Commuting - First commute in Wintery Conditions. Help please
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10-29-08, 01:20 PM
So, today was my first commute that included snow and rain on a sub 35F day. I thought I was completely ready for the cold and the last two weeks have been cold and my commutes have not been bad. But, if any of you are experience with pre-winter and winter commutes I could really use some help.
Western Pennsylvania winters have become extremely wet in the last few years. Today I was getting rained and snowed on for my commute home. I was plenty warm except for my hands, which were frozen to the core when I got home. Also, my feet got soaked through my sneakers. I can live with being wet that is not really the issue when riding, the main problem I had was visibility. Snow and rain smashing into my face on the way home made it extremely difficult to see.
So I ask my fellow winter commuters, What type of glasses or goggles are applicable to winter riding? I have a pair of ski goggles and I thought about wearing them when I rode home, but I would kind of prefer something lighter I suppose. Also, are there any type of winter riding gloves you would suggest, as well as shoes (I use toeclips)?
What type of gloves, glasses/goggles/shoes do you use for winter riding?
Gloves - Grandoe downhill ski gloves
Glasses - Ray Ban Classic Aviator when it is bright; otherwise nothing.
Goggles - Don't need them. They are good for skiing at -20, though.
Shoes - Normal dress shoes with high top Totes.
Fenders - Mandatory.
10-29-08, 01:35 PM
Thanks for the advice Paul, all advice is pertinent except the glasses. When its snowing I need something to shield me from **** hitting my eyes. Dark glasses don't help when its grey and nasty :(
I find that the amber-lensed wraparound safety glasses availabe at Home Depot and similar stores work well for foul-weather riding. They're usually cheap enough to be worth a try, anyway.
10-29-08, 01:45 PM
Glasses: Safety Glasses from Lowe's or Home Depot, they have clear, yellow and sun lenses, $15-30
I have one yellow and one sun and they wrap around for decent wind protection too.
Gloves: I got these at Lowe's too $10, Thinsulate rated for some doing level activity, Have nice grips on the palm and tried them the other day it was 28 degrees and they were great.
Shoes: I have a pair of hiking shoes and I wear Performance illumiNITE Thermal Bootie over them.
10-29-08, 02:00 PM
Photochrome Glasses (http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=6000120&subcategory=60001137&brand=&sku=24919&storetype=&estoreid=&pagename=Shop%20by%20Subcat%3A%20Sunglasses) from nashbar - they dont darken so much in sun, but they work during night. They have vents to prevent fogging. I dont have exact same ones, but similar, and I ALWAYS wear them. Day/Night/rain/sun
Gloves - Till now I have been using cheap Xmart gloves, but recently got Mammoth Skii gloves. Haven't tried them so dont know how good they are
Shoes - Used to wear hiking shoes last winter, with some woolen socks. This year, I am not sure what I want to do yet ... Hasn't been that cold yet ...
One bit of advice when it comes to wearing glasses in snow or rain: it generally won't take long for precip to coat your glasses to the point of them becoming too hard to see through. Wearing a cycling cap under your helmet goes a long way to keeping rain off your glasses so they remain usable much longer.
10-29-08, 02:07 PM
I use OR Prophets, ice climbing gloves, on those rare days when Seattle is cold.
Other than that, fenders, full fenders, are a must, wool is excellent for winter commuting, a cycling cap helps to keep the rain off your glasses, and booties of some sort, even a plastic bag, will keep your feet warm even if not completely dry.
10-29-08, 11:54 PM
i take you never skied in your life?
10-30-08, 11:24 AM
I got multi-lens glasses from Performance that work well. I always just uses the clear lenses. Before that, I had a cheap set of safety glasses from Home Depot designed for indoor/outdoor use.
10-30-08, 12:14 PM
Gloves, depends on the temperature:
Thin wool gloves with neoprene diving gloves over - for when raining/wet but not super cold.
same thin wool gloves with old leather driving gloves - the leather gloves have no wrist and are loose so my wrists are prone to wind exposure, they're only good in the +2-10C range, usually.
Gordini Ski gloves (MEC/mec.ca) for when it's too cold for anything else. I've yet to have cold hands in these gloves. According to a quick google, windchill went down to at least -30C last winter.
Goggles/glasses I use some Nashbar glasses with red lenses (they're interchangable) right now. I also have a visor on my helmet, which does a surprisingly good job at keeping wet stuff off my face/eyes. If visibility gets bad, my goggles will inevitably get too blurred/crudded to see, and if it's that wet, I don't bother trying to wipe, I'll just take them off and deal with the weather.
I use clipless pedals, my shoes are Cannondale Roams. If it's wet, as well as having Planet Bike Cascadia fenders, I also have MEC booties, which do a great job of keeping water/crud off my feet. They're also a little bit of extra insulation from the wind, which is nice. A cheap substitute would be plastic grocery bags - might look funny, but I'd prefer to look odd than have wet cold feet and be miserable :)
We had a pretty heavy snowfall last winter compared with the other years past - so I'm not sure what to expect this season. We've already had plenty of rain in the summer, and some very light snow already (nonsticking stuff).
Good luck, and enjoy! :)
Edit: I should note that as my body acclimatizes to being in the colder weather - my dress seems to change down a bit, I won't need so much heavy clothing once I'm more used to subzeros - right now we're still hopping around from -2/3C to +9 (apparently it'll be +15 on Saturday, bleh) - once it settles into the proper cold it gets a bit easier to deal with as well, as the huge temperature changes really screw me up.
You can get cheap goggles here. http://www.labsafety.com/store/Safety_Supplies/Eyewear/Goggles/
Alot of riders use mittens. Most will come with a glove liner. Campmor has some nice ones for around $16
For the feet I would suggest something like these. http://www.jensonusa.com/store/product/SH400D01-Sidetrak+Ignite+Bootie.aspx
Check out the Winter cycling forum for more advice.
10-30-08, 07:21 PM
I use these http://www.sunglasswarehouse.com/swgost93.html, which were less than $20 with shipping. I have yellow lenses, but they also come in clear. They feel like you're wearing goggle glasses and so far they didn't fog up.
I plan to keep a soft rag in my jacket pocket to wipe them, if needed.
10-30-08, 08:56 PM
There is a whole thread about real cold weather gloves either here in this forum, or the winter forum.
The gloves I wear when it is cold (below zero to about +20F) would be TOO warm for what you described. I got them at Cabelas. Not cheap, but they actually keep my hands warm for my 10 mile commute in ANY weather.
I also wear a mask and goggles when it is cold (again, see the above temp range). I got my goggles at steepandcheap.com. It took a while for them to come up on sale, but it was worth the wait.
Nobody suggested this yet but wearing this hat (http://www.rei.com/product/758156) under my helmet provides nice long visor that you can pull down quite a bit to keep the rain/snow out of your eyes and still see quite well.
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