a left-eyed girl

living in a 2 dimensional world

Should I put pants on?

with 5 comments

Last night, when the train was nearing San Jose, the guy sitting behind asked me if he should bother putting pants on and I just id not know how to answer him. Oh wait, maybe I should back up a little bit… He was wearing shorts and going to ride his bike, so he wanted to know if it was really cold outside, in which case, he would put pants on so his legs weren’t too cold.

For the most part, bike attire depends on a number of factors that influence a rider’s comfort:

How far are you going to be riding? If you’re going more than a few miles, your body will warm up and you won’t need to put too many clothes on, or you may have to take them off as you heat up.

Exactly how cold is cold? Sometimes when I am freezing with a sweater on, Mister is just fine and happy without a jacket. Cold is definitely relative, and it can be hard to judge if someone else will be cold at a certain temperature.

In general, I’ve found that the more traffic there is, the harder it is for me to warm up because I need to keep stopping at lights or generally go slow around cars. For a segment of my commute in downtown SJ there are lights on every block and I end up hitting a lot of the lights. Once I pass that area, I can typically warm up more easily because my legs are constantly moving.

I hope you can see why I didn’t exactly know what to tell this guy who asked me about the weather. So what did I tell him? Well, I said, "Oh, it is better out than this morning!"

What an unbelievably unhelpful answer. I don’t know what time he headed out that morning for work so his morning temperature might be different from mine, depending on when he heads out in the morning. That night, it was definitely warmer than 7:20 in the morning, but might be considered colder than 9:00 that morning.

Of course, we both acted like my answer made total sense and went on our merry ways. He did not end up putting the pants on. I hope he didn’t freeze.

Written by Reese

December 3, 2009 at 3:31 pm

Posted in just life

5 Responses

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  1. For me, it goes something like this:

    While commuting, I have never been in a situation where wearing pants counted as wearing too much clothing. Thus, I always wear either the pants I’m going to wear to work or waterproof pants.

    While riding otherwise, I find having to purchase spandex bike shorts and then spandex bike tights to be an imposition. Therefore, I get spandex legwarmers to go with my spandex bike shorts. This is nice because it allows me to defer the decision as to how much I ought to be wearing.

    However, I now have a much better understanding of women’s undergarments as I find that the damn legwarmers are always riding down and ponder the creation of a cycling-oriented garter belt, half because the damn things are always falling down, half because the idea of manly men wearing garter belts amuses me so.

    Therefore, you will find me wearing a long sleeved insulated spandex bike jersey and no legwarmers. And it’s generally OK. The body tends to cut off blood flow to the extremities to preserve the core temperature. Thus, keeping the core warm tends to mean that the extremities will stay warm.

    Level of effort is also a consideration. People who ride real hard will be OK with a lot less wardrobe. My tri-athlete ex-boss thought I was nuts for getting a long sleeved insulated jersey, but at long-distance pace, I’m not generating enough body heat.

    Finally, style is a consideration. Certain people who share names with a certain peanut-buttery candy and happen to be half-Polish should not put pants on. Ever. Because the world might end, or something. πŸ˜›

    All I know is that yesterday, I regretted not grabbing a second shirt on the way in.


    December 3, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  2. Ok, so at least we understand each other when it comes to wearing regular pants while commuting. I am glad you’re not one of the spandex-freds that take the train with me. Now, some of them are super hot and probably look like crap in normal clothing, but some of them……… well just because they sell spandex in XXL doesn’t mean people should wear it.

    As for garter belts… did you know that it’s part of the ice hockey outfit to wear them? They are used to hold up the hockey socks. If you really wanted, you could get a hockey garter and wear it outside your spandex and under your outside shorts (if you wear those). Or just wear them outside, loud and proud. I think they come in black, so they might blend in with the shorts.

    Oh, and the last time I wore pants to work, I totally screwed up my commute and missed two trains in the mornings AND two trains in the evening. YEAH… that’ll teach me!


    December 4, 2009 at 8:03 am

  3. I don’t think cold is relative, after all temperature is fairly absolute. Though if it’s windy it can certainly seem more cold.

    I definitely agree that we all respond differently to cold, especially men and women. I can’t tell you how many women I’ve known whose hands are always ice cold no matter what the temperature whereas mine are almost always warm.

    Jeff D

    December 4, 2009 at 12:53 pm

  4. So I was already dismayed when I heard that Frank does, in fact, bite the heads off of fluffy bunnies before a hockey match. Now you are telling me that he wears a garter belt? Is there matching black manly lacy nearly-nothings they sell for hockey players to match the garter belt? πŸ˜€

    I much prefer to not have to dive into the changing room before work to get out of the spandex. Jeans are a problem, however. I am having a problem with buying jeans in that I have a 35 waist but 38 thigh muscles. But, given the reactions I’ve seen to my “Spandex fridays” jokes at work, it’s much better to wear jeans if I’m going to not change.

    I don’t wear outside shorts over my bike shorts. Why else do you think I’ve gotten hit on (by both genders) while riding?


    December 5, 2009 at 11:07 am

  5. @Jeff: Well, cold as in temperature is definitely absolute, but the temperatures at which we feel cold (which is what I meant when I was talking about “coldness”) is totally relative. Ha. Why is it that guys are most always warmer than girls? Even if I was working out and eating a lot of meat, which is Frank’s recipe for staying warm all the time, my skin is usually cool to the touch. Of course, this is great when it comes to not getting sweaty doing everything, but kinda sucks in wintertime.

    @Ken: Haha… Oh hockey garter belts. How I laughed when I first saw Frank putting one on and he mentioned that it was JUST like mine. HAHA… No wonder he’s so adept at getting those little clips off the stockings!


    December 6, 2009 at 10:51 am

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