Week 1: Dressing the Part

April 10, 2011 at 8:42 pm Leave a comment

The past week has been one of overlapping goals, the primary one being to ride daily as part of the 30 Days of Biking challenge.  But readers also might recall the following 2011 resolution:

“Donning non-Spandex clothing more often while cycling, thereby reducing the freak factor and making cycling seem more normal.”

Surprisingly, this secondary goal ended up being almost as challenging as the primary one.

Helmet hair

They can't see your spandex beneath the table, but they know you're a cyclist by your helmet hair.

Once upon a time, you’d have had to pin me down and force-clothe me with spandex.  The tight fitting garments in day-glow colors seemed absolutely ludicrous.  Why not dress as a clown instead?  I mean, what adult would willingly wear spandex in public?

Then, after some years of prodding by the husband, I finally bought spandex bike shorts and learned the true joys of sports clothing.  No more bunching and sweat-soaked fabric, no pants legs getting caught in chains.  After learning to appreciate the shorts, I added neon-colored jerseys and socks to the wardrobe. The brighter, the better (anything to stand out in traffic).  I’ll be the first to admit that stopping conversation when you walk into a business takes some getting used to, but screamingly loud and tight clothes certainly have their place in bike culture.

The biggest drawback to wearing cycling clothing while commuting has been walking down the halls at work feeling like I’m wearing a swimsuit.  Thus, the plan to don “normal” clothing for 2011.  I had no idea, though, it would be difficult to find garments that felt comfortable while also functioning well on the bike. This past week was all about experimenting with the following options.

Option one:  Skort.  This combination skirt/short looked so lovely in the catalogs, but it didn’t work out well.  I used to wear one to work.  Why did I stop?  Two reasons–1) half the skirt flies out to the side like a flag in our winds, and 2) I look like a dork.   Or maybe it’s more like a refrigerator wrapped in a bath towel.  At any rate, the skort lasted exactly one ride.

Option two:  High-tech bicycling capri made of wicking fabric with an interior spandex short.  Within two blocks, the capri had slid down nearly to hip level.  Egads.  Like the skort, the high-tech capri made it one ride, barely.

Option three:  Cheap cotton capri pants from the local discount store.  Finally, a winner.  There’s no bunching because they fall below the knees and stay put while cycling.  The waist is high enough that there’s no crack problem.  I bought one size larger than normal to accommodate spandex bike shorts underneath for cushiony comfort.

And yet . . . for the weekend it was back to the spandex.  Ah, so comfortable and gaudy.  This could be more of a challenge than expected.

30 Days of Biking, week 1:

Apr. 1 / Rode around the block
Apr. 2 / Nothing
Apr. 3 / Rode around the block
Apr. 4 / Evening ride around the neighborhood
Apr. 5 / Work commute
Apr. 6 / Work commute, stop at recycling bins
Apr. 7 / Work commute
Apr. 8 / Work commute
Apr. 9 / Farmers market, recycling, bike shop errand


Entry filed under: Bicycling, Commuting, Goals. Tags: .

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Passionate about Bicycling

I don't bicycle for a living, but I do bicycle to live. It's that simple.

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2012: 3,624 miles total
2011: 1,632 miles total
2010: 3,132 miles total
2009: 2,840 miles total


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