Commuting: What to wear?

cc licensed flickr photo by richardmasoner: http://flickr.com/photos/bike/3292920881/
Menlo Park Lycra Commuters union rep | Photo by Richard Masoner

I’m a bit torn at the moment as there are two riders with two different needs in me. If I just would commute directly from home to work and back, there wouldn’t be an issue. I could wear whatever spandex loving dream I would want to and be done with it very quickly. However, I do have a personal life and friends I want to meet once in a while. Since I live an hour away from the office and downtown, there’s no point to ride home, change gear, take a train back and head for a drink.

I think myself a moderate man and to me, moderate men do not wear spandex in a pub. At least the type of pub I frequent. So the other option is to wear more urban gear, aka. mountain bike clothing which are made for a different sort of riding. If the distance was shorter, I could dress almost normally and just wear spandex during longer rides.

cc licensed flickr photo by richardmasoner: http://flickr.com/photos/bike/3292919085/
Riders in Menlo Park - with a very casual style | Photo by Richard Masoner

Now this wouldn’t be a problem if we would live in a country where the climate would be temperate, or even only have two seasons. But riding all year-round in a country that has proper four seasons gets expensive if you still want to keep the riding comfortable and have dry clothes available when you head back home from work. I still do enjoy wearing spandex / lycra / stockings – whatever you want to call it on those long rides as they are more form fitting and less chafing compared to mountain bike gear.

The same goes for materials – is there a hard shell breathable enough made for guys who warm up while exercising? Toby Archer, our experienced reader suggested going with just windproof shells in his blog post and his comment in my Montane hard shell review. The thing is, I would love to order every single piece of clothing there is just to try them out, but even I don’t have unlimited resources. Imagine that :)

Another great example question is – overshoes or proper winter shoes?

So help me out, should I just pay up and have double sets of everything for every season – because then again, they will last quite long and since I use them less than a usual person, I shouldn’t have to buy them so often. How do you do it? What’s your threshold of modesty / comfort / something else when dressing up for the commute?

Ps. Yes, I do have a shopping cart full of more clothes in another tab in my browser.

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By Markus Sandelin

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.