What kind of coat should I buy for bike commuting in spring weather?
May 24, 2012 1:44 AM   Subscribe

What kind of coat should I buy for bike commuting in spring weather? (male fashion)

I commute 15 minutes to work by bike in a European city. As I don't have time nor facilities to change, I wear my office clothes (suit) underneath. On the bike I'm carrying a backpack or messenger bag. Now I'm looking for a coat or jacket to fit my lifestyle.

The coat should:

- work for biking in fresh spring weather (15-20° C / 55-70° F) with occasional light showers
- be a good balance between relaxed and elegant - i.e. not clash with a suit underneath, but also be wearable with less formal wear.

General types of coats/jackets or specific item recommendations welcome!
posted by lord_yo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
I quite like my Portland jacket by Showers Pass
posted by OHSnap at 1:54 AM on May 24, 2012

A windbreaker or other thin jacket would probably go well with a suit, to keep you from overheating. In fact, you might even just go with a thin fluorescent layer, if you're biking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:56 AM on May 24, 2012

I won't pretend to give fashion advice, but I do know quite a bit about dressing comfortably for a short spring commute!

If you're already wearing a suit jacket, you probably don't need additional warmth. (Actually, I'm a little surprised you can comfortably wear even a suit jacket at 15C.) So I would focus more on a breathable rain shell to protect yourself from those occasional light showers, with little or no insulation so you don't overheat.

What do you think of this wool/synthetic blend raincoat? The liner is removable, so you can wear it on warmer days as a pure rain shell or on chillier days for some warmth, and unlike the classic trench coat style, it's cut short enough not to get in your way on the bike.
posted by d. z. wang at 2:51 AM on May 24, 2012

Black rain jacket - presumably your suits are dark in colour and presumably your bags are black, too, so black rain jacket of some description should be all you need. Personally I'd feel too hot cycling in those temperatures with a suit jacket so if you really do feel you need extra warmth I'd consider an undershirt under your normal shirt, not a warmer jacket - the pure rain jacket will be handy even in summer, whereas a coat with added warmth would be less versatile.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:02 AM on May 24, 2012

Here in Toronto, I'm in a t-shirt and no jacket when it's 15-20 Celsius. I can't imagine wearing the equivalent of a suit jacket at those temperatures. But if you're comfortable riding with that many layers, so be it.

Can you leave your suit jackets at work (bring them in once a week via transit, car or a lift from a friend) and ride in your shirt plus a breathable light rain jacket / windbreaker when needed?
posted by maudlin at 6:16 AM on May 24, 2012

I wear this St. Johns Bay Mesh-Lined Hooded Windbreaker in black and gray. Similar ones are available from many makers.

You'll have to decide how elegant it is with a suit jacket (probably not very; but it may be neutral enough in style to not clash), but it's very versatile. I wear it over a regular shirt in weather as low as 35F. It's a little chilly for the first half mile or so, then body heat keeps me plenty warm. It's not waterproof, but it repels plenty enough water for light showers. For any heavy rains, I keep a disposable emergency poncho in my handlebar bag. I have not needed it so far, but I live in semi-arid Montana. It's also thin enough that I don't overheat if the weather warms up during the ride. I just unzip it all the way.
posted by The Deej at 6:19 AM on May 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the good ideas so far - keep them coming! Over lunch, I was looking at soft shell jackets, which I really liked, although it's hard to find one that's long enough to cover the suit jacket.

Yes, I admit, I dress to warmly - I tend to get colds very quickly. But whatever your definition of "chilly" is: I'm talking about the temperature range which is "too warm to warrant a good coat" and "too cold to just wear a suit jacket or hoodie".
posted by lord_yo at 6:44 AM on May 24, 2012

I came here to recommend the Portland Jacket by Showers Pass as well. Everything they make is of very high quality, and that jacket is just great. It works so well on and off the bike.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 10:35 AM on May 24, 2012

Hmm I am wearing right now a windbreaker from live strong. I can wear this jacket from about 40 degrees f to 75 f. Its awesome for biking because it has the breathing holes under the arm pits and in the back.It goes well with my IT guy clothes .

Its great with temperature changes because of how its designed. I do not know if its sold in europe though. You might want to look at nikes site for your country.

This is what I have
posted by majortom1981 at 11:43 AM on May 24, 2012

« Older Square Meal: Blandest Foods?   |   Seeing a guy who is moving at the end of summer.... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.