Wrap Yourself in Cashmere

This post title is inspired by the homepage of Performance Bicycle, which announces: “Who needs cashmere? Wrap yourself in Spandex!” (Thanks Steve for the heads up.) While I appreciate that some cyclists prefer spandex, I thought I’d represent for all the cashmere-wearing cyclists out there. After wool, cashmere is my favorite clothing for winter cycling: luxurious and warm.


Unfortunately, after I snapped this picture in the morning, I realized my narrow skirt was impossible to cycle in, especially sitting upright.  Taken down by a skirt! I was in a rush, so I garaged Oma and took the L train.  Too bad, because I missed Chicago’s first flurry.

First Flurry

After work I met up with Elizabeth for a Climate Cycle kick-off event. Climate Cycle is an awesome Chicago-based nonprofit organization that “empowers youth to become leaders of the clean energy movement by installing solar energy systems and funding sustainability education in local public schools.” Schools spend more on utility bills than on books and computers combined – yikes.

A big fund-raising event is their annual ride, a 4, 10, 20 or 62-mile course along Lake Michigan. Last year’s inaugural ride raised enough money to install solar energy on four schools. What a great idea!  The next ride will be on May 16, 2010. Register or donate here.

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34 thoughts on “Wrap Yourself in Cashmere

  1. maria says:

    Your outfit is gorgeous and definitely worth taking the train for.

    Wow, that’s really scary that schools spend more on energy bills than books!!

  2. E A says:

    I wore a cashmere sweater today. I live in my sweaters all winter. Great post (as always). So you and Greg are signing up for the 62-mile route, right?

  3. Anne Hawley says:

    Your outfit is fab! I don’t own any cashmere clothes per se, but my collection of pashminas is in heavy rotation on these chilly dry days. There really is nothing like cashmere for warmth and softness.

  4. Steven Vance says:

    In case Performance removes the ad by the time anyone visits their website, I have preserved it for everyone:
    Performance Bicycle: Anti cashmere, pro spandex

  5. Sungsu says:

    We had our first frost this week, and I broke out my wool coat.

  6. Scott says:

    Today was a good one! It felt like the first winter ride of the season to me. There were the snow flurries and the frozen pond at Milwaukee and Ashland where a hydrant was leaking. And I wore my new wool/cashmere coat for the first time, how apt!

  7. miss sarah says:

    The narrow skirt. Curses! It’s possible to ride in, but only if you either hike it up so high you might as well not be wearing any skirt at all, or if your knees bang together the whole time. I’ve ridden in a lot of skirts, but not my pencil skirt.

    I’ve done a bubble skirt once, but it was a short distance.


    • dottie says:

      This particular skirt had absolutely no give for the saddle. I once rode Betty while wearing it, and although it was difficult, the shorter nose of the Brooks Special and the leaned over seating position made it possible. On Oma the saddle was in the way.

      • Step-Through says:

        I suppose you could get one of those round-nosed saddles. I’ve never tried one myself. I have ripped open a seam to create a side slit in one of my favorite skirts! Worked great. And I have a couple of skirts in which I have to dismount when I stop (which is the recommended method anyway, or so Sheldon says…)

  8. Brian says:

    Ugh! Winter, snowing like crazy out right now. Had a flat yesterday….first in 3 years of riding on my Opa, wanted to try it out today but with 3 inches on the ground I’m afraid a car might slide and hit me. Yep, natural fiber is the way to go, I like wool in the winter.

  9. That dress is wonderful! And I love the addition of the pearls to it. Looks so pretty and soft.

  10. ooh snow!! i can’t wait till it snows here. (and funnily enough, i’m wearing a cashmere scarf this morning…but no spandex whatsoever).

  11. I made the mistake of riding to a meeting in a pencil skirt once. NEVER AGAIN. By the time I realized how it would ride up (really, it would have to, I don’t know what I was thinking) it was too late to turn back, as I was quite late, and the ride across Brooklyn was downright scary. I was followed, whistled at and felt really exposed. I do not recommend this to anyone. Loose dresses, all the way.

    (this is my first comment here but I’ve been reading for a couple of months — great blog!)

  12. Julie says:

    I put on a purple cashmere sweater this morning, but decided in the end to go with a black sweater instead. I LOVE my cashmere sweater though! All hail to the yumminest (and comfort) of cashmere! Best thing about it – was bought for $3 at Village Thrift. Don’t tell anyone though :))

    • k says:

      I’m with you, Julie. I’ve bought tons of cashmere at thrift stores over the years, never spending more than 5 bucks a pop. (I recycle them into the coziest quilty blankets imaginable. I’m going to make myself a thick cashmere scarf this year: burrrr!)

  13. Ira says:

    This is why I love LGRAB. Well-prepared cyclists are probably the only Chicagoans excited about commuting this time of year.

    • E A says:

      You’re right. Despite the chill, I had a great commute. No dampness. Just crisp, cool air. Ah! Actually quite refreshing and invigorating.

    • Scott says:

      I have been looking forward to this weather. I’ll take a 25-30 degree day with sun and low wind as my perfect cycling weather.

  14. Amy says:

    Thanks for posting about the Climate Cycle. We both work in CPS high schools. I can believe there is a lot of waste, our buildings are so big and they always have the heat blasting; we actually have had our windows open all week because the heat is so intense in our classroom. Does the organization work with environmental science classrooms? It seems like a great lesson, and would supplement things that a lot of science teachers are already teaching. I do like your outfit too.

  15. It should come as no surprise that I am a fan of cashmere as well! A couple of years ago Old Navy had a crazy sale on cashmere sweaters and I bought a bunch of them at an outlet for like $20 each. Should have bought more!

    The thing that’s especially nice about cashmere wool compared to other kinds of wool, is that it is so thin yet provides the same amount of warmth. So you can still wear a tailored, form-fitting coat over it without the whole thing looking bulky and lumpy.

    • dukiebiddle says:

      I remember when I was really young cashmere was really expensive. It seems that 15 years or so ago the price really dropped. In college I stumbled across a similar cashmere $20 sweater sale at Christmas time. I bought cashmere sweaters for everybody, and everyone thought they were getting something special. It was like the Seinfeld episode, only without the red spot.

      • Oh God, the Seinfeld episode is too funny! High-quality cashmere is still expensive. A J. Crew sweaters are priced from $150 to $400 this season, and even at the outlets with 50% off it’s still a high price tag. I think that inthe past 10 years there has been a proliferation of outlet shops and lower priced shops that attempt to emulate high-end goods – hence the availability of cheaper chashmere…

    • dottie says:

      Ah yes, cashmere is a type of wool, lol :)

  16. Mamavee says:

    when I was just out of college I had my dad give me cashmere sweaters each christmas for a few years. I have collected a fairly large group of sweaters that are cozy and warm. Cashmere rules. You look great!

  17. […] …hating spandex? Simple. Don’t wear it. I have a few pairs of those trendy leggings that college-aged women tend to live in, and these are reserved for wearing under skirts and dresses when I ride. Otherwise, I wear jeans, corduroy pants, or regular slacks. I wear layers of long underwear, waffle shirts, sweaters, etc., but nothing special or specific to biking/walking/bus-riding. I have two jackets and coats which happen to be bright colors. I have one pair of bike gloves and a helmet. A friend tells me I might want a balaclava in the winter. Baclava might be better. What I am saying is that it is possible to avoid wearing (what I believe are) tacky, unfashionable cycling clothes. […]

    • G.E. says:

      (giggle) Baklava… mmm… that sounds really good right now. :o) I was just speaking of some baklava the other day, but can’t seem to find a good Greek bakery.

  18. Good for you for wearing cashmere! Spandex never looks good…

  19. Dean Peddle says:

    First snow eh? Dottie, do you have your studded tires on yet….if not then when? I debating whether to put mine on this weekend as there will be snow next week. This is my first time using them so I’m trying to hold out as long as possible.

    As someone who’s worn spandex for years I can tell you it’s garbage. I rode this morning in jeans, wool socks and undershirt, normal jacket and shoes and I was way warmer then with my spandex winter gear.

  20. G.E. says:

    Oh, I wish I was as smart as you and had realized that the skirt I had on the other day was not going to work on my bike. I went to jump on the seat and ripped my skirt all the way up the back. (shaking head) I’m not always the sharpest tool in the shed. Just hoping I can fix it, as it didn’t even rip up the seam. You look beautiful though!

    As for your first snow flurry, I’m entirely jealous as our first came the first week of October. Yikes! Really, far too early for my liking, and it hasn’t stopped for long since then.

  21. Wild Bill says:

    “While I appreciate that some cyclists prefer spandex, I thought I’d represent for all the cashmere-wearing cyclists out there.”

    You represent well, Dottie.

    My favorite piece of cycling clothing is a Brooks Brothers cashmere sweater, so I count myself as a fan (even though I own a closet full of spandex).

    BTW, Ada’s Deli (10 S Wabash Ave) has huge awesome Baklava. Also, hop off the brown line at Damen and wander and you’ll find half a dozen Middle-Eastern bakeries that specialize in Baklava-like confections.

  22. welshcyclist says:

    Quite frankly I think you’d look stunning no matter what you wore.

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