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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 11-24-13, 07:38 AM   #1
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Its 5:00am, 19* and dark....

How do you layer? I started this thread last year at this time:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...yer?highlight=

I am finding that I am becoming more dialed-in to the weather. I check the web for local weather conditions and can layer accordingly. Had a few miscalculations, but for the most part I can nail it. My bike sits in the dining room near the door. I keep 3 pair of gloves, two beanies as well as a thermal hood at the ready. Base layers are the old school thermals plus a few merino wool garments. I have regular socks plus heavy thermal socks. Shoes is kinda a mix up right now as I just took the leap to clipless. When its cold I wear insulated hikers. I guess I will need to get booties for the clipless shoes or experiment with socks. This will be a work in progress. Open to ideas on that one.

So what is your process to determine layering? Its gonna hit 18* overnight and I am determined to keep rolling!
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Old 11-24-13, 08:36 AM   #2
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sounds like overkill to me.

i wear regular men's dress socks + gortex lined "running" shoes
standard one layer spandex bottoms
one base layer up top
one middle layer that zips up the neck
one windbreaker that zips up the neck
one pair XC ski gloves with spandex on one side and syn leather on the other
no hat
no helmet
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Old 11-24-13, 08:57 AM   #3
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Normal suit and tie. Gore-tex hooded overcoat. Ski gloves. Rubber overshoes. I'm out the door in one minute. As I warm up, I unzip.
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Old 11-24-13, 09:07 AM   #4
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From now until March by commuting wardrobe is pretty much the same everyday. The big decisions are whether I need the standard balaclava or the heavy duty one and whether I need goggles or not.

On days below zero I may add another warmth layer and use the PI Amfib bibs over my other winter tights. Normally I'll wear either the XC ski pants over the tights or REI's Headwind pants though the latter I haven't found to be quite as good as I had hoped.

I say goodbye to clipless for the winter and just wear a good pair of winter hiking boots.

Last edited by tjspiel; 11-24-13 at 09:14 AM.
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Old 11-24-13, 09:20 AM   #5
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Normal suit and tie. Gore-tex hooded overcoat. Ski gloves. Rubber overshoes. I'm out the door in one minute. As I warm up, I unzip.
nice
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Old 11-24-13, 11:28 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Its 5:00am, 19* and dark. How do you layer?
Flannel sheets and two comforters.




I don't start work until 1PM or 2PM depending on the day. Why get up at 5AM?

Leaving for work at 19F, I'd wear
  • The winter liner in my helmet, and a balaclava,
  • One long-sleeve wicking t-shirt and my Endura Gridlock jacket,
  • Regular cycling shorts under Pearl Izumi AmFib unpadded bib tights,
  • Plain old X-mart athletic socks and my Lake winter cycling boots,
  • A pair of summer-weight long finger MTB gloves inside a pair of 'tween seasons windproof gloves.

Last edited by tsl; 11-24-13 at 11:33 AM. Reason: typoze
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Old 11-24-13, 11:35 AM   #7
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I wear my regular work uniform.... Dickie's style trousers and button down long sleeve shirt. Beneath that could be long underwear or just boxer shorts and a T-shirt. I have no bike specific shorts or bibs, but that may come. I just spent money on clipless stuff, so I got ease into it.

Over layers are a beanie, gloves and a fleece pull-over I have come to really like. I have a well-insulated hunting jacket I bought at an excellent price and it really stops the wind!
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Old 11-24-13, 12:23 PM   #8
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Hands, feet and head are my priorities for winter riding. My core needs not that much more layering whether it's 35 F or minus 5F.

Here's how I Max out layer wise:

Hands- for the super cold days (19F is cold but not super cold to me). Thin tight fitting gloves (so if I need to pull my hands out to lock the bike, fix something etc.) that slip into "lobster" style mittens, which are removable from an over layer of gore tex mitten shell.

Feet- thick wool socks, good solid cycling shoes with a gore tex bootie covering them.

Head- thin balaclava with face shield and a thicker one or the hood of the rain jacket over it. Helmet.

Core- thermal under layer on top, thin sweater, mountain gear vest, showers pass jacket, for the legs fleece lined jeans and gore tex rain pants.
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Old 11-24-13, 12:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
sounds like overkill to me.

i wear regular men's dress socks + gortex lined "running" shoes
standard one layer spandex bottoms
one base layer up top
one middle layer that zips up the neck
one windbreaker that zips up the neck
one pair XC ski gloves with spandex on one side and syn leather on the other
no hat
no helmet
seems funny to me that you layer all up on the rest of your body but then don't wear a hat on your head - which is the spot on your body where you lose the most heat...
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Old 11-24-13, 12:52 PM   #10
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seems funny to me that you layer all up on the rest of your body but then don't wear a hat on your head - which is the spot on your body where you lose the most heat...
I don't really layer up so much. I just try to ensure that the wind doesn't get down to my chest.

I shave my head and like the feeling of the cold air on it.
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Old 11-24-13, 02:23 PM   #11
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I make my 6 mile commute in regular work clothes. Memphis doesn't get super cold. 31-degrees has been my coldest start so far. I wore a moisture wicking base layer under a merino wool cardigan, regular chinos and work shoes, a wind breaker and knit gloves. It worked out fine, except it was a pretty breezy day and my ears were really cold. I need to get one of those insulated caps with ears that goes inside the helmet.

I'd like to start commuting in dresses and skirts (right now I change at the office if I want to wear a dress/skirt that day). I learned a neat trick from a video someone posted of Dottie over at the Let's Go Ride a Bike blog. On extra cold days (she's in Chicago) when she's in a dress, she pulls a pair of wool leggings over her regular tights and then takes them off when she gets to her destination. I'll have to try that next time.
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Old 11-24-13, 02:29 PM   #12
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On the issue of keeping ears warm: Has anyone ordered from Pactimo? I'm looking at getting one of these: http://shop.pactimo.com/cycling-headband-unisex/, but have never used this company before. Anyone with good or bad experiences?
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Old 11-24-13, 02:50 PM   #13
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25 today with the north wind.

Gore wear windstopper tights / Jacket
Wool Jersey from place in Oregon - thicker than most
North wave Artic shoes - no more cold toes
hat / neck gator
Descente leather mitts
wool socks

This will be my go to waredrobe all winter, may add a thin layer for my knees (only cold part this morning)
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Old 11-24-13, 03:10 PM   #14
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At 5 am it could be 8 degrees here tomorrow morning. I usually dress the same way until next spring. 2 dry wicking long sleeve shirts, Nashbar Derby jacket, Cycling beanie under my helmet, Balaclava for face, Bellwether windfront tights with padded short underneath, thick wool socks and neoprene booties over my cycling shoes, ski gloves. May have to switch to platform pedals and insulated boots pretty soon.
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Old 11-24-13, 08:15 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Giant Doofus View Post
On the issue of keeping ears warm: Has anyone ordered from Pactimo? I'm looking at getting one of these: http://shop.pactimo.com/cycling-headband-unisex/, but have never used this company before. Anyone with good or bad experiences?
I just bought a jacket from them and it is very nicely made, shipping was very fast ( about three days ).
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Old 11-24-13, 08:26 PM   #16
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I just bought a jacket from them and it is very nicely made, shipping was very fast ( about three days ).
Thanks!
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Old 11-24-13, 08:28 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
Shoes is kinda a mix up right now as I just took the leap to clipless. When its cold I wear insulated hikers. I guess I will need to get booties for the clipless shoes or experiment with socks. This will be a work in progress. Open to ideas on that one.
Neither pair of SPD shoes I have is windproof at all. I use toe covers to block the wind. It doesn't get and stay cold enough here to need much more, although I have been thinking of shoe covers in addition for the cold day or so we do git.
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Old 11-24-13, 08:33 PM   #18
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Wool hat,glasses,long base layer,ss jersey,castelli estremo jacket,tights,wool socks,booties w/duck tape on shoe vents,lobster gloves.

If I had something to cover chin I'd consider it for first 10miles or so...debating getting one this year
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Old 11-24-13, 08:42 PM   #19
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My sub freezing setup head to toe:

-run of the mill Giro helmet
-thin balaclava meant to be used under a motorcycle/
snowmobile full face helmet
-ear muffs on top of the balaclava
-progressive sunglasses, dark in the daytime and
changes to clear at night/rain/overcast
-synthetic wool blend thin sweater
-thin windbreaker, Pearl Izumi or Illuminite
-generic winter gloves from Costco
-sweatpants
-Novara Stratos pants to block the wind
-Timberland boots or Lake MXV clipless boots


Biking during winter by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 11-24-13, 08:45 PM   #20
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I wear the same thing from Nov through Apr. Regular work casual clothes. Cycling rain pants, over neoprene booties, over SPD shoes. Fleece top (light or medium) under a Burley rain jacket. Gloves (thin SmartWool, or neoprene). Cycling cap and sometimes a thin balaclava under the helmet.

In Portland, my issue is rain more than cold. Typical winter temp on my 5:15 am commute is 33-37F with either steady rain, blowing rain, pelting rain, drizzling rain, misting rain, and occasionally no rain (and then it is colder).
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Old 11-25-13, 08:27 PM   #21
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Its 5:00am, 19* and dark....

Quote:
Originally Posted by steve-in-kville View Post
So what is your process to determine layering? Its gonna hit 18* overnight and I am determined to keep rolling!
Funny you should ask because this morning at 5 AM it was 19, about 20 less than normal for November. I think of my gradations of dress for my one-way 14 mile commute as six "levels," levels I to VI based on the temperature in decrements of about 10-15 down to my personal best of 0. These are not actual layers of clothing but reflect the different articles I wear. I got this scale from whitewater rafting where the assessment of difficulty of rivers is rated 1 to 6, and that scale seemed appropriate for winter dressing. When an acquaintance familiar with my scale asks me how was the ride, I can give him in a number of 1 to 6.

So for temperatures below 20, I dress at level VI. I won't go into details of the layers, but today for the first time I wore a new winter jacket that may change the articles of clothing for levels V and VI. Also today for the first time I tried using a plastic bag between my thin and thick socks, in addition to the cycling shoes and neoprene booties. I sensed cold feet at about 5 miles, but they did not feel cold until about 10, and still were tolerable up to my destination at 14 miles.

There are two are other articles of clothing I don't see mentioned much and perhaps other riders would find them useful. Both are photographed below. The first is a pair of “wrist gaiters” made from a pair old athletic socks that further seal the gap between the jacket sleeve ends and the gloves. I think they also an extra layer of warmth to my forearms, because my forearms do sweat under them, and I suggest that they further warm the blood flowing to my hands to keep them warm.

My second innovation, for eye protection is a pair of simple, wide, plastic industrial goggles that I suspend from my cycling cap using Velcro around the nosepiece. The glasses sit very comfortably on my face securely in place even though my ears are covered. The earpieces then provide a secure mount for my eyeglass-mounted Take-a-Look mirror. The goggles allow sufficient room for my prescription eyeglasses, and are widely ventilated to carry away the exhaled moisture preventing fogging. These have made winter cycling entirely possible because all other attempts to avoid dangerous fogging have been nowhere as successful.

Finally, besides layering, the actual process of dressing for me is well defined. I start with the basic inner layers while indoors, but not too many to get overheated. The shoes with cleats go on next, so I don't disturb the family and neighbors by clomping around on hardwood floors. Next, immediately before going out the door I go to the bathroom. On a recent thread on the Fifty-Plus Forum was a discussion about the physiologic phenomenon of cold diuresis.

I then carry my two outermost jackets, with my bicycle, down the flight of stairs from our condo, and put them on in the vestibule before going outside. In general, I find that in any type of bad weather, be it cold or rain, if I dress appropriately I can be comfortable the first 10 miles, then tolerate the last four.

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File Type: jpg Side view with face mask.jpg (98.8 KB, 6 views)
File Type: jpg P1180019.jpg (57.0 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-26-13 at 04:25 AM.
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