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  1. #1
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    Need gear advice for commuting in Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR

    I'm new to commuting regularly, just started this summer. Up until now, I've been wearing Dry-Fit shirts or the like and plain ole athletic shorts. I'm usually fairly warm no matter what I do, but I'm concerned about the cold/rain combo during the winter. My commute is about 11 miles each way, 30-40 mins depending on how many lights I hit. I want to commute every day, 5 days a week.

    So I'm a little peeved that all the stuff I picked up already is now on sale.

    Oh well, I'm thankful that the pants I picked out on my own, turned out to be the AmFib ones people are talking about. Glad I don't have to return them.

    Have these for covering my feet. http://www.rei.com/product/725342

    I'm looking into getting some sealskinz socks.

    I picked up this Gore jacket, and I'm wondering how well it will do in the cold/rain we get here? http://www.rei.com/product/766288

    I also have this waterproofing stuff and I have some questions about it. Will it work? It smells sort of bad, will it make my stuff smell like that permanently? Anything else anyone can say about it? http://www.rei.com/product/740258

    I'm also looking for some glasses for the dark mornings/days and rain. I just can't justify spending $150 on some glasses for biking. I had been wearing some sunglasses but they are too dark now, and were allowing wind into my eye. Got an infection/irritation. Someone was suggesting regular old welding safety glasses. There was some cheap options here under motorcycle eye wear. Thoughts? http://www.safetyglassesusa.com/molego.html

    Also, do I need multiple pairs of those AmFibs? I do not own any biking shorts either. Would it be wise to pick up a few biking shorts with chamois? If so how many etc?

  2. #2
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    Good job! My 2 cents

    Looks like your feet will be fine.

    As for the jacket, it looks nice and may be great for colder weather riding, but not for daily commuting here in the PDX / Vanc. area. I don't think its waterproof.

    I love my Showers Pass jacket. Maybe you can return the REI jacket if you haven't used it yet and get a Showers Pass. It has a back vent and pit zips. Keeps you dry and ventilated.
    http://www.showerspass.com/ Go with a nice waterproof shell, and layer up underneath. Start with your moister-wicking dry fit shirts, then a layer of cotton to absorb the sweat. A wool layer never hurts. Keeps you warm even when damp. Of course it never really gets all that cold here, so its more about the waterproofing than the warmth. Remember you want to be just a little chilly when you start out. You'll warm up in no time.

    I've used that waterproofing spray for my snowboard gear and it works great. I would think it would do the same for cycling clothing. It does smell, but it goes away. Just don't over do it. Really you will only need to apply that stuff once or twice during the rainy season.

    My suggestion for clear glasses is inexpensive safety glasses. Go to any hardware store and pick them up there. I was in Lowes the other day and grabbed another pair of these
    http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...000&lpage=none
    I use them for mountain biking, commuting, shooting etc. I have a few pairs. They are cheap enough that if you break or loose them its not big deal. They have a UV rating and wrap around the face nicely.

    Good luck and stay dry and safe.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the help. I'll definitely be going to pick up some of those glasses.

    That was my concern about the jacket. Would the waterproofing stuff not work on it to make it usable?

  4. #4
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    Welcome to commuting! I also started this summer and am loving it. I'm in Albany and I commute ~25 miles round trip to Corvallis every day.

    I have the Showers Pass jacket. Very nice and very expensive. I got the high-end one made with the eVent fabric that is supposed to breathe better than anything...and I still sweat in it even with the pit zips fully open and only a polyester shirt underneath.

    The Nikwax stuff is the shizz! I haven't used that exact formuation but I have used their wash-in waterproofing for cotton. It works exactly as they say...does not change the look and feel of the fabric and makes water roll right off. I washed a Carhartt jacket in it a year or two ago and have never had to re-treat. It is now one of my best raincoats. I bet you could take a windbreaker and turn it into a rain shell with no problem.

    Eye protection...in the rain...tough call. I have some Smith glasses with interchangeable lenses. Pretty pricey but they are my do-everything glasses. I have lenses for daylight and lenses for dark. However...on Friday when it was pissing down for my entire 45 minute commute, as soon as I got moving and was working hard, my glasses just fogged up and I couldn't see a stinking thing. I took them off and put them in my pocket and rode without. If you come up with a way to prevent fogging...please speak up. Honestly, I found the cool air on my face refreshing after removing my glasses. Until it gets really cold, I'll probably just not wear glasses.

    I'm loving the amfib tights. They rock.

    I'm curious how you will fare with those booties. I'd read they weren't truly waterproof. I went with some Endura MT500 neoprene booties from the LBS. ( http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/product-E...pair-13323.htm ) They keep my feet completely dry (and a little too warm). The right one was bothering the back of my ankle a bit at the top by the zipper. I got to work and my ankle was all bloody. I bought some neoprene from a local outdoor fabric store and that problem is fixed.

    Oh, another recommendation...and REI has them on sale right now. Ortlieb panniers. I got mine and there's no looking back. I don't have to wonder how I'm going to fit coffee, lunch clothes, towel, etc. etc. etc. into a stupid trunk bag. I just throw everything in the big bag(s) and close them up. They probably aren't the best for actual touring where you might want to stop every so often and get an energy bar or camera out of an external pocket...but for commuting...they rock.

    I'm still looking at waterproof gloves. I'm thinking about the Pearl Izumi Lobster Claws but I'm not sure. I have a soft spot for Land of the Lost (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi..._Marshalls.jpg ).

    Anyway, keep us posted on what you decide on and what you find works and doesnt.

  5. #5
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    The biggest problem I have for commuting in the wet is my feet. I have some Sealskins socks. They are not waterproof. Get some Gore-Tex ones or something. If it's summer I just wear my clipless sandals. When it starts to get a little colder, I throw the sealskins on over the sandals. They keep the heat on feet well enough. When it gets a bit colder I switch to my Answer Kashmir cycling shoes. They keep my feet dry and happy. Once winter actually hits I throw on the Lake MXZ302s. I live in Wisconsin, so this last step isn't really applicable to you as your winter is rain and rarely below freezing.

  6. #6
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    "I have the Showers Pass jacket. Very nice and very expensive. I got the high-end one made with the eVent fabric that is supposed to breathe better than anything...and I still sweat in it even with the pit zips fully open and only a polyester shirt underneath."

    It is a toasty jacket. I can't help getting hot though. I'm a sweater and so I always have to choose my layers carefully. But come the cold, I know I'm going to be glad I have it. As for the expense, they are less than the jacket that jflurett got at REI. Like I said, unless you love it, you could return it. It does look like a nice jacket. Seems to me that waterproofing stuff will work just fine with the jacket. Its a Gore Windstopper and that is what the spray is made for. You may be real happy with that setup. Give it a go and see what works and what doesn't. With this early rain and warm weather, you have the perfect opportunity to do some trial and error runs before it really gets cold.

    I was looking at the Ortlieb backpacks. They are nice! The only thing is they don't have any external pockets or organization. Ended up getting a new Chrome bag, so I'm a happy boy. Speaking of, thats another thing jflurett. Make sure your bag / transport container is good and waterproof.

  7. #7
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    On the bag note, I already picked up some Ortlieb bags. I got the larger double buckle ones. I'm happy with them and their storage capacity, but they do need some organizers inside. I think I could just buy something to sit inside, or maybe craft something.

    Oh and I used my 20% off one item at REI on the jacket, so it wasn't that bad. That and the rebate from their CC and it's even less. Though, at that, I could have done the same with a Showers Pass jacket.

  8. #8
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    Oh, fenders. I ride a Tricross Singlecross. Anyone have any idea on ones that fit? I don't know the first thing about them.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jflurett
    Oh, fenders. I ride a Tricross Singlecross. Anyone have any idea on ones that fit? I don't know the first thing about them.
    Try River City bicycles. They are good at fitting fenders or giving you advice.
    Also, as we all throw our opinion and suggestions at ya, don't forget the lights!

    I'm sure you jacket will do fine.

    Stay safe and welcome to commuting! Its very rewarding, especially when all the fair weather riders pack it in and your still out there.

  10. #10
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    Eye Wear

    I use laboratory safety glasses for my bike riding eye wear at dawn and dusk. Laboratory safety glasses have come a long way since the early 90's mad scientist goggle style. The safety glasses I use at work and while I ride come from Fisher Scientific and look like this with a clear lens.



    I find them comfortable and a lot cheaper than the designer glasses if you can find them with clear lenses.

    Unfortunately they only sell them in packs of twelve for $78.12 ($6.51/eye glass). Do you have twelve bike commuting friends with $7 to spare and a need for clear glasses???

    http://www.fishersci.com/wps/portal/...y&fromSearch=Y

    Or you can try these sites:

    http://www.safetyglassesusa.com/clearlens.html

    http://safetyglasses.com/

    http://www.abcsafetyglasses.com/safety-glasses.html


    Please note, I'm not affiliated with any of these companies or have I purchased from them (except for Fisher Scientific).

    Aloha,

    Keith

    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
    _/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/_/ http://www.ophale.com/
    _\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\_\ http://www.ophale.com/bodhi_tales

  11. #11
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    Another place to look for safety glasses is shooting supply places and industrial supply houses. Around here we have Industrial Welding Supply. They carry some really nice wrap-around safety glasses that have a variety of lens tints and coatings available. They are only about $10 I think.

    Here at work, we have some Smith & Wesson safety glasses that are really comfortable too.

  12. #12
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    I picked these up for glasses. So far, I'm very happy.

    http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100054214

    Had a beanie on under my helmet then glasses contacting the beanie directly at the top. No fog. I was proud of myself, and ready to post about it that night. Then, red light. So fogged I couldn't see.

    Needless to say I don't have the solution for that.

    Thus far the jacket is just fine. No real rain yet though. I do find that I'm pretty warm (sweat dripping) at about 40-45 degrees, approximately 3 miles into my 11 mile ride.

  13. #13
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    Search EBay for safety glasses...I got some nice clear ones for $6...shipped!

  14. #14
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    I have been an Oakley guy for about 20 years now. Granted I have always gotten them at cost or as a handoff. I really like their persimmon lens for my needs. However at this time the only models they have with that color are the M series and the Radars. The Radars are particularly cool in that they shed moisture which works really well for riding in the rain I find. Oakley is supposed to be coming out with a product that will do this to all but has not seen fit to do so yet.

    An old trick that I have used in the past is to use a small amount of liquid soap on the inside of the lens before using if I know conditions are going to be right for fogging up. I used this to keep my goggles clear on powder days for years with mostly success and I imagine it would work well with the lesser conditions we are experiencing. I got a plastic jar of stuff at a home show years ago that does a good job of keeping fogging at bay but I have no idea what is in it.
    The future is not google-able. William Gibson

  15. #15
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    Getting some more rain here, and there are no complaints from my gear.

    I've since added fenders, and it severely decreases wetness. Definite necessity. As well as learning where the puddles on your trip are. That should not be taken lightly.

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