A Hitch in the Plan

March 23rd, 2012

So my plan after leaving my office job was to be able to maintain my “weather and clothing” posts. The flaw in that logic is twofold: I’m riding for transportation less, and I’m able to wear casual clothing while doing it. The concept that started this blog (two months ago, so long ago!) was to help novice commuters with less generic advice than is normally offered. So, I will continue to offer advice based on the weather conditions, but chances are I won’t be exercising that exact advice.


The last few days have seen some downright summertime weather, with morning temperatures in the 60s and highs up to 80. As I’ve mentioned before, in those situations, I recommend one of two approaches. If you have a gym membership or don’t mind braving the filth of a Planet Fitness locker room, ride in whatever you feel like and shower or change when you arrive at your destination. I did this when I first started working downtown, and while I tried it in both summer (hot!) and winter (dirty), I found that it made riding to work downright cumbersome.

My preferred strategy is to ride more slowly, and maximize airflow over the body to keep the skin cool. Since I used to work in a “business casual” office, that meant riding in a T-shirt and then putting my collared shirt on when I got to my destination. Wearing lighter shoes, such as sneakers or loafers without socks, made a huge difference versus the waterproof walking shoes I wore all winter. I just wore my regular office pants, rolled up to avoid grease. As always, I recommend using a bag that attaches to the bike as this is both cooler for you and also neater for your clothes.

I always found it difficult to avoid sweating when the temperature exceeded 70 degrees on my ride in. For that, it’s all about mitigation, namely, ride slower.

Warm and Dry

March 19th, 2012

So as you may recall, the blog is in transition right now. My last day at the old job (downtown Boston) was Friday, and I start working at Hub Bicycle Company on Wednesday. That means no commuting, although I’ll get out today for some errand-running. I’ll update this post a little later with the weather/comfort. It’s much warmer, so there will be no jacket, but the question is whether long sleeves and jeans are too much.

Cool and Clear; Eyewear

February 2nd, 2012

This morning was a carbon copy of yesterday morning – 38 degrees, clear and dry. Yesterday evening, however, was downright spring-like. It was almost 60 degrees when I rode home, and I have the sweatiness to prove it. Once the temperature gets that high, you have to really start thinking about cooling: if I had thought harder about it, I would have rolled up my sleeves and untucked my shirt, and slowed down.The last part is clutch: if you want to get someplace presentable, add a couple minutes and ride slower. I would have also liked lighter shoes, but that was unreasonable to ask for.

Clothing: Heavy winter coat, messenger bag, waterproof shoes over my normal dress shirt & undershirt; cotton dress pants.

Yesterday’s post spontaneously generated a (small) discussion on eye wear. I know this usually gets short shrift on “what to wear” guides, but the consensus from our three data points were:

1. Eyeglasses are good in the winter: they keep your eyes warmer (especially in the bitter cold and wind) and they keep them protected from debris.

2. Fogging is inevitable. In my experience with ski goggles and eyeglasses, the important thing is to keep your face away from the glasses (good luck!) – facewear that directs warm air from your nose and mouth upward will cause immediate fogging. One other person contributed that he keeps the glasses down at the tip of his nose to get the same effect. Once fogged, I take the glasses off and wave them around: the moisture evaporates in a few seconds.

Many kinds of wipes that prevent fogging exists, and wikipedia tells me some home solutions exist for this purpose:

Home recipes

One method to prevent fogging is to apply a thin film of detergent, but this method is criticized because detergents are designed to be water soluble and they cause smearing.[5] Divers often use saliva,[6] which is a commonly known and effective anti-fogging agent.[7] Other home recipes exist, including the application of white vinegar with hot water,[8] or a mixture containing sudsy ammonia, alcohol and liquid dishwasher detergent .[9]

Some other tips I found on the web, which suggest saliva or shaving cream, vinegar, and shampoo. I’ll try to go out and try one of these (probably the shaving cream), and report back at a later date. (Perhaps when it’s actually cold enough to cause fogging!).