What do you wear to cycle into work?

Woman wearing a white rank top and skirt into work? A friend of mine, Sam. Has made his big move down to London. Or, more specifically, his big move into our lounge in London. This is while he waits for his house to be available to move into. Soon he will be starting his training as an estate agent. (And yes he is being asked to give up his weekends for the next few months!). As part of his job he will be given a car which he will use to chauffeur people around prospective houses. In the mean time he needs a way of getting into work. Why don’t you cycle? Was of course my suggestion. His reply: “Cycle into work in a suit? Very tough.”

He has a point. Unless you have a bike with a chain guard then the chances of getting oil on your suit are pretty big. Plus I don’t know what kind of provision his company will be making for bikes so it may be tough to get changed in the office. Hence this weeks question..

Considering last weeks “nosy question” was a big success asking everyone “What’s in your bag?” and getting over 40 comments I thought we would continue this trend and ask a new question: “What do you wear to cycle into work?”

When I was working along Gray’s Inn Road I would always cycle into work in a pair of shorts, t-shirt and cycling jacket if there was bad weather. Then I would hop in the shower and change into my suit which I would leave in the office. Personally I can’t see myself ever cycling in a suit unless I fit a chain guard to my bike. I’d like to know what you guys typically wear to cycle into work? Do you go for the Lycra approach, the suit, or casual shorts?

See also:

Image via Skarpetka Flickr

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75 Responses to What do you wear to cycle into work?

  1. Spencer 25/07/2010 at 3:57 pm #

    I wear a nike pro base layer, nike shell trousers, trainers and a second long sleeve base layer and/or an altura rain jacket if necessary. In winter I also use a pair of old snowboard gloves as winter cycling gloves seem to be practically the same.

    On a couple of occasions the trousers and trainers are not waterproof enough, but that happens so infrequently it doesn’t seem to be worth the bother as I shower and change into work clothes when I get to work anyway.

  2. Rayan 26/07/2010 at 11:51 am #

    I wear my boxer shorts and nothing else – and cycle at my desk. I work from home most days! – Do tend to leave a puddle of sweat around a 2 metre radius of the computer though…

  3. Andy 26/07/2010 at 12:13 pm #

    I use to ride a scooter to work and I still have a lot of scooter gear from tucano urbano that is good enough for riding a bike too.
    Jackets and trousers are waterproof and are good when is really cold or wet. Maybe a bit too warm in summer even if they have some very smart summer clothing too. Winter gloves are definitely too warm but summer gloves are OK. Price is ok maybe a bit higher than altura but you get more pockets and even a full set of protection for elbows.

  4. robbie craig 31/07/2010 at 12:41 am #

    I usually wear an outdoor vest that wicks away sweat, lycra shorts, with the latter covered by less outrageous shorts and fingerless gloves. In winter I usually add a warmer layer or/and wear a jacket. helmet is worn all year round but I add a warm balaclava in the winter.

  5. Marc 05/08/2010 at 2:52 pm #

    When I know there won’t be changing facilities at my destination, Primark’s cotton chinos at £6 a pair are as comfortable (not to say as cheap and cheerful) as it gets!

  6. Chris J 09/08/2010 at 10:16 am #

    cycling in a suiot is not as bad as it fuirst appears. I do it most days as I now work somewhere with no shower or changing facilities.
    Use reflective bamds ariund your lower leg to keep trousers away from chain, roll up jacket & put in bag, undo a couple of shirt buttons and unless you cycle really fast you can arrive in a presentable state!

  7. John Wildgoose 08/09/2010 at 10:54 pm #

    Summer I wear shorts and one of my mtb tops (muted colours, tiny branding), sometime a thin merino jersey (subtle or no branding) and the modest but great Exustar Stelvio shoes (classic touring shoes in black).

    Transitional seasons I’ll wear slim jeans or (when there might be rain) Swrve trousers, a thicker merino top and a Altura Night Vision jacket (often stashed). In really bad weather Altura over troozers.

    I go to meetings or run my portfolio around on my bike; clients don’t mind what I wear really, and even if they do I have the high moral ground! I’m happy they know I’m biking around London, I’d like to think I might encourage some one, some time, to do the same. the best to hope for isn’t it? Turning up in Lycra is just going to put people off.

    So I try really hard not to look like a ‘biker’, but the clothes have to work on a bike: stretchy jeans = brilliant, merino wool long and short sleeved jerseys in classic designs are great and comfortable, and other specialist bike wear that doesn’t look or sound like bike wear when you’re wandering around off the bike -like proper cycling shoes that house cleats that don’t clack on the pavement when walking).

    It’s a long haul finding this stuff , but eventually you can get a set of clothes for all seasons that work on and off the bike and don’t make you look like a dick.

    Choice of appropriate bike is step one. Buy a track bike, a tri bike, or a race bike and you’re locked into a riding style that can dictate a specific style that might not be utilitarian enough for city commuting. Buy a tourer or city bike and you can dress sensible. And it doesn’t mean you can’t ride like a loon. I can still have huge fun on my bike in London even dressed sensibly.

  8. Lionel Mandrake 13/12/2010 at 10:58 pm #

    I cycle 6.2 miles each way in full office clothes. Corduroys, shirt, tie, jacket, and hi-vis over the tweed.

    If you shower immediately before cycling you will not smell during the day.

    Body odour arises a significant amount of time after sweating: the bacteria need time to multiply. This does not happen during office hours.

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