:

    Between 6-8 miles each way, i wear a 6 dollar pair of elastic-band shorts, on the small size so they are form fitting but not obscene. Cotton briefs and a form-fitting cotton t-shirt (the 3 for $5 hanes variety). I change at work, and all the sweat, if any, goes with the cotton. Apply deodorant.

    The only thing I don’t change are socks/shoes. I just wear slipper sneakers and my feet don’t get sweaty or nasty, thankfully.

  33. mike says:

    While I like the (Rivendell and others) concept of riding in “regular” clothes, it’s just not as comfortable for me as wearing cycling clothes. My commute is 10 hilly miles each way (or more, if I use one of the many alternate routes available), so I want clothes that make me comfortable on the bikke. At 245 pounds, I’m sure I’m part of the reason one of the above commenters thinks lycra is “obscene,” but it’s perfect for bike riding–no chafing, holds the chamois in place, plus black shorts don’t show grease/lube when you drop your chain and wipe your hands on your shorts after fixing it. And if somebody doesn’t like the way I look in them, that’s their problem and not mine. I have to put up with their NBA and NFL jerseys or NASCAR pit jackets; they can put up with my tight clothes. As you’ll correctly infer from the above listed weight, I’m no racer, but I still prefer cycling jerseys, with or without logos. The pockets are handy, the bottom gripper means you don’t have to tuck them in to keep them from flopping around in the wind, the zippers make for easy venting, etc. They stink after a ride, but the cotton t-shirts and shorts I wear for lunchtime basketball games stink even worse, and they don’t dry in 30 minutes.

  34. Noah says:

    I wear baggy mountain bike shorts without seams in the crotch area, and a liner. That helps a lot for my 28 mile R/T commute. Other than that, it’s a tee shirt for me. For short trips to the grocery store, I just wear whatever I have on. Over lunch, I’ll often ride in my work clothes.

  35. Adrienne says:

    In the Phoenix area it is REALLY hot right now. In the morning I wear the bottom half of my “corporate casual” getup — Dockers or similar, rolled up, the jewelry, belt, shoes, etc. that I’ll be wearing at work, with an old tee shirt and a helmet for the 3 mile ride to the bus stop. Then if I have to brush past another bike while putting mine in the bus’s rack, getting grease on the tee shirt is no big deal. Once at work, I clean up a bit and change the tee shirt for a more professional looking “upper half” either rolled in my pannier or prepositioned in my cubicle on a day when I drove. When it’s hotter than usual. I’ll swap the slacks for a pair of capris and ride in capris, tee shirt, sandals (and yes, a helmet).

    For the trip home I just wear my work clothes, unless it’s really hot; then I’ll change into the capri get-up.

    Even when the weather gets better, say, in late October, I’ll most likely stick with the old tee shirt just because of the grease opportunities that happen with multimodal travel and other people’s bicycles.

    Why no Spandex? Because I don’t own any. Also, as a “woman of a certain age” with varicose veins and a few extra pound, I’m pretty sure that the world doesn’t need to see me in Spandex until I’m ready to take the bicycle the entire 18 miles to work instead of just 3 to the bus stop.

  36. The Other Scott says:

    27 mile a day commute. I go half and half. Spandex/Lycra on the bottom and old ratty t-shirt on the top. I don’t wear jerseys because 1) I don’t want to pay for them and 2) My ahhhh profile is not exactly pleasing to the eye in a tight shirt.

  37. doug says:

    for my twenty-mile round trip commute, i wear dickie pants (rolled up) and a t-shirt and usually a hoodie. i carry a lot of stuff in my large messenger bag. i’ve never felt any real discomfort while riding, even when i’m in the 30-40 mile range. when i get to work i change my shirt, which is always drenched but not my pants. i wear the same pants every day and wash them once every two weeks or so (gross i know). i’ve worn holes through them where my sit-bones rub the seat. i really like these pants! i use MKS touring pedals with clips&straps. i have been thinking about switching to double-straps because the single strap hurts my feet after a dozen or so miles. i have some shimano SPD pedals and cleats, does anyone suggest a good, cheap shoe? i would like to try it but spending a lot of money on it seems dumb.

    honestly the whole idea of lyrca outfits doesn’t appeal to me. i’d rather spend the money on my bicycle.

    some problems i have encountered:

    1. helmet smell. the pads STINK. i tried boiling them, but the smell came back after one day. perhaps bleach?
    2. the shoulder pad of my bag also stinks. these are the only things that really smell bad from riding my bike so much.

  38. Darryl says:

    Just to encourage anyone who is thinking of commuting, but worrying about hauling clothes, laptops, etc:

    I have a rear rack with a set of nylon panniers. About $20 for the rack and $40 for the panniers. The panniers will hold everything I need, including clothes, laptop, hat, towels, repair stuff, pump, patches, etc. When I get to work, I just unbuckle it and take it in with me. Takes about 30 seconds to take off, less than a minute to put back on at the end of the day.

    I ride in wearing whatever I will wear for the day. I take shorts, and a different shirt to ride home in. Sometimes, I need to wear different shoes for the ride, and my pannier is big enough to hold shoes as well.

    You could also get a basket pannier, and just put your laptop case in it, and a small pack with clothes in the other side. I’d bungie the laptop in, just in case of a hard bump or spill.

    I started commuting this spring, and it’s the best thing I have done for myself in years. I have lost weight, my stress is down, and my blood pressure is down. I look forward to going to work, because that means I get to ride. My advice, if you are on the fence: just do it!!!!

    If you want to do it, don’t say “I can’t.” say: “How can I?”

  39. Mark says:

    With a 35 mile round trip commute, spandex and a jersey are essential for me, along with my reflective safety vest. Even in the cold months I sweat enough to require a shower when I get to work.

  40. Todd says:

    You know what I like best about bike commuters…the only requirement is that the person gets from their home to their place of business by bike, period. I see all kinds of bike commuters each day (East Bay Area CA), and they run the gammut…some in pure work attire…some with cut off sweat pants….ratty t-shirts…some in full lycra cycling kits. I respect all of these folks because whatever they choose to commute in is the right answer.

    With that disclaimer out of the way….I wear standard black lycra bike shorts with cheapo poly athletic shirts from Target (Champion brand “Duo Dry” material). I wear these because: 1) My commute is 32 miles round trip; 2) I am most concerned with comfort, practicality (clothes that wick moisture away and dry fast in the office), and cost; 3) I don’t really care what I look like….I’m certainly not the body type they had in mind when they created lycra shorts. I am married…I’m not on the prowl….I just want to commute in comfort and be seen on the road by motorists…

  41. Ben L says:

    Grabbed my road bike from my friend’s place today. This week I’m going to see if I can get my laptop, my pressed shirt/slacks and work shoes in the building the evening before so I can ride in to work for the first time. I’ll probably need some stuff to shower with too so I can be presentable at work.

    I bet the first time will be a cluster-F since I won’t have the logistics 100% figured out. Wish me luck.

    I’ll probably wear cargo shorts and a running shirt.

  42. Darryl says:

    Hey Ben,
    Congrats on taking the leap. How far is your ride? I go 4.5 miles, and I put extra shoes, a laptop and extra clothes in my panniers with no problem. I wear my work clothes in the morning, and just take it pretty easy to avoid pitting out. After work I change into cargo shorts and a tank top.

    My first time actually went better than I thought. I think I may have over-planned though. I did make sure to have a rack and panniers before even trying it though.

    Good luck! Report back with how it went.


  43. Warren T says:

    Glad you’re giving it a try Ben. Yep, the first week, especially the first trip or two, can be weird. You’ll quickly find out that you’re having a blast. No shame in driving occaisionally to replenish your clothes, etc. at the office.

    You may want to take a look at the Commuting 101 series for some other hints, including cleanup. Just click the link at the top of the page; and again, welcome aboard!

  44. Jimmy says:

    Europeans ride around the city in business attire and casual clothes.

    Wear what makes you feel comfortable. Lycra is a nice fabric if you perspire.

  45. red says:

    i put old tshirts on and always cotton stuff, can’t bear these plastic shirts.
    however, I have discovered the comfort of cycling padded shorts (not the sticky type) and clip-in shoes, couldn’t do without now.

  46. Patrick says:

    I’m shocked by the lack of reflective material on most bicycling clothing and other bicycling materials (or for that matter, materials for runners or just folks walking). It seems like all of the bicycling clothing manufacturers think that they’re outfitting Navy SEALs who are afraid to be noticed. I have yet to find a wicking t-shirt with any decent amount of reflective material on it.

    Laek House’s ELVS like of t-shirts with reflective material is one of the only attempts I’ve seen of trying to make something that is safe also look cool (or even included).

    I’m curious why the manufacturers seem to be so shy about using reflective materials (other than the occasional piping, which is usually absent on most cycling clothing). I want to be seen by the driver behind me.

    Any other thoughts on this or recommendations on good sources of stuff?

  47. Trek930 says:

    I have a 11.3 mile commute. So at almost 23 miles a day I ride the in lycra and bring in the work clothes. I love my panniers!

  48. […] of cycling fashionably Jump to Comments As a cyclist, and more specifically as a commuter, cycling fashion tends to elude me. While it’s no secret that I’ve been slowly building up a fixed gear bike these past couple […]

  49. GClarke says:

    I have to agree with Patrick when he says; ”
    I’m shocked by the lack of reflective material on most bicycling clothing and other bicycling materials (or for that matter, materials for runners or just folks walking).”

    For commuting I try to find highly visable and reflective clothing. I even switched to reflective tires and a high visability backpack. I’ll put my money on safety over fashion any day. Do you hear that bike manufacturers?

  50. IP says:

    Summer-time (regularly over 100)I wear board shorts and a tee shirt. There’s not much sweat in the morning, and it’s straight into the pool when I get home! I carry fresh work clothes and a towel in on Mondays. When it gets cooler, I’ll throw on the knickers ’cause I don’t need ventilated privates. If it’s below 40 I use a long-sleeve wool shirt (my base layer for skiing) and long pants.

    No spandex/lycra here, no one needs to see that!

  51. Todd says:

    I typically wear some kind of wicking t shirt because I sweat a lot to begin with. Plus, here it is already 85 degrees with 100% humidity by 6am when I tend to leave the house. The last time I wore a regular cotton t shirt it was literally soaking wet on every square inch after about 8 miles.

    For shorts, I found some really great breathable items at Target. They’re made similar to basketball shorts but aren’t ridiculously, exaggeratedly large or bulky. I’d call them soccer shorts but they come down to my knees.

    I used to wear Shimano MTB shoes with clipless pedals. You couldn’t look at the shoes and tell they were cycling shoes. I decided that’s fine for long rides (I do bike-packing and some loaded touring as well) but not on my commute where I’m stopping and starting. I switched to BMX style pedals. I can use any rubber or soft soled shoe I want to now have yet to slip out.

  52. Maggie says:

    My commute’s quite long (around 1 hour), but still, I’m not the type to go for full lycra/spandex. I normally wear a tee and a pair of sweatpants/leggings. I’m lucky to have shower facilities at work. Plus, I wear a uniform for work – and not one that would be comfortable to cycle in.

  53. Jack says:

    I am another baggy bike shorts (spandex and chamois hidden inside) and a cheap wicking shirts. We do have a gym where I have a small locker for toiletries at work where I can shower and change and then ride about 1/4 mile to my building.

    I ride a 10+ year old Rock Hopper with no suspension. I have a seat post mounted rack. I bungee my backpack style laptop bag to that. I am working out a better system for rain, but so far things stay dry.

  54. John says:

    I prefer spandex because they’re more comfortable. When I get to work I can change my clothes and not be so sweaty. I don’t think what you wear is a big deal.

    I find the comment by Rivendell about “cyclists who are otherwise normal” a bit funny. Dressing up is fun! But if you don’t like to dress up, then wear what you like!

  55. T. STRONG says:

    I wear reg. athletic shorts and a wicking shirt. I switched to platforms because, I didn’t want to worry about extra shoes. I am able to dry out & wash up before work. I will do the lycra on club rides or anything 50+ miles. 16 miles round trip for my commute.

  56. Dan D says:

    I run the gamut. I bought the full kit (loose jersey, not tight, and plain block color, no logos) for a century ride and training up for it. Since I have it, I wear it whenever it’s clean. I’ve also got some MTB shorts for places where extremely casual is okay. If none of the above is clean, I’ll ride in sweats and t-shirt. I won’t ride in work clothes because at 10 miles one way, I’ll wear them out to quickly (cycling eats though the crotch of dress slacks) and I will sweat enough to be visible on the shirts.
    When I’m just running short rides around town, I wear jeans or jeans shorts and a t-shirt or polo shirt. That way I don’t have to change when I go places, something I can do easily at work, but not so much at the local movie theatre.
    I haven’t made the switch to clipless yet, but when I do, they will be platform so I can still hop on with street shoes for those shorter rides.

    The point of cycling gear is not that its necessary, but that it makes it easier/simpler/cleaner to ride the way I want to ride. It’s a personal choice to use it because it makes my life easier. If you don’t want to use it, don’t, if you do, feel free.

  57. Joey Larz says:

    As a sort of recovering racer from about 20 yrs ago, and having a 3 leg, circle commute of 36 miles, the geek suit is my only option. I sometimes add on another 14 miles at the end to conquer 50 (is that so wrong)? I use my commute as a training ride, so I go very fast at times. I shower after the second leg (at the office) but if I’m out on my bike on a ride that may turn social near the end – let’s say grabbing a pint somewhere – I bring some light overclothing.

    Over the last 30 years or so I’ve ridden just shy of 125,000 miles, and I’ve noticed a thing or two about riding in traffic. When you’re geeked out as I am and ride with confidence and authority, drivers tend to take you more seriously. Also, cycling specific clothes tend to have higher visibility, and that’s a good thing. GClarke and Patrick are right in their appeal for more reflective lines.

    Then again, I shave my legs, too, so what do I know?

  58. Daniel says:

    If I lived in the right urban environment, I might go for some of those fashions just to have fun and get attention from other silly persons!

    I totally understand Joey’s approach. I’m also a fairly serious cyclist, and wear my Spandex and road colors every training ride, for the reasons Joey mentions–comfort, visibility and presence. I’m also a fan of VERY light pants and pullover that pack into my saddle bag to cover up my road colors when I’m off my bike.

    However, when I’m on a commute to work or just a trip into town, I change out of my clipless shoes and leave my spandex shorts and colored jersey at home. I do feel a little bit more vulnerable on the streets, but I have found, off my bike, I get a better reception in stores and among the general public if I’m wearing shorts, shirts, and shoes that look normal. The clipless pedals just are not safe when pedestrians and cars are pulling out in front of you suddenly. In town, you have to put your foot down at any given moment.

    For Dan: I’m not a fan of the pedals with SPD on one side and platforms on the other. But I’m a road cyclist, and I think LOOK are safer and better in every way for being on the road. I use LOOK as platform pedals with normal tennis shoes, by filling in with old cleats for the ride.

  59. Martin says:

    I ride 10 miles each way and dress with “technical ” garments that minimize trapping moisture. Outlier, Swrve and Sheila Moon’s make really nice, stylish urban clothing, just to name those I am familiar with. (all USA made) Then, I can stop anywhere I want, and be casual about my mode of transportation. I dont have to look like a rocket dragster. There is also a Danish designer who created urban helmets…yakkay.
    I like the awareness you raise about sending messages to drivers: you dont need to whole kit to start riding to work.
    As miles pile-up, one gets to search and use the right gear to make it more enjoyable, and be less weather driven. I make a point of riding whatever the weather. I find the greatest joy of riding During those nasty weather conditions, while still being very comfortable. Like during winter, I wear Lake boots spd, the best money spent ever ! I got to the point where I dont care about the poor condition of my car’s clutch, and prefer to spend the money on nice technical riding gear. Oh, last word : For visibility, I use a safety vest that I can remove when I get to my destination. Riding with it gets the drivers respect and attention. I live in rural TN…Trust me, you need one !

  60. Eric says:

    I’ve been bike commuting to work for about 30 years, and now ride 8 miles one way from an urban area into a suburban area. I choose clothes that will be comfortable and visible. I live in an area where motorists don’t always notice or respect cyclists, and I often have to ride at dusk, before sunrise or after sunset. One of my major goals with my clothing is to help me be seen and to stay alive. The second, is to manage heat, cold and moisture. The other day my morning commute was 38 and ride home was 75 degrees, so I need layers that can adjust for temperature. I find smart wool to be the best wicking , comfortable and non-odor producing fabric, and can start out with 2 layers under a windbreaker in the morning, maybe one short sleeve layer in the evening. I have sometimes used spandex, bright colors (for safety) but am so glad so see people pushing for real clothes for cycling as it ought to be part of everyday life. So glad for the renaissance in cycling after many years feeling like fighting a losing battle.

  61. EllenZ says:

    I’ve tried wearing normal clothing when I commute but I get too sweaty. Coolmax/spandex is much more comfortable and dries very quickly so I can put on dry clothes when I head home. Also the shammy in bike shorts is anti-microbial. I feel a lot better putting that back on later in the day vs the old sweaty cotton shorts.

Leave a comment.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


20% off ALL Ortlieb Bag Closeouts! Shop Closeouts

Scroll to Top