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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 10-15-07, 09:08 AM   #1
nymtber
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cold weather riding...

Ok this is my first fall with a real road bike and I need some cold weather gear. but i dont want to spend more than maybe 50-75 for everything i need. Right now when its below 60 im riding my beater Schwinn Woodlands bike around town, anything just to get a little exercise, and wearing hooded sweatshirt and some nylon running pants (cheap wal-mart starter kind). I dont want to dump lots of money, and I may just end up riding the beater till spring if i decide i cant afford clothes.

so any input would be great. I start a new job monday as well, been unemployed 2 months on the 17th, getting very stir crazy! Also want to get a snowmobile for the upcoming winter...haha at least i have the gear for that still...

Should i just ride the Scwinn that i dont really care as much about and save my Allez for warmer weather? That would be a cheaper option as I have clothes that are good enough to ride on the Schwinn with an upright position, but they wouldnt be comfortable bent over on the roadie...

Thanks guys and gals!
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Old 10-15-07, 09:15 AM   #2
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Use the Schwinn for bad and the Allez for nice.....
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Old 10-15-07, 09:37 AM   #3
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Use the Schwinn for bad and the Allez for nice.....
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Old 10-15-07, 09:40 AM   #4
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First I'll state that I commute 10 miles round trip each day to work. I ride a hybrid that is loaded with rear rack and pannier, and front handle bar bag, and fenders. I and don't care too much about weight, but do care about is being prepared for whatever mother nature can throw at me. Here is what I've done to partly prepare for cold(er) cycling.

During the entire year I carry the following:
- Quest wind breaker in my handlebar bag (it fits nicely in the pouch provided in the lid of the bag.
- I also carry a cheap rain coat (simple cheap PCV Nashbar unit with mesh side panels for ventilation).
- Rain pants Coleman rain pants, these have a matching rain coat, but the Nashbar rain coat is lighter and brighter so I carry that in my saddle bag when riding.

During the summer I wear wearing swim trunks and breathable T shirt as my main riding cloths for my commute or short tides.

As the temperature drops I do the following:
- I switch over to Illuminite tights when the temps get into the low 50F. The tights are a new addition to my wardrobe, last Spring I just wore Kahki pants and that worked OK, but the tights are more comfortable, have a large reflective strip, and no need to use straps to keep the pant legs from catching on anything.
- I will ride with the tights and the same breathable T shirts I use during the summer.
- As the temperature gets low enough I put on the wind breaker. With temperatures as low as 45 F I am quite comfortable.
- If the temperature starts to drop below 40F I will add a sweat shirt or fleece shirt as a mid layer.

Gloves:
- As the temperature drops I will switch over to full finger gloves. I bought a cheapy set from Target for the Fall and Spring and they are fine.
- If the temperature gets too low for the riding gloves I switch over to an older pair of winter (ski) gloves.

Head coverage:
- I have a helmet cover that keep of rain and also should help keep some wind off my head. So far with 45to 50F weather I have had no need for the cover. I will have to look into getting a head band to keep the ears warm whehn the temps start to get to freezing temperatures. If I can keep riding on colder weather I'll probably look into getting a Bellaclava to cover the entire head. The local Ski shop has nice ones that are thinner to fit under ski helmets, and shold work nicely with my bike helmet as well.

There is no need to spend a forture to ride. Just use what you have and over time add nicer equipment as you can justify it. Much of my equipment I have for general travel, such as the rain gear, fleece top, winter gloves. Over time I can justify the expense of more riding specific clothing as I do enough miles and off-set the cost with savings in gasoline.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 10-15-07, 10:46 AM   #5
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Today I officially started riding my hardrock as the "bad weather" commuter. I'm pretty sure my Trek won't see a commute until '08 just to save it's prettiness . I'd recommend you do the same, keep the Allez for weekend/nice day rides but rely on the workhorse for regular duty in the cold.

Regarding clothing, I have one word for you: layers. For example, on the cold days so far I've worn my cycling shorts under a pair of BDU pants (think black army dude pants), a UnderArmor long-sleeve "heat gear" T under a long sleeve cotton T. On colder days I wear a wind-proof golf pullover above the two of those to stop the wind. I'm actually warmer in that - and it's just nylon fabric - than I am in a fleece coat as it actually stops the wind. Fleece and other fabrics flow the wind through, which is what gets you.

The benefits to layers are that you can shed or add to cool or warm up as needed. The downside is that you end up carrying more clothes with you, so if you are commuting you are adding even more weight. That, well, stinks.

Regarding gloves, so far I haven't found a good solution and I need to. Same with shoes. My hands and feet are FREEZING, but I think I have ideas how to solve that.

Good luck! Let us know what you find!
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Old 10-15-07, 03:39 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by nymtber View Post
Ok this is my first fall with a real road bike and I need some cold weather gear. but i dont want to spend more than maybe 50-75 for everything i need. Right now when its below 60 im riding my beater Schwinn Woodlands bike around town, anything just to get a little exercise, and wearing hooded sweatshirt and some nylon running pants (cheap wal-mart starter kind). I dont want to dump lots of money, and I may just end up riding the beater till spring if i decide i cant afford clothes.

so any input would be great. I start a new job monday as well, been unemployed 2 months on the 17th, getting very stir crazy! Also want to get a snowmobile for the upcoming winter...haha at least i have the gear for that still...

Should i just ride the Scwinn that i dont really care as much about and save my Allez for warmer weather? That would be a cheaper option as I have clothes that are good enough to ride on the Schwinn with an upright position, but they wouldnt be comfortable bent over on the roadie...

Thanks guys and gals!
I'll add another vote for the Schwinn.....

With bike clothes, many are expensive, sometimes very expensive, the only real piece of bicycle specific clothing you really should have are a pair of the Lycra bicycle shorts with the pad. Other then that, you really don't need anything bicycle specific, you will often find that running, jogging and hiking gear is made of the same materials, but where a pair of cyclists pants will cost $150, the runners pants are $45, and worn over your cycling shorts, work just as well.

I have a pair of cycling shorts and a short sleeve runners jersey, it's a little thinner and doesn't have the rear pockets, but I don't need them anyway. I also have a rain/wind shell, and at moderate temps, will often just add that to the shorts and jersey. Next is a layer of polyester fleece, light and medium weight tops, and light weight pants. I plan to add a pair of rain pants this winter.
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Old 10-15-07, 03:52 PM   #7
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I'll add another vote for the Schwinn.....

With bike clothes, many are expensive, sometimes very expensive, the only real piece of bicycle specific clothing you really should have are a pair of the Lycra bicycle shorts with the pad. Other then that, you really don't need anything bicycle specific, you will often find that running, jogging and hiking gear is made of the same materials, but where a pair of cyclists pants will cost $150, the runners pants are $45, and worn over your cycling shorts, work just as well.

I have a pair of cycling shorts and a short sleeve runners jersey, it's a little thinner and doesn't have the rear pockets, but I don't need them anyway. I also have a rain/wind shell, and at moderate temps, will often just add that to the shorts and jersey. Next is a layer of polyester fleece, light and medium weight tops, and light weight pants. I plan to add a pair of rain pants this winter.
Bike clothes may be expensive but they last a very long time too. I have jerseys and tights from the mid-80s that are still functional and in very good shape. Some of them have outlasted about a dozen bikes

Just go slow but add a little at a time. For really cold weather, look into a pair of bib tights. They are warmer than waist length tights. Another thing to look for is inner, middle and outer layers that will unzip a long way. That's the way to control your temperature.

Additionally, layers are your friend. Several thinner layers are always better than one thick one. Fleece, like a jacket, is bulky and difficult to store if you have to take it off.

If you are going to ride in very cold weather (sub freezing), protect your hands, ears and feet. Those get cold and you might as well go home

Finally, it gets dark when the sun goes down...and the sun goes down damned early come 4 November. Don't get caught out after dark without lights It's a good way to get squished!
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Old 10-15-07, 04:40 PM   #8
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Sounds like i just need to get a headlight for the schwinn, and some kind of windbreaker or something for the body. Ill might get some running tights, but most likely just stick to the running pants (nylon) with maybe long underwear underneath. Im gonna get a milk crate or something close to strap to my rear rack and ill do shopping on my bike. store isnt even a mile away, and that will help build up the miles!!!

im gonna go get that bike right now and start getting the wheels trued/tensioned/dished. I just got a truing stand/tension meter last week, so im all set!

Thanks guys. Maybe ill look into some under armor heat geat but thats kinda pricy. But if i do get a snowmobile it could have double use
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Old 10-15-07, 08:38 PM   #9
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right about now you want under armor cold gear!!!! but i just bought a long sleeved shirt from target.... the important parts of a base layer are NOT COTTON, and i like form fitting to keep me warm.... in this weather i can were that baselayer and my riding jersey and im set.
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Old 10-16-07, 07:24 AM   #10
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I love it how everybody's all that about Under Armor. Great marketing. It's just polyester long underwear, same stuff's been around in many forms and probably a lot cheaper for a long time.
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Old 10-16-07, 07:57 AM   #11
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I've gotten a bunch of my exercise clothes from Target, and have been very happy with the quality. So I'd go there. This is my first fall riding, too, but I went ahead and bought a bunch of warmer clothes, because I'm a wuss and down here in the Carolinas we consider 40F COLD!
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Old 10-16-07, 08:44 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by nymtber View Post
Sounds like i just need to get a headlight for the schwinn, and some kind of windbreaker or something for the body. Ill might get some running tights, but most likely just stick to the running pants (nylon) with maybe long underwear underneath. Im gonna get a milk crate or something close to strap to my rear rack and ill do shopping on my bike. store isnt even a mile away, and that will help build up the miles!!!

im gonna go get that bike right now and start getting the wheels trued/tensioned/dished. I just got a truing stand/tension meter last week, so im all set!

Thanks guys. Maybe ill look into some under armor heat geat but thats kinda pricy. But if i do get a snowmobile it could have double use
Headlight and taillight for the Schwinn.
REI midweight long underwear (top and bottom) and you'll be warm with just your running pants and a sweatshirt as long as it isn't pouring rain)
Any gloves will do for cycling, honestly. I ride all winter with a pair of rain shell gloves I bought for hiking.
You can get away with the rest of everything inside the $50-$75 range. If you use clipless pedals/shoes, maybe spend an extra $20 and get some insulated shoe covers.

I have a 15mi r/t commute and while the PNW doesn't get really cold most of the time (mid 30s / low 40s) it rains for months on end. I've gotten away with long underwear and my camping rain jacket/pants for 2 years. Look for what you already have (like the snowmobile suit you mentioned) which can pull double-duty if you want to keep riding and keep the costs down.
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Old 10-16-07, 11:46 AM   #13
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I don't know what kind of cold you're dealing with, but ragwool gloves and basic polartec are more than sufficient down towards zero f. I add a bala around 20 f. or if it's very windy. Stay away from cotton as it will just get wet and stay cold.
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Old 10-16-07, 12:06 PM   #14
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When I was cycling on a tight budget I used a a few key items, some long-sleeved wicking underlayers (not big brandname), a really windproof pullover smock with a high collar, a neck-warmer tube. The rest of my kit was stuff I already had such as full gloves, woollen socks, woollen jumpers for midlayer insulation, polyester track pants and mil-surplus gear.

The difference in performance betwen no-name wicking inners and the high zoot stuff is not worth it on a tight budget.
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Old 10-16-07, 04:19 PM   #15
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When I was cycling on a tight budget I used a a few key items, some long-sleeved wicking underlayers (not big brandname), a really windproof pullover smock with a high collar, a neck-warmer tube. The rest of my kit was stuff I already had such as full gloves, woollen socks, woollen jumpers for midlayer insulation, polyester track pants and mil-surplus gear.

The difference in performance betwen no-name wicking inners and the high zoot stuff is not worth it on a tight budget.
I think you raise an important source for non bike specific gear, military surplus, the military usually specs high quality stuff, and usually only specs the correct stuff for your weather conditions, the only problem is that sometimes the colours are not bright or cheerful. Hunting supply stores can also be sources for lower cost gear, that can also be a little cheaper.
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Old 10-16-07, 05:51 PM   #16
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Ditto that. The best gloves I've ever had were liners from old surplus mittens. The thick green wool ones with trigger fingers. I lost one somewhere and I'm still looking for replacements. My favorite zero to -20 coat is a Swedish Army coat with this funky green poly fleece. I've loved it to death at this point, and even set it on fire once by accident. Wool watchcaps are a staple of mine, esp. the "jeep" style with the little brim. Not too fancy, but they're easy to stow and good for rain or snow.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:17 PM   #17
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I didn't want to start a new thread so I'll post here.


I am having issues with recent cool weather(60*nights) due to my asthma. I can't seem to find any face masks down here in Houston Tx, so what would you all recommend? I suppose a ski mask that just covers the neck and lower face but I've never bought anything like this.
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Old 10-31-07, 07:23 PM   #18
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Breath mask, over the internet
http://www.yrret.stirsite.com/page/page/3921915.htm
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Old 11-01-07, 06:30 AM   #19
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For winter riding you could use a balaclava. I use them under my helmets on my motorcycles in the cool weather, both on the street and when riding my KTM on the dirt bike trails.
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Old 11-01-07, 07:24 AM   #20
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couple more:
Cold weather breathing post in Winter cycling group
Breath exchangers available as full mask, half mask, and shield.
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Old 11-01-07, 05:02 PM   #21
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LAYERS and windblocking outer layers most importantly are key. If you can get the outer layers breathable it is much better...

The one piece of advice I was given that is absolutely true is: if you don't feel a little cold when you leave the house, you are wearing too much in the winterime. If you are still cold after a mile or two, you may be wearing too little.
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