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Office-ready riding clothes

23 June, 2011

So many Australian bike commuters ride in ‘bike clothes’ and get changed at work. If you don’t need to have a shower when you get there, try skipping the locker room altogether and walking straight to your desk with these smart threads.

Image via Outlier

Would you believe there are office-worthy trousers that look sharp after riding through a rain storm? They exist, and they are a game changer by eliminating worries about the weather. Pants are a particular element of your outfit that need to be water and stain resistant when you ride in all weathers. Outlier, Swrve and Rapha offer versions that meet this need. They use technical fabric that is water-resistant and stretchy while looking like trouser fabric. They dry quickly – if it rains on your morning commute you’d be dry by mid-morning – and road crud brushes off easily. Outlier’s Daily riding pants for women are distributed in Australia by Cyclestyle.

Your top half is a bit easier to protect with a jacket, so the challenge here is a cut that looks smart but fits when you reach for the handlebars. Rapha, Outlier, Derny and Muxu have tailored shirts with this in mind. The shirts are cotton–synthetic blends for durability and moisture-resistance and usually a bit of stretch. They often have covered buttons to avoid snagging courier bag straps and have pockets in positions that suit bike riders.

You might also like a cap, such as Rocket Fuel‘s offerings, to keep your head toasty under your helmet or a swanky jacket such as the Trench from Derny or the Shirt Jacket from Swrve.

If you prefer to carry work clothes with you try our guide, Undoing the work wear tangle.

Tip – Don’t rush, don’t sweat

Below a certain ambient temperature and under a certain effort threshold – limits that are different for all of us 0f – you won’t get sweaty from riding. You’ll find your own limits for yourself but this holds true for all of us: rushing makes you sweat and it usually doesn’t get you there any faster. Try a leisurely pace on your next commute and compare it to your normal trip time. Traffic lights and other stoppages hold us up so much that riding slowly and rushing equate to the same total time. All you do when you rush is heat yourself up with the effort of taking off quickly only to spend more time waiting at the lights. If it’s not a hot day and you don’t rush you won’t raise a sweat of any significance.

You can also carry a sponge and/or a sports towel to do a quick wipe down in the bathroom at work if you wish.

This post is for day 24 of Ride On‘s June riding challenge.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 July, 2011 10:23 am

    I love the tip – ride slower, get there just as fast! If you ride fast, you just spend longer at traffic lights! Seriously – this argument just doesn’t stack up. And besides, riding slower to reduce sweat also reduces the health benefits of riding.

    • 14 July, 2011 9:58 am

      But if course any riding is a health benefit and better than no riding.
      Please see below for a reply about rushing.

  2. Anthony permalink
    13 July, 2011 11:43 am

    Rushing doesn’t make you go any faster? If I rode below my ‘sweat threshold’ it would take me hours to get anywhere!

  3. 13 July, 2011 3:07 pm

    It’s certainly true that there’s a threshold for sweating, but relaxed-pace cyclists might a faster-paced cyclist at 2-3 sets of lights, but never again. Cars get caught in traffic, but fast bikes streak ahead of relaxed-pace cyclists. I pick and choose my pace based on my needs, and shower-availability, or use Bike Park if I need to (I’m a big fan).

  4. former cycling enthusiast permalink
    13 July, 2011 6:18 pm

    I would like to be able to travel via cycling to all my destinations, but have been put off (terrified) to attempt any cycling since being side-swiped by a truck a couple of years ago. I now believe that cycling is simply too dangerous to do in Melbourne, unfortunately.

    • 14 July, 2011 9:53 am

      Three sources tell you preferred bike routes in your area:
      1. Ride the city website is a helpful guide
      2. Your local bike organisation, Bicycle Victoria in your case, will advise
      3. Most municipalities have TravelSmart maps of bike paths and preferred on-road routes – try yours or ask Bicycle Victoria.

  5. 14 July, 2011 9:42 am

    I was also surprised that rushing doesn’t make you go any faster but it’s true. I had pneumonia this winter and couldn’t breathe enough to ride fast yet my 10km commute into the city and back took the same time. If you stop at all red lights, for trams with their doors open and for pedestrian crossings, the apparent gains of rushing are negated. The benefit is that you don’t get sweaty.
    Simon Vincett

  6. Casrenski permalink
    14 July, 2011 10:07 am

    Theres certainly some merit to the argument that lowering your top speed doesn’t change your average speed much. Nonce read a study that claimed that if all 60kph roads were dropped to 50kph speed limit that the average Australian trip duration would increase by 38 seconds… Benefits of course included fatalities almost being wiped out, lowering running costs etc. However on a bike, except at a few lights, my average speed changes dramatically and so does my trip time when I change my pace. There is a difference between feeling that youre rushing and actually going fast, unless it’s documented I think it’s just a feeling. Besides, when the pedestrian lights are flashing red I know I have a limited gateway to get through the lights, but on a bike nothing gets in my way (like the car in front of me if I was driving another one) or I moderate my pace so I’ve a rolling start at green and don’t waste time accelerating from 0kph. If the author of this article is applying a car study to bikes, and people with an avg speed of 18kph feel 15 kph is relaxed, then I hate to say it but your arguments aren’t particularly relevant to this context


  1. Undoing the work wear tangle « Ride On

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