Sunday, January 29, 2012

Two Years of Bicycle Commuting: My Clothes No Longer Fit Me

Nice shirt, rendered TOO LARGE by two years of bicycle commuting

Was I really that large?
I guess I must have been, since I have the clothes in my closet to prove it.
But, it's hard to believe this tent-like button-down shirt once fit me.
Going through the closet to clean it out, make room for some new choices, out with the old, into the donate or rags pile.
Summary: my legs are slightly larger, my abdomen is noticeably smaller. It's not so much weight loss as muscle tone. A lower body fat percentage obtained through several thousand miles of medium-speed bicycle commuting. 
I wasn't overweight. But I was undertoned. Carrying around more stored calories in the form of fat than needed, or wanted.
It wasn't a sudden thing. But, mile by mile, week by week, these shirts became more and more ill-fitting, baggier and baggier, until they are now tent-like if I put them on. Which isn't exactly the image I want to portray when wearing a nice shirt.
So, thank you, bicycle commuting, for your two years of slow, but significant, muscle-toning influence on me. 
I need to rethink shirt shopping now. The parameters have all changed. Being a commando shopper, in, BAM! get what is needed, back out before they know what hit them, I need to get the parameters straight before I enter the shopping establishment.
I need to work out the parameters for a lean, but never mean, bicycle commuting machine. 
And don't get me started about the baggy pants situation. I used to be skeptical of bicycle-specific fashion, now I need to check it out just to appease the people around me who feel the need to point out the baggy pants. Not that they aren't right. I do have some 25 year old Levi's 501s that fit like they should. And that's pretty cool, actually. Not only that they fit, but how well they have survived the years. I love love love my old jeans. Glad I kept them. Even more glad they fit again.
I'll probably keep one of those giant shirts, just to remind myself. I could hang it up in the bike area, whenever someone asks why I have so many bicycles. Point to the shirt: because that used to fit me. 

Farewell, my tent-like outer garment


  1. Lean, mean, JRA riding machine!

  2. You could always use one of these now 'tent like' shirts as a shelter on a cycle touring ride...!!!


  3. I am having the same experience. Some of my ancient favorite aloha shirts are like tents now but I have some that I've never worn because they were too small. I'll get to wear them now. I can wear all my pants including my 35 year old jeans but only momentarily as they are already too big and I can take them on and off without unbuttoning them.
    I'm not complaining I like it.
    The best part is that when I squat down now I can get up and my bike feels 35 pounds lighter.

  4. so cool jra!! i've always been a skinny boy prone to wearing skinny stuff . . . but i run into trouble when i get the tone thing going because bulk also appears as little bits of reconstituted protein take form and round out the - especiall - lower body necessitating more purchases. go nuts bro. buy the skinny shit and show off the lean machine you are!!! steven

  5. Awesome! What a great spot to be in. And just think, your heart, lungs, and other organs are probably in equally better shape, too.

  6. I'm no good at sewing, and in fact an epic near-disaster recently with a Quick Stitch sewing awl would lead one to return to more familiar tools which don't have large gauge needles with strong thread in them, I am looking at this pile of fine cloth and wondering if one could fabricate some useful bike-specific items from it. Caps that fit, for example? How hard could that be...

  7. Congratulations. My weight is not much different but it's sure distributed differently. Just had a mini-argument with someone who hates "carbs" --- I love it that the energy my body creates gets used up bicycling and making me feel great.

    But mostly, just, congratulations on changing your life. It's hope for the future.

  8. Sigh, I'm afraid that my weight isn't really affected by my biking, maybe because I started biking because I hurt myself marathoning so I was starting out fairly fit. The only way I can really control my weight is to control my diet, which is unfortunate because of how I like to cook and eat. I suppose I would be much bigger if I didn't ride a bike an hour every day, although I might not crave/ justify as much food if I didn't.

    Theoretically you (or a seamstress/ tailor) can put in darts, to remove extra material around the waist, while retaining the same fit through the chest and shoulders. Depends on the cut of the shirt.

    Congratulations on the lifestyle/ health improvements!


Please feel free to comment here, almost anything goes, except for obvious spam or blatantly illegal or objectionable material. Spammers may be subject to public ridicule, scorn, or outright shaming, and the companies represented in spam shall earn disrepute and ire for each occurrence.