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View Poll Results: What type of lower body warmers?
Leg warmers 7 18.42%
Full riding pants 9 23.68%
Get both, you'll never know what you'll need 22 57.89%
Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-06-09, 03:47 PM   #1
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Cool/Cold weather riding clothing advice

When it comes to cool/cold weather I'm a wimp. I mean, if I get a chill I will be sick that night or the next day. For me cool/cold weather is in the 50's and 60's.

I have a good cycling jacket for when it gets cold, and I also have some long sleeve jerseys, so should be good on the days I know it will be cool/cold, but was wondering about the transition days when it's warm then gets cold or vice-versa?

Are arm warmers worth the money or are they a pain? I can see them either sliding down or being too tight, but have never worn them, so thought I'd ask what you guys thought before I spend any money on them?

As for the bottom half, am I better off with leg warmers or getting full riding pants? Is one warmer than the other? I can see warmers being better if you have to put them on or take them off during a ride, but was curious for when you know it's not going to warm up?

Thanks in advance,
Dan'o :**
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Old 08-06-09, 03:58 PM   #2
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I'll have to think about this one- It must be fully a month since I started riding with just the short sleeve top and the Lightweight shorts.

I don't get the conditions you are talking about often but IF I know it is going to warm up- My outer layer will be a Windproof coat that can be stowed away very small and put in the back pocket. I rarely suffer with cold legs- but I do have a pair of Knickers. Cycling shorts that go below the knees. If I can keep the joints warm- then the rest of me will look after itself.
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Old 08-06-09, 04:37 PM   #3
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I'll tell you a couple of months from now. It's 92 F outside right now!
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Old 08-06-09, 04:41 PM   #4
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I'm not real sure what you mean by "full riding pants?"

I can wear just shorts to about 48-50F, but use tights - full length - when colder.
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Old 08-06-09, 04:55 PM   #5
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I wear armwarmers and kneewarmers starting in the lower 60s. They get me through the 50s. I start thinking about tights and longsleeve tops around then, usually with the armwarmers. I have little stick-figure arms that get cold easily.

It's nice to have options and combinations. I have cold weather wear that gets me down to 0F.

Edit: When shopping for tights, look at "windfront" tights. I find I like that kind better. Less breeze blowing through them, but still open enough in the back to keep from getting sweaty.
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Old 08-06-09, 05:07 PM   #6
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I just wear what ever keeps me comfortable. If you were cold today, wear something warmer tomorrow, and vice-versa. I commute in the snow and ice in jeans and a winter jacket, simple yet effective.

I actually don't look at 50F as cold! The forecast for tomorrow morning is 53F. I'm dressed in shorts and a sleeveless "T" and anxiously looking foreward to the 5:30 am. commute home.
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Old 08-06-09, 05:52 PM   #7
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Ditto for windfront type tights. I have a pair of PI Amphib tights. They are great.
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Old 08-06-09, 06:15 PM   #8
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What not to get...long sleeve jackets that blow up like a sail.

The best solution are vests, arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers and for cold days full leg tights. For cold days where I cycle i.e. 40 to 55, I wear double arm warmers and a thermal vest. Sometimes I put a light wind vest under the thermal vest. I have light knee warmers and heavy knee warmers as well as light and heavy leg warmers. A skull cap with ear flaps is important as well but not too heavy. I adjust the clothes as I ride stuffing clothes in my jersey and vest pockets. This year Voler, our team kit provider came out with a light wind vest with pockets like a jersey. So I can load up food and clothing in the wind vest and jersey.

Any clothing that is not tight fitting and light is going to catch wind, not be very warm and slow you down. Even in the colder weather, you will perspire and you want the water to make its way off your body and evaporate. The clothing lines made by companies such as Voler for clubs and teams are designed for cyclists to work together. A lot of cycling clothes, even made by high end clothiers such as Pearl Isumi, may not work very well. There are lots of opinions and options. You will have to buy, suffer, sell, discard, buy more until you find what works for you. Good luck.

Edit: I am going out for a 2 hour ride. It is 5:30PM, 71 and windy. I have arm warmers, light knee warmers a jersey and light wind vest. The temperature will drop. I like to start a ride with knee warmers to warmup the knees faster.

Last edited by Hermes; 08-06-09 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 08-06-09, 06:42 PM   #9
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For rides in the low 60s I just ride with shorts and a ss jersey. I do wear a very light base layer, summer weight. For rides cooler than that into the mid 50s I might add arm warmers. Those are my most favorite temps to ride in, upper 50s to low 60s. I have never found the need for anything more. If the ride might take me to higher elevations and lower temps I'll carry a lightweight vest.

edit, For sustained rides in the 50s I usually add knee warmers to keep my joints warm.
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Old 08-06-09, 07:22 PM   #10
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Of all my cool weather gear my arm warmers get the most use. They are great, particularly on a long club ride that starts off in the cool weather and you know it is going to get hotter during the day. I just slide them down around my wrists as I am riding, when I stop I stick them in the pockets.

I bought leg warmers in the spring but have not used them, I rode in bib-knickers this morning, it was in the 50's. I have tights for colder weather, they do not have a pad so I wear a pair of old stretched out shorts over them. I also have various base layers depending on how cold it is. I use a gortex wind jacket and it does blow out a little, but when it is cold it's not so much about going fast as just going. I find I ride a lot slower in the cold.

When it gets brutal I have an old pair of ski pants, ski helmet and goggles - but if there is ice on the roads I don't go out, so that gear only works in the late fall if it's dry and in the teens.
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Old 08-06-09, 07:55 PM   #11
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I layer up both up and down. I do wear my full length tights(no chamois) over my shorts though so they can be removed easily in case of a crash (cleanup) or the weather gets warmer.

My must have is a wind breaking rain jacket. Just open the vents as needed or remove it when it warms up.

I ride year round, even igloo season here in Toronto.
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Old 08-07-09, 02:47 AM   #12
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I'm a committed user of 'helly hansen' thin thermals. Those Scandinavians know what works! Very, very effective at temperature regulation, in very hot and very cold. In the cold, with a windproof shell they insulate very well. In the warm, they 'wick' sweat away to evaporate and keep you cool.

I'm just back from about 3 hours motorcycling on a VERY warm morning (lots more than 100 F) and wore my Hellys under my leathers - so much more comfortable than riding companions who used cotton tshirts under theirs.
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Old 08-07-09, 03:55 AM   #13
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I use arm warmers when the temps get in the 50's and have no issues with them falling down. When I get warm I pull them off on the fly and store in back pocket.
I use knee warmers when it is cooler or cold and a base layer as well, no problems.
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Old 08-07-09, 04:57 AM   #14
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Strange poll... I never use either. Tights for me if it is cold, shorts if it isn't.
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Old 08-07-09, 05:58 AM   #15
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When the temps are in the 60's I don't make any changes. When the temps are in the 50's I'll wear a base layer shirt and possibly a long sleeve shirt or a sort sleeve jersey and arm warmers. If it is windy or the day will become cooler I'll bring knee warmers and possibly wear a thermal weight jersey. I'll wear tights and a jacket when the temps get into the 40's and dress accordingly when the temps get into the 30's and 20's based on the type of ride I'll be doing and if it is windy and/or wet.
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Old 08-07-09, 07:34 AM   #16
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I've got a Gortex coat and pants, but they don't go on until it's in the 40s. If zipped and buttoned, the combination is good down to the high single digits, which is as cold as it gets here. I like weather between 50-60 because I can just hop on the bike and go without having to remove anything or add anything.

This whole thing is surreal to think about, as weather in the 90s is returning tomorrow.

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Old 08-07-09, 07:36 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HIPCHIP View Post
When it comes to cool/cold weather I'm a wimp. I mean, if I get a chill I will be sick that night or the next day. For me cool/cold weather is in the 50's and 60's.

I have a good cycling jacket for when it gets cold, and I also have some long sleeve jerseys, so should be good on the days I know it will be cool/cold, but was wondering about the transition days when it's warm then gets cold or vice-versa?

Are arm warmers worth the money or are they a pain? I can see them either sliding down or being too tight, but have never worn them, so thought I'd ask what you guys thought before I spend any money on them?

As for the bottom half, am I better off with leg warmers or getting full riding pants? Is one warmer than the other? I can see warmers being better if you have to put them on or take them off during a ride, but was curious for when you know it's not going to warm up?

Thanks in advance,
Dan'o :**
Just this morning in response to another thread, I noted that now in my second year of reading Bike Forums, it seems that winter threads start up in August.

I posted this reply to a thread from February: "Your clothing choices for various temps":

Quote:
Originally Posted by agarose2000 View Post
What clothing do you use reliably to stay comfortable for temps of:

50-70F

30-40F

10-30F

<0F?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I think of my degrees of dress in six levels. Adopting to your table for my 14 mile commute (temperatures in parentheses):

50-70F
Level I (>70): Shorts, short sleeve shirt.

Level II (60): Add thin long legged tights and/or long-sleeve jersey
(50): Add fleece shirt, maybe a wind proof cycling jacket, and long legged cycling tights over thin tights;thin fingered gloves, thin balaclava

30-40F
Level III (40): Heavy cycling jacket and long sleeve jersey; two layers of tights as above; thin balaclava, maybe a woolen cap; heavier woolen gloves
(35): Add safety glasses (as goggles) that fit over my eyeglasses; extra pair of neoprene socks; balaclava and woolen cap

10-30F
Level IV (30) Add fleece jersey; thin, fingered gloves and thick wind-proof fingered gloves; neoprene extra socks and neoprene booties over shoes

Level V (25): Add windproof thin cycling jacket over fleece and under heavy cycling jacket

Level VI: (<20): Thin and thick woolen socks instead of neoprene socks; additional windproof pants over two pairs of tights, add neoprene face mask

<0F?
My personal best has been leaving at 8 degrees in Boston and arriving at my suburban destination at minus 9

I don't like being cold, so I tend to overdress a bit, but I have a rear trunk bag and can remove layers. Recently I've been looking for reasonably priced mittens for level VI.
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Old 08-07-09, 11:35 AM   #18
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lol, Jim, I'm relatively new to commuting, and I am looking now for good gear to get me through cycling in Denver's sub-freezing months.

I've got gortex wind pants and warm layers to wear under those. I've got a good long-sleeved, wind-breaker jacket and layers to wear under that. I've got good boots and socks I can layer. Only concern for me is face and fingers. I like the balaclava idea, although I'm thinking I'll sweat a goodly bit into one if it's not cold enough. I can also fit a regular ski-cap under my helmet with a little adjustment, so not too worried there.

My biggest concern is gloves, and keeping my fingers warm enough. I've got fingered gloves with leather fingerless overs now, but am not yet sure they'll be good enough for our winter temps. Time will tell...

Thanks to all for the good thread
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Old 08-07-09, 11:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eshvanu View Post
lol, Jim, I'm relatively new to commuting, and I am looking now for good gear to get me through cycling in Denver's sub-freezing months....

My biggest concern is gloves, and keeping my fingers warm enough. I've got fingered gloves with leather fingerless overs now, but am not yet sure they'll be good enough for our winter temps.
Great post above by Jim - I commute year round in Seattle (lots of cold rain in the winter, but the temperature only goes down to about 25 degrees or so, not that cold). I have found that I need a little bit of everything. Depending on the temperature, I might be wearing multiple layers of multiple things, so practically anything I've *thought* might be useful has ended up getting used.

As far as gloves, last winter I got a really thin pair of glove liners, and I like them a lot - I use them under full-finger gloves, and they really keep you warm without having to wear super-thick gloves (and of course if it's super cold you can still keep them on under thicker gloves).

The winter clothing I use the most are:

- Really excellent rain jacket from Showers Pass
- Tights (with no chamois; wear them over shorts)
- Skullcap to wear under helmet.
- Specialized BG Defroster boots

Everything else is mix and match, depending on the day..
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Old 08-07-09, 12:24 PM   #20
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>I can see them either sliding down or being too tight, but have never worn them, so thought I'd ask what you guys thought before I spend any money on them?<

If either were the case, no one would want them, and no one would sell them.
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Old 08-07-09, 12:45 PM   #21
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Living in Phoenix, I find knee warmers to be warm enough for me. Most of the rest of our club will full leg warmers or tights.
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Old 08-07-09, 01:01 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eshvanu View Post
My biggest concern is gloves, and keeping my fingers warm enough. I've got fingered gloves with leather fingerless overs now, but am not yet sure they'll be good enough for our winter temps. Time will tell...

Thanks to all for the good thread

I do have problems with the extremities-feet, hands and ears- when it gets below 40. Used to use an ear band but now got onto a full face Ski mask. But I find that the main problem is wet. When the hands and feet get wet- They get cold below 50degF. I got onto SealSkinz socks a few years ago and got the warm type. I wear these when it gets cold and even in the summer on cold morning starts. They do breath very well so no sweat but they keep the wet out at the same time. Hands and I got the sealSkinz again but they are not quite warm enough. Ok down to freezing but not below that. I should have got a larger size to enable another pair of gloves to go underneath.
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Old 08-07-09, 05:58 PM   #23
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Dan, all I have to add is, when that tule fog comes around, whatever is on your body that's facing forward best be at least water resistant. Oh, yeah, so did anyone mention booties, yet?

As you may have figured, layering is your friend; in the Valley it doesn't necessarily get real cold, but it does get cold enough, windy enough, and foggy enough that you want to have clothing that'll insulate you and pack small enough to be of use.
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Old 08-07-09, 06:51 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stapfam View Post
I do have problems with the extremities-feet, hands and ears- when it gets below 40. Used to use an ear band but now got onto a full face Ski mask. But I find that the main problem is wet. When the hands and feet get wet- They get cold below 50degF. I got onto SealSkinz socks a few years ago and got the warm type. I wear these when it gets cold and even in the summer on cold morning starts. They do breath very well so no sweat but they keep the wet out at the same time. Hands and I got the sealSkinz again but they are not quite warm enough. Ok down to freezing but not below that. I should have got a larger size to enable another pair of gloves to go underneath.
Take it from someone who has to work in the cold - and I mean temps down to -20F, blowing snow and high winds - when your hands and feet are cold and you are wearing good gloves and boots/socks - the root cause is typically that your head is not well enough protected. You loose 60% of your body heat through your head and your body will shunt off your hands and feet first. When it gets in the 40's I wear a fleece beenie under the helmet, when it is in the low 50's I wear a coolmax beanie, when it is in the 20s I consider a ski helmet.
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Old 08-07-09, 07:18 PM   #25
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Living in Phoenix, I find knee warmers to be warm enough for me. Most of the rest of our club will full leg warmers or tights.
I can't imagine ever having the need for much more than arm warmers and a vest in Phoenix and that's just until the sun came up when all that would be stripped off.
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