Keeping Cool: Can clothing help?
Greetings y'all. Americancyclo's comment in the sock thread reminded me that it is possible to use clothes to help stay cool.
The important thing is to get moisture away from your skin so that it can evaporate. On days like today, moisture is more dripping off, than evaporating.
Some general rules. Just like with winter clothes, cotton is NEVER your friend. It absorbs water, holds it and chaffes against your skin. It wads up and causes hot spots. It holds heat in.
Interestingly, in some conditions bare skin can also not move moisture as well as a good cycling jersey.
Light colors: As you might imagine, a white jersey absorbs less heat than a black one. It is a difference you can feel.
Jerseys: High quality jerseys wick moisture very well and move it away from your skin, cooling you. Older, simpler lycra jerseys are good, but still hold heat a little more than higher tech fabrics used today.
Shorts: The unmodest, tight, roadie shorts definitely keep you cooler. Baggies trap air and moisture, even high-tech ones, are warmer than roadie shorts. High quality, stretch chamois pads also move moisture better and don't create chafe spots on your tender parts.
Fit: Tight is better than loose. Flapping clothes inhibit the moisture movement. Tight clothes transmit moisture from your skin much easier.
Undies: For women, modern sports bras move moisture away. They are not pretty, but they're designed to move moisture and not chafe.
Summer base layer: I use it. It seems weird that adding an extra layer keeps you cooler than wearing only one layer. I buy super cheap summer base layer from eBay. It sells for $25 for 3. The idea is that it pulls moisture away from your skin and gets it away so you can keep cool. I stay cooler.
Coolers:There are a few companies (DeSotto and 2XU) that make things called coolers. They look like arm or leg warmers, but they are white. They are treated with aspartame... the same stuff that makes mint gum cool in your mouth. These pull moisture away from your skin, give you very good SPF protection, and can keep you much cooler. These really work, though on very humid days like today, they're easily overwhelmed by people like me who sweat a lot. You can get long sleeve jerseys made of this stuff. I haven't tried them, but I've heard they work well.
On days like today, not much is going to keep you cool. Stay in the shade and keep moving. The wind will help keep you as cool as possible. Drink a lot. Drink a whole lot. Don't overwork yourself. Have reasonable expectations of what you can do.
I hope that is a good basis to start a discussion.
Most Venerated Demi-God Dirt:
There is another option for women, the combo sports bra/spaghetti strap top, very helpful on days like this. The downside is if I hit another sandbar, I'll get more torn up. But I'm willing to live with that. I've seen women wear just a sports bra too, there's another option. The only time I'll wear a skort is on a day like this because it lets me get away with wearing a very short bike shorts while creating at least plausible deniability.
White shoes, much cooler, less ugly.
And just the ability to say, enough is enough.
I also like that there are women's sport tops that allow you to clip in a heart rate monitor strap so that you don't have to double up.
Dirt, you are a veritable font of useful bike knowledge. Thanks for sharing!
The thing about winter clothes is that you can actually get to a point where you're able to ride comfortably in the cold. Doing everything perfectly on a day like today will not exactly make this afternoon's ride home very comfy... just slightly less miserable.
I second your epicness. Kudos kind sir and thanks for keeping us safe.
I was wanting to bring this topic up over the last week or so.
I have a really short ride to work but it's a pretty crappy ride no matter how I try it (but thats another discussion). My better half has asked me to refrain from "commuting" for safety and weather conditions. I have been inhaling extra water all week and have mostly the right clothing. I really want to test myself and push my personal boundaries but I don't want her to worry too much, at least about the weather. Cars running me down onthe West End of alexandria will remain a hot button topic though.
When the air it's this thick how much speed to you pro commuters loose. I am finding an average decrease of about 2mph.
I have mostly decided I wiki be unable to do my job properly if I show up drenched in sweat. My shop doesn't have a shower and I have a feeling most Infiniti owners would not think a whore bath will do the trick. However it seems that no one wants their cars fixed in this great anyway so I should be free to go home soon,yay.
Last edited by SteveTheTech; 07-21-2011 at 09:13 PM.
Reason: Stupid smart phone sucks at spelling things. lol
I can only get to work b/c there is a shower. In most weather over 70, i sweat like a pig after riding my bike for 45 minutes.
Thanks for all the info. I'll have to look in to those 'coolers'
There is a missing 1 somewhere...
I ended up getting out of work early today and went for a ride through Holmes Run and up to the split that goes under 395. I know that temp gauges on bike computers are notoriously misleading but it never went below 100 and as high as 107, but I really like the heat. It was a great ride the trail and road around Cameron Station were deserted, not even one SUV stroller. There was one nut I saw riding a bike in work boots, a long sleeved flannel, jeans and no helmet peddling against traffic.
I was thinking about this thread during the ride watching how things were absorbing and removing sweat. My jersey was a champ.
There were definiltely a lot fewer people in the bike room this morning.
On my 2.5 mile commute this week, I've taken to wearing a loose fitting sleeveless t-shirt, my work pants rolled up over the knee and flip flops. I either strap my backpack into the baby seat or put it in the cargo basket on the back to get it off my back.
Originally Posted by SteveTheTech
By pedaling slowly and finding shade at stoplights I've been able to successfully make it into work without sweating. Once there, I can change my shirt, shoes and unroll my pant legs and I'm good to go!