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Old 12-23-10, 09:53 PM   #1
TrekmanDan
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It's 50 degrees - What do you wear?

My wife is about to get her road bike for Christmas and knowing her, she's gonna want to ride it asap. However, it'll be in the mid 50's here in Houston for the next 4 days. We both have lightweight convertible jackets, but that's really about it. So, aside from the jacket, what else do we need to be comfortable and at the same time look like and feel like "real" cyclists (i.e. no parachuting shirts, etc.). I already got us some gloves and a couple cycling beanies at Performance Bike, but have no clue what we need on our bodies (base layers, jersey, etc.).
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Old 12-23-10, 10:02 PM   #2
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Just want to add that while the high's will be in the low to mid 50's, the low's will be in the mid to upper 30's...
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Old 12-23-10, 10:02 PM   #3
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for mid 50s i wear a short sleeve cycling jersey and cycling shorts.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:08 PM   #4
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For 50 degrees:
Thin layer of blubber under the skin
Beard to keep face warm
Biking shorts and leg warmers or regular shorts and unpadded cycling tights
Polypro t-shirt
Longsleeve heavy jersey
Windblocker gloves (optional at 50 degrees, but that's about the cutoff)
Obviously, this all varies depending on the rider.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:13 PM   #5
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for mid 50s i wear a short sleeve cycling jersey and cycling shorts.
Where are you from? a short sleeve cycling jersey and shorts might be a bit too cold for me these days... However, If I still lived in Michigan, and decided to go for a ride in the spring time after the harsh winter, I'd definitely be in shorts and short sleeves.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:16 PM   #6
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Polypro t-shirt and longsleeve heavy jersey sound about right. Do you use anything to keep your head warm? When my wife and I went out for an evening ride last weekend, it was in the low - mid 50's and my head was pretty cold! Not sure if it's cold enough to wear a beanie underneath the helmet, though.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:18 PM   #7
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I have enough hair that keeping my head warm has never been a problem. Sweat dripping out of the helmet is, though.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:32 PM   #8
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That's the winter temp here in north Florida. I normally ride in a long sleeve synthetic shirt, bike shorts, knee socks and work gloves. When the wind gets ridiculous I'll wear a polyester jacket that zips up my neck and a beanie. In worse wind, jeans over my bike shorts are very comfortable and I might even wear the pirate bandana on my face.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:38 PM   #9
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Where are you from? a short sleeve cycling jersey and shorts might be a bit too cold for me these days... However, If I still lived in Michigan, and decided to go for a ride in the spring time after the harsh winter, I'd definitely be in shorts and short sleeves.
yeah, i should have mentioned i am from iowa and am well acclimated to the cold.

my roomate and i had a contest to see who could last the longest without our heater on last winter. we got to a point where temps dropped below 50 degrees indoors at night. i slept in flannel pants, a long sleeve shirt, and used one sheet and one thin blanket.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:53 PM   #10
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Just want to add that while the high's will be in the low to mid 50's, the low's will be in the mid to upper 30's...
I'm a tropical baby so I like it warm. 80's to 90's is where I like to operate. With that in mind, for temps in the upper 30's to the 50's, I typically wear bib knickers (these are usually made of Roubaix fabric), a thin base layer and a non-summer-weight LS jersey or non-summer-weight SS jersey with arm warmers.

The trick though, is to mitigate wind chill and to keep your head warm. So add a windproof vest, a neck gaiter and a skull cap that covers your ears. You may also want to use an overshoe and/or full-fingered gloves if your extremities get cold easily. This is enough for even me to go bombing down 4-mile descents without freezing up. In fact, it's warm enough that I have to unzip the vest and sometimes even the jersey while climbing.
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Old 12-23-10, 10:58 PM   #11
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I have enough hair that keeping my head warm has never been a problem. Sweat dripping out of the helmet is, though.
I definitely agree about the sweat... Fortunately, my hair is pretty short, so hopefully i won't be sweating too much...
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Old 12-23-10, 11:09 PM   #12
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My wife is about to get her road bike for Christmas and knowing her, she's gonna want to ride it asap. However, it'll be in the mid 50's here in Houston for the next 4 days. We both have lightweight convertible jackets, but that's really about it. So, aside from the jacket, what else do we need to be comfortable and at the same time look like and feel like "real" cyclists (i.e. no parachuting shirts, etc.). I already got us some gloves and a couple cycling beanies at Performance Bike, but have no clue what we need on our bodies (base layers, jersey, etc.).
If your from Houston your probably not used to really cold weather. Some guys can ride in these temps with nothing more than standard gear. But most people would be uncomfortable in shorts and short sleeves in this temperature. You will probably need long sleeve jersey with cycling jacket on top. Light cycling jacket is OK here you only need some wind break. Shorts and legwarmers or full length cycling tights with chamois. Most people like full finger cycling gloves at about 55 degrees and lower but some are good in regular cycling gloves down into mid 40's. Most don't need anything on the head other than the bike helmet down to around 40 F.

Check out winter cycling forums if you need more specific information.

Last edited by Hezz; 12-23-10 at 11:15 PM.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:13 PM   #13
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I'm a tropical baby so I like it warm. 80's to 90's is where I like to operate. With that in mind, for temps in the upper 30's to the 50's, I typically wear bib knickers (these are usually made of Roubaix fabric), a thin base layer and a non-summer-weight LS jersey or non-summer-weight SS jersey with arm warmers.

The trick though, is to mitigate wind chill and to keep your head warm. So add a windproof vest, a neck gaiter and a skull cap that covers your ears. You may also want to use an overshoe and/or full-fingered gloves if your extremities get cold easily. This is enough for even me to go bombing down 4-mile descents without freezing up. In fact, it's warm enough that I have to unzip the vest and sometimes even the jersey while climbing.
This is pretty much what I wear too. Also, below 40F I need toe-warmers.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:21 PM   #14
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Short sleeve and shorts down to ~45. If you're starting out cooler than 50's you may want to have something on your legs to keep your knees warm at least.
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Old 12-23-10, 11:24 PM   #15
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Polypro t-shirt and longsleeve heavy jersey sound about right. Do you use anything to keep your head warm? When my wife and I went out for an evening ride last weekend, it was in the low - mid 50's and my head was pretty cold! Not sure if it's cold enough to wear a beanie underneath the helmet, though.
Depends on how hard you ride and how much heat you generate. Most people will not need a hat other than a bike helmet at 50 F. You may feel a little cool but after you ride for ten minutes your head will be warm if you are getting your heart rate up to even moderate levels. Poly base layer and long sleeve jersey will be OK for some people but others will need a wind breaking outer layer at this temperature or they will get cold. Depends on how hot your body gets when you exercise. My advise, if you know that you get hot easily when exercising wear poly base layer and long sleeve jersey. If you have a tendency to be cold easily wear long sleeve jersey and wind breaker. The second option does not breath as well but is warmer.
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Old 12-24-10, 11:25 PM   #16
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Where I live, right on the coast, rain gear is always useful as the outer shell, Capilene from Patagonia a good wicking base layer

Though some people like Wool and Silk & knickers , just below the knee
are popular ,
but I tend to wear trousers, in fairer weather,
loose shorts over tights or sweat pants..

Patagonia cool weather tights are great by me, nylon shell light polarfleece lined in a compound double fabric..

of course ..
A Race outfit, for varying temperatures traditionally includes arm warmers
and leg warmers , sleeves and legs that can be rolled down and removed when the temperature with short sleeve jerseys and cycle shorts..

Last edited by fietsbob; 12-30-10 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 12-25-10, 06:57 AM   #17
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50s is not that cold for cycling. In the 50s I throw on a windbreaker over my shorts and t-shirt. In the 40s I switch out my shorts for long pants. In the 50s you won't need the beanies. Thin gloves will be okay. The gloves I wear for this have no real value for insulation.

If you dress to be comfortable when you first start out, you'll be overdressed and too hot shortly. Better to start off cool and reach comfortable level after warming up.
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Old 12-25-10, 09:18 AM   #18
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This may help in deciding what to wear.
http://www.civiacycles.com/whattowear/
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Old 12-25-10, 10:02 AM   #19
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Mid-50F in the mid-day sunshine would be warm enough to get by with standard shirt and shorts. Early AM would require something different. I use a $15 sweatshirt with a 1/2 zipper sewn into the front that can be zipped open for cooling (I have a sewing machine), and full-finger gloves bought at the local hardware store (similar to, but 1/2 the price of, bike-specific gloves). Works great down to high 40F's. Below that I'll add a long sleeve poly shirt undernearth the sweatshirt. Legs are just standard shorts - legs and feet seem to get nicely warmed up after 10-15 minutes of riding. I'm in Southrn California, and it not unusual for temps to get down into the mid-30F range early in the mornings in mid-winter. If below freezing I go for a short jog (I do that anyway 2X week for cross-training purposes).
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Old 12-25-10, 10:59 AM   #20
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I also live in Houston, feels a little too cold & windy for me today (rode Thursday and Friday though). But if I rode today I would wear either a long sleeve jersey or a polyester (or better, wool) base layer under a short sleeved jersey, maybe some arm warmers, then the convertible jacket to block the wind. One of these under the helmet - http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...0_20000_400093, I have a smilar one made by Louis Garneau, covers the ears, stick it in the seat bag in case it's a little colder than expected. Wool cycling socks are very nice in these temperatures, I have these: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._400000_400088. I've never used knee warmers but I've seen people wearing them.
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Old 12-25-10, 11:55 AM   #21
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I live in a different area and as such have a different temperature tolerance.
Bib knickers, a base layer, jersey, arm warmers, a buff or a light skull cap, and short finger gloves. If it is overcast or windy I would toss on a wind vest and maybe switch out for long finger gloves and full tights.
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Old 12-25-10, 04:14 PM   #22
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50 is not that cold till the wind chill takes over so I wear a base layer vest- long sleeve jersey that is made of Roubaix material and a Pertex top coat. Pertex is windproof and adds no warmth and is not waterproof. It wil keep you warm by you not losing body heat and if it warms up- then it will pack down very small and fit into a rear pocket.

For the head- A cycling cap. Keeps the wind out and if you start sweating then it stops sweat running from the head into the eyes.
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Old 12-25-10, 10:53 PM   #23
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This may help in deciding what to wear.
http://www.civiacycles.com/whattowear/
Good starting point for beginners but some problems. What's warm enough at 60 may not be warm enough at 50 for a long ride. Their approach is too much slanted towards their gear. And is more typical of superficial magazine advise that places fashion over function. They ignore the differences in the 30-45 degree range and the 10-25 degree range.
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Old 12-26-10, 05:37 PM   #24
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50F would be a crazy heat wave in December, here on the shores of Lake Erie... seems like going over 20F counts as "not so bad" at this point, so I find myself jealous
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Old 12-26-10, 07:58 PM   #25
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My wife is about to get her road bike for Christmas and knowing her, she's gonna want to ride it asap. However, it'll be in the mid 50's here in Houston for the next 4 days. We both have lightweight convertible jackets, but that's really about it. So, aside from the jacket, what else do we need to be comfortable and at the same time look like and feel like "real" cyclists (i.e. no parachuting shirts, etc.). I already got us some gloves and a couple cycling beanies at Performance Bike, but have no clue what we need on our bodies (base layers, jersey, etc.).
It depends on how hard you'll be working.

In dry weather I wear shorts and a short-sleeved jersey in the mid 50s. Colder than that I add a wind jacket, especially before sunrise or after sunset.

Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 10-30-15 at 01:55 PM.
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