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  1. #1
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    Question on warmer clothes for cold weather riding

    I'm enjoying the cardio benefits of riding and the added benefit of relieving stress after a day at the office. I'm not looking forward to the shorter days or colder weather and next month I will leave for work in the dark and get home after dark. I have a 30 mile commute on roads that you want the protection of a steel cage around you so riding to work is not an option. I try to get an hour+ in on Saturday mornings and 20-30 minutes for 1-2 days of riding during the work week. In between riding I use a Bowflex, free weights, and an elliptical for exercise. At this point I don't have any pants that would keep my legs warm in temps less than 45. I have several pair of Under Armor cold gear that I use for hunting and they wick moisture well. Would these work for keeping warm if worn under my lightweight baggy cycling pants or do I need to spend more money on some type of heavier/warmer cycling specific pants?
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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarrollB View Post
    I'm enjoying the cardio benefits of riding and the added benefit of relieving stress after a day at the office. I'm not looking forward to the shorter days or colder weather and next month I will leave for work in the dark and get home after dark. I have a 30 mile commute on roads that you want the protection of a steel cage around you so riding to work is not an option. I try to get an hour+ in on Saturday mornings and 20-30 minutes for 1-2 days of riding during the work week. In between riding I use a Bowflex, free weights, and an elliptical for exercise. At this point I don't have any pants that would keep my legs warm in temps less than 45. I have several pair of Under Armor cold gear that I use for hunting and they wick moisture well. Would these work for keeping warm if worn under my lightweight baggy cycling pants or do I need to spend more money on some type of heavier/warmer cycling specific pants?
    The key is layers.....
    20+℃/68+℉ cycling shorts and short sleeve jersey are fine.
    15℃/59℉-20℃ I add a wind cheater jacket.
    10℃/50℉-15℃ I add wind cheater pants.
    5℃/41℉-10℃ I add a light weight thermal layer under the jacket.
    0℃/32℉-5℃ I add a light weight thermal layer under the pants.
    under 0℃ I use the trainer....

    Other then the cycling shorts and jersey nothing is cycling specific....

  3. #3
    Email for new group DnvrFox's Avatar
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    I use arm warmers, leg warmers and a windbreaker (Tyvek)

    Colder - I have full length tights, a long-sleeve hooded jersey (well, I have 3 of them) full fingered gloves, underwear garment

    Even colder - I will wear nylon athletic pants, mittens, 2 or 3 windbreakers - that makes a very warm outfit - etc. and ride my mtn bike
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  4. #4
    Semper Fi, A way of life. qcpmsame's Avatar
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    The Under Armour tights would help, the class of Cold Gear they are would determine how cool it could help you be comfortable in. I use one of the Under Armour Cold Gear compression tops when it is cold enough here, keeps me very comfortable. I am used to standard Lycra shorts with a chamois in them so I don't try the tights from Under Armour, I have a pair of bib tights and a pair of outer tights from Nashbar for over my riding shorts. Having the tights over under wear and shorts over the tights would give several layers to have bunched up material that could chafe you, though. I'd say to look at some of the cycling specific tights and bib tights available, you can find some effective, comfortable ones without spending a fortune if that is an issue. Nashbar, REI, Ribble, Wiggle, and other on line shops have some bargains available. If money isn't an issue then the sky is the limit for good high end tights. Assos, Rapha, Castelli, Gore Tex, etc. all have excellent cold weather gear. Best of luck on your cold weather riding. I barely broke stride last winter, just a little planning was all it took.

    Bill
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  5. #5
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Merino wool plus windproof outer layer in freezing temps. Works well when XC skiing too.
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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    These seem to be a good deal at the moment if you want to try something cycling specific.
    http://www.amazon.com/Pearl-Izumi-Ba...pro+leg+warmer
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  7. #7
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    UnderArmor Cold Gear will work just fine as a base layer. The only problem with base layers is that they are more difficult to remove in marginal weather (cold morning that warms up as the sun comes out). I have some "windproof" XC running pants that have a wind and water resistant front and are close fit but not skin tight so I can wear a layer underneath in really cold weather. In marginal weather I wear them over my usual riding shorts and remove them if needed. I only use a base layer when I know I'm going to need it for the entire ride. Knee warmers are a good option if you want something you can take off and stuff in a jersey pocket.

    If you don't mind being a bit Fred, wool hiking socks keep your feet warm and it is amazing how much less your legs bother you if your feet are warm.
    Last edited by Myosmith; 09-09-13 at 07:27 AM.
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  8. #8
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    I agree with the idea of layers. Frequently, one may feel cool at the beginning of a ride but after warming up you feel overheated so you need to remove a layer. Other times you may be unsure about temperatures later in the day so that taking an extra layer, just in case, is a good idea. It is easier to find the right combination with several layers than one heavier layer. To carry those extra winter layers I use a handlebar bag. In really cold weather, I and others in the club here ride all winter, I have a larger trunk bag with more room for clothes.

  9. #9
    Senior Member kris7047th's Avatar
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    Another for Merino wool base layer and socks, thermal tights. You might find the hunting clothing to restrictive (harder to swing a leg over the saddle) and heavy compared to clothing designed specifically for biking and the appropriate clothing for whatever season. Right now there are great deals to be had on the online sites like Clymb. Brands are clearing out past years inventory to bring on the new.

  10. #10
    Senior Member NOS88's Avatar
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    You list your location as Baltimore. So, I'm guessing your weather is not all the different than what we get here in the Philadelphia area. I tend to ride with my regular cycling shorts/bibs and a pair of thin tights in weather until it gets below 40 degrees. I'll then add my base layer under the tights but over the shorts. This way if it gets too warm, it's no big deal removing a layer. When it gets below freezing I'll go with a base layer and a pair of insulated full length bibs (without a chamois). Once again, I wear all of this on top of my regular shorts. In terms of my upper body, I like Under Amour as a base layer. I'll ride with shirtsleeve jerseys and the base long sleeve base layer until about 45 degrees, at which point I throw on a windbreaker jacket. It really is all about layers to keep moisture away from the skin, and then stopping the wind when it gets cold.
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  11. #11
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    Everyone is going to have their favorite combination of clothing for colder weather cycling. In the Bay Area, it does not get really cold but the descents in the mountains are brutally cold since we are typically coasting. I have a full range of cycling clothes including arm warmers, leg warmers, knee warmers, light and heavy tights, heavy booties and light booties, base layers, wind vests, rain vest, hats, thermal vests and thermal jackets. Of all that, the most important consideration in weather BELOW 65 degrees is covering ones knees.

    The 65 degree point is very old school and the thinking is that knees take a lot more time to warmup than muscles. Higher torque when they are cold may incur damage. Once again, this may be one of the old wives tales but pro cyclists generally have their knees covered while training. I recommend covering your knees with something that is tight fitting. I ride with my knees covered most of the year. It is only a few weeks when the weather is hot that I do not use knee warmers or leg warmers. If it gets too warm, I take them off and put them in my jersey pocket. YMMV.
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    If your a hunter, you sould already be aware of the base-thermal-protection layers o dressing for the outdoors. They same is true for cycling, except that your 'furnance' will be running hotter because you are active. So you want to take your insulation down a notch. And your protection layer up a notch because of the constant wind, from moving. I will wear tights, on the bottom, and a base layer, insulator layer(a very light fleece or so), and a jacket into the 30's. Add a base layer for the legs, and a thicker insulator, and a UA hood, and I'm good down to 20. Of course wool socks and full finger gloves are a must. Shoe covers are also a good idea for keeping the feet warm. Whether(no pun intended) you use cycling specific stuff is up to you, but I find it makes it easier to ride and not fight the clothes, and keep warm. The trick is to keep warm, but not over do it and sweat yourself soaked. If you feel chilly standing around at the start, you should be good once you get moving.
    Keep riding in the winter, the trails are empty, and there are fewer cyclists on the road, so when you see one you know he/she is a kindred soul. And the looks you get from people is priceless.
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    Just what do you mean by "cold weather"? Depending on the person that term can cover from +40F to -50F. Radically different methods and consequences of failure in that temperature range.

  14. #14
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    These are better than advertised. Ideal for 45F to 15F. Below 25F add a high performance long underwear (avoid cotton). The best performing cycling garment I own and well worth the $$.

    Pearl iZUMi Men's AmFIB Bib Tight: http://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-Me.../dp/B003BLOS6M

    Your hands will need these: http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c...aspx?a=1035821

    I follow this winter wear formula;

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  16. #16
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by qcpmsame View Post
    The Under Armour tights would help, the class of Cold Gear they are would determine how cool it could help you be comfortable in. I use one of the Under Armour Cold Gear compression tops when it is cold enough here, keeps me very comfortable. I am used to standard Lycra shorts with a chamois in them so I don't try the tights from Under Armour, I have a pair of bib tights and a pair of outer tights from Nashbar for over my riding shorts. Having the tights over under wear and shorts over the tights would give several layers to have bunched up material that could chafe you, though. I'd say to look at some of the cycling specific tights and bib tights available, you can find some effective, comfortable ones without spending a fortune if that is an issue. Nashbar, REI, Ribble, Wiggle, and other on line shops have some bargains available. If money isn't an issue then the sky is the limit for good high end tights. Assos, Rapha, Castelli, Gore Tex, etc. all have excellent cold weather gear. Best of luck on your cold weather riding. I barely broke stride last winter, just a little planning was all it took.

    Bill
    What I do, is bike shorts are the inner most layer, the slippery material allows the next layer out to slide against it. No chaffing there... Actually I find it a good use for the older bike shorts that are a little thin, and I don't want seen out in public..... I use those for trainer use as well.

  17. #17
    Senior Member digibud's Avatar
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    look at Craft clothing for biking and xcountry skiing. I ride through the winter and craft pants are a huge help.
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  18. #18
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    Merino arm warmers, T shirt under the jersey, old style winter cycling cap that folds down over part of the ears (fits under my old style helmet) and some blue cotton long john bottoms.....That's how I roll.
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  19. #19
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    Merino has its fans, but it can be expensive.

    My preference for a base layer these days is polypro, the same as you get at the outdoor shops. Cheaper than wool, and in my estimation, more comfortable and it doesn't retain sweat within the fibres as much... it wicks moisture away from the skin better, i,n my experience.

    If you are commuting, wool can take ages to dry, whereas polypro doesn't.

    A great combination for me is a polypro base, then a top that can be of just about any material except cotton, to wick the water right away from the skin. Then a wind jacket, although I have used (a lot) a proper cycling rain jacket with pit zips.

    If you start getting odour issues with the polypro (or any synthetic for that matter) use some borax in your washes. I think the stuff in the US is Seven Mules.
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  20. #20
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    & no Insects have evolved that have larvae that eat polyesters, and polypropylenes, like there are for Wool.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I have some merino stuff and it's nice, but I use it interchangeably with my good synthetic stuff, which IMO works just as well and is relatively indestructible and costs less. The key for colder wx is to have the right amount of wicking insulation (a thermal long sleeve jersey or two works well), a wind blocking layer in the front, AND good ventilation in the back. I greatly prefer jackets and tights that are wind blocking in the front, but are totally wind permeable in the backs. This helps a lot with regulating temperature, managing moisture from sweat, and also prevents the garments from inflating.

    Keep the head warm with a beanie, helmet cover, or both. Keep feet warm with adequately loose shoes so as not to restrict blood flow and toe covers or shoes covers as needed or desired.

  22. #22
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    These are better than advertised. Ideal for 45F to 15F. Below 25F add a high performance long underwear (avoid cotton). The best performing cycling garment I own and well worth the $$.

    Pearl iZUMi Men's AmFIB Bib Tight: http://www.amazon.com/Pearl-iZUMi-Me.../dp/B003BLOS6M

    Your hands will need these: http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/c...aspx?a=1035821

    I follow this winter wear formula;

    ^ Nice! I follow about the same pattern, but 10-20 degrees earlier (I'll wear armwarmers in 60F weather, for example).

    The AmFibs are supposed to be great stuff. I needed something for riding in the rain, and my Oregonian friends recommended them (they were spot-on about the Showers Pass jacket, so I figured they knew a thing or two about riding in the rain).

    I've not had a chance to use them yet, but a friend used them on the HooDoo 500 last year, and he said they saved him, big time. He was getting tired and near hypothermic going up the Cedar Breaks climb, but felt great after donning the AmFibs.
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  23. #23
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juha View Post
    Merino wool plus windproof outer layer in freezing temps. Works well when XC skiing too.
    +1 wool.

    I find wool to be comfortable through a broader range of temperatures than synthetic fabrics; this reduces the need for multiple layers (and the corresponding need to find a place to stash the layers you remove). When it gets below freezing, I wear a silk layer under the wool.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Looigi View Post
    I have some merino stuff and it's nice, but I use it interchangeably with my good synthetic stuff, which IMO works just as well and is relatively indestructible and costs less. The key for colder wx is to have the right amount of wicking insulation (a thermal long sleeve jersey or two works well), a wind blocking layer in the front, AND good ventilation in the back. I greatly prefer jackets and tights that are wind blocking in the front, but are totally wind permeable in the backs. This helps a lot with regulating temperature, managing moisture from sweat, and also prevents the garments from inflating.

    Keep the head warm with a beanie, helmet cover, or both. Keep feet warm with adequately loose shoes so as not to restrict blood flow and toe covers or shoes covers as needed or desired.
    I'll pick up on these two points, although slightly altered in emphasis. Do not underestimate the importance of keeping windchill at bay. A good quality barrier for the top is a starting point. Depending on the ambient temperatures, a lightweight vest or jacket will suffice -- the ones of microfibre-type material. They are light and compact down so they can fit into a jersey back pocket. If you keep your core warm, then the rest of your body will be fine.

    When the temps really get down, then layering and a heavier jacket are needed. A heavier jacket also means waterproof, too.

    The pit zips are important to enable you to regulate your body temps as you ride, and to allow some of the moisture created by your sweat to escape. However, there hasn't been a jacket invented that allows enough moisture to permeate through to prevent you from becoming, well, moist, on the inside when riding at moderate to high intensities.

    Protection of the head is a good idea. In cool conditions, I wear a cotton bandana. It's fine. In cold conditions, I will go to a thin Thinsulate or polypro beanie. If it's really cold (or damp), I will put a clear shower cap over my helmet, leaving the rear vents free. The clear plastic also allows me to continue using a helmet light.

    I am a very keen fan of Windstopper materials in gloves. I have two pairs with Windstopper or similar and they are excellent. But the issue of sweat build-up remains, and I can still get cold fingers. When down around freezing, I'll get out a pair of lobster claw mitts to provide additional wind protection and to bunch sets of fingers together to improve warmth. Otherwise, I ride with short-fingered or no gloves, then go long-fingered when the knee or leg warmers go on, then the Windstopper gloves, then the Thinsulate gloves.

    Thinsulate is a wonder material in my opinion that is highly underrated. It stays warm even when wet, the gloves it's made of are cheap as chips, and they last pretty well, too.

    We also haven't said much about foot protection. Cold to freezing feet can be a ride killer. We use toe covers when it cools off, then full booties made of neoprene if it's cold but dry. We have "waterproof" booties that we put on when it's cold and wet. A pair of mine come up to the tops of my calves.

    The thing is, you aren't going to stop all water getting to your shoes, so the booties serve a useful purpose of cutting out the windchill factor. Also be aware that you have to regard booties and toe covers as almost throwaway items (ie, replacements needed every couple of seasons or so) because the parts under and around the soles get a real beating.

    Machka has an excellent article on her "duck feet" principles for warding off cold feet at her website.
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  25. #25
    Formerly Known as Newbie Juha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    When the temps really get down, then layering and a heavier jacket are needed. A heavier jacket also means waterproof, too.
    If temps are well and truly in the freezing range, waterproofing is unnecessary and is actually counterproductive because it inevitably makes the garment less breathable.

    None of the waterproof "technical" membranes I've tried breathe enough for cycling (or XC skiing for that matter). The current one I have is GoreTex Active Shell, which is supposedly a very well breathing membrane. If earlier membranes were 80% uncomfortable in my use, this is maybe 75%. Marginally better, but nowhere near what I'd like. But this is highly subjective, other people like them and use them a lot.

    --J
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    Who is this General Failure anyway, and why is he reading my drive?


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