Fall is such a great time of year to ride. The air is cool and crisp and the turning leaves provide a beautiful backdrop. One issue that pops up when the weather changes, though, is how to dress. Although summer can be hot and sticky, it is easy to simply pull on a tank top and floaty skirt before pedaling off. With fall, however, you have to balance warmth with wicking, and ensure comfort over clamminess. Because of its temperature regulating and moisture wicking properties, I’ve been trying to achieve this balance with wool layers, and have been quite pleased with the results. For example, this morning I rode to work wearing Ibex wool baselayers, ribbed wool-blend tights from J.Crew, a synthetic blend skirt from Anthropologie, a wool long-sleeve top from Ibex, a Supplex® jacket from Pure+Good, and Frye leather boots.
This was for an 8-mile commute from Virginia to DC, at 7am with a morning temperature of 46F. It took me about 45 minutes door-to-door on my Raleigh, and when I arrived I felt good. I was pretty comfortable, with no sweatiness or clammy discomfort. And it was nice to be able to ride in with only some minimal adjustments. I was especially happy that about half of my outfit was from “regular” stores. J.Crew, for instance, doesn’t bill its ribbed tights as “wicking” but they’re wool-blend tights and that’s just a natural property of the material. Similarly, the Pure+Good jacket, which I thought was just cute when I purchased it on sale at Anthro in the summer, is actually a technical jacket with panache. Supplex®, I’ve learned, is a fabric made to feel like cotton but that contains “advanced fiber technology” that gives it great wicking properties.
The point of all this isn’t to catalog my wardrobe. Really, it’s just to say that dressing for bicycle commuting as the seasons change doesn’t have to be difficult. Warmth, style, comfort – yes, you can have them all. Happy autumn!