Author Topic: A couple of clothing questions and comments  (Read 759 times)

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Offline New Jawn

A couple of clothing questions and comments
« on: September 01, 2021, 10:10:01 am »
Quite a few gear/clothing distributors are having Labor Day sales.

Rain coat?  My outdoor experience is all from distance hiking.  For hikers, the dilemma for rain gear is that while it may keep you dry from rain, you'll almost certainly sweat out unless other adjustments are made.  When hiking in warmish weather, I didn't bother to wear a rain jacket or pants.  I carried rain gear more for warmth and to avoid hypothermia if it was raining and cold.   That's the background I'm coming from.
For cycling the TA central route in May-June, did you carry rain gear and was it used?   The Patagonia Torrentshell 3L is on sale this weekend, it got a 'best buy' from Wirecutter, so... buy or pass?

I just assumed that pretty much everyone doing a long tour would use either padded underwear or padded cycling pants.  I've been using padded underwear  and they help.  But Bicycle Touring Pro said he never used them and went further by saying that after wearing them for multiple long days, it's more comfortable to not use them.  Anyone made the switch?

prAna Zion short pants.  Got a pair last month, have worn 8 times cycling, and they get an A+ from me.  Most comfortable short pants I've ever had in this lifetime.  And they don't look like cycling pants 'cause they're not, so you can go into stores/restaurants and no one will think you're wearing Depends.

High visibility safety shirts with reflectivity.  I refuse to look like a rolling billboard for Campari, I want to be seen and avoided by vehicles, and I discovered high-vis safety shirts -- very inexpensive, breathable, and cheap.  They're not clingy, which is good 'cause no one wants to see me in tight clothes.

Cycling gloves.  I was given a pair of Pearl Izumi.  Meh. 

My bike should be finished by next week! 

Happy trails.

Offline dkoloko

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2021, 11:26:38 am »
I carry a waterproof-breathable cycling jacket for rain and warmth before the sun has fully risen. I need padded shorts, plus lubricant for multi-day rides. I do not carry shorts other than cycling shorts on tour. I do not especially look for high visibility features when I buy cycling jerseys.

Offline staehpj1

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2021, 12:03:23 pm »
My rain gear is more wind shell than rain gear.  Probably much like most backpackers use.  The good news is it keeps the wicd chill under control and weighs only a few ounces.  It is key that there is something under it that is warm when wet, dries quickly, and doesn't soak up much moisture.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2021, 04:05:27 pm »
I take a rain jacket on tour, but most of its use has been for extra warmth.  As you've noticed, you'll get wet from sweat or from rain if it's warm (>50F or so).  But there have been a few noteworthy thunderstorms, mostly on the high plains, where a rain jacket worked well to protect me from (gasp!) rain.

Offline HikeBikeCook

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Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2021, 06:05:59 pm »
As noted, a rain jacket is good after you stop, or if you are going to get caught in rain so bad you cannot ride or find shelter - provided you can get it on before you get soaked. We just got hit with a storm like that on the Erie Canal, on a road section with only a few sparse trees. It had been raining on and off all morning so we were already damp. No time for rain gear, it just let loose so hard you could hardly see the road much less ride. We stood under a few branches and just got soaked. 15 minutes later the sun was shining. it was already around 80 degrees, so no need for warmth, but if that had been approaching darkness the rain jacket could have been a life saver.

The other factor with riding over hiking is you tend to try out faster due to the breeze. The flip side is this can also draw off a lot of body heat quickly in cooler weather and leave you in trouble if you are not careful.
Surly Disc Trucker, Lightspeed Classic, Scott Scale, Klein Mantra Comp. First touring bike Peugeot U08 - 1966

Offline HobbesOnTour

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2021, 08:18:44 pm »
I can't help you with the specifics but a few points.
There are always sales and you have time on your side.
A few expensive items I own I saved on by knowing what I wanted, knowing the usual price and only pulling the trigger when I saw a decent offer.

I agree with others that a rain jacket is mainly for warmth. I use an ex military Gore-Tex jacket a few sizes too big given by a friend. Off the bike it doesn't stand out, on the bike I throw on a high viz. By being too big it means I can sit on it in really miserable situations.

I use rain pants (Gorewear) less for rain and mostly for cold.

I don't wear padded shorts, just regular, quick drying boxer shorts under a pair of hiking shorts. Initially on a Brooks B17 now a C17. Haven't had a problem until recently, but that's because I'm riding in Central America in the wet season and am almost constantly sweating and wet. Two small points of irritation - nothing significant.

My preferred material for a top is Merino wool. In cold weather it's warm, in hot weather it absorbs sweat and dries quickly.
However, it is quite fragile and washing but especially drying on tour can create weaknesses then holes in the material.
Be careful with "net" type tops. In hot weather the friction can irritate the nipples.

I wear hiking shorts (Decathlon, a decent, cheap European brand). I like the pockets and the quick drying material. The ass seam can be a bit weak but nothing that a needle and thread can't fix.

I only wear high viz clothing on the bike when I think I need to - certainly in the dark (which I avoid as much as possible) and on gloomy or wet days. I prefer to throw on a high viz vest as needed. If I'm not wearing it it's strapped across the back of the bike.

You've lots of time to figure all this out and once the bike comes things will start falling into place!

Good luck!

Offline John Nelson

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2021, 08:28:33 pm »
A rain jacket and pants are also very effective against mosquitoes in camp. On the bike in the rain, they are good for keeping you clean. They are also great for descending 11000-foot mountain passes at speed. And they’re the best thing to wear when doing laundry.

You want them even if you were sure that it was never going to rain.

Offline ray b

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2021, 09:20:56 pm »
Just made a cold descent in the rain today from a pass in Southern Colorado. I was happy with my kit. Over my Boure SPF 28 long sleeve summer jersey and G-form amored and padded cycling shorts, I added my Boure wind vest, a Pearl Izumi lightweight rain coat, a 3/4 cut-off pair of cheap Nashbar rain pants that fit easily over my size 13 shoes, Showers Pass shoe covers, and insulated Gore gloves instead of my usual long-fingered Giro gloves which hide in a plastic bag when the rain starts....

I'm pretty traditional when it comes to clothing, and I still favor a single layer of riding shorts or tights for simplicity - though padded tights over shorts sometimes happens when the weather changes.

I noted previously that I have saved on the sun block and reduced fly and mosquito bite by using some sun protectors (similar in style to leg warmers) on the legs.

Your hiking experience will come to bear as you keep things dry - just prepare for a constant 20 mph wind to make the clothes flap and sail and drive the water through any spots that are insufficiently sealed.

In the end, you'll develop your own effective style with time.

Just a reminder - strong pro riders put a lot of pressure on their pedals which reduces pressure on the saddle.  Don't try to imitate their choices in shorts and saddles. Get what works for you and yoir riding style.

...and remember to have fun.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2021, 09:28:26 pm by ray b »
“A good man always knows his limitations.”

Offline John Nelson

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2021, 01:21:05 am »
Any discussion of rain gear for cycling should include mention of cycling ponchos (also called cycling capes). I've never used one, but I'd certainly investigate it if I often rode in the rain, especially if I rode in warm weather rain.

Rain legs should also get mention and consideration. Ponchos, capes and rain legs all have the advantage of not creating a hothouse in which to sweat.

Things worth checking out.

Offline staehpj1

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2021, 07:19:55 am »
And they don't look like cycling pants 'cause they're not, so you can go into stores/restaurants and no one will think you're wearing Depends.
Different strokes, but I kind of like being instantly identified as a cyclist when on tour.  Bike shorts do that as much as anything else when in a store, restaurant, or whatever.  Much of the time that means folks will realize you are that guy they saw 50 miles down the foad a few hours ago.  On the TA it might mean that folks realize you are on a long tour and get you some hospitality... invites for dinner, a place to stay, or maybe just some conversation, and so on.  Also when folks realize you are on a coast to coast tour they will cut you more slack for being under dressed and maybe unshowered.  Again more likely to offer a place to stay and a shower.

Offline dkoloko

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2021, 10:01:33 am »
"Also when folks realize you are on a coast to coast tour they will cut you more slack for being under dressed and maybe unshowered."

FWIW, rarely, traveling weeks or months I have gone a day without showering.

Offline staehpj1

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2021, 10:58:10 am »
"Also when folks realize you are on a coast to coast tour they will cut you more slack for being under dressed and maybe unshowered."

FWIW, rarely, traveling weeks or months I have gone a day without showering.
Well I guess it depends on where and how you travel.  I definitely have in the US west.  For sure I have gone with only sink baths for longish periods and washing out clothes in sinks for similar periods.

Most of the time at least a "sink bath" was possible, but at times water has been scarce for long enough that there was no opportunity to wash with any water beyond what I carried.  Even in town water isn't a given everywhere.  I have been in tiny towns with no water available, no municipal running water, no well water.

Once I was surprised by the lack of water and a generous post office worker shared a couple bottles of his own stash of bottled water to get me to the next town.  The temperature was 100F+, it was a massive climb and I barely made it.  I'd have literally died without those two bottles.  There were a number of dry campsites on that trip.

On another trip our lifeguard at the pool in the park we camped near warned us that an upcoming town was dry (no wells or other running water).  She said she was the postmaster and would bring extra water to work for us.  We stopped at the post office and she filled our bottles.  Yay for postal workers!

Once I was so rank I could hardly stand myself.  I stopped by a remote ranger station that had an exhibit.  A lady ranger came in and started chatting.  I apologised saying I was sorry for being indoors with another human as rank as I was.  She said with no apparant irony "I think you smell nice".  I  guess that must have been a VERY lonely outpost.


Offline dkoloko

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2021, 01:00:08 pm »
I have toured in the west traveling north and south and west and east, but have not encountered as dry conditions as you relate. I also have had to resort to a "sink bath", meaning by me a full body wash, not just hands and face.

Offline canalligators

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2021, 12:15:56 am »
Riding in the rain, I don't expect to stay dry.  I just try to be warm and visible.  Actually the one wet point that really annoys me is water running down inside my helmet.  I use a helmet cover, typically a clear shower cap that lets my helmet mounted lights show through.

Offline froze

Re: A couple of clothing questions and comments
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2021, 09:23:35 pm »
I bought a Showers Pass Waterproof Breathable Syncline CC jacket because I got it on a sale for less than $100 and it was a lot cheaper than Gore Tex jackets I saw at bike shops that cost over $300, and this cheap jacket works great, in fact it worked so good I bought their rain pants later when they went on sale.  One night it got to cold for my supposedly 40 degree rated bag, I woke up shivering, so put the rain jacket and pants on and I was nice and warm after that and slept through the night without shivering.

I was going to buy a wool long sleeve jersey to reduce stink but prices went skyrocketing on wool so I went with a much cheaper jersey made of a fabric called Polygiene, and it works great for just $22 instead of $140 plus.  I wore it on a camping trip and was able to wear it couple of days and it still didn't stink.  Plus this polygiene stuff dries fast, faster than wool, maybe a bit less warm than wool but it does evaporate fast so the lack of water on the fabric helps you to remain warmer.

I carry a windshield vest as well for when I don't need the full protection of a jacket

I only have one high vis jersey, and I only use it on overcast days, but I rely more on my 250 lumen rear tail light and run it during the day then to worry about wearing nothing but hi vis jerseys.  I did buy a 4 pack of extremely lightweight and very cool non cycling related air mesh T shirt from Costco, I really like these for hot days, better than my cycling jersey stuff, and they're anti odor and quick dry, and cheap!

The only I do that I wish I didn't have to do is to carry and wear padded liner shorts, I would rather go bare butt with a cycling MTB short, but I tried that and my butt was hurting in a short distance, I think it was around 10 miles when I started getting sore, so I have to wear a padded cycling short, then I tried a thinly padded short and that was almost as bad as no shorts.  But padded cycling shorts stink after the first day of use, then what? carry more so you change? but then that's added weight and they take up space, for right now I carry enough to last a weekend or 3 days, but when I do a tour across the US I can't take 4 or 5 sets of shorts, so I have to figure out something.  One thing I did discover recently is if I wash my padded shorts in regular detergent, added in a cap full of Biz, and then added in a cup of vinegar and a cup of baking soda, and then use a soak cycle in the wash, they don't stink as bad after the first ride and probably could get away with 2 days of wearing, I'm still testing this, I just read about that last week so I don't have a long term in the saddle yet to see what happens, but so far the stink seems to be less.   But I'm open to ideas on the padded cycling short thing and how to get away with something lighter and less bulky.