Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

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.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-16-10, 04:55 AM   #1
mkeller234
Rustbelt Rider
Thread Starter
 
mkeller234's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Canton, OH
Bikes: 1990 Trek 1420 - 1978 Raleigh Professional - 1973 Schwinn Collegiate - 1974 Schwinn Suburban
Posts: 8,295
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Balaclava recommendations

I have ridden my bike to work everyday for the past two years. Last winter I bought a cheap knitted ski mask and while it's better than nothing, the cold wind seems to penetrate it rather easily.

I'd appreciate any feedback from the cold winter commuters here. I don't want to spend a fortune, around 30 dollars and below would be great. What makes a good mask?

It's 12 degrees fahrenheit this morning, I'm done freezing my face off!
__________________
|^^^^^^^^^^^^^^| ||
|......GO.BROWNS........| ||'|";, ___.
|_..._..._______===|=||_|__|..., ] -
"(@)'(@)"""''"**|(@)(@)*****''(@)
mkeller234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 09:46 AM   #2
CptjohnC
Old, but not really wise
 
CptjohnC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Fairfax, VA commuting to Washington DC
Bikes: 2010 Kona Dew Drop (the daily driver),'07 Specialized Roubaix (the sports car), '99 ish Kona NuNu MTB (the SUV), Schwinn High Plains (circa 1992?) (the beater)
Posts: 814
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I see that the replies are burning up the board -- consider the winter riding forum. I have no great guidance -- I bought a balaclava at Costco for about $10, and so far, so good, though not perfect. Things to consider:

Fabric/ material: mine is polyester fleece, which is gentle on the skin, but will probably start to smell soon enough (I think it is anti-microbial treated, though?) I imagine there are merino wool ones, if you want to spend some money, and they're probably excellent.

Fit: one issue with mine is that the eye hole isn't as big or stretchy as I would like -- I don't like to cover my mouth/nose generally, but I like having the neck and side of the head covered. I could really go with a neck gaiter and hat, I suppose, but one thing is less than two things ;-) the net result is that sometimes the top slides down towards my eyes, forcing me to reposition.

Wind: Unless it incorporates some kind of wind blocking layer, most will just pass the breeze through. If cold and windy are the issue, look for windproof.

Talk to other cold weather sports aficionados. Snowboarders, skiers, climbers, etc...
CptjohnC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 09:52 AM   #3
flyingWeez
Senior Member
 
flyingWeez's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Athens, GA
Bikes:
Posts: 133
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have an Under Armor balaclava and I am very pleased with it. I've never used it in 12 degree weather mind you, but for 30 or so here in Georgia it works nicely.

http://www.amazon.com/Under-Armour-M...2514728&sr=8-1
flyingWeez is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 10:09 AM   #4
truman
It's true, man.
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: North Texas
Bikes: Cannondale T1000, Inbred SS 29er, Supercaliber 29er, Crescent Mark XX, Burley Rumba Tandem
Posts: 2,726
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I use a ColumbiaŽ fleece neck gaiter pulled up over the back of my head, lips and ears. On colder days (teens, low 20's), to cover my forehead, I add a merino beanie over the gaiter. I keep my nose uncovered while moving to keep from fogging my glasses.

I find it a lot easier to regulate temperature with the two separate pieces than a single balaclava.
truman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 11:00 AM   #5
jdswitters
Senior Member
 
jdswitters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Fort Collins CO
Bikes: Torker Graduate, Framed Minnesota1.0, Salsa Fargo, 2014 &2013 Felt NBBcruiser, '59 magneet path racer,
Posts: 786
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just got one from REI for about 20$, thin enough to fit under the helmet, still warm in 20F. One caveat tho, I'm old and slow so I don't know how well it may work for someone who is biking pretty fast.
jdswitters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 12:48 PM   #6
JPprivate
Very, very Senior Member
 
JPprivate's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Chicago
Bikes: 2012 Surly Troll, 1999 Hardtail MTB
Posts: 1,223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i have this alpaca wool balaclava, quite happy with it and I use it from 5-30 F.
JPprivate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 12:53 PM   #7
atbman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Leeds UK
Bikes:
Posts: 1,971
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Don't go into a bank wearing one
atbman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 12:54 PM   #8
hubcap
One Man Fast Brick
 
hubcap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Bikes: Specialized Langster, Bianchi San Jose, early 90s GT Karakoram, Yuba Mundo, Mercier Nano (mini velo), Nashbar Steel Commuter, KHS Tandemania Sport
Posts: 1,121
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a couple different balaclavas. One is a light fleece material that is a pretty loose knit fabric, the other is a little thicker and the exterior is smoother instead of the fleece feel/look. Neither have a windproof membrane. IMO a windproof balaclava would be way too hot.

The heavier one extends further down my neck, so it is more flexible with how I want to wear it. That is important when you have your helmet straps snapped around it. You want to have enough play above your straps to be able to pull it up to cover your nose or pull it down below your chin without messing with the helmet straps. At the same time, you want enough below the straps to overlap with your jacket.

I think both of them came from Sierra Trading Post and they were cheap - well within your budget.
hubcap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 01:01 PM   #9
math is fun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Bikes:
Posts: 131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have been using a shemagh it works great, really blocks the wind. People do look at you funny and when I pull it off the top of my head I look like a hipster but its still the best 6 bucks I spent this winter.
math is fun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 01:13 PM   #10
himespau 
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Bikes:
Posts: 9,422
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
I've been using the Louis Garneau one. It's not super thick, but it's kept me reasonably warm in the low 20's without too much problem. It's a bit small for my giant head, so it's not super form fitting when I pull it up over my nose (my nose and chin don't fit in quite the right spots (and it can result in a lot of exhuast fogging my glasses. Still, my neck and ears weren't at all cold (like another poster though my top sustained pace is probably 20 or below and my commutes are only in the 30-40 minute range). I so far it's cut the wind enough that if I want more warmth in my head, I'll just throw on my waterproof helmet cover which turns my head into a furnace.
himespau is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 01:16 PM   #11
no motor?
Senior Member
 
no motor?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Chicagoland
Bikes: Specialized Hardrock
Posts: 4,867
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 22 Post(s)
I've got a thin Serius one, and it was too warm to wear while motorcycling. Works great for bicycling, and it cost about $12 at Disks Sporting Goods.
no motor? is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 01:22 PM   #12
Ember
Zoom!
 
Ember's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Omaha, NE
Bikes: 1973 Schwinn Collegiate
Posts: 56
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a Serius Ultra Clava

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ef=oss_product

This clava has worked for me from 40 to at least 9 degrees. You can move the face covering down when you get too warm. It's got a wind blocking, too. I highly recommend it, as my face has not been cold since I started wearing it.
Ember is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 01:54 PM   #13
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes:
Posts: 13,583
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
I use two merino wool neck gaiters; one over my neck which can be pulled up to my eyes, and one over my head which can come down to cover my ears. But when I climb hills, sprint, or get warm for some other reason, I can adjust it to let whatever amount of air I want in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
i have this alpaca wool balaclava, quite happy with it and I use it from 5-30 F.
How soft is alpaca wool, compared to merino and cashmere, out of curiosity?
Seattle Forrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 02:03 PM   #14
EKW in DC
Senior Member
 
EKW in DC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Alexandria, VA
Bikes: Trek 830 Mountain Track Drop bar conversion
Posts: 2,053
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by atbman View Post
Don't go into a bank wearing one
EKW in DC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 02:05 PM   #15
JPprivate
Very, very Senior Member
 
JPprivate's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Chicago
Bikes: 2012 Surly Troll, 1999 Hardtail MTB
Posts: 1,223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EKW in DC View Post
Yeah, don't laugh, I did that once, and the clerk was really happy when I took it off and looked quite "normal"
JPprivate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 02:32 PM   #16
exile
Senior Member
 
exile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Binghamton, NY
Bikes: 2008 Surly Long Haul Trucker, 1999 Jamis Exile
Posts: 2,857
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't wear a Balaclava, but I do have some face masks like this one from Gordini. I also have a skull and crossbones fleece lined bandanna which I get complimented on. I also bought a neck gaiter from the local salvation army for $.50.
exile is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 02:48 PM   #17
JPprivate
Very, very Senior Member
 
JPprivate's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Chicago
Bikes: 2012 Surly Troll, 1999 Hardtail MTB
Posts: 1,223
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I use two merino wool neck gaiters; one over my neck which can be pulled up to my eyes, and one over my head which can come down to cover my ears. But when I climb hills, sprint, or get warm for some other reason, I can adjust it to let whatever amount of air I want in.



How soft is alpaca wool, compared to merino and cashmere, out of curiosity?
Oh, hard to say, I am no expert. It feels about the same to me. I just checked my base layer (merino) and my balaclava and I can't really feel a difference.
JPprivate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 03:09 PM   #18
TGVZG
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY
Bikes: Felt 85
Posts: 4
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have used a few, but the one that fits best snugly around my face is the Pearl Izumi Barrier model. The only draw back with the tightness of the balaclava, is that if you wear thick templed cycling glasses (Specialized Helix in my case - has prescription insert), the elastic puses the glasses temples against your face. for a short, one hour ride, its not realy so bad, but I rode last Sunday from Prospect Park, Brooklyn, to Stricly's bike shop in NJ, and back... my temples still hurt when I chew... I would sugest making holes on the sides of the Balaclava, for tghe temples to slide through. However, this must be done using hot scissors, that quickly melt the openning, to prevent the elastic fabric from unraveling.
Another issue with wearing cycling glasses with a balaclava, is that wind enters aroun temples, making it quite noisy. This can be solved by suffing cotton balls around the temples.
The Pearl Izumi Barrier balaklava is windproof, covers neck well, and is ergonamicaly constructed. I use it daily in Prospect Park, and its mighty chilly these days!
TGVZG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 03:24 PM   #19
mustachiod
Senior Member
 
mustachiod's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Chicago, IL
Bikes:
Posts: 699
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i'd suggest visiting a ski shop, they'll have some that are made for going under a helmet. the one i'm wearing now says NXTZ on the tag, I have no idea if that's a good brand or not but it was $20.
mustachiod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 04:26 PM   #20
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes:
Posts: 13,583
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
Oh, hard to say, I am no expert. It feels about the same to me. I just checked my base layer (merino) and my balaclava and I can't really feel a difference.
Thanks!
Seattle Forrest is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 07:46 PM   #21
PaulRivers
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Bikes:
Posts: 5,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Last time there was a thread like this I wrote a real long reply, and the guy bought some cheap wool thing anyways so I'll avoid doing that this time, lol.

The best I've found is the Cannondale Slice Balaclava -
http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._20000__400093



The problem I always had was that these things put cloth right over my mouth, then I'd start breathing hard (because, you know, I'm actually exercising) and it would suck the cloth right into my mouth and I couldn't breath through it (especially since it was windproof). This thing is really great because I can rest the front cloth part on my nose and it keeps it far enough away from my mouth that I can breath. And on the warm(ish) days I can just flip the front piece off my face and not have it the way at all, while still having something over my head and ears.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 10-6905-BLK-FRONT.jpg (14.7 KB, 1 views)
PaulRivers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 08:00 PM   #22
sonatageek
Senior Member
 
sonatageek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Cleveland,Ohio
Bikes:
Posts: 2,763
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I have a thin polypro one that works great. Don't recall the brand - I combine it with having my hood up on the wind breaker when it is really cold and that seems to work pretty well down to temps in the 20's.
sonatageek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 08:02 PM   #23
travelmama
Senior Member
 
travelmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Long Beach,CA
Bikes: Kona Ute, Nishiki 4130, Trek 7000, K2 Mach 1.0, Novara Randonee, Schwinn Loop, K2 Zed 1.0, Schwinn Cream, Torker Boardwalk
Posts: 1,410
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This topic was brought up some weeks ago. Hit up REI or Departmentofgoods.com where you can get at least 50 percent off each item.
travelmama is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 08:09 PM   #24
CCrew
Older than dirt
 
CCrew's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Winchester, VA
Bikes: Too darn many.. latest count is 11
Posts: 5,343
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
+1 on the Under Armour one. Have one and love it.
CCrew is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-10, 08:24 PM   #25
Kuma
hamster with funny pants
 
Kuma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Bethesda, MD
Bikes:
Posts: 608
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Speak to Lou at Foxwear and have him make you one out of Polartec fleece of any thickness material you'd like. I've worn mine at 8 degrees (F) and been perfectly toasty. I think he charges $11 for them. He also makes really good, inexpensive other winter commuting clothes. Highly recommended. http://www.foxwear.net/
Kuma is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:52 PM.