Monday, May 2, 2011

What folks are wearing out on those Livable Streets.

There are a lot of factors that go into making a decision. Whether it is where to eat dinner, who to take to the prom or when to invest. Recent research from University of Missouri researchers indicate that advocates for physical activity may find the greatest success when they reinforce good behaviors that leads to exercise instead of trying to give people still more information about why they need to exercise. In the case of physical activity, more information may not be better. Some support at the right time and place may make all the difference.

Once you have made the decision to walk or bicycle to some of your destinations, clothes make the (wo)man. If you are trying active transportation for the first time consider investing in clothing that will keep you dry and warm.

Here goes with the list of that key clothing that - if you keep it close by - may keep you walking and bicycling longer into the year and into your life:

Rain gear: Sometime in your future as a walker or bike commuter it is going to rain. Or snow. Or sleet. And you will be glad that you got a set of waterproof pants and jacket. Go for water-proof not merely water-resistant duds. I always keep a change of clothes at work for that day when my rain gear fails me either due to a wardrobe malfunction or a hurricane arriving. We rarely think about staying dry until we get wet. As an everyday (or occasional) active commuter you will quickly strive to remain a Dry American. Having and wearing water-proof rain gear makes all the difference between dry & happy and wet & sad (Aside: While it is gear for your bike and not your body, consider getting a set of fenders for your ride. Keeping that annoying splash on the street and off your trousers or skirt will make you feel and look better when you cruise into work.)

Ankle biters: These sound painful but are not. Ankle biters are a piece of metal or a velcro strip that cinches around your ankle that rides on the chain side of the bicycle. You only have to trash a pair of pants once by getting them caught in your bike chain before you go looking for an ankle biter. No bike shop near you? No worries. A burly rubber band works fine, too.

Shoes: As a walker, you deserve good footwear. Solid support coupled with waterproof or wicking fibers will keep your pups dry and warm in all kinds of weather. A change of shoes upon arrival lets you slip into something more comfortable in which to have your day. And TODAY is YOUR day, right?

Helmet: There is no reason to go helmet-less on a bike. Even hipsters with good hair can crash and sustain head injuries. A few years ago a friend shared with me the helmet wearers' mantra: May you always wear it and never need it. Too true. (For walkers, a wide brimmed hat will keep the sun off your face. No need to get blinded while stepping off the sidewalk. For walkers and bicyclists long commutes deserve sunscreen. Skin cancers are everywhere these days. Don't go courting melanoma. Lather up before heading out.)

There. Is your wardrobe completely prepared for any kind of weather? Let me know what key accountrements for the well-dressed active commuter I may have missed.

See you in the Streets,

1 comment:

  1. One of the great things about cycling is it can be done safely, on a regular basis, in normal, everyday clothes. There is no need for special clothing, shoes, or silly styrofoam hats to ride safely and comfortably.

    Rolling up one's drive side pant leg a few inches or tucking it into the sock both effectively prevent the pant leg from getting caught in the chain without requiring any special equipment.

    A pair of padded cycling gloves, while certainly not essential, can be very useful. They can increase hand comfort and can potentially protect the hands in the event of a minor crash, since most people tend to try to use their hands to break their fall.

    Great tip about fenders! In rainy weather, it is common for rain water to spray upward onto the cyclist from the tires at a greater rate than it comes down onto the cyclist from above.