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Old 12-28-11, 02:56 PM   #1
Mayday328
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Colorado front range-Cold weather gear

I'm currently living in the Chicago area, but I will be moving back to Fort Collins in the spring after a short two and a half year hiatus. I work in a bike shop now and I'm looking to make an investment in some cold weather cycling gear while I have the chance to get EP pricing on clothing.

My question is: Does it make more sense to invest in bib-tights or bib-knickers for cold weather riding? I do have a solid pair of arm and leg warmers currently so that is not an issue. What other gear would you recommend picking up? a wind vest? thermal jacket? Any help is greatly appreciated. And for the record I'm looking at the Capo Padrone line of clothing(working in a shop has its perks).
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Old 12-28-11, 03:54 PM   #2
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this time a year, definitely full tights and Real jacket. On the good winter days it'll be in the 40s-50s, so your main concern will be wind protection. I'm way south of Ft. Collins (south Denver), and mornings are consistently 30s and below --that's heavy glove, full tights, winter jacket, and earmuff/balaclava territory.

When in the spring are you coming? You can do knickers, long sleeve and wind vest. Some spring days can be warmer, some spring days it snows

BadHat, your turn
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Old 12-29-11, 12:04 AM   #3
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If you actually plan on riding in winter (I do) then you actually need quite a few layers.
warm jacket
wind jacket
wind vest (pockets are good)
long sleeve jerseys
long sleeve base layers
long tights (1 or 2 pairs, bib or not is up to you)
(knickers are not needed, if it's knicker weather, shorts + knee warmers are fine)
knee, leg, arm, ear, toe warmers
balaclava
beanie
full shoe covers
several weights of long finger gloves, some wind/water proof, some not
warm socks - this is the only place I like to use wool.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:40 AM   #4
Mayday328
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Sounds like I have a few things I need to pick up before I make the move out.
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Old 12-31-11, 04:11 PM   #5
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Champion poly thermal layers from Target are a good thing as well.
Neck gaiters are wonderful. Having a cold neck is rather unpleasant.
As for the head I prefer a skull cap or a LG Power cap and a face mask. I find balaclava's irritating.
The more variety you have the better off you are.
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Old 12-31-11, 04:22 PM   #6
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Don't forget the beard. That is, if you can grow one.

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Old 01-01-12, 11:14 AM   #7
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Oh yes. A beard is a good thing this time of year.
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Old 01-03-12, 04:41 PM   #8
Mayday328
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If only I could grow a beard. I was not blessed by the facial hair gods.
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Old 01-07-12, 12:27 AM   #9
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hey just saw this thread

i lived in chicago for my 20s and moved back to Fort Collins in 2004 and lemme tell you the winter here is nothin compared to Chicago...


and winter riding is easier too. even when you get snow its usually 50 degreees again within a few days.


got more advice if necessary but i am generally just a fan of layering stuff that has multiple uses rather than dedicated layers for different temps.

anyway welcome to FC and check the link in my sig for more info about riding in NorCo.

and also check my column on the race scene every other weekend in the coloradoan

hope to see you at some of the local rides and races!
-chris
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Old 01-20-12, 02:57 PM   #10
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Thanks for the info badhat. I miss Colorado, front range winters. Chicago winters are no fun.
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Old 02-10-12, 11:31 AM   #11
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Mayay328
I live on the high plains between Denver and Colorado Springs and am able to ride all year long despite the cold. A good pair of tights works on most days. On the really cold days (15 to 20) I add a pair of thin tights under my warmer tights. This year I found a new product (to me) that has really helped. BAR MITS....... even on the coldest days it was my feet and fingers that got cold. A good pair of botties helps as does wraping my toes in plastic wrap. My toes seldom get cold now. I have a nice warm pair of gloves but even those don't stop my fingers from going numb after about an hour numb on the really cold days. BAR MITTS are neoprem (sp) hoods that fit over the break levers. Your hands slid inside. These things rock! I now wear a lighter pair of gloves because the mitts work so well. The only ting to be careful of is riding with your hands off of the bars. The surface of the mitts will catch the wind casuing your bike to swerve.
You'll love riding in the winter. I see very riders until about March. Some of the best rides I've had have been in Jan & Feb.
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Old 02-15-12, 07:07 PM   #12
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I live in FC and ride through the winter but not when the roads are wet or snow covered. That's rare, however, so you can get in a lot of riding. Find what works for you for 30-40 degree temps because we seem to have a lot of days like that and they are usually dry, sunny and often windy. Though it can also be in the 20s and colder once in a while. Here is my ride report for a 20 degree day. I talked a bit about what I wore. Should give you some ideas.

Not sure you need bib tights but if you like wearing them it would be fine. I don't buy stuff that can't be used for a few other activities except for the cycling shorts. My tights can be worn running, hiking or snowshoeing as well. Bib tights not so much.
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Old 02-16-12, 12:48 AM   #13
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I find you don't need too much out here in CO. I'm from NYC originally and find the winter out here to be a lot drier with plenty of sunshine normally. As long as you dress for the wind, I think the temperature isn't too big of a deal. Here's what I've been wearing to get around Boulder, CO down to 20*F.
  • Balaclava (when it's really cold)
  • Ear Warmers (when I'm not wearing the Balaclava)
  • Thermal Biking Shorts
  • Wool Socks
  • Whatever pants I need for where I'm going, usually my climbing pants so they pretty thin and not super windproof (I haven't had problems with my legs getting cold at all)
  • Outdoor Research WindStopper Gripper Gloves
  • Regular T-Shirt
  • Patagonia Micro-Puff (when it's really cold)
  • Marmot ROM Jacket (this jacket does not let wind through at all and is breathable)

That's all, no shoe covers or tights. When it's super cold sometimes the ends of my fingers/toes can get a little cold but it's bearable. I always carry and extra pair of socks and my thick winter gloves if they get too cold. With the exception of those two spots, if I wear my Micro-Puff I usually end up at my destination pretty sweaty so I will normally only wear the Marmot ROM jacket. Even then sometimes I'll get there with a light a sweat.

I'd say just ride around a bit and see what works for you. Pack some extra clothes/layers in your pack so that if you need to you can stop somewhere and add a layer or two in the bathroom.
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Old 03-02-12, 08:15 AM   #14
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I just wear regular clothes to ride most of the time, adjusting to fit current and forecast weather conditions. Sometimes I add a Turtle Fur neck gaiter when it gets down around single digits though. The bicycle *industry* loves people who buy their *gear* just to ride a bike.
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Old 03-02-12, 09:07 AM   #15
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I live in Pueblo (warmer days, but colder nights and mornings than Fort Collins), but am originally from Washington State. I had to learn that on the Front Range there is no need to worry about wet. Wool plus a wind-breaking shell has gotten me through -20F morning commutes.
Second hand Merino wool sweaters from the thrift stores have worked great!
Compared to Chicago, Fort Collins will seem tropical. The sun is Colorado is hot!
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