Friday, July 15, 2011

Bike Camping (2)

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So yesterday I gave a little overview of bikes, and today we'll chat clothing.
There is a whole market of cycling specific clothing out there, and the majority of it can be ignored. (1) You aren't racing. You don't need super sleek materials, shirts with ill-fitting zippers and grippy parts. (2) You're riding more than your beach cruiser to the grocery store. Clothes catering to this crowd usually have huge chamois and overly colorful. (3) You're going to get off of your bike and go into stores/shops/etc. i.e. interact with society.
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You will benefit from some simple wool or synthetic clothing though. For fall rides, I love Lole lightweight ski/snowboard pants and Patagonia makes a similar pair. One pair I have has elastic cord at the ankle that you can cinch down and the other has a zipper, so when unzipped they look like regular pants. JG likes MUSA bottoms which you can get through Rivendell. In terms of cycling shorts, JG occasionally wears a pair of padded wool shorts from Ibex and I ordered a pair from Icebreakers to test out. I'll take those a pair of triathlon weight shorts and either another pair of tri shorts, or Terry knickers, depending on the temps. The tri-weight shorts really can't be beat for 90 degree, humid riding, but I'm much more comfortable in knickers if I don't have over-shorts on.
The convertible jacket by Pearl Izumi is my most useful cycling article. It's the perfect weight and the sleeves unzip & fit nicely in the back pocket, and the Marmot Precip has treated me well for 10+ years of riding, climbing and hiking. IMGP4096
I have struggled to find an appropriate warm-weather riding shirt though. I've been through about a dozen Pearl Izumi shirts, and I'm not sure who does their product development, but it's not women who ride bicycles. I love Ibex long sleeve shirts, but theirs (and Icebreakers) don't seem to be long enough in the short-sleeve version. I have a few Icebreaker tops on the ways, so I'll review those later. The best shirts are plain little tank tops, though they usually have some cotton in them and no back pockets. I think I'm going to wear a Homage and may cut the sleeves off... Another great riding staple of mine is a little black dress from Patagonia. It is perfect as it is lower cut yet not revealing and the material is a bit heavier, but wicks away moisture amazingly. Plus it looks good off the bike.
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Footwear. Now you're footwear is going to be specific to your pedal choice, but in general I tend to think that you'd look for a shoe with a stiff sole. I ride with Crank Brothers pedals, therefore need a shoe with a cleat. I get a discount on Pearl Izumi shoes, so wear those. For typical commuting I wear the mens Enduro II, but grind out sections of the bottom around the cleat so you can walk without the cleat hitting the floor yet still clip in. Remember, you will probably be interacting with society and don't want to be the Fred that click/clacks around the store. If I didn't clip in, I'd go for a pair of Chrome shoes- I have the Kursks and enjoy them. JG wears simple Vans slips-ons, though has worn toe covers in the past to add some cushioning from his cages. We both prefer wool socks, and if necessary, Gore windproof socks, which are the 2nd more useful piece of gear.
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There are a few items that are easily overlooked yet can greatly increase your trip happiness. A lightweight pair of gloves and Prana headband to act as an earwarmer. Even in the warmest climates, the evening and morning can get chilly. And if you don't plan on wearing a helmet, a little hat helps in both warm and cool temps.
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Early morning ride to the BART on the Xtracycle

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Read other posts on Bike Camping:
Bike Camping 1Bike Camping 3, 2011 trip pack list, 2011 12-day trip from Pittsburgh to north of Kingston, Ontario, 6 day autumn trip on the Allegheny Passage

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