19 December 2013

The 12 Benefits of Biking: Apparel

Over the past year, my wardrobe has shifted. Not necessarily on purpose or quickly. It's been a slow transition. Certain clothes and shoes work better on the bike and since I don't have a chain guard, I have to be mindful about what I wear. The tenth benefit of riding a bike is the challenge of finding apparel that will work with the bike (and be somewhat stylish at the same time).

Pants // The biggest change has been my conversion to skinny jeans. They're great because they're cute, comfortable and never, ever get stuck in between links. My current favorite: Old Navy Rockstar jeans. They're inexpensive, fit pretty true to size and come in all sorts of colors. My only complaint is that they are a bit on the short side. But, if I wear boots, it's not an issue. And in the spring/summer, the ankle-length is perfect.

Shoes // I know some women who bike in heels. And more power to them. I'm no good at it. I'm also pretty bad at riding with shoes with slippery soles. Flats aren't my best friend, but when I ride to meetings, I usually have to suck it up. In August, I bought a pair of Frye Veronica boots specifically for winter riding. They are super durable and keep my feet warm if I'm wearing wool socks. I'm still looking for the perfect summer riding sandal. I'm also in the market for some basic black boots.

Seen here, ski parka, Po Campo bag and Frye Veronica boots. (There are some skinny jeans hiding there too). Not on a bike, but clearly this wardrobe has impacted my non-riding days too.
Outerwear // Riding in cool weather can be a challenge because I inevitably heat up while riding. Layers are always good. But so are scarves. I've found that scarves are just about as important while riding in the cold as are mittens. I'm a big fan of my Goodwill-purchased jean jacket in the spring and summer. If it's only mildly cold, I'll wear an old wool coat that I've had for years (great because it covers my butt - an important consideration when choosing outerwear, I've learned). If it's really cold (any temp under 25 or so), I wear my big ski parka. It usually ends up being too hot. I always have my Smartwool gloves handy and they usually do the trick. Unless it's really cold. Then I'll wear some great homemade felted mittens.

If I remember correctly, I rode in 15 degree weather on this day.
I pulled out the parka, the big mittens and a scarf for that ride!

Accessories // This year I finally invested in a bike rack. At some point, I'd love to get some panniers or a basket for it. But for now, I use it mostly for my Po Campo Trunk Bag. This is one of the coolest bike bags around. It's designed to strap onto a bike rack and has reflexive strips that face traffic. Brilliant. It's also pretty great for lugging gloves and hats and snacks for kids! I'm still wearing the helmet I bought in college. Not very pretty, but it does the trick. I asked for a new helmet for Christmas. Fingers crossed!

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