Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dressing for the Road

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  • Alice Ronald, in reply to BenWilson,

    They are good - I don't mind that they run in the daytime & I wouldn't want to have to realign the magnets on a frequent basis, they can be a bit fiddly. If it's bright, you can't see them, and if it's slightly dim then it's good to know they're on. The funniest bit is when my workmates come & tell me that I've left my lights on when I parked my bike, because the capacitor is still running down.

    From what I can tell, they don't get brighter - because the induction charges the capacitor & which then powers the LEDs, they're just on (flashing). But then, I never go very fast on that bike :)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • JackElder,

    Riding sportingly, I'll dress sportingly - i.e your standard lycra shorts and a bike jersey (in either lycra or merino - I can recommend Soigneur for locally-made merino jerseys that look very smart).

    Riding short distances - anything under about 5k, basically lunchtime errands or trips between offices - I'll just wear whatever. My errand bike has flat pedals (DMR V8s - with a pair of rubber-soled shoes they're astonishingly grippy) so it's all good even in normal shoes.

    My commute is about 20k and includes a rather large hill, so I tend to treat it as a sporting ride and go hard, typically in the lycra/merino combination as stated.

    As regards cycle-specific clothing, my number one pick would be a good rain jacket. Yes, you can ride in a normal raincoat; but anything cut normally will tend to bunch up at the top of your thighs when you're cycling, which is pretty uncomfortable. Cycling jackets are cut high at the front to avoid this. Plus, y'know, bright orange.

    And if you've not tried bib shorts yet, you really should. I no longer own a pair of non-bib shorts. Everything stays exactly where you left it, there's no chafing and no tight waistband. Brilliant.

    Wellington • Since Mar 2008 • 708 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Alice Ronald,

    there’s the one guy who likes to literally go against the flow & ride the opposite direction in the cycle lane (so he’s facing the oncoming cars & bikes).

    NYC Bike Snob refers to this as "salmoning".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 3122 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to JackElder,

    As regards cycle-specific clothing, my number one pick would be a good rain jacket. Yes, you can ride in a normal raincoat; but anything cut normally will tend to bunch up at the top of your thighs when you’re cycling, which is pretty uncomfortable. Cycling jackets are cut high at the front to avoid this. Plus, y’know, bright orange.

    And longer at the back. It's not as much fun with a wet bum.

    ETA: you can get them in colours which are relatively high vis, or with small reflective strips, such that you don't look like a road-worker.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That pannier has improved my cycling life a lot. As you say, flat back so it carries paperwork well (and looks presentable for meetings), works pretty well as a backpack, and just swallows up whatever you put in it. I can easily come back from the supermarket with far more than I’d want to carry in a backpack. I had to get a rear carrier that cost a bit more because it had to be the wider version for disc brake hubs, but it’s all been money well spent.

    Though it isn't clothing, it certainly affects your choices. Suddenly you've got somewhere to put a jacket and gloves if the sun pours out, or to store one in anticipation of rain and wind.

    You also get things off your back, so you're more comfortable and not sweating on the back so much. A sturdy rear basket does the job reasonably too, but the higher centre of balance can take a little getting used to.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Mike O'Connell, in reply to Alice Ronald,

    Then there’s the one guy who likes to literally go against the flow & ride the opposite direction in the cycle lane (so he’s facing the oncoming cars & bikes). But he’s a special case.

    Gosh, that could be me! I live close to Tennyson St. I use short stretches at least, sometimes taking the 'wrong way' for convenience to go the few metres to get to the nearest short-cut side street rather than cross the road and swing back.

    I recall cycling in places like Salzburg and Vienna that cyclists can ride in either direction on either side in the bike lanes. And pedestrians tend to get tersely addressed if they stray into the bike lanes!

    There's also a better example of an off-road bike lane in Chch, the stretch linking Boys' High and Girls' High along Matai St (which then links - not so well - to Hagley Park.) The cycle lanes (both directions, same side) are nicely separated from parked cars by a grass verge.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 379 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to BenWilson,

    I’ve got induction-powered Reellights on the Archi bike,

    How are you finding them? I've got friends who use them but I have not been impressed. They seem more vulnerable to failure than hub dyno lights (ie, I see a lot that are not working) and they're not very bright. But they are a lot cheaper than a hub dyno.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    The best NZ gear I’ve seen is probably the Icebreaker cycling line. Very very nice and – at the outlet stores – incredibly good value. If I wasn’t flat broke I’d have bought the whole store when I visited last.

    They did make 3/4 bike shorts which I tried for ages to find, no luck so managed to snaffle the last of the normal shorts. They don't make shorts anymore sadly, just these shorts made from thin material that pretend to be bike shorts.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Konrad Kurta,

    I walk to work here in South Korea; partly because it's so close, but also because braving the traffic on a bike (courtesy of terrible driving and un-enforced road rules) would be suicidal. My last job in Auckland was in Pt. Chev, a 15 minute sprint from Herne Bay. I treated it as a cardio workout rather than a leisurely commute, so I never wore my work clothes. In summer I wore generic sports shorts, a bright-coloured t-shirt and that was all (aside from lightly hardier 'sports' briefs). I had shower facilities at work, so I'd take my work clothes with me. In winter, I'd wear spandex pants, a thermal-ish undershirt, a t-shirt, and a reflective/fluoro cycling jacket over top. I quickly found the cut-off gloves to be a must as well; blisters suck.

    South Korea • Since Dec 2012 • 43 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    not dire diaphoresis?

    I tend to perspire heavily about
    five minutes after stopping riding…

    aaah! That explains a lot,
    The future is wet!!

    You don’t just
    write about the future,
    - you live there!!*
    and when you pause
    it catches up
    sloshing against your
    semi-porous meme brane…

    I know inspiration comes before perspiration
    and that you don’t sweat the small stuff.
    ;- )

    Ian, you are wonderful, thank you for that. :-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    A cycle lane between parked cars and the footpath potentially puts you in the path of passenger doors, but at least you can’t be knocked into the path of moving traffic

    Doors will kill you much more effectively than passing traffic unless you’re particularly unlucky.

    Seriously? More effectively than being run over? I've never heard of doorings causing serious injury except where the cyclist was knocked into the path of traffic.
    If anyone has information to the contrary, I'd be pleased to see it.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Patrick Morgan, in reply to LucyJH,

    Exactly. Your mum doesn't dress you any more, and neither do I. Wear what you want - street clothes or bike gear or whatever you are comfortable in. I've just spent the morning teaching a dozen 12 year old boys some bike skills at Brooklyn School holiday programme. I've yet to meet a kid who doesn't want to ride - so lets not put more barriers in their way.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2011 • 9 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Moz,

    I'm happy with them. I do generally use a second set of lights, simply because I'm a bit paranoid and the low mounting of the Reellights is a bit disconcerting to me. I put some detachables higher up. But I've ridden home after dark a few times without the extras & felt like I was plenty visible.

    I had one situation where the Reellights semi-failed. A bike shop tech remounted a wheel slightly off-centre and the capacitor wasn't charging. The lights still worked, but they stopped when I did (at lights etc) instead of running off the charge that had built up. Squaring the wheel fixed it.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    ETA: you can get them in colours which are relatively high vis, or with small reflective strips, such that you don’t look like a road-worker

    Just out of interest, what's wrong with looking like a road worker?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Alice Ronald,

    Squaring the wheel fixed it.

    Wow, isn't a bike with square wheels hard to ride? ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Lilith __,

    Little bumpy, but not any more than riding on Chch roads these days ;)

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lilith __,

    Just out of interest, what's wrong with looking like a road worker?

    Contrary to intention, it actually makes you invisible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10631 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Town,

    I was a fanatical cyclist (racer, courier, bike salesman) throughout my twenties, to the extent that most of my wardrobe was lycra. Fast forward a couple of decades, and lycra no longer seems my most flattering option. Mostly now I’ll ride in a merino tee. Having said that, the rear pockets in a traditional bike jersey are very handy! I personally prefer plain colours, as I still haven’t forgiven my old sport for many years of EPO and HGH antics.

    For riding on the road, moisture-wicking lycra shorts and tights are still king. For mountain biking though, nothing beats commando style loose shorts with a minimal pad sewn in. Dragonfish make my favourites here in NZ. Baggy bike shorts with integral lycra liners are a sound choice, but feel bulkier, and retain a bit more heat.

    Auckland can be a challenging place to cycle comfortably...the humidity means waterproof rainwear can be horribly sweaty. I’ve always found it better to focus on breathability over waterproofing. I have a fantastic windproof fluoro rain jacket, which will let through severe rain but doesn’t overheat.

    Gloves are a must, to prevent numb fingers and thumbs. I prefer full-finger versions for riding offroad. Good to see others recommending arm and knee warmers, they’re excellent for regulating your temperature in iffy weather – you can pull them up and down without stopping. I also like to wear an old school cycling cap (casquette) under my helmet on cold days.

    I keep my riding gear in plastic tubs next to my bikes, so getting ready for a ride is quick and painless. Even so, I’ll still ride to the dairy with jandals wobbling around on the clipless pedals.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • aimee whitcroft,

    Two things!

    First - this. Awesome star trek cycling jerseys? Yes please. Are you a red shirt? In Wellington, you are... Not sure about the other cities :P
    http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-uniform-bike-jerseys-ready-to-beam-up

    Second thing! I'm always amazed in these sorts of conversations at the lack of talk about safety. Wearing helmets seems a good idea (DO IT. head injuries are Not Cool), but people don't tend to talk about the amazing damage one can do one's self if one comes off at some of the speed I've seen cyclists whizz by at.

    So, gloves! Protect your hands, people. They're important. Having no skin and a lot of gravel stuck in them is a fail. And give serious thought to other parts of your body, too - I know from personal experience that cloth is better than nothing, but even jeans don't last long when meeting tarmac at anything over walking speed...

    Disclaimer: I cycle. I also ride motorbikes. I've taken liberties before, and sometimes I've paid for it...

    wellington • Since Jun 2012 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to aimee whitcroft,

    Awesome star trek cycling jerseys? Yes please. Are you a red shirt? In Wellington, you are… Not sure about the other cities :P
    http://www.startrek.com/article/star-trek-uniform-bike-jerseys-ready-to-beam-up

    DON’T WEAR THE RED ONES!

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Been considering an urbany commutery type bike for a while now, my ride to town is short and downhill-to-flat (via a ferry) and the return home has a brief but steep enough haul up from the ferry. Question for you urban cycley types - how realistic are the three-speed hubs in Auckland? Linus Roadsters etc look lovely but the price differences to go from single-speed (not me)/3-speed up to 8-speed shifters seems kinda not insignificant...

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1727 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Awesome star trek cycling jerseys?

    There is a time and a place for Star Trek, and the bike isn't one of them - unless you plan to wear fake pointy Vulcan ears as well.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2210 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    There is a time and a place for Star Trek, and the bike isn’t one of them.

    Why the hell not? It aint compulsory. ;-)

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Davidson,

    Cycling doesn't need to "de-lyrac-fy" any more than swimming, or running, or walking down the footpath does. What cycling needs is more people riding bikes wearing whatever they need to, want to, or feel comfortable in. When you pull up next to a lycra-clad-lout at a red light, and you're in your sandles/t-shirt/shorts ensemble, there is no need to mock one another. Neither of you know why one another rides, or how far, or anything. Does it really matter? Take the opportunity to say g'day to one another and appreciate there is one less car out there.

    It saddens me when I see the Nation of Cyclists(tm) fighting along the tribal lines of what they wear. There should be no need to justify what you wear to ride, let alone why you ride. Just get on a bike and ride.

    I own a couple of road bikes and commute to work on one of them. I wear clothing with lycra because here in Sydney it can either be stinking hot or freezing cold, and I have clothing that is comfortable on the bike and accounts for both. I am not about to go and buy yet more clothing to ride in just so I'm "not wearing lycra". Do I HAVE to wear lycra? No. Do I CHOOSE to wear lycra. Yes, because it works well for me. Do I CARE others don't? Not at all.

    I love my cycling clothing. I love the fact my bib knicks (definition: cycling shorts that have shoulder straps) don't chaff and stay were they should. And that my jerseys cover my lower back don't flap in the wind. And that my shoes clip in to my pedals and make pedalling a little more efficient. And that my ear warmer does what its name suggests. And that my reflective straps and F-off headlights and two red flashers make me feel at least a little more visable. But it's purpose-specific, and I don't wear it anywhere else.

    People - just get dressed and RIDE!

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Gary Town,

    Auckland can be a challenging place to cycle comfortably…the humidity means waterproof rainwear can be horribly sweaty. I’ve always found it better to focus on breathability over waterproofing. I have a fantastic windproof fluoro rain jacket, which will let through severe rain but doesn’t overheat.

    Exactly. It’s often more comfortable to wear a light jacket and clothes that will disperse the wet.The idea of a raincoat and overtrousers isn't very appealing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22747 posts Report Reply

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