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Old 10-02-07, 11:27 PM   #1
EffSizzle
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Pac NW winter gear...

I'm seeking advice in regards to winter gear that is geared towards our winter weather here in the Pacific NW, specifically the Seattle metro area.

I had such a great time on my new road bike this summer that I really don't want to stop riding just because the "season has ended". So a few weeks ago I decided that I would continue riding on one condition...that I only ride if it isn't raining.

With that being said I'm beginning my search for winter gear. I've decided on the Cannondale Morphis shell to begin with. I currently have PI leg warmers and a long sleeved Nike DriFit shirt.

What I feel I'll need to get me through comfortably this fall/winter are full fingered gloves, a good base layer, wool socks, ear warmers and possibly a balaclava for colder days. Maybe some arm warmers, but I'm not sure on those yet. On a October/November morning/day I feel that I'll do just fine w/ the base layer, shell, ear warmers, leg warmers and gloves.

I warm rather quickly. I'm not one of those people who "freeze" during a Seattle winter. I just want something that will keep me comfortable.

I've budgeted $200.00 for the gear, with $100 already being allotted to the shell. Considering my "no riding in rain" policy and my propensity to warm easily, can anybody make any suggestions as to how I should wisely spend my remaining $100.00 to maximize my Seattle fall/winter riding experience?

Thank you!!!!!
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Old 10-03-07, 07:06 AM   #2
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I thought you said you wanted to keep riding in the winter?

[rain is a fact of life in the PNW! I have some project bikes that you can help me work on though for those weeks when you aren't riding ]

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Old 10-03-07, 08:29 AM   #3
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for socks I recommend Smart wool. Make sure you get a light weight balaclava I have one made by Gore that works very well. You might also look into booties or waterproof socks.
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Old 10-03-07, 08:33 AM   #4
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I thought you said you wanted to keep riding in the winter?

[rain is a fact of life in the PNW! I have some project bikes that you can help me work on though for those weeks when you aren't riding ]

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East Hill, I know this all too well. I'm a native, but that doesn't mean that I like the rain.

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Old 10-03-07, 09:45 AM   #5
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East Hill, I know this all too well. I'm a native, but that doesn't mean that I like the rain.

I can't help it, I'm English! I love the rain, makes it feel like home [as East Hill blows her nose, tearfully remembering how lovely it is in England when everything is soaking wet] .

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Old 10-03-07, 01:29 PM   #6
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I got a pair of Novara Cold Front gloves at REI that worked well even on the coldest (and wettest) days last winter. But, considering your budget, you might try the Headwind model instead - $10 less.
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Old 10-03-07, 03:01 PM   #7
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pay attention to your feet

Pay attention to your feet, invest in a shoe tree style dryer to keep your footwear ready, change socks often. There've been cases of immersion [trench] foot among cyclists in the Northwest.
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Old 10-03-07, 03:13 PM   #8
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wool, lots of wool. I second the smartwool socks, a balaclava ( REI has some nice thin ones ), and a good woolen jersey. Now this winter I will be debuting my woolen riding knickers!
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Old 10-03-07, 04:17 PM   #9
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I have a complete SmartWool base layer -- socks, long-johns, and a jersey. Expensive, but they and a good set of rain gear from J&G Cycleworks in Eugene, Or. keep most of me warm and dry even in the worst rain. For my feet, I use booties that go over my sneakers and under the rain pants. For my hands, I use gloves that I bought at the construction workers supply store on the East Valley Highway. They're Carhartt, are waterproof, and have a bright green reflective top.

Because my commute changed this year to more than an hour each way, I've invested in an electrical glove and boot drier. I was finding that the insides of my gloves were getting wet from the sweat on my hands and weren't drying out between home and leaving again. Now they're dry and warm.

With all this stuff, I'm able to continue my commute from Burien to north of the waterfront every day.

Good luck on that no-rain thing. Looks right now like you *might* be able to ride on Friday.
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Old 10-03-07, 06:38 PM   #10
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You might also look into booties or waterproof socks.
I wore my booties on a cold but dry day last winter; after the ride, my feet were soaking wet! If you go for booties, make sure you get socks that can wick moisture away from your feet.
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Old 10-03-07, 09:13 PM   #11
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I started my buying today when I picked up a CRAFT Pro Race long sleeved shirt as my base layer. I then chose a mid-weight long sleeved jersey by Cannondale. I also got a CRAFT Pro Race hat that pulls over my ears.

I am now leaning towards a vest to deal with the wind and to help keep my core warm. I just need to find one that is color coordinated.

After that I need a pair of full fingered gloves and then I think I'm set.

Again, remember...I warm easily, ride hard, and won't be doing ANY riding if it's raining outside.

The guys at the shop where I bought this stuff all agreed that this should be enough to keep me warm.
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Old 10-04-07, 02:04 AM   #12
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Again, remember...I warm easily, ride hard, and won't be doing ANY riding if it's raining outside.
It will happen eventually. I consider fenders essential winter riding gear.

My favorite piece of fall/winter gear is my Kucharik wool cap I picked up in Portland a few years ago. It's the perfect weight to be comfortable over a wide temperature range, and the earflaps do their job well. It also fits under my helmet with no issues.
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Old 10-04-07, 09:10 AM   #13
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I am now leaning towards a vest to deal with the wind and to help keep my core warm. I just need to find one that is color coordinated.
A two-foot square sheet of plastic you can slide under your jersey when you need it ( descents, windy day) is an idea. you can keep in a jersey pocket.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:29 AM   #14
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A two-foot square sheet of plastic you can slide under your jersey when you need it ( descents, windy day) is an idea. you can keep in a jersey pocket.
What, not newspapers to slide under your outer layer? As used in days of olde when professional cyclists had to be blacksmiths, too, if they didn't want to be disqualified by Henri?

Check out the poncho reference thread, too.
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Old 10-04-07, 02:51 PM   #15
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Also smartwool top to bottom. I use shimano spd shoes that are mostly mesh, so they drain about as fast as they fill, and take the insoles out to dry while I'm at work. When it's really cold or really pouring (like uh the last couple days) I wear a burley raincoat over my smartwool shirt. And for super duper duper cold, I have a neoprene ski mask thingy that goes over my nose and mouth.

I am wondering about wool bike shorts, I don't have any bike shorts at all, but the wool ones from ibex have me intrigued.

And I just can't say enough good things about my cascadia fenders, they've had a real workout the last couple days and I have to say it's like I've never had fenders before I got these, even when I had made my own mudflap to hang off previous fenders.
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Old 10-04-07, 08:11 PM   #16
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fenders. did you ride today, effsizzle? did you notice that, despite it being dry, there were puddles on the ground?
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Old 10-04-07, 09:20 PM   #17
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For wool I would check the thrift stores. Last year I bought 2 duo fold base layers one is a single layer and the other is double layer and got them both for 6 bucks. Sometimes you can find very good waterproof breatheable gear for next to nothing in the thrift stores. If you aren't gonna ride in the rain I suggest you get a trainer to ride cause you are going to drive the car more than you ride. I will ride some in the winter but if its foggy I live in the south sound in the valley so I don't ride much in the winter either. I'm setting up the trainer tomorrow.
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Old 10-04-07, 11:27 PM   #18
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I have a membership to Golds Gym...on rainy days I'll just take a spinning class.
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Old 10-05-07, 09:22 AM   #19
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What, not newspapers to slide under your outer layer? As used in days of olde when professional cyclists had to be blacksmiths, too, if they didn't want to be disqualified by Henri?

Check out the poncho reference thread, too.
Ha ha ha you're so funny.
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Old 10-05-07, 12:08 PM   #20
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fenders and lights
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Old 10-05-07, 12:47 PM   #21
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wool. I love my wool bike shorts - Swobo makes some good ones - including knickers so that with leg warmers the knees get double insulation. I've ridden every day this week including through some quite nasty rain/wind combinations. The 2 things I haven;t quite gotten figured out are gloves and feet. I don;t have waterproof cyclign shoes altho that may be on shopping list. I use waterproof booties but the water is coming up through openings on bottom of shoes. My LBS guy recommended putting aluminum foil on bottom of shoes under my inserts = I'll try that this weekend as it looks like it is going to rain - today's morning ride was perfect - cool but no rain. I have tried a bunch of different types of gloves allegedly waterproof but they all failed miserably after 1 hour in hard rain (so good thing I brought 2 pair). I do have a pair of Sealskinz gloves - they work but are pretty bulky. They may be the only good solution as there is nothing worse than wet cold hannds after 2 hours.
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Old 10-05-07, 06:43 PM   #22
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wool. I love my wool bike shorts - Swobo makes some good ones - including knickers so that with leg warmers the knees get double insulation. I've ridden every day this week including through some quite nasty rain/wind combinations. The 2 things I haven;t quite gotten figured out are gloves and feet. I don;t have waterproof cyclign shoes altho that may be on shopping list. I use waterproof booties but the water is coming up through openings on bottom of shoes. My LBS guy recommended putting aluminum foil on bottom of shoes under my inserts = I'll try that this weekend as it looks like it is going to rain - today's morning ride was perfect - cool but no rain. I have tried a bunch of different types of gloves allegedly waterproof but they all failed miserably after 1 hour in hard rain (so good thing I brought 2 pair). I do have a pair of Sealskinz gloves - they work but are pretty bulky. They may be the only good solution as there is nothing worse than wet cold hannds after 2 hours.
Have you thought about goretex socks over the foot/inside the shoe for the feet? My feet get cold easily, and, they stay warm (and dry) this way. I think it's almost impossible to find a water-proof biking shoe, so I stopped trying and went this route. Neoprene on the outside of the shoe is ok too, but I prefer the goretex socks.

For hands, I wear wool on the outside of biking gloves. My hands get as cold as my feet (my index finger is blue right now), but they also sweat like the dickens. Wool lets in just enough air to keep them cool when I'm warm, yet, they [edit:mittens] are warm even when wet. I have different mittens for different seasons...thin single-layer for spring and fall, and thicker pair for colder and/or wet weather.

In case it's going to be so rainy that my mittens and socks won't dry by the end of the day, I just bring another pair of each for the ride home. On very rainy days, I have over-mitts (old Outdoor Reseach over mitts for snow sports, no padding) to keep things dry.
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Old 10-05-07, 07:50 PM   #23
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I just bought a beautiful pair of wool pants from Clever Cycles. They're Ibex, and so they're very soft and comfortable. While the pants are not cycling-specific, you have a very full range of movement with no constriction. What I like best about them is that they look like "regular" street clothes, so I could ride to a 7:30am work meeting and at least look "business casual" in them. They're also a nice shade of brown that would be very forgiving of the odd mud splatter. This whole idea of wives and husbands being co-owners at LBS's is making me very happy.
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Old 10-05-07, 11:18 PM   #24
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First thing is that this is best time to ride. Second, hit the thrift shops for the wool stuff. Also, try REI seconds and returns (next to the rental section) and check regularly because stuff comes and goes. I have picked up some really good stuff pretty inexpensively. Finally you will sooner or later end up getting rained on. Some of us actually like to ride in the rain and allow for that eventuality. That is really why I added my stuff to all of the good ideas. if you hit the thrift stores and such, you will gradually get yourself outfitted for very little money. I personnally like to ride in Sealskin socks (wool beneath) and Shimano sandals. Lights are really important- particulary the rear flashy ones. I found the dollar mittens (one size fits all) does a good job of keeping your hands warm under some pretty inexpensive gloves. When it rains -before you are prepared, produce bags work on both hands and feet and the black garbage bag slit for head and arms also works. It happens. Definitly get a balaclava. i have one with me all of the time. Very handy going down mountain passes anytime or hills in the fall and winter. See you on the road
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Old 10-06-07, 10:09 PM   #25
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+ 1 on Fenders and thriftstores. Invest in a good, ventilated (not gore-tex) light waterproof cycling jacket, and good Smartwool socks. I've been lucky to find nice midweight tights at thriftstores. They don't need to be padded if you also get some padded cycling boxers or briefs. Don't worry about keeping your legs dry - warm is more important (helps if you don't shave).
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