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Men in tights - John C. Kirk — LiveJournal

Oct. 11th, 2009

08:52 pm - Men in tights

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(You can tell when I get a weekend without SJA duties - I get a lot more prolific at blogging!)

I got my Brompton a year ago, and I ride it all year round. Initially I wore my normal work clothes, especially since I was doing fairly short journeys (about 2km at each end). In January I said: "I think it's important to avoid wind-chill by making sure that most of my skin is covered, even if it's only a thin layer of clothing." By May I was cycling in a T-shirt, then swapping it for my work shirt when I arrived at the office, but still wearing my normal trousers/boots on the bike. In June I started wearing lycra shorts and trainers to cycle, so I basically do a complete change of clothes at the office (although I tend to wear the same socks all day).

On the whole, this new approach is working well, particularly since I'm cycling a lot further than I used to (I average about 25 km/day). However, as I've got fitter I've found that I can do short journeys without sweating, so if I just do a 10 minute journey (e.g. coming home from an SJA class night) then I don't bother getting changed. I was up in Oxford in August, and I noticed that there are loads of cyclists around (including a lot of "traditional" bikes), but most people were wearing normal clothes to ride.

Now that we're moving into winter, it's starting to get a bit chilly on the bike. I'm now wearing gloves again, and I'm ok in T-shirt/shorts after I've warmed up. In fact, this may help by giving me an incentive to pedal faster - I hit a personal best when I came home on Friday evening (38 minutes from Balham station to my flat). The downside is that cotton T-shirts get quite damp, and then they get cold; also, I'm still exposed to the wind. So, I've now decided to invest in some extra clothing: bib tights and a long sleeved base layer. ("I need to buy some tights" is one of those phrases that I never expected to hear myself say!) I haven't tried bib tights/shorts before, so I'll be interested to see how they compare to the normal kind (with a waistband); hopefully they'll be a bit more comfortable.

Anyway, that leads to the main reason for this post: I'm not quite sure about the right order to wear these things. Do you put the tights on first, and then the base layer on top, or vice-versa? When I went snowboarding, I put the base layer on first, then put the "braces" for my trousers over the top; that makes sense, since the base is then the bottom layer. On the other hand, since you "go commando" in cycling shorts, it seems a bit odd to have something else in between on the top half of the body, and I've never seen anyone else cycling around with the shoulder straps visible, so that may be the equivalent of Superman wearing his underpants on the outside. I think that some people may have three layers (base layer, straps, jersey) but I don't have a jersey and I think I'll be warm enough without one. Admittedly, some people will probably think that I look stupid whichever way round I do it, but any advice welcome...

Poll #1469500 Cycling clothing

Which clothing goes on first?

Base layer then bib tights
Bib tights then base layer


Date:October 12th, 2009 07:09 am (UTC)
I have a pair of bib shorts, the main advantage of which is that they keep my lower back warm - I suffer from cold-aggravated back trouble.

Those tights look very warm indeed. I suspect I'd be too hot in them, but hey, see how you get on. And yes, you put the straps of the bib tights over your bare chest and then wear your jersey/baselayer top over the top.

My winter cycling gear is a pair of Endura Hummvee 3/4 length baggy shorts worn over my ordinary or bib lycra shorts, then a longsleeve top of some sort, then a windproof jacket. And gloves. And a scarf.

MichaelP-J (LJ seems to be refusing to talk to OpenID at the moment)

Oh, and change your socks afte you cycle in to work. Your non-anosmic colleagues may appreciate it!
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Date:October 15th, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
It turned out that those tights weren't what I wanted - although the description says "Santini Techno Comfort Coolmax chamois padding", they don't have any padding at all, just a seam between the legs. Basically, they look a lot like a close fitting pair of tracksuit trousers, since they're made out of some kind of fleecy material. (In fairness, the term "thermofleece" probably should have been a hint!) Anyway, I emailed them yesterday to sort out the return; since their description was wrong, hopefully they'll be willing to reimburse my postage, but they haven't replied yet. (I also need to return the base layer, since XL was too big, so it will be simplest if I can stick them both in the same package.)

In the meantime, I've ordered some Shimano Windflex tights as a replacement. Hopefully they'll be more suitable, i.e. lycra rather than fleece and padded so that I don't need to wear shorts underneath. 50% off seems like a good deal, although I wouldn't pay £90 (the full price), so I'm not actually saving any money. Sizing is a bit tricky; I've gone for "L" this time, but it would help if there was a chart somewhere...
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Date:October 12th, 2009 08:06 am (UTC)
Whichever you find more comfortable.

Since I tend to class both types as "base layer" then it depends what I am wearing over the top or how cold/wet it is.

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Date:October 12th, 2009 10:39 am (UTC)
Can second what MJP said above. Bibs are warm, I used to use them canoeing but realised they were just too hot.

What about these:

Great brand, mine are tough as anything. Wear them over the shorts they come with or your existing shorts. If it's really cold, wear some longjohns under them.

And yes, change your socks...
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