Dressing the part: any shortcuts?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Yakima, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Ceri JC

    Ceri JC UK GSer

    Sep 14, 2009
    All over, usually Wales or England
    I've been injured in low speed (<20mph) crashes due to inadequate gear and saved in high speed (>60 mph) crashes due to good gear. I know the value of ATGATT. Nonetheless, to me, the risk in riding across town in jeans, gloves and t-shirt with a lid at 30mph is completely acceptable. I ride the exact same route on my pushbike in less protective clothing.

    That said, 95%+ of my road riding miles is full textiles, back protector, lid, gloves and proper boots. 90%+ of trail/enduro riding you can add enduro boots, full body armour, knee braces, hip and coccyx protectors.
  2. ray h

    ray h Been here awhile

    May 3, 2010
    Waynesboro, PA
    My daily commute is around 15 miles and 25 minutes each way. My advice is to get gear that's easy to live with.
    A couple of examples, I started out with a heavy jacket with tons of zippers and velcro and all the bells and whistles. It was a super nice jacket but with all the velcro adjustments and zippers, it was too much trouble to put on and take off. I felt like a jigsaw puzzle.
    Then, I bought a lighter riding jacket with basically one zipper and no velcro and it's no different than throwing on a standard non-riding jacket. I did the same with the overpants, I went with a pair that had armor but didn't have all the weird velcro and pockets and straps and crap.
    I don't have dedicated "riding" boots either. I wear SWAT type cordura and leather boots that are comfy all day while at work but still offer protection while riding. Yes, I generally have to wear slacks and a button down shirt at work but everyone has excepted my big black boots just fine, and some people are a bit jealous of them because they are so much more comfy than dress shoes.
    No doubt going with lighter, looser fitting jacket and overpants is a compromise in protection but I still maintained the basic abrasion resistant shell with armor/padding in the obvious places but most important, I use it more often because it's easy to live with.
    For short trips (under 30 minutes), do you really need the heated crap and grip mitts? Probably not, just get a thick pair of snowmobile gloves and call it good.
    The other morning I had to knock the ice off my gloves when I got to work but my hands were still good because 25 minutes was not enough time to lose heat. Had I rode for another 30 minutes my hands wouldv'e been basically useless. For shorter trips, suck it up and don't worry about plugging yourself in.
    On 30 degree days I do have a one piece riding suit that I wear, it complicates things alot but it's more for weather protection than anything. I used to work outside in all weather conditions so I'm used to dressing for the environment.

    It's ultimately your decision but my advice, from someone who rides short trips in all weather, simplify your gear. Shop for gear thats easy in / easy out without lots of moving parts and avoid being a "jigsaw puzzle" with all the little pieces of gear that you are using now. K.I.S.
  3. Moronic

    Moronic Long timer

    May 16, 2006
    Melbourne, Australia
    ^^^ these last two posts hold the key to it really, for me.

    I will ride a bicycle in shorts and tee shirt at up to 70kmh (but mainly about 20) because that is what we do.

    And I have crashed a bicycle twice about 50kmh on bitumen in shorts and tee shirt and since those two crashes 30 years ago my balls tingle (in a bad way) every time I read about or even think about other people's skin abrasions from falls on two wheels.

    The aftermaths of those crashes were very painful for several days and nights but I survived to ride another day. You see racers in the Tour de France and other big bicycle events have worse crashes and get back on to rejoin the peleton. I see that and feel quite happy that I do not do that for a living.

    The worst part I think about sliding along the bitumen on your arse or knees is that it doesn't hurt straight away, but from the heat and the bits of flesh you can see tearing off and flicking past you, you know that probably it will hurt a lot fairly soon.

    There is (for me) a sort of denial thing that happens where I tell myself while all the abrading is happening that probably it won't be all that bad. And then the experience kicks in and I start to prepare myself for just how bad it will be. And of course it is always much worse than I remember and it lasts for much longer.

    The result of the bicycle crashes is that I will never ride a bicycle without wearing gloves that protect my palms. But I didn't hit my head in either crash despite not wearing a helmet, so I am happy to wear a 30-year-old helmet that was the cheapest i could buy at the time (they are compulsory here, even on bicycles).

    I have had pain from motorcycle crashes and the worst one I can remember was sliding off when my two-stroke road bike seized about 100kmh (60mph) around a curve. I thought I had done a good job of correcting the slide until I realised the motor had seized solid and the bike wasn't coming back up. Helmet, gloves, padded leather jacket, motorcycle boots and ordinary denim jeans. Only significant damage was to knee, hips and arse, but particularly the arse. Painful but not as bad as the bicycle crashes. Slid into the opposite lane so lucky nobody was heading my way.

    Other tarmac crashes had padded leather trousers as well. Funny but don't remember those much, even though some were at higher speeds.

    These days on the sub-80kmh (50mph) commute I will wear jeans, with good gloves, boots, textile jacket, helmet. I tell myself it will be no worse than a serious bicycle crash and less likely. But if I do crash I will regret wearing jeans, and epecially if there is knee damage.

    It is a matter of balancing the nights lying awake with pain pulsing through you against the daily hassle of putting on the stuff.

    Nowadays, it never occurs to me not to put on the jacket, gloves, helmet and boots. The sticking point is the trousers, because they are such a hassle.

    I hope I grow up enough to always put on the trousers, before that growing-up experience arrives after which I will always put on the trousers.

    But then again, I will not wear leathers on bicycles. Smart though it may be to do so, in certain respects. :1drink
  4. jesse v

    jesse v Motorcyclist

    Apr 16, 2011
    Sioux Falls, SD
    For me, the only optional piece of gear is my armored textile pants. Everything else is mandatory: FF helmet, textile armored jacket, gloves, protective boots, and denim jeans. If riding to work, I carry my Toms with me to change into. (Luckily I have 2 jobs with casual attire requirements.)

    Anytime I'm riding "just to ride" or going on a trip, the armored pants come along. They're more comfortable than jeans anyway, and give me all-weather adaptability. (Sorry for sounding like a commercial.)
  5. daveinva

    daveinva Been here awhile

    Oct 6, 2011
    Washington, D.C.
    I'll always wear the gear. The "simple" commuting gear involves textile armored overpants. The dedicated riding gear involves either textile armored pants, or if I'm really casual, kevlar jeans/cargo pants with strap-on knee/shin armor.

    I've ridden a few times in my life in a suit with dress shoes on (in a hurry, wind doesn't wrinkle :evil) and I really don't plan on ever doing that again.

    GF just had a low-speed spill off her Vespa a month ago, had a great jacket but only jeans and really lame boots, and while she avoided the rash she banged up her legs something awful. A pair of pants and good boots and she would have been absolutely fine. Why suffer easily-avoided pain? There are better ways to build character, men (and ladies).
  6. Andrew011

    Andrew011 Tourist

    Aug 9, 2012
  7. Sox Fan

    Sox Fan SoxFan

    Apr 26, 2007
    Southeast Michigan
    I find the time and hassle to gear up for a ride to work has been cutting down on my riding the past couple of years. You have to gear up or off at least four times: when leaving, arriving for work, leaving to go home and when you get home. If you go out to lunch at work or want to run an errand in the middle of the day, there is another cycle.

    There are still days I like to ride to work but taking a motorcycle definitely is more time consuming that just jumping in the car.
  8. nukemm

    nukemm Been here awhile

    Jun 9, 2011
    Mukilteo, WA
    I get around the lunch time one by carpooling to a lunch spot with coworkers or going somewhere within walking distance as to not forfeit my parking spot. Since I'm pretty cheap my wife usually packs me leftovers, so my lunch trip involves walking 50 feet to the kitchen to reheat my lunch.
  9. ray h

    ray h Been here awhile

    May 3, 2010
    Waynesboro, PA
    Besides the gas savings, the other advantage to riding to work (as opposed to driving) is that someone else always drives us for lunch or I barrow someone's vehicle and use up their gas, and the boss never asked me to run work related errands using my personal vehicle when I ride.

    As for the hassle of gearing and ungearing several times a day, I have to do that as well. I've made compromises and adapted. I don't wear dedicated riding boots, I wear boots that serve as riding boots and my work footwear, and all of my riding gear is sized and made so it slides easily over my work or dress cloths, that way I don't have clothes changes to deal with.
  10. PeterW

    PeterW Long timer

    Nov 11, 2005
    Gold Coast
    "", dual use boots, and kevlar lined jeans I can just wear at work (very relaxed workplace though).
    Helmet & gloves go in the top-box when I get to work. My jacket sits on my desk all day, probably as fast for me overall as taking a car.

    Taking the bike there's less agro. reversing out of the driveway and no screwing around with car-park barrier arms and access cards - we persuaded the building management to have those shortened so most (*1) bikes can slip round the ends.

    1) Harleys and 'wings excepted :evil

  11. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

    Aug 18, 2009
    Vienna, Austria
    I never found a real solution to this problem - not for lack of trying. So for those short, time sensitive, trips I use a car/public transport and so on.
  12. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

    Dec 21, 2008
    Vagabond Hippie
    I wear the same kit as you, including leg armor.

    Takes about 1 minute to put on leg armor, step in to over pants, and secure...put on jacket and secure. Up to another minute to do the helmet and gloves...if I choose to pop my ear buds in for the ride.

    I sold all my 4 wheel vehicles except one for the wife, which also hauls stuff to the dump or large objects home...so I ride year round except on icy days. Same kit, most days except liners added to clothing which add no time when permanently installed for the season. For winter rides of longer duration, I will add long johns and such which adds to the overall suit up time.
  13. FinlandThumper

    FinlandThumper Has Cake/Eats it Too Super Moderator

    Jan 30, 2008
    For shorter trips around town I have BMW City pants with integrated hip and knee pads, and a leather or textile jacket that also has integrated pads. Add gloves, helmet and boots and it's good. I'd guess the whole change takes less than five minutes if I move slowly, which is about the same as it takes me to change into my bicycling clothes.

    This solution is obviously not a full armor solution, but it is fast.
  14. atomicalex

    atomicalex silly aluminum boxes

    May 21, 2012
    Detroit mostly
    Showing my lack of US-awareness here, but don't all textile getups have the armor sewn in? Both of my suits (Gericke) have the armor in pockets so I can take it out for washing.

    I feel weird if I am not geared up. Jacket, pants, boots, gloves, FF helmet. The biggest trick to pants is to tuck your dress pants into your socks, then put your overpants on. Quick and easy and no fooling around with lost pantlegs.
  15. Kommando

    Kommando Long timer

    Nov 28, 2006
    By the Great Lakes
    No. Some have pockets for the armor. Some just have the pockets and no armor. You have to add your own. For offroad riding, I'll often use strap-on knee/shin armor instead of the armor in my pants.
  16. monkeythumpa

    monkeythumpa When I go slow, I go fast

    Oct 21, 2008
    Oakland, CA