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  1. #1
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    How I Keep Warm in Vermont

    I ride all winter if the temp is 15 F or above and if there isn't too much salty slush on the road. I have found a couple of ways to keep warm that you might not have considered before. I ride a fixed gear Surly Steamroller. Riding fixed means my legs are always pumping and I have found that this helps keep the blood circulating. I sometimes flip the wheel over and ride with a single-speed freewheel, so I can attest to the difference. Another great thing about riding sindgle-speed is the simplicity. I commute 4,000 miles a year, and in ten years I've had one broken chain and a handful of flats, that's it.

    Because I ride a single-speed, I never have to shift, so I can wear mittens. I found a pair of snow machine mittens that are super wind resistant and, when I'm on a flat stretch I curl my fingers into a fist to warm up the tips.

    A third strategy I've discovered is to take an old pair of heavy boot sox and cut the feet off of them, leaving just the tubular uppers. I pull these up over my knees, cuff down and then pull my tights on over them. This keeps my knees toasty, avoiding that brittle achey feeling they can get in the cold. If you keep the cuffs down, they won't curl up as you slide the tights on.

    Hope this helps some of you to venture out a few more days this winter.

  2. #2
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Those are all great tips and thanks for that. I ride year round too down to the single numbers and approaching 0 at times. I have had to really get serious about cycling gear in those conditions. Bellwether winter cycling tights with built in articulating knee padding and insulation. Completely wind resistant in front and breathable in the back. Same for a cycling jacket and layering with dry wicking shirts underneath. Merino wool socks, neoprene booties, snowmobiling mittens, the list goes on forever. You get the idea, when the conditions get brutal, I have to become a die hard and push through it regardless but it took a lot of years of commuting to get well equipped and technology advancements has helped in that respect too.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  3. #3
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    Other than unsafe road conditions, my only winter limit to commuting is the effects of cold air on my lungs. Someplace south of 25 the cold dry air begins to irritate my lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. Other than breathing issues, keeping warm only requires common sense measures, though I do use fleece liners in oversize deerskin work gloves.
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  4. #4
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    where do i get neoprene booties from? any recommendations looking for something to keep my feet warm
    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
    where do i get neoprene booties from? any recommendations looking for something to keep my feet warm
    these are usually dive boots. Any on-line dive shop will have a bunch. They're also not that costly, so you might try a local dive shop.
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    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

  6. #6
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
    where do i get neoprene booties from? any recommendations looking for something to keep my feet warm
    They make cycling specific booties for your cleats. Nashbar has these which I got and I like them. http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product...20_-1___202515

    There are other brands too made specifically to go over your shoes and the bottom is left exposed for your spds. I don't find them to be the cure all but they do help in temps down to about 18 degF or so if you have wool socks on. Colder than that requires platform pedals and insulated boots.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  7. #7
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips OP.
    I've been thinking about throwing my knee sleeves on for my morning commutes to help with the achy feeling they get during the winter.

    I commute on a fixed gear as well, so I usually stay pretty warm aside from fingers/toes. I've been debating mittens and I've recently thrown on some decent wool socks. Planning on commuting all year as long as there isn't snow on the roads.

  8. #8
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    i put my knee warmers on under my thinner tights last ride and it really felt just about perfect warm but not too warm.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmontgomery87 View Post
    Thanks for the tips OP.
    I've been thinking about throwing my knee sleeves on for my morning commutes to help with the achy feeling they get during the winter.

    I commute on a fixed gear as well, so I usually stay pretty warm aside from fingers/toes. I've been debating mittens and I've recently thrown on some decent wool socks. Planning on commuting all year as long as there isn't snow on the roads.
    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

  9. #9
    Let's Ride! RidingMatthew's Avatar
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    thanks FB

    i am not sure of how many dive stores are in teh piedmont of NC but I will google it.

    Quote Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
    these are usually dive boots. Any on-line dive shop will have a bunch. They're also not that costly, so you might try a local dive shop.
    You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C. S. Lewis

  10. #10
    Senior Member bmontgomery87's Avatar
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    ^My morning commute is looking like 33 degrees in the morning so I may have to try that out tomorrow.

    My vest + flannel combo has done awesome for keeping me warm without overheating so far. Finally getting my commuter gear dialed in.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
    where do i get neoprene booties from? any recommendations looking for something to keep my feet warm
    Here is the pair I have been looking at getting:

    http://www.amazon.com/Oceanic-6-5mm-.../dp/B002W52CNY

  12. #12
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bizman View Post
    Here is the pair I have been looking at getting:

    http://www.amazon.com/Oceanic-6-5mm-.../dp/B002W52CNY
    Those are pretty nice. I wonder if the sole is stiff enough for cycling. You would need platform pedals but that is usually the case for the winter months anyway. Great find.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  13. #13
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    All of you who commute in very cold temperatures and with ice and snow on the roads are my heros! Here in SoCal the bicycle commuting environment, weather wise, is pretty excellent. Okay, lots of traffic, big trucks and other challenges, but weather . . . not so much.

    Back in the '70's and '80's when I lived in St. Louis I had to deal with cold, ice and snow, etc. but now I don't know how I faced that every morning!

    Rick / OCRR

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by droy45 View Post
    Those are pretty nice. I wonder if the sole is stiff enough for cycling. You would need platform pedals but that is usually the case for the winter months anyway. Great find.
    I had saw another post somewhere where that someone was using neoprene boots similar to these. I bought a pair of (google O deg Celsius) neoprene gloves a while back at Dicks Sporting Goods for rainy cool weather that seem to work good! The salesperson refered to them as scuba diving gloves and who also belonged to a cave exploring group and said others wore these and they worked good.

    Your hands get wet in them from sweating but stay WARM. I would expect the boots will do the same. I have also been using the Lake winter boots (302 cant remember the model?) for a few years in as low as -8 deg F weather on my mountain bike and I could recommend these as well. The Lake boots are cycling specific and I do use clips with these.

    I just started commuting this year in May with 3300 miles logged to date, I do use platform pedals on this bike. Although the Oceanic boots may work with clip in pedals I don't know how comfortable they would be? I use platform pedals on my commuter bike and like them for commuting, I believe the Oceanic boots will work fine for this.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bizman View Post
    I had saw another post somewhere where that someone was using neoprene boots similar to these. I bought a pair of (google O deg Celsius) neoprene gloves a while back at Dicks Sporting Goods for rainy cool weather that seem to work good! The salesperson refered to them as scuba diving gloves and who also belonged to a cave exploring group and said others wore these and they worked good.

    Your hands get wet in them from sweating but stay WARM. I would expect the boots will do the same. I have also been using the Lake winter boots (302 cant remember the model?) for a few years in as low as -8 deg F weather on my mountain bike and I could recommend these as well. The Lake boots are cycling specific and I do use clips with these.

    I just started commuting this year in May with 3300 miles logged to date, I do use platform pedals on this bike. Although the Oceanic boots may work with clip in pedals I don't know how comfortable they would be? I use platform pedals on my commuter bike and like them for commuting, I believe the Oceanic boots will work fine for this.
    Personally, i don't like neoprene gloves because they tend to restrict blood flow at the finger tips and i can't find one pair that fit precisely my specific finger length. I find it easier to find a match for the feet though.

    If you want to go through the vermont winter with those dive boots you will probably need to insert some wool felt liners inside like those http://www.sorel.com/mens-caribou-th...er-NM8001.html
    And to be able to do that you will have to get your dive boots at least 2 inches longer than your actual foot size depending how big your foot is. From the chart below it means that your foot size (no socks) must be equal or smaller than 9.5 inches to be able to fit inside the biggest size of those dive boots which is size 14, with some wool felt liners
    Without the wool felt liners i find my dive boots very good around freezing temps especially because at this temperature it is pretty wet and that dive boots fit perfectly in wet weather.

    Last edited by erig007; 11-20-13 at 11:57 AM.

  16. #16
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    Those Bellweather tights with the built in knee pads sound great. I will look into getting a pair of them.

    I forgot to mention that my commute takes almost an hour each way. That's a big factor in determining my cutoff temp. If I was 15 minutes from work, I'd probably ride through anything, but you can only stay warm for so long and I'm riding home in the dark once they change the clocks so that's another thing to consider. Everybody has to deal with their local environment. It must be nice in SoCal now, but I wouldn't trade with you in the summer. It's not as windy here as it was where I grew up. I'd rather ride at 10 degrees colder than in wind that was 10 mph faster. I think those of you who ride out in the cold flatlands and the deserts have a greater challenge than we do in Vermont.

  17. #17
    tougher than a boiled owl droy45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cogdriven View Post
    Those Bellweather tights with the built in knee pads sound great. I will look into getting a pair of them.

    I forgot to mention that my commute takes almost an hour each way. That's a big factor in determining my cutoff temp. If I was 15 minutes from work, I'd probably ride through anything, but you can only stay warm for so long and I'm riding home in the dark once they change the clocks so that's another thing to consider. Everybody has to deal with their local environment. It must be nice in SoCal now, but I wouldn't trade with you in the summer. It's not as windy here as it was where I grew up. I'd rather ride at 10 degrees colder than in wind that was 10 mph faster. I think those of you who ride out in the cold flatlands and the deserts have a greater challenge than we do in Vermont.
    Yup, the cold can be dealt with, but the wind is another thing. The time and distance involved does make a big difference. I have a 1.5 hour hilly commute one way and in the winter with studded tires, more layers of clothing and extra weight in gear etc, it could easily add another 15 mins to that. So, that being said I got better equipped as time went on.
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

  18. #18
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    How do you keep warm in VT ?
    Put a couple extra sticks of wood in the stove.
    while riding ? I like a pair of snow sneakers, one size larger than
    normal, to give plenty of room for two layers of socks.
    A face/nose covering and glasses or ski goggles.
    Layers, prefer a thiner wicking material as the base layer,
    heavier outer layer.
    ride long & prosper

  19. #19
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    I can tell you that glasses don't help much, in fact they prevent you from using a balaclava because of steam buildup. I wish I could ride with goggles. It was 18 F this morning and it felt like my eyeballs were going to flash freeze. I imagine the video going out suddenly and balance evaporating at 25 mph.

    Tell us about snow sneakers. I wear roomy hiking boots and thick Smart Wool or Darn Tough (made in Vermont) socks, which do a fairly good job of keeping the toes from tingling too much.

  20. #20
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    One thing that nobody's mentioned but may be of interest to those riding in colder, higher or more northern areas, is the effect of cold on your body.

    We tend to think of preventing frostbite, or keeping our hands, feet and ears warm, along with maintaining core temps. What we often forget is that no matter how warm we are we're inhaling large volumes of cold dry air into our lungs, and that in itself can be a problem.

    Not everyone is equally susceptible, but prolonged heavy breathing of cold dry air can irritate or damage our bronchial passages and lungs. As a rule temps above 25° or so aren't much of a problem, with lower temps, more mouth breathing, and more time, the iritation can become sever enough to cause chronic asthma like symptoms.

    This isn't to warn or scare anybody, but to remind them to listen to their bodies. If after cold riding you're arriving at your destination with mild chest pain or irritation, or have a hacking cough for the next 1/2 hour before it settles, consider making changes. Wrapping a thick breathable scarf over your nose and mouth helps by acting as a heat exchanger, but only so much. So if the symptoms persist, listen to your body and consider putting the bike away during the coldest weeks. Your lungs will thank you and Spring/summer riding will be that much better.
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