Days like today (and most of the winter) I just change clothes in the bathroom.
The only rough season is summertime because of how much you sweat.
How stylish are you?
Most of the cycling clothes meant to be worn at the office still look a little "techy"...they arent going to look/fit as well as your normal work/dress clothes.
Swrve is an option...but their stuff is more on the sporty side.
Im personally a fan of Outlier...but even their pants are noticeably "sporty".
Most people wont be able to tell because Chicago isnt really a stylish town.
IMO a set of panniers and a bathroom are your best commuting accessories.
Wishing this was an actual commute... https://youtu.be/WrwdPcReD14
For a moderate distance commute, you don't have to change much to ride in business casual. I've found you can ride in almost any top layers that you would normally wear to work, although I'd stay away from cheap polyester dress pants as they tend to not breathe. I generally prefer wool or linen pants, but cotton pants work. For base layers you'll want something wicking. I like Duluth Trading in hot weather, and will usually wear a wool or silk base layer in cold weather. I also prefer wool socks to cotton socks. For shoes I commute with platform peddles and wear normal shoes. Be careful if you wear leather soled shoes as some peddles have traction spikes that tear up the soles.
On my ride to the office, I thought of this thread... I think I am going to install a rack on the super commuter and add the old Vaude pannier (I only have the non-drive side, the side that is next to car traffic). Probably be a better option than wearing the backpack all the time. Also, it is bigger than the backpack, so when I need to capture groceries, I can carry them with ease.
What are some examples of this setup?
I dont even know how to look this up.
HEre's an example. I used this setup for a long time until I upgraded. (Note I haven't used this specific product, just sharing as an example/visual)
I would echo the others that bike commuting is better without a backpack. You get less sweaty, regardless of season. And if you add a hi-viz vest, it still is visible. But not a strict requirement.
Have fun! Check in and let us know how it's going!
cycling in general is better without a backpack
Im totally over the backpack thing, so after 10 years of commuting ill be converting over to panniers.
Good! It is not just about the discomfort from heat created by a back-pack. (Otherwise one might think they are good idea in a Chicago winter?)
Keeping one's center of gravity as low as possible makes for better handling resulting in a ride that is both safer and more fun.