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  1. #1
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    Advice needed on colder weather bike clothing.

    As of last summer I have started riding my mountain bike a couple of times per week and enjoy it very much. Sometimes I ride around my neighborhood which is full of steep hills (I live in a Pittsburgh suburb) and on weekends I ride longer distances on the trails (usually 20-30 miles on the GAP - great allegheny passage that goes to DC ). I have been wearing bike shorts and a jersey since last summer but now that the weather turned I need winter clothing. I did some research on winter clothing and I m a little confused as to what I actually need. I plan on riding on fair weather days with temps as low as a little below freezing at the most. What clothing would be best? Long tights, underlayer and what kind, long sleeved bike jersey, and cycling jacket (what kind?) on top? Do I need a long sleeved jersey? Also any sites that sell these things competitively priced? (We all know that at the LBS these things are very expensive).

    Any info is appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Also, regarding size, I am almost 6ft tall and weigh 216 lbs so I usually wear a Large or XLarge

  3. #3
    Senior Member IBOHUNT's Avatar
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    I'm a fan of Under Armor Cold Gear

  4. #4
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    At that temp range this is what works for me-

    http://www.aerotechdesigns.com/tights.htm#campc521
    Aerotechs house brand thermal fleece bib tights have proven to be a great investment; they're warm and the price is right.

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...us%2Caps%2C412
    The Minus 33 brand of merino wool is a great bargain (merino tends to be spendy). It's warmth and comfort are hard to beat. Requires hand washing though.

    http://www.showerspass.com/catalog/c...double-century
    This has become my go-to jacket; it's light weight, keeps rain out and makes a good windbreaker. There is one drawback though- no pockets. Don't know what they were thinking, but it has no damn pockets. If you throw it over a mid weight merino base layer and a long sleeve jersey, you should be good to go; maybe even too warm on the uphills.

    For me the hardest part on rides over an hourish at that temp is keeping my hands and feet warm-

    http://www.barmitts.com/index.php
    Bar Mitts are super warm. You can use the thinnest of gloves and your hands will be toasty.

    Just my $.02
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  5. #5
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisO View Post
    At
    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...us%2Caps%2C412
    The Minus 33 brand of merino wool is a great bargain (merino tends to be spendy). It's warmth and comfort are hard to beat. Requires hand washing though.
    Chris, my wool seems just fine washed in the machine with cold water. Dry it flat. I even have some pretty good quality Merino wool from Ibex that I can dry to nearly dry in the dryer and not have it shrink. I was trying to intentionally shrink some stuff that was too large and it wouldn't shrink! But, it is too risky to dry in the dryer otherwise. That said, I dry my merino wool socks and my cashmere socks in the dryer.

  6. #6
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    And these for the feet-
    http://www.tourcycling.com/products/...FSmCQgodQ1kAuA
    They're warm and unlike many more popular branded cycling shoe covers, they're actually true to size.
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  7. #7
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    I'd start with tights, a long sleeve jersey, a windproof (and maybe waterproof) jacket with lots of zippers, skull cap or fleece headband, and warm gloves. If you're still cold, add a "technical" t-shirt; or get a medium weight wool jersey.

    The jacket and tights are key, as they're your outer layer. You want the tights to flex as you pedal, without robbing you of too much power. The jacket keeps the wind out, which lets your body heat stay inside. Things like zippers in the armpits, back vent, and two-way zippers help you regulate your temperature -- you don't want to sweat very much, so there's a window of not too cold, not too hot inside the jacket. I prefer long sleeve jerseys with a jacket just because I don't like the feel of most jackets on my skin.

    Performance Bike usually has a good selection of warm clothing at reasonable prices. I like their Century long gloves better than any of the others I've tried for 30-40F.

  8. #8
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    Thank you all for your recommendations. I will start with tights, jacket, long sleeved jersey and a cap as pdlamb mentioned. Regarding tights, do I need bibs or pant type? Why would I need bibs? I never had them so I am not familiar. In the summer I wear shorts and not bibs and I am fine.

  9. #9
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aggst1 View Post
    Thank you all for your recommendations. I will start with tights, jacket, long sleeved jersey and a cap as pdlamb mentioned. Regarding tights, do I need bibs or pant type? Why would I need bibs? I never had them so I am not familiar. In the summer I wear shorts and not bibs and I am fine.
    Two things -- bibs have more fabric over the waist and front of the abdomen (lower stomach, to chest or so) and on tights that can add a lot of warmth as it is an area that "pant" tights don't cover and it gets a lot of wind on a bike. Second, and more importantly), the fit is a lot better. They rely on your shoulders to hold them up, not a cinched waist. That means there's much less adjustment needed while riding, they don't sag down, etc. I think waists are made for walking / running, and are poor at holding things in place with cycling's motions. BTW, this goes for bib shorts too.

    I haven't had non-bib shorts in years. I do have both sets of tights, but I also run, and wouldn't do that in the bib tights.

    One more thought -- for the jacket, get something with removable sleeves. I like GORE for this. It gives you more options and you can ride comfortably in the spring and fall, even if you leave in the morning and the temps go up 20 degreees while you're out.
    "how do you know you can't swim until you have drowned?"

  10. #10
    Junior Member jimcander's Avatar
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    I swear by bibs now. I keep the shorts for spin class. Here's my list of winter clothes.

    1. Full finger gloves
    2. Knee warmers
    3. Arm warmers
    4. Long sleeved jersey
    5. Two pairs of bib knickers
    6. One pair of bib fleece lined tights (w chamois)
    7. Waterproof shoe covers
    8. Winter socks
    9. Sleeveless base layer t-shirts
    10. Skull cap that fits under my helmet and has ear flaps

    From there I mix and match. I rode in the wind in 30 degree weather this past weekend and had the arm warmers on UNDER the long sleeved jersey. It was great. It's all about layers. If you're too warm before you start riding you are going to get hot and start shedding clothes and that's not good. I like the find the pace where I'm a little chilled standing around before the ride and then within 10 minutes of starting out I'm warm.

    Now, I live in upstate NY. I plan on riding through the winter so long as the roads are dry and shoulders are clear.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    This is more variable than saddles. What works for me is probably too cold for you, and some other guy or gal will have his/her own preferences. So that means you have to take all this advice with a grain of salt, and you'll have to experiment until you hit on something perfect for you.

    That said, you're going to have some really cold days this winter, and a few warm ones. Plus, winter will end some day, and you'll be riding in the spring. So ... don't go out and buy the warmest jacket you can find. It's not a good use of money if you can only use it on the coldest days. And, if you're warm before you start riding, you're going to overheat at the end of your first mile.

    Layering is how you keep yourself warm enough. Two thin layers are warmer than one thick one, and, when you climb that first hill and start warming up, you can take a layer off.

    Quote Originally Posted by aggst1 View Post
    Also any sites that sell these things competitively priced? (We all know that at the LBS these things are very expensive).
    I get a lot of my stuff here: http://www.departmentofgoods.com/?bco_popup=1 I tend to get things that are on sale.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
    Chris, my wool seems just fine washed in the machine with cold water. Dry it flat. I even have some pretty good quality Merino wool from Ibex that I can dry to nearly dry in the dryer and not have it shrink. I was trying to intentionally shrink some stuff that was too large and it wouldn't shrink! But, it is too risky to dry in the dryer otherwise. That said, I dry my merino wool socks and my cashmere socks in the dryer.
    I don't hand-wash anything. My merino and cashmere go in the wash, by themselves, on the gentle cycle with Eucalan. Then I lay them to dry. Works perfectly fine.

    Are your socks 100 % cashmere? How do you like them?
    Don't believe everything you think.

  13. #13
    Junior Member jimcander's Avatar
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    Oh... sign up for the neverending scroll that is ChainLove. www.chainlove.com. They have great prices on stuff and most of the sizes that are available usually lend themselves to the larger folk.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    Layering is how you keep yourself warm enough. Two thin layers are warmer than one thick one, and, when you climb that first hill and start warming up, you can take a layer off.
    Chest zippers are important on all upper body layers too. What is comfortable on the flats will have me burning up on a climb. I may unzip all the way down to my base layer even under 30 degrees on a slow hard climb, then zip back up on the decent. This is especially true for us big guys with our added insulation.

  15. #15
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    If you haven't already, I'm going to suggest that you use the search function. There have been a couple reasonably good threads over the last month or so, where individuals have gone through the progression of what they use for various temperatures. I'm not going to attempt to retype some of my wordy responses or paraphrase others.

    Place shoe covers and long finger gloves high on your priority list. Protecting the extremities makes dealing with the core that much easier. I've ended up with too much cycling clothing. Subsequently, I have just about every combination available to me and use them accordingly.

    Of highest value to me are long sleeved base layers, some form of wind stopper fronted jacket, jersey, vest or base and at least one pair of bib knickers or tights.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  16. #16
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    Here ya' go:

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light=clothing

    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...light=clothing

    Those two threads do a reasonably job of covering a fair amount.

    Also, don't hesitate to check the winter riding forum. Theses issues are not unique to clydes. Although fit concerns may be.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  17. #17
    Senior Member goldfinch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    I don't hand-wash anything. My merino and cashmere go in the wash, by themselves, on the gentle cycle with Eucalan. Then I lay them to dry. Works perfectly fine.

    Are your socks 100 % cashmere? How do you like them?
    The socks are 100% cashmere. They seem to be wearing well but I've only had them for one season and the extent of time I am north where I wear them is now limited to three or four months a year. Very warm. Very soft. Very pink.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Here's what works for me. Your mileage might vary - a lot.

    I wear a wool tee-shirt every day of the year. Some time in the fall I change to long-sleeved ones. Most of these have 1/4 or 1/2 length zippers, so that I can vent some heat, like Mikehattan said. These are very thin, and they don't add much warmth at all. (That isn't their job, really, they move sweat away from my body.) Wool is warm-when-wet, so if you work up a sweat climbing a hill, it won't chill you to the bone for the rest of your ride. Plus, it doesn't stink of body odor. Here's one of the ones I wear:



    If it's cold enough, I'll wear an insulating layer over that. These tend to be cashmere sweaters, from the thrift store. Cashmere provides less insulation when it's hot and humid, which happens when you begin to sweat, and more when it's cold and dry. I sweat less wearing the stuff. Plus it's delightfully soft.



    I have two jackets that I'll wear on the bike. One is goretex, and I'll only wear that one if it's going to rain for hours, or if there's a strong, bitterly cold wind. The other is a windbreaker, and if I'm going to wear a jacket, it's this one 95 % of the time. On a cool day, it goes over my base layer; if that's too cold, I put a layer on under it. The one I like lets some wind through to help me regulate my temperature, and I only wind up sweating in it if I stop after a hard effort, never while I'm moving. It's water resistant, but not waterproof. The only pocket is a small one on the sleeve, because pockets mean less breathable. Anyway, this is the one I like:



    I wear quick-dry, DWR hiking pants on the bike, 3/4 length. They don't make the ones I like anymore. On a cool/cold day, I'll wear a set of cashmere leg warmers from my knees to my ankles. On an especially cold day, or a cold and rainy day, I wear wool long johns (like these) under the pants.



    Wool socks are wonderful. I have a pair of shoe covers, but it has to be blistering cold for those, otherwise I'm too warm and will soak in sweat.



    For the noggin, I wear a wool buff, folded up a few times, like a headband. It keeps the wind off my forehead, and it keeps my ears warm. But the back of my head isn't covered, so the cold air can get to it, and I don't overheat. The way I wear it looks like the one on the left:



    I tend to run hot. I also like my dexterity. So, the best thing I've found is to wear merino wool glove liners. Not under other gloves, mind you, but by themselves. I have ones made by Arc'teryx and by Ibex, both are about equally good. Neither one seems to last more than a year, but that's because the fabric is so thin. These block the wind some, keep my hands warm enough in the rain, and make it so touching metal brake levers isn't terrible.



    Finally, on days when it's really cold, and I mean the air temp, not that it's raining, I don't want wind coming in through my neck, so I'll wear a very thin cashmere scarf.

    Once I get moving, the "hat" is the first thing to come off, after about a mile. It goes in a back pocket. If I've got a scarf on, it might come off next. The gloves can usually stay on for a whole ride if it's winter time; at this point, I can pretty much regulate my temperature by opening my jacket a little bit.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  19. #19
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    Holy cow, you like dead bird!

    Yuppie

  20. #20
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    Dead bird?

    I thought he was simply into pet and livestock grooming:-)
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vesteroid View Post
    Holy cow, you like dead bird!
    Yep. I have a lot of dead bird stuff, and most of it treats me extremely well.

    I thought I lost my wind breaker a week ago, and went out and immediately bought a new one, same jacket. I guess that's pretty high praise. Of course, I found the one I "lost" the next day, and don't need the new one any more...

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfred View Post
    Dead bird?
    There's a company called Arc'teryx, short for archaeopteryx (first "transitional fossil" we discovered) that makes climbing gear, and cold-weather outdoor stuff. They're pricy but extremely high quality. I have a few jackets they made, a crag pack, gloves, and a base layer.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  22. #22
    Climbers Apprentice vesteroid's Avatar
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    I have one hard shell I bought at 50% off...thought I was going to use it for skiing, but the tail is too short, so I have a practically brand new dead bird coat I never wear...

    I am stuck in UL land so all my mountain gear is WM for down, and patagonia for shells

    I think I even have an old mountain lite shell from NF when it really was good gear.

    Want a xl dead bird shell cheap?
    lol

  23. #23
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    ah, the arcteryx stuff. Hadn't noticed that there were several pieces. Has their sizing changed in recent years? It used to be very, "climber cut". aka, about as skinny as european pro peleton sizing.
    Birth Certificate, Passport, Marriage License Driver's License and Residency Permit all say I'm a Fred. I guess there's no denying it.

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