In my opinion there is nothing better than travelling by bicycle. While I have mastered the casual ride with social stops I have yet to get a handle on commuting to work. Luckily for me, my internet friend and fellow trad, Dallas has been posting fantastic pictures of his commute to work in Cambridge. These pictures have reassured me that it is possible to travel to work in trad. He was also kind enough to sit down with me to share some trad tips on cycling to work.
Before we get started I want to thank Dallas for his contributions (Thanks!). You can find more from this stylish young Trad at his Tumblr (getticketsforthedance.tumblr.com) and Instagram (getticketsforthedance). What are the best clothing for cycling?
I think this really depends on where you’re going, what your route is to get there, and how you’re most comfortable. I’m on my bike basically everyday, and I see a real range of cycling clothes on other riders, everything from full spandex body suits to dressed up work attire. I tend to find myself more on the regular clothes end of the spectrum, as my current commute is relatively flat and only a few miles long. I’m on the road for around 20 minutes each way, at a fairly casual pace. In the past, when I had longer commutes, I experimented with wearing more technical underlayers, but I don’t do anything like that today. Is this a perfect system? Of course not. Do I still show up a little sweaty sometimes? Especially in summer heat, or when layered up in the winter? Of course I do, but you just learn to live with these things. This time of year I’ll roll my shirt sleeves, unbutton an extra collar button and soak up the sun.Best shoes for cycling?
Maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but I just wear my normal shoes. As I said, I’m not traveling far, nor in difficult conditions. In the fall and winter I wear a lot of boots and chukka boots, in the spring and summer I wear a lot of moccasins and loafers, with a few lace-ups thrown in there (year round) for good measure. A nice thing about cycling is that it saves wear on the bottoms of your nicer shoes. Also in bad weather I have a few different options, from wellingtons, to Bean boots, to my trusty pair of Red Wings.
Any tips you can share on getting to work via bike and still looking good?
Most days finds me in khakis and an oxford cloth button down, which is a fairly ideal combination in terms of knock-around-ability and breath-ability. If you’re really worried about sweating in work clothes, there are two things I would suggest, the first is to pack some deodorant and re-apply at your destination, and the second is to give yourself enough time so that you don’t have to rush. If you’re going a few miles at a casual pace you should have nothing to worry about. In colder weather it’s best to favor lighter layers, a lightweight packable rain jacket is a must (mine was a few bucks at a thrift store), and in the spring and summer I either don’t wear a blazer/jacket, or I stash it for my ride and put it back on once I get to work. All that being said, I tend to favor everything a little bit rumpled, and don’t really specialize in sartorial perfection. I like my clothes to look lived in, but not disheveled (there’s a fine line.) Basically, I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t press my trousers, but I steam my own button down shirts. I think biking plays into that, my ideal state of casual formality. I could wear these clothes to work at the office, but I could also bike 5 miles in them or play a pickup game of something.Any biking tips?
It’s important to follow the laws of the road as much as possible. Am I perfect at this? Of course not, but I do my best. It’s simple things really, don’t ride against traffic, ever. You’re not only putting yourself in danger, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger. Stop at stop signs and lights, always look both ways when crossing, yield to pedestrians (especially in crosswalks). Nearly everyday I see cyclists doing something wrong, any of the things I just listed, and every single time I think how poorly that those actions reflect on all other cyclists. Oh and one more thing, wear a helmet. I always have one on, and you probably should too.
Any other thoughts?
Have fun out there. Enjoy the weather, the heat, the cold, the sun, the rain, the snow. I bike year round because I love the freedom, I can pick my route, come and go as I please, and really get a feel for the area along the way. I’ve met new people, talked with strangers on street corners while stopped at lights that I never would have otherwise met, I’ve even rode my bike past celebrities. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, more bikes on the road means less car traffic, the list of benefits goes on and on. Thanks so much Jerrod for including me in your blog.