Winter Riding Gear
So I got me new bike and a few friends are on me to ride. I'm not so hip on winter, at all, but I guess I should give in and ride the darn thing.
So what clothes do I need to keep warm? Here's my list so far. Am I missing anything?
Base Layer Long Sleeved Shirt
Regular Long Sleeved Shirt
Lined Wind Jacket
Thermal Tights or Bibs
Keep in mind, I probably won't ride when it's under 40 degrees and I will not be out for more than 2 hours.
If you're not going to ride under 40*F, your list of clothes is MORE than enough :eek:
You generate heat when you ride. You will find that you are overdressing. I've ridden in sub zero (F)weather, in what you've listed. In fact, I consider 38*F balmy :D
Thanks for the input riddei. Maybe I'll go colder then. I'm just a big girly man when it comes to winter. :D
Each person is a little different and as I have lost fat off of my body I am finding winters to be much more harsh. I don't handle the cold as well as I did with the extra layers of fat. My hands and feet get cold as do my forearms, depending upon the temperature. Anything below 40 and I am struggling with keeping the previously mentioned parts warm enough for a long ride.
You will warm up as you ride, but if you can do it in layers, you can always try to remove a layer and see how it works for you. Keep trying different combinations for different temperatures and weather conditions. You can also get a balaclava to keep your face warm. I use them when I ride my dirt bikes in cool enough weather to warrant the use.
I rode today in 39f, only a 30 minute commute though.
I wear bib shorts, tights (water repellent ones), short sleeve shirt, long sleeve jersey and a bright yellow jacket. I also wear some motorcycle gloves that are toasty.
I often have to unzip the jacket after about 15 minutes as it gets too hot.
It's only really my face that ever gets cold, especially my ears, I have some ear muffs but am looking to get one of those bands that covers your forehead and ears.
Don't know much about your build, but since you're posting here I'll assume you already carry a built-in layer of insulation (if you know what I mean...). I draw on years of racing and training and commuting in the Northeast in all weather conditions and I'll comment on your list based on that.
That said, I think at temps over 40 you won't need more than one long sleeve base under a wind jacket. I'd make sure the jacket can be easily opened, with one hand for ventilation. Your inner climate will change a lot as you ascend, or descend hills. You want to be able to quickly and easily open and close the collar and otherwise allow air to pass thru. I got the Gore WindStopper jacket (non-lined) from LL Bean which is otherwise a great jacket. But it's a pain to zip and unzip. Major points off for that.
For us fuller figured gals, bibs are a must. Even tho I have a respectable butt, I'm still yanking up non-bib shorts and tights while I ride. Way too much distraction. Also, I recently picked up a pair of the Assos RX-LL which are great, but not wind-proof. Wish they were even at 40-50 degrees. But I got them at a great price and didn't have many choices at the time.
Skull cap? Don't know how much fur covers your dome, I have a healthy layer there and don't need the cap till it approaches low thirties. Should be noted tho that most heat loss is via the head. You can use that knowledge to your advantage.
Extremities (feet/hands) are, for me, a very personal issue. Years (many years) spent in the Northeast, playing outside as a kid (and grownup) with less than perfect footwear have left my feet very slow to warm up and hard to keep warm. For some reason my hands are comfortable down to 40 or so with regular fingerless riding gloves. But keeping my feet comfortable has been a serious challenge. Two things are most important: circulation and an external heat source. Seems once my feet get cold, they stay that way so I've recently started using those chemical foot warmers under my Assos overshoes. I also fabricated an inner sole made of 1/4" foam rubber that I slide between the shoe and overshoe. I'm not impressed by the Assos boots. Then it's a matter of minimizing constriction. Instead of adding thicker socks (altho EMS has a great thin woolie I really like) inside the shoe, I have a pair of pretty thick woolies I pull over my road shoe, before the Assos boot (which I'm not impressed with, did I mention that?).
For gloves I'm using the Pearl Izumi's. I had great success with their GoreTex winter gloves of the past, but these leave a bit to be desired. Mostly because my hands tend to get too warm, sweat and then the glove becomes almost impossible to get back on once removed. Any moisture on your hands, or in the insulation makes them very hard to slide into. I'd also like more padding in the palms. Or any, there doesn't seem to be any.
Thanks for in-depth info Chuck.
You look like you will be fine with the clothing. Remember that you want to be cool when you get on your bike. If you are already hot just standing still, you will be over-heating in no time once you get moving. I don't wear much more than what you mentioned and am comfortable to at least 8F (haven't had any colder weather to test in).
How is your bike prepped. You don't need a lot, but Fenders are an absolute must for riding in anything other than perfect weather conditions. I personally don't care to have a line of muddy water streaming up my back if there is any precipitation. Besides keeping you much cleaner, the most important aspect of the fenders is that is keeps your drive train much cleaner. My chain used to get gritty just from riding on dry roads, now with fenders, my chains stays pretty clean even with rain.
What kind of climate are you riding in? You may not get much if any snow, but icy conditions can happen just about everywhere in this country, and riding on ice is definitely not fun. I have zero desire to hit the pavement. For added protection from the ice, studded tires are realy your only option. I have both an Innova (steel studded tire $25), and a Nokia W106 (Cabite steel studds $50) both 700Cx35 and both will work fine. Both definitely will slow you down a bit, but when you hit some inexepected slick stuff, they can definitely save you from some bodily harm. I've been riding almost non stop since April 1st. LASt week we had snowy precipitation all 5 days of commuting and we had a minimum of 15 MPH wind, with most days hovering around 20 to 25 MPH. Riding on slicks would have been suicidal. Today we have winds up to 81 MPH so no riding :( I am lucky my work building even has power as the winds have knocked power out all over the place.
One of the biggest bennefits I've experienced with my winter riding is that I have not been affected much by the lack of sun light. As far as I know I do not suffer from SAD (Depression caused by reduced sun light), but I work in an inside office and don't get to see daylight during the day. Now that I get to see at least 30 minutes of daylight as I commute to work around 7:45 am I think my body is getting a nice "jolt" of daylight in the morning plus a nice workout to get it moving. The evenings until recently were dark, but now that we are about 40 days past the Winter Solstice I now have some level of daylkght till about 5:30PM.
Happy riding and enjoy getting out there during the winter,
All, thanks for all your input. I just got back from a local Performance shop and I was able to at least try some things on to get my size information. They had pretty much 0 in the way of winter tights in XL. So now I'm off the web site to place my order.
Note that you can get a good deal on some of the clothes at your local Walmart. They're not cycling specific, but they work just fine. I recently got a couple layers worth for $10-15 each.
Agreed you can find cheap stuff lots of places... the key is checking the material. No cotton. Unless it's a blend with low percentage. I tend to sweat alot and commute to work, so I need something that will dry off quickly... polyprolene does the trick. Any "moisture wicking" clothing works... t-shirts or long johns, if they are the base layer. After than any hoodies or regular wear as long as you are layered and can move comfortably.