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Old 03-10-09, 06:57 PM   #1
Reclining Chaz
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Face shields to block wind & rain?

I just bought my first ‘bent bike. (Yippee!) I loved everything about the test-rides EXCEPT the cold wind and rain in the face. I’m living in The Netherlands. Temperatures typically range from cool to cold (but not quite freezing), and we get LOTS of wind and rain. That is great for all the Dutch windmills and tulips, but it is kind of depressing for the cyclists. Of course, there are millions of bikes here, but almost all are DFs. Everyone has their nose down on the handle bars and they grind it out in first gear. With a ‘bent, I have a smaller total surface area, but my head is up so I catch all the wind and rain with the face. (Brrrrrr!)

I can dress well enough to handle the weather except for my face. I typically have strong cross-winds when I commute to work, so a bubble windshield at the nose of the bike will probably only help my feet. I am looking for creative solutions for protecting my face (short of resorting to a full closed fairing).

Has anyone tried clear plastic face shields like those used in hockey helmets or the kind used in woodshops and labs?

http://www.icewarehouse.com/descpage.html?pcode=I7
http://www.uksafetyfootwear.com/acat...e_Shields.html

I haven't had a chance to try these yet, but I am anticipating a few problems. Fogging might be a problem, but that probably could be treated chemically or by modifying the wind flow inside the mask. The biggest problem might be the rain beading up on the outside of the shield. This was a big problem when I rode motorcycles. Since there were no windshield wipers, I had to look over or around the windshield--which kind of kills the whole point of having a windshield. For my ‘bent, I thought about attaching a small squeegee to the back of my glove to wipe the face shield. Of course, this would have practical limitations when the rain is really hosing down. So, that is a drawback. OTOH, I suspect a full closed fairing would have the same problems, right? Is there any way to see where I am going without freezing my face off?

I still have a month to figure something out while I am waiting for my new ‘bent to be delivered. If anyone has useful suggestions, I would love to hear them.
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Old 03-10-09, 07:33 PM   #2
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Of course, inquiring minds want to know what kind of 'bent you have on order?

A nylon balaclava helps me with cold air. I wonder if there any any waterproof/breathable balaclavas on the market?
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Old 03-10-09, 09:41 PM   #3
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I think you may have more luck combining a balaclava and glasses/goggles. Maybe something like a Buff?
http://www.buyabuff.com/
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Old 03-10-09, 11:44 PM   #4
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A guy from another 'bent forum I'm part of has used plastic face shields attached to his helmet and swears by them. I think he's swapped to some kind of helmet that is 'specialised' for motor scooters. Looks a bit like a cross between a bike helmet and a full face motorcycle helmet. I'll see if I can find the link to that helmet.

I might want one too since I live in Sweden and have had the same exact problem you describe.
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Old 03-11-09, 12:32 AM   #5
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Ski goggles + balclava or just goggles would help.
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Old 03-11-09, 05:34 AM   #6
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I've used plastic face shields before, to keep the cold wind off my face when I was bicycle commuting in the winter. But then, winter riding here in Michigan typically means -15C in the morning, and I did it on an upright. On a recumbent, the wind would have gone right up my body and under the face shield. I trimmed them so that they lined up just about with the tip of my nose, so that my breath could clear the mask before it froze.
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Old 03-11-09, 07:15 AM   #7
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Face shields

HELLO,
I live near Buffalo NY and we some cold and wet days.When it is below 50 degrees F
I use a clear plastic face shield that attaches with velcro to my helmet.I bought the shield
at a store that sells tools for woodworking,but any motorcycle shield will also work.With the
velcro it can be adjusted for different angles.I really helps to keep my face and ears warm.
Good Luck,
Rich.............
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Old 03-11-09, 08:49 AM   #8
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Haven't had much really bad weather where I live this year, but I did try wearing my ski helmet and goggles during some icy weather. Worked great.
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Old 03-11-09, 10:07 AM   #9
Reclining Chaz
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Face shields, etc.

Thanks for the quick responses!

I realized just after I had posted my message that I forgot to mention the kind of bike. It is a Nazca Gaucho with under-steering. For more details, here is a link to the Gaucho brochure.

http://www.nazca-ligfietsen.nl/xlntc...F%20Engels.pdf

Check out the homepage too if you want to see the wide range of models Nazca offers. (Click on the British flag in the top left corner to switch to English.) And, yes, they do export.

http://www.nazca-ligfietsen.nl

The balaclava (Buff) is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could find/make one with Gortex. A balaclava combined with ski goggles does seem like a practical alternative to a full face mask.

How is the visibility of the goggles in the rain? I often have to take my prescription glasses off when I ride in the rain because my blurry vision without glasses is better than trying to see through the wet lenses. Is there some coating that could be applied to help the water sheet off more evenly so that it doesn’t distort my vision? I’ve noticed that car wax really changes the way the water behaves on my car windshield. I might try experimenting with that. Anyone else have home remedies or high tech solutions for this? Or do you just wipe the goggles with your glove now and then?

The tip regarding Velcro is also handy if I go with the full face mask. It is a better fastening method than the options I was considering. Thanks. By the way, WB2WGX (Rich)—small world! I grew up near Buffalo-- East Aurora. I used to be out on my (DF) bike every morning at 6AM delivering newspapers through the ice and snow. I prefer the snow there to the cold rain and wind we have here. Although I don’t miss all the shoveling.
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Old 03-11-09, 12:43 PM   #10
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I made an oversize visor for my helmet that prevents everything except direct frontal rain from strike my glasses. The trick is to make position the visor so it is in front of your brow (just above your glasses) and pointing almost horizontal. You still see but only horizontal precipitation will strike your glasses. The farther the visor reaches, the more rain it prevents.

:)ensen.
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Old 03-11-09, 06:47 PM   #11
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Face shield

Glad to meet you Chaz !
Yes the snow has been a pain this year but my new Craftsman 8 HP snowblower really helps.
I am in the Town of Tonawanda,just north of Buffalo.I have several bents and I find the underseat
steering very comfortable,I am sure you will enjoy it. I have used Rain-X made for auto windshields
on the face shield,and the water will bead up then roll off very nicely.You should be able to wear
your prescription glasses behind the shield with no problems.
Good Luck,
Rich...............
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Old 03-12-09, 09:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reclining Chaz View Post
The balaclava (Buff) is an interesting idea. I wonder if I could find/make one with Gortex. A balaclava combined with ski goggles does seem like a practical alternative to a full face mask.

How is the visibility of the goggles in the rain? I often have to take my prescription glasses off when I ride in the rain because my blurry vision without glasses is better than trying to see through the wet lenses. Is there some coating that could be applied to help the water sheet off more evenly so that it doesn’t distort my vision? I’ve noticed that car wax really changes the way the water behaves on my car windshield. I might try experimenting with that. Anyone else have home remedies or high tech solutions for this? Or do you just wipe the goggles with your glove now and then?
Ask and ye shall receive. Here's a Gore-Tex/fleece balaclava: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___75171
I wear a balaclava (or beanie) from the same company made from a wool/poly blend that works very nicely in cold weather.

With my glasses in the rain I've used a pair of over-glasses safety goggles (about US$3) that works well enough. The Rain-X product (and similar stuff) may work on plastic, but you should test it. Over-glasses ski goggles may be available with hydrophobic coatings if you look around enough.

I found a Nazca Gaucho image...
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Old 03-12-09, 09:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cod.peace View Post
Ask and ye shall receive. Here's a Gore-Tex/fleece balaclava: http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___75171

I found a Nazca Gaucho image...
Cool-looking bike. How effective is the rear suspension?

If it weren't Spring (almost) I'd be looking into that balaclava. Maybe Campmor will have them on sale this summer.......................
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Old 03-12-09, 03:30 PM   #14
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I tried something similar to the UK Safety setup on my bike (DF and bent) last year when I had problems with eyes watering up going down hills under 40F. It failed utterly. I got a clipon motorcycle face mask
designed to snap onto the front of a motorcycle helmet, removed the snaps, bent it by using a string to
curve it and put it in the oven at ~180F and fastened with nylon bolts and Tnuts. Wind went around the
edges and underneath the front so eyes watered up just as much. Also no helmet or eyeglasses mirror.
Would prolly work ok for rain but not cold. A downhiller type full wrap bike helmet with a plastic face
shield or light weight motorcycle helmet would be a better choice for cold protection.
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Old 03-13-09, 01:16 PM   #15
Reclining Chaz
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Originally Posted by JanMM View Post
Cool-looking bike. How effective is the rear suspension?
The suspension is excellent! That is what sold me on this bike. Seriously, it is like riding in a luxury car. It just floats over potholes. This is a little off the topic for this thread, so I thinks I will start a thread on the bike itself. It is a fairly new model so there might be a few folks who would like to hear about it--and I am too obsessed with it not to write about it. ;-)

Last edited by Reclining Chaz; 03-16-09 at 04:59 AM.
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Old 03-14-09, 10:35 AM   #16
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The Rain-X product (and similar stuff) may work on plastic, but you should test it.
I used Rain-X on my plastic motorcycle face shields, and it worked quite well.
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Old 03-17-09, 03:53 PM   #17
Reclining Chaz
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Thanks for the tips.

I just picked up a windproof and waterproof balaclava from Polartec. I think using this in combination with a visor and my prescription glasses should handle most rainy conditions. It is a bit late in the season to find skiing goggles. I was hoping to get an end-of-the-season sale, but there wasn't much left in one store, and the other store had already packed away all their ski equipment. Next fall, when the weather gets nasty again, I will try adding goggles and Rain-X to my arsenal.

Thanks for all the helpful advice.
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Old 03-19-09, 08:52 AM   #18
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http://www.raygear.com/home.htm

This won't win you any awards in the aesthetics dept., but it's probably the best face shield currently on the market. I haven't worn one for biking, but do wear one for safety reasons in my job. Fits like regular glasses, doesn't interfere with hats or headbands and is by far the most comfortable face shield I've ever tried. It's pretty cool how snug it fits on the head. I'm not affiliated with the company, just really like their goofy looking face shields.

However, all that being said, I would probably go with the balaclava/glasses thing too.
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