Tag Archives: Clothing

Fall outdoor clothing – Part Deux

This post builds on my last post “Fall outdoor clothing – Practical or Parisian?“. Time to hit the lower body layers …

Shorts – There are a couple ways to do the base layer for cycling – 1. Typical bike short with Knee Warmers or Leg Warmers. 2. Knicker bib short (chamois bike short that goes past the knees). No merino wools in these, just your typical bike short material (synthetics).

Full-length tights – There are many designs of basic full length tight that can be pulled over bike shorts or just worn straight up for running. Thickness ranges from a basic spandex layer, to a mid-thermal layer with fleece lining. There are also thermal layers that have wind-proof front paneling and stretchy rear paneling for movement. These pants are great for light rain or moderate intensity workouts. A snugger fit is better for cycling and running. Look for reflective stripes for outdoor activities at night or early morning. Example: Sugoi Midzero Zaptight or Sugoi Firewall Tight.

Waterproof
If it’s a deluge, or you’re going to be out in the rain for a while, a waterproof pant might be the way to go. I tend to find the waterproof pants too hot when cycling, but they’re worth it when it’s cold and absolutely pouring. GORE makes a baggier, waterproof pant that can be pulled over tights or shorts. They might even go over small body armour for freeriding. Example: GORE Solid2 windpant or Sugoi Majik Shell.

Socks and Shoes
Don’t forget your feet! There are a few options here … waterproof socks, booties (not booty, you can shake it, but we’re talking about shoe covers here …) or Gore-Tex shoes.

Wool socks are great for running and cycling. There are also waterproof socks that are apparently somewhat breathable, but I’ve heard they can still get a bit sweaty. I imagine if you have room in your shoe, a merino wool sock with a waterproof sock overtop would be ideal. Or, go straight to the gore-tex shoe! Both Shimano and Northwave make them.

There are many different brands and designs of shoe covers. It’s worth taking your shoe in to ensure that the booties are a tight fit. There are windproof or thermal booties that aren’t waterproof, and there are full-waterproof shells. Some don’t fit cross-country shoes as well as road shoes, so I suggest again, bring your shoes in to try them on.
Example: GORE Race Power 2 shoe cover, Pearl Izumi soft shell Cyclone shoe cover.

Waterproof shoe covers

Quick summary:
When looking for new fall clothing, think:
Base Layers – merino wool, wicking and comfort, snug lines
Outer layers – water/windproofness, reflective stripes, pockets, breathability

Wish I had warm and dry gear! Cold, wet & muddy race conditions - Test of Metal 2007.

Fall outdoor fashion – Practical or Parisian?

Parisian commuter

Thankfully, practical. Although this guy gets props for adding crochet to his commuter bag, we won’t be seeing any of this from our mainstream brands. Due to our inclement, widely varying climate … practical, functional layers are IN on the west coast.

Layering and wool is the way to go. This is not a new concept, it’s just been made a LOT better through the use of quality materials (e.g. merino wool, Gore-Tex) and FUNCTIONAL CROSSOVER designing in mind. This means that this fall’s cycling clothing will also work for running, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, for example. This not only makes sense, it saves us dollars by being able to wear the same gear for many sports.

I spent some time with Cynthia, Manager of Different Bikes in West Vancouver, last week to get the inside scoop on this year’s fall/winter gear. This blog is set up in two parts … Part 1 – Upper Body Layers, Part 2 – Lower Body Layers.

Part 1 – Upper Body Layers

Cycling apparel companies are going back to the days of wool … it’s not new, it’s what the boys of the Tour de France back in the beginnings wore, wool jerseys. Wool is a natural wicking fabric that doesn’t cling to odours and leaves you feeling drier and more comfortable than any synthetic or cotton can. Merino wool has been increasingly popular the skiing/snowboarding scene, and has finally made it to the cycling world. Example: Sugoi merino wool base layer called the Sugoi Wallaroo 170 Cruiser.

If you go with a short-sleeve jersey, add some arm warmers that can be removed if the weather heats up. I’m a huge fan of the arm warmers!

A great mid-layer is a thermal/fleece pullover layer that is fitted, possibly with at least 1/4 zip for air-flow and comfort. Keeping base and mid layers fitted is key to ensuring you can fit more layers over top comfortably. Example: Sugoi Jersey Midzero Zip

Thermal/windproof
A jacket with wind-proof front paneling and a breathable, stretchy back is ideal for cold nasty days. It will keep you warm from the blowing wind while allowing you to breath through the back paneling. Look also for reflective stripes and pockets. Most jackets also have a bit longer back to cover the lower back more when bent over cycling. I’ve had a jacket like this for commuting and it’s lasted me years and I’ve worn it a lot, I almost prefer to wear it even in light rain because it’s so comfortable!

Waterproof
Gore-Tex and similar synthetics are the name of the game when it comes to waterproofness. GORE brand clothing contains Gore-Tex, a waterproof, breathable material that is also light-weight and easy to pack away in a back pocket. An example is the GORE Power 2 jacket – it’s very light, available in bright colours, has taped seems and zippers, reflective stripes, back-pocket and is a fairly stretchable material. Another similar waterproof jacket is the Sugoi Majik Shell jacket. It is not made of GoreTex and I’m told is not as breathable a material, but has side zips and a back panel flap for extra airflow. It also has taped seams, front chest pocket, four-way stretch in the back and is slightly lighter than the GORE jacket.

Gloves
You can even layer gloves if you wish. There are waterproof shell type gloves that can be worn over your normal bike gloves that are great for rainy days. Or, you can go with a slightly bulkier glove that has a thermal, wind-resistant and waterproof layering. I’ve been wearying a Sugoi pair for the past few years that have been awesome! They’re just the right thickness to keep my hands warm, but aren’t too think to inhibit braking and shifting.

Check out some of the gear at Different Bikes used as examples:

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