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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 08-19-07, 08:23 AM   #1
lil brown bat
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What do you wear when the weather turns cool?

I'm not a street-clothes commuter -- I like my bike shorts and jersey. So...what do you like to wear when the weather turns cooler? I have a reflective windbreaker that I'm not too fond of, one pair of padded tights, and a ton of fleece, but I'm looking for anything that does particularly well when it starts getting cooler.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:35 AM   #2
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Check out the winter cycling forum.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:50 AM   #3
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You have many different options. I am also a cycling specific gear person. However, in winter you can throw in a few cheaper non cycling specific items.

I have a slew of items to pick from and vary them according to my tolerances and what temps I am experiencing.

J&G yellow jacket as a shell.
Various champion poly long john shirts and a bottom.
Various tights of different thicknesses.
Merino sweaters.
Merino jersey.
Arm and leg warmers.
Light full finger gloves.
Heavy ski gloves.
Skull cap.
Balaclava. sp? Not the dessert.
Heavy merino wool sock.
Thinner wool socks.
I tend to use my jerseys as base layers but I also have a nike dri fit shirt.

I mix and match all of my options according to each day. The general idea is a base layer next to the skin, insulating layers, and a shell jacket. Start off a tad cool so that as you warm up you do not sweat like mad. However, I ride downhill a few miles at the start so I overdress and remove a layer at the bottom of the hill.

Tons of options. The what to wear thread in the winter cycling forum has many options.
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Old 08-19-07, 08:56 AM   #4
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It doesn't get cooler in SoCal. In Colorado I wore my work clothes when it got colder, with a parka for when it was really cold.
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Old 08-19-07, 09:08 AM   #5
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+1 winter cycling forum is a good resource. If you are going to ride through the winter (in New england) you'll develop an arsenal of combinations. My advice is to keep a log of what works for you and what doesn't in each temp range and weather type. I know it sounds silly but if you asked me right now what I should wear if the weather suddenly went to winter, I really can't remember. So as it does change I look back at my log, and pull out the right combinations. It really helps me not have to re-think it every year.
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Old 08-19-07, 09:11 AM   #6
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yeah check out Winter Biking forum.
At the last job I had, I always wore bike 'gear' to work, and then changed into other clothing -- even tho my ride was only about 35 minutes.
this new gig I'm doing, which is a couple miles closer to home, I tend to just wear normal, comfortable clothing with some extras.

I wear cheaper, chino type pants (From the Boston Store and Kohls here in Madison... like less dressy than Dockers) Sometimes I'll wear jeans, but they can be heavy and when wet, HEAVIER.
I got a bunch of cool-max type tee shirts and long sleeves for base layers from

Tailwindtees
I layer using fleece or thin wool sweaters. The winter guys often say wool is better than lots of the technical stuff. I agree. Waterproof shoes. I have some insulated medium bike jacket I got on sale that is comfy.
The trick is not over doing so you burn up. and always bring an extra layer, dry socks, dry base shirt, and keep a change hanging on a hook at work
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Old 08-19-07, 09:13 AM   #7
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When I go out I wear a thick winter jacket. Club members wear the same light weight Fall jacket all winter long. During the winter it can be just above freezing for several days until maybe as late as 10 AM . I think the key to wearing light weight jackets during chilly winter rides. Fleece? Having lived in Florida, California I sure do get cold easily. That thin club jacket looks pretty inadequate to me? But, it would be nice to wear the same club jacket on winter rides , along with the rest of my club. Why should I be the exception when all else show off their club colors. ?
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Old 08-19-07, 09:21 AM   #8
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wool anything with a wind jacket when it gets colder...I have one pair of ancient tights that have some type of coating on the front back not the back, that helps block the wind.

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Old 08-19-07, 09:32 AM   #9
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Warmer clothes. Didn't your mommy teach you that? Dressing yourself for the weather ain't Rocket Science.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:16 AM   #10
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How cool?

Below 50? A windbreaker and jeans over some padded shorts and full-finger gloves.

Below Freezing? All the above plus flannel under the jeans and a hoodie under the windbreaker. I usually don the balaclava below 40 or so.

Below 15? All the above plus Thermal wicking undergarments, ski gloves instead of full-finger cycling gloves.

Below zero? All the above except a ski coat instead of the hoodie and windbreaker, and sweat pants instead of flannel under the jeans. Add ski goggles to keep eyes from freezing over. I also add the ski goggles if it's snowing or sleeting.

Yes, I ride in all conditions.
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Old 08-19-07, 10:32 PM   #11
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http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Prod...&viewAll=False

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Prod...&viewAll=False

or

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Prod...&viewAll=False

http://www.mountainhardwear.com/Prod...&viewAll=False

or

http://sugoi.com/item/59275/SUG73051U.607

http://sugoi.com/item/76118/SUG40561U.607

The Windstopper stuff is, for all intents and purposes, waterproof as well as being somewhat breathable. It is also wearable over street clothing. Excellent for Winter.
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Old 08-20-07, 03:03 AM   #12
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I bought those Duofold base layers. Hoping layering might allow me to wear lighter weight jackets. Maybe other base layers might work, but Duofold was not that effective for temperatures below 50.
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Old 08-20-07, 06:02 AM   #13
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The trick to riding in cooler/cold weather is to layer your clothes. You don't want bulky, thick clothes or those that flap in the wind. Start out with a wicking t-shirt under your jersey. If it's cold enough, say below 50, wear a vest. A vest is much more effective for me than a jacket. Jackets make me sweat and flap in the wind, so I generally don't wear one unless temperatures are well below 40. Get some long-fingered gloves. Get some long-sleeve jerseys, or just some arm-warmers to use with your regular jerseys. The advantage to arm-warmers is that you can take them off if the temperatures rise a lot during your ride. (Same is true with a vest.)

Also get knee warmers for your legs, and wear them whenever temps are below 60 consistently. As temps get colder, get some tights without pads, and wear them over your regular shorts. Wool socks such as DeFeat Wooly Boolys are great, as well as shoe covers (I use toe-covers and that's enough down into the low 30s). On your head, HeadSweats make some very nice wicking fleece skullcaps that fit under your helmet. That's all I need, but I don't ride in temperatures below freezing.

Remember this: It is better to be a little bit cold than too warm. If you wear too much clothing and get hot, you will start sweating and that will make you even colder on downhills and stops. Nothing worse than getting all sweaty in cold weather. That's why it's good to layer clothes because you can peel off layers if you find that you're overdressed.
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Old 08-20-07, 09:11 AM   #14
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Thanks for the responses, or at least, for the ones that attempted to be helpful, which was all but one, heh. I have plenty of cold-weather-activity experience -- I'm a ski instructor and a whitewater kayaker, and I hike and snowshoe year round, so it's not like I need to be taught about polypro, rather what works well on a bike. My commute is in Boston. I doubt I'll commute when it gets seriously cold -- my cubemate did that last year and got frostbite, which isn't something I can afford to get.

Thanks again,
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Old 08-20-07, 09:35 AM   #15
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I doubt I'll commute when it gets seriously cold -- my cubemate did that last year and got frostbite...
Uh, isn't that like saying, "I doubt I'll learn to ski because my cubemate did that last year and got frostbite"?

It's about the preparation and appropriate attire, not the activity itself.
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Old 08-20-07, 10:58 AM   #16
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Also get knee warmers for your legs, and wear them whenever temps are below 60 consistently.
??? Answers like this are the reason why the OP should figure it out for himself. Everybody has different requirements and equipment that makes sense for one is ridiculous for someone else.
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Old 08-20-07, 11:07 AM   #17
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You need better windproofing and less insulation compared to a lot of other outdoor activiities. You need to seal collars, waist and cuffs. A high collar and a neck-tube are very effective.
Footwear is the hardest thing to get right. Summer mesh shoes are totally inadaquate. You need more volume and better windproofing. Some people use mesh with an neoprene or gortex outer bootie, others prefer an all-in one water-resistant shoe or boot. In really cold weather you need something much better.
Besides the winter foruum, the main resource for winter cycling is icebike.com.
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Old 08-20-07, 11:12 AM   #18
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Do you have arm and knee warmers? I use mine all the time in the fall and spring.
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Old 08-20-07, 11:28 AM   #19
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Depending on the weather really.

Right now, I wear shorts + t-shirt - and though currently it's cold when starting, I warm up to a sweat so I'm good for the time being.

Next step will be donning fleece/track pants perhaps, and maybe a long sleeve t-shirt (either/or, too).

After that, long sleeve lifa-vest + short sleeve T over the top and fleece pants. At this point I'd start wearing full finger gloves it has to be pretty cold (5C or under) for me to put on the lifa vest.

A scarf and bandana under the helmet would be put on at this point too, more so for windchill protection at this point.

If it gets really cold, depending on if it's snowing or not I'll put on the goretex or a fleece jacket above the lifa/t-shirt.

I wear cotton sports socks right now, I'd switch to a very thin under pair and wool outers if I felt it was really cold.

I can't remember the coldest I've ridden in, but I've done -12C + windchill, and the above works fine for me - I'm a natural heat source, so I seem to emit a huge amount of heat and seem to do just fine.
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Old 08-20-07, 12:37 PM   #20
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Depending on the weather really.
As well as depending on the individual's preferences, bankroll, destination, etc.
That's what I wrote, but that answer seemed to be too cryptic for the OP.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:17 PM   #21
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I agree. Peoples' tolerance, the amount of heat/sweat they build up, how hard they ride, how far they have to go, and dozens of other variables make our suggestions mere starting points.

With how vastly different every other aspect of bicycle commuting is (gear, bike style, frame material, lighting, clothing, preparation, etc) I'm not sure why anyone thinks that there is a single panacea for cold-weather bicycle commuting.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:28 PM   #22
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There isn't. One look at the winter cycling forum will yield you more options than there are stars.
Heck, year to year what I use changes.

Then there are folks like I who have a downhill ride right off the bat before they can warm up. Consequently I dresser warmer and remove a layer after I am finished going downhill instead of dressing where I am slightly cool.
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Old 08-20-07, 01:36 PM   #23
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With how vastly different every other aspect of bicycle commuting is (gear, bike style, frame material, lighting, clothing, preparation, etc) I'm not sure why anyone thinks that there is a single panacea for cold-weather bicycle commuting.
I'm not sure that anybody does. I sure don't -- I was asking for people's individual approaches, not some kind of a perfect answer, and I appreciate the ideas. There is, however, an axe-grinding induhvidual in this thread who seems to want to turn my question into something that it wasn't. I guess the fight-pickins are slim today!
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Old 08-20-07, 01:44 PM   #24
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*grabs a bag of popcorn*

fight?
fight fight fight!
Um.....

*wanders off*
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Old 08-20-07, 02:06 PM   #25
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I'm not sure that anybody does. I sure don't -- I was asking for people's individual approaches, not some kind of a perfect answer, and I appreciate the ideas. There is, however, an axe-grinding induhvidual in this thread who seems to want to turn my question into something that it wasn't. I guess the fight-pickins are slim today!
You want ideas? Why not be the zillionth person to ask about what kind of bikes do BF members prefer? Even more ideas to appreciate!
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