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The Best Clothing for Fall Bike Commutes

Comfortable and versatile apparel that will serve you well on casual rides.

commuter gear

Whether you’re already a daily rider, just like tooling around campus, or are looking to add a few extra miles to increase your weekly total, commuting by bike is a great way to sneak in a workout, save on gas, and beat the traffic blues. Along with owning a capable bike, having the right clothing and gear can help keep you cool, dry, visible, and comfortable on your ride.

What to Expect From Fall Weather

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While high and low temps vary greatly throughout the day in fall, your morning commute might be much cooler than your ride home. The best commuter gear for this time of year is packable and versatile, since it’s often much warmer in the afternoon. It’s also a good idea to be prepared for sudden showers with water-resistant options that remain breathable even after the rain stops. And for those glorious clear days, sunnies and sunscreen are must-haves.

Be Seen, Be Safe

When commuting on the road, especially during the high-traffic, low-light hours surrounding dawn and dusk, being visible—to motorists, pedestrians, and other cyclists—is of the utmost importance. Choose bright, reflective clothing, backpacks with reflective details, and other accessories that help you be seen. While it’s a no-brainer to use head- and taillights when the sun goes down (or hasn’t yet come up), it’s also wise to use daytime running lights, which will catch the eye of approaching motorists.

How We Chose This Gear

Every item on this list has been carefully selected by our team of test editors. We research the market, survey user reviews, speak with product managers and designers, and use our own experience using this gear to determine the best options. We spent many hours and miles commuting on roads, bike paths, and in traffic during both day- and nighttime hours. The stuff we didn’t use personally we chose based on our experience with similar products and technology. Taking into consideration performance, value, comfort, quality, and aesthetics, we came up with this list of the best gear for commuting this fall.

Craft Rain Commute Set Pants

Craft Rain Commute Set Pant - Men's

  • Breathable
  • Velcro hem to seal out water
  • Bike-specific

  • Non-adjustable elastic waist

Pull these pants on over whatever you’d usually commute in, and not even a rainy day will stop you. The three-layer fabric is water- and windproof, with hook-and-loop closures at the bottom to keep water out and prevent your pant legs from getting caught in the chain. Designed specifically for use on the bike, they leave plenty of room in the knees for pedaling. The light elastic waist further facilitates easy donning and removal, and the fabric dries quickly so you can put them back on at the end of the workday to go home.

      Club Ride Apparel Rambler Shirt

      A casual men’s tee for bike, office, or afterparty

      Courtesy Club Ride

      • Lightweight and breathable
      • Hidden zipper pocket

      This shirt is one of the pieces of clothing that made this list because of its ability to balance on-the-bike comfort with off-the-bike style, so you don’t need to change when you get where you’re going. Its casual style seamlessly goes from bike to office, and the lightweight, polyester-wool blend keeps you cozy on cool days and dry on warmer ones. When you need something a little more formal, go ahead and shove the Rambler into your backpack—that fabric blend is also anti-wrinkle and quick-drying, so it will look just as good when you pull it out. Reflective accents up your visibility in low light. Stash your keys or cash in the chest pocket or stealthy rear zippered pocket.

      Castelli Squadra ER Jacket

      Water-resistant, windproof, and breathable

      Castelli Mens Squadra ER Jacket

      • High-viz
      • Packable
      • Rear vent helps keep you from overheating

      • Not waterPROOF, just water-resistant

      Castelli’s affordable rain jacket is water-resistant, windproof, and breathable, and comes in black, white, and high-vis yellow. A drop tail keeps road spray off your rear, an elastic hem and cuffs seal out nasty elements. It doesn’t have any pockets, which keeps it light and packable. Two small vents on the upper back help keep you from overheating. Castelli sizing runs small, so we recommend ordering a size up than you usually would (or two, if you plan on layering). Stash it in your commuter bag and never be caught by surprise.

      Club Ride Apparel Eden Shorts

      Comfy, with hidden tech

      Club Ride Eden Short - Women's

      If you’d like to ride in a chamois but look casual doing it, the Edens are for you. These breathable, two-layer shorts are made from a moisture-wicking, water-repelling fabric that holds its own on the trail and in the bike lane. An included removable liner has 8mm of gel and memory foam padding to keep you comfy on commutes longer than a few minutes. In addition to two back and hip pockets, a zippered thigh pocket keeps small item super secure and easily accessible. They also come in blue and orange.

              Pearl Izumi W Escape Singlet

              Transitions easily from bike to office

              Courtesy Pearl Izumi
              W Escape Singlet
              PEARL IZUMI
              $29.95 (40% off)

              • Wicks sweat
              • Cut for a cycling position

              This racerback top is high-tech—lightweight, quick-drying polyester with a UPF rating of 30+—but you wouldn’t know from looking at it. Crafted with figure-flattering, lightweight fabrics, the women’s Escape looks equally great on and off the bike. Its soft fabric is stretchy with a classic cut, scooped neck, three buttons, and a drop-tail hem, so you’ll look casual and comfortable when you step into the office. Tiny reflective details help cars see you sooner. It comes in black, navy, and teal as well.

              Lululemon Commission Shorts

              Sweat-wicking, four-way-stretch fabric won’t hold you back on the bike

              Commission Shorts

              • ABC (anti-ball-crushing) construction
              • Sweat-wicking material
              • Four-way-stretch fabric

              • Size up if you have bigger quads

              These men’s shorts keep you dry and cool on your commute and look the part once you arrive at the office. Lululemon constructs them with its ABC (Anti-Ball-Crushing) design, which features a little more breathing room in the front. The nine-inch inseam is long enough that it won’t scooch up and expose your pale quads as you pedal. The left pocket has a small inner zippered compartment for keys or cash, and the right side has a snug sleeve to keep your phone from sliding around or falling out. Rear pockets have hidden snaps, so they won’t gape awkwardly while you’re riding. The Commission is available in five neutral, office-friendly shades: navy, black, khaki, olive, and grey.

              Goodr BAMF GS Sunglasses

              Lightweight sunnies that won’t break the bank

              Goodr Bamf GS Sunglasses

              • Nonslip
              • Unisex

              • Best for narrow faces—check out Goodr’s BFG for wider ones

              These polarized shades block 100 percent of UVA, UVB, and UV400 rays, so you don’t have to deal with a funny glare or inadequate protection. The lightweight frames fit snugly and are lightweight—they won’t slide off your nose when you start to get sweaty. They also don’t have those pesky little nose pads that get tangled in long hair and leave indents on the bridge of your nose. An anti-scratch and anti-saltwater coating keeps them in good shape for longer. Plus, they’re available in loads of fun colors, and easily double as casual shades.

              Thousand Heritage Helmet

              A sleek, cool approach to commuter helmets

              Thousand Heritage Helmet, $89

              • Sleek and classy
              • Integrated bike lock loop

              • Not a lot of vents

              This vintage moto-inspired lid is trendy, comfortable, and so stylish you’ll want to keep it on at the pub. Vegan leather straps add a touch of class, and minimal vents on the top and back are enough to keep your head from getting steamy. An adjustable dial lets you tweak fit, and we found the magnetic buckle to be a breeze to operate one-handed. Cool feature: The “thsd” logo on the back right side pops off so you can run a lock through the helmet.

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