Today’s commute was a rainy one, Ladies. Fun fact: You can measure the moisture content in the air by how much my eye liner streaks post-commute (see below). But I arrived home refreshed and happy.
On Making Smart Investments in Gear
I know a lot of Ladies are hesitant to ride because they don’t have the “right” gear for a Winter commute. Although I’d like to dismiss that as silly, I just recently made the switch from riding in frigid weather while wearing yoga pants (often calf-length) to more appropriate alternatives, and I would say there’s really something to investing in some “luxury” pieces (read: full-length pants) before subjecting yourself to the elements.
Had I known at the time that I’d soon begin blogging, I’d include here a Frametastic photo compilation of my splotchy, reddened calves and me frowning as a probably unnecessary bit of encouragement for some savvy cold-weather shopping – too late for that, though, because This Lady shelled out for stylish cycling-optimized pants and warm fortified leggings.
I prioritized my limited shopping budget towards gear purchases that were the most important for safety first, then comfort items; in hindsight, striking a balance between those priorities would have made for a far more pleasant transition into Winter riding. You don’t have to be totally decked out in Gore-tex, but you’ll be able to enjoy the ride without an iron will if you do something more than wear a garbage bag as a poncho.
All Things Safety-Oriented on dark days and while riding on slick roads:
A bright front light, a blinky red back light, any add-on you like that’s reflective, and a helmet. I’ll assume that if you live in the Pacific Northwest you already have a good raincoat.
I have an ugly sporty helmet that I keep hoping will get stolen (so I can replace it without feeling wasteful). If that ever happens, I’ll replace it with this one in black:
Gloves: You may actually want two pairs to switch back and forth between while one is drying. Dry hands are a great way to start a cold, wet, ride, and wet gloves are miserable to put on. They can also help ensure a secure grip on handles.
Also Worth Buying
Fenders: Most Ladies prefer not having mud splattered across their backside. Fenders are trusty add-ons that not only reduce the likelihood of that happening to you on a rainy-weather commute, but also help you avoid being a jerk by reducing the mud-splattering on cyclists riding behind you. I didn’t know that last bit until very recently…
Water-Proof Bag or Pannier (likely also a Rack to hook it to): For work-commuting Ladies on a rainy day, a waterproof bag is the perfect vessel to bring a change of clothes and shoes in
I’ve been really pleased with the design of my Ortlieb Shopper Pannier, which has a reflective side patch for increased visibility as an added bonus.
Wool Clothes: Honestly, you’re probably going to get wet out there. Clothes made of wool are warm and dry really quickly. There’s no need to spring for bike-specific clothes, although it’s nice when clothes have been designed with the Lady cyclist in mind.
Huge Scarf: Great for keeping your neck and face warm during the initial freezing leg of the commute.