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  1. #1
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    what to look for in cool/cold weather gear

    I am in serious need of cold weather gear. I will admit I am very cold blooded, so I am cold when others are comfortable. Tried to ride today in my normal summer gear and it was 50-55 degrees with a cold north wind (thanks Canada lol!) and thought I was going to die. Teeth darn near chattering, legs instantly tightened up, head got cold. I know, 50 degrees, I'm a wuss. I learned to accept that years ago during hunting season.
    What does everybody like when they get to there personal cold temperature where summer wear is no longer a viable option? Tights, wind pants?

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    Cold-weather bicycling clothes tend to be thick spandex-style fabrics, with the front-facing half covered with windbreaker material. They work very well, if you spend the money. It is possible to comfortably go riding in sub-zero-F temperatures and be entirely comfortable, except for any exposed parts of your face. So that is really the only challenge you have. There are different solutions to that, it is just a matter of which one you prefer.

    The downside is that cold-weather bicycling clothes are not cheap.

    Also there is a winter riding forum, this question might do better there.
    Last edited by Doug5150; 09-22-13 at 01:25 PM. Reason: spellnig errros

  3. #3
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    stuff made for Hunting and snowmobiling will be cheaper than cold weather Biking gear .

    but no reason why you cannot bike in it , just put your bike shorts on first if you will ride for long

    commuting around town that may not matter ,.. just wicking not cotton stuff .

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Have a look at the threads in the Winter Cycling forum. In addition to several regular threads on clothes, there's a sticky about winter cycling apparel.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/forumdispl...Winter-Cycling

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    Being uncomfy in summer weight shorts and short-sleeve jersey is not wussy. 50 is chilly, especially in fall when you could have been sweating your arse off just the day before. It's a different thing in spring, after you've been acclimated to freezing temps for a few months; 55 can seem balmy!

    As mentioned, cycling specific gear does work, though I'd suggest avoiding insulated or tuft-lined gear for all but the coldest weather. Fall weather you can usually get by with full coverage, slightly thicker fabrics. Don't overlook gloves, and windblocking shoe covers do well, too.

    In general, dress expecting to be chilly at first, because once you're riding and heating up, it can be easy to get uncomfortably warm if you're comfy pre-ride.

    My last tip is to invest in a lightweight, ultrapackable, wind jacket like the Castelli Leggera or Sotille. That kind of garment can be warn for warm up, and discreetly stuffed in a jersey pocket for the ride, ready for stops, sudden temp drops, or weather.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  6. #6
    Senior Member anthonygeo's Avatar
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    what to look for in cool/cold weather gear

    I have yet to find a decent pair of winter riding gloves. First off no glove fits right, my thumb is too small. I hate bulky gloves and the liners are usually not enough.
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  7. #7
    Cyclist storckm's Avatar
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    I tend to use wool military surplus.

  8. #8
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I hate bike-specific winter clothes. They are overpriced and poorly designed. They might work on "cold" nights in Southern California but forget about it in Michigan!

    Here in Michigan, you don't usually need a lot of clothing, although it does get real cold a few days a year. The thing you'll find is that if you keep your muscles moving, you're more likely to get too warm rather than too cold. Really! I bet that most of the time you felt too cold, you were improperly dressed and you weren't exercising.

    Also, you do acclimate to the cold temperatures before too long if you're out there every day. I never feel cold, and I've ridden 365 days a year for a decade.

    Two old-fashioned bits of gear will do a lot to keep you warm--long johns and a big muffler. Use platform pedals in the winter so you can wear good socks and hiking boots. And read the threads in the winter biking forum that Machka gave you. (But skip over the posts from people in California and South Carolina... They think it's winter when the low temp is 55 degrees!)


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  9. #9
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    Depends on the type of riding, wx conditions, distance, exertion level, and your personal physiology. For example, I'm a roadie, usually avoid wet conditions, typical rides are 1.5-3 hrs going at a good clip. I don't have a particular issue with circulation or getting cold hands or feet as some may. For 32-40F I use a beanie and helmet cover, thick thermal long sleeve jersey, uninsulated jacket with windstopper in the front, tights with windstopper fronts, moderately heavy socks, windproof shoe covers, thinly insulated long fingered gloves. Back fabric of the jacket and of the tights is normal highly wind permeable fabric to help dissipate sweat. Shoes are roomy enough to not restrict blood flow. This stuff is all close fitting to avoid flapping and ballooning.

    With this getup, I start out feeling cold and it takes 20-30 minutes to get up to operating temperature. I then use the jacket zipper to try to regulate temp and moderate sweat. If I'm not careful, I can get soaked with sweat and start getting cold toward the end of longer rides. If I stop for any length of time mid-ride, I get soaked and will likely be cold from then on.

    Casual sightseeing rides, commuting or running errands require different strategies.
    Last edited by Looigi; 09-23-13 at 08:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody View Post
    I hate bike-specific winter clothes. They are overpriced and poorly designed.
    Good cycling gear is pricey, but poorly designed? How so? I'm sure there are exceptions which are, but in my experience, I've been quite happy with all of the cycling specific winter gear I've bought over the years. I've ridden through virtually every winter here in Michigan since '87, so I've tried a lot of gear of all types, and today use cycling specific everything except gloves. I've also got regular clothes for commutes and errands that's acceptable for those kinds of trips, but going out for a ride, the cycling stuff is easily best.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  11. #11
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    chemical toe warmers, or if you can fit them, hand warmers taped in place. I use a sock liner, put the warmer on top of toes, then put on the over sock.

    they are good for about an hour before then need air to reactivate, when starved for air they stop working.

    which is a good thing cuz if you have a 1 hr commute, by time to get to work they are shutting down - you can then put them in an air tight baggie for the day and use them again on your way home!

    if you go out for a longer joy ride, then you find yourself stopping at a dunkin donuts to warm up your feet and reactivated the chemical warmers.
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  12. #12
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    I have the same temperature gage that you do. I wear an Underarmour base layer, a specialized jacket (not a thin one) and bib tights. I have two sets of tights--one is much warmer, but also harder to get on and tends to tear when I pull it up. So I often stick with the QR tights, even though they are not as warm, especially now that they are starting to get thread bare. The Specialized jacket is really helpful. I wear all this when the temps are under 62 or so.

  13. #13
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    You need a set of clothing strategies for cool, wet, cold and arctic conditions.
    For cool, dry riding, cover all the normal bits (arms/legs), it doesn't matter too much what you use as long as it is not waterproof. I use a baselayer, a thin windproof and midlayers to suit the conditions. Athletic track pants or windproof hiking pants or bike-specific tights for the legs. Padded longs need changing after every ride so it is easier to use padded shorts + unpadded longs.
    In the wet,whether raining or on wet roads, fenders are a must. Replace the windproof layer with a waterproof. If you feel the cold, you can use both. Windproofs used as midlayers are surprisingly effective. Add waterproof footwear: boots, socks or over-shoes.
    In the cold, add full gloves, neck warmer, ear warmer, thicker wool socks and midlayer to suit. Footwear should be a looser fit.
    Arctic: I ride down to -10C using cold-weather gear, just more of it. Below about -20C things get complicated.

    Carry spare insulation for use in repairs. I like an insulated gillet.

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