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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 10-15-09, 01:08 PM   #1
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Cold weather commuting--what are you wearing?

Ok, so the MidAtlantic temps just dropped enough to start thinking about winter riding gear.

In previous years, I haven't taken my bike to work in the winter, but short of total downpour or icey conditions so bad my tires won't stick I plan on riding to work most days this winter. If I don't extend the ride, it's only 2 miles one way--long enough to get cold without some decent gear, but not long enough that I need to think about this as a long-distance ride. Ideally, I'd like to find outerwear that would fit over my work clothes (I go to work in jeans).

I did a little looking and came across the Endura Stealth Jacket. Seems like it gets good reviews for my needs. Finding cycling pants that would go over jeans looks like it might be a bit tougher. Any suggestions for pants or other jacket options I should know about?

What are you all wearing this winter?

I know that winter cycling gear is not limited to fixed-gear riders, but I was scared to post this question in the roadie forum for fear of getting spandexy, product-endorsed wardrobe suggestions. For any roadie-forum folks who are reading along, I'm just kidding (sort of). This is the only forum I read on a regular basis.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:16 PM   #2
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"Outerwear that would fit over my work clothes" is the worst way to approach winter riding. Winter riding comfortably requires three components

1) Base layer against your skin to pull sweat away from your body
2) Insulation layer to keep you warm. It's important this is a seperate layer so you can add or subtract depending on the temperature that day
3) Outer shell to keep wind and water out.

If you try and pile all of those onto an outer jacket, you'll end up too warm or cold, you'll show up to work sweaty and gross, and you'll hate winter riding. You need to layer
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Old 10-15-09, 01:16 PM   #3
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i just got back from the camping/mountain bike store in my town after purchasing the begining of my winter gear. I bought some wigwam brand hiking socks(these are great, keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter) a wool hat, and some wool gloves. The gloves are sort of temporary, i'll need to get something more waterproof once real winter hits.

I also plan on riding in my heavy duty goretex hiking boots this winter, just need to set up a foot retention system i can fit them in.

Last winter i lived less than a mile away from campus(where i work and go to class) so I didn't think too much about winter gear but now i live about 3x as far and I'm not within walking distance of anything, so I'll have to get serious about it.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:17 PM   #4
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put ur jeans in ur bag? I have no idea what will fit over jeans..

do get a balaclava tho.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:19 PM   #5
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyCNWMRLZGs
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Old 10-15-09, 01:22 PM   #6
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If you can, beard's are nice. Mine is getting to its optimal winter length.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
"Outerwear that would fit over my work clothes" is the worst way to approach winter riding. Winter riding comfortably requires three components

1) Base layer against your skin to pull sweat away from your body
2) Insulation layer to keep you warm. It's important this is a seperate layer so you can add or subtract depending on the temperature that day
3) Outer shell to keep wind and water out.

If you try and pile all of those onto an outer jacket, you'll end up too warm or cold, you'll show up to work sweaty and gross, and you'll hate winter riding. You need to layer
Not to sound ungrateful, but this is the kind of answer I was trying to avoid.

Perhaps I should explain my commute a bit more clearly: I ride 2 miles to work, up a gentle hill (and back down the same hill in the evenings, funny how that works). I don't want to spend time getting layered up for a 10 minute ride. I need some gear to keep from freezing. (I can handle long distance rides with the gear I have, but I wanted to make it easy to get to/from work). Windstopper fleece jacket would almost work except that most jackets are too short in the back. Jeans with base layer underneath and wind pants would almost work, except I'd want to get out of the base layer once I get to work...
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Old 10-15-09, 01:31 PM   #8
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Today I attempted to commute in jeans and my rain jacket with thermals underneath. I don't even have a pair of gloves, not really sure what I was thinking. When I realized I couldn't feel my hands or feet after half a mile, I turned around and went home, resigning myself to the train until I get some good gear.

Cold- I can do it.
Rain- I can do it.
Cold rain- I cannot do it.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:37 PM   #9
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If you can, beard's are nice. Mine is getting to its optimal winter length.
+1 on the longer beard
If you want to wear big boots there are some oversized mks clips out there that would probably work for you. I saw them at bens cycle.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:39 PM   #10
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Honestly dude, I ride 4.5 kilometers to work in the winter. If I don't layer properly, it's not comfortable. You're probably going to find the same thing. By all means, if you can get to work in any old jacket comfortably, I say go for it. Just speaking from experience here, it's not really doable IMO.

Best of luck with just trying to go with a jacket, just find something windproof with zippered vents for a starter.
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Old 10-15-09, 01:49 PM   #11
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Honestly dude, I ride 4.5 kilometers to work in the winter. If I don't layer properly, it's not comfortable. You're probably going to find the same thing. By all means, if you can get to work in any old jacket comfortably, I say go for it. Just speaking from experience here, it's not really doable IMO.

Best of luck with just trying to go with a jacket, just find something windproof with zippered vents for a starter.
Toronto winters have got to be colder than DC winters. Perhaps that makes all the difference.

I'm just lazy. The idea of having to dress/undress twice per day just to get to work seems like a waste of time. If it turns out there's no comfy way to get to work without doing the whole layering thing, then I'll do it... I'm just trying to avoid it if possible.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:05 PM   #12
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2 miles isn't that far. If you find you can do it semi-comfortably without layering, go for it. Layering will be your best bet, though.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:10 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elTwitcho View Post
"Outerwear that would fit over my work clothes" is the worst way to approach winter riding. Winter riding comfortably requires three components

1) Base layer against your skin to pull sweat away from your body
2) Insulation layer to keep you warm. It's important this is a seperate layer so you can add or subtract depending on the temperature that day
3) Outer shell to keep wind and water out.

If you try and pile all of those onto an outer jacket, you'll end up too warm or cold, you'll show up to work sweaty and gross, and you'll hate winter riding. You need to layer
If it is only 2 miles, a cheap outer shell (pants and jacket), wool shirt, socks and gloves will get you through down to temps below freezing. I regularly ride down to 10F on my 2 mile trip downtown with fleece lined jeans, wool socks, a warm shirt and carhart style jacket.
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Old 10-15-09, 02:16 PM   #14
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Legs: long johns, addidas "outer shell" commuting pants, long socks
Trunk: t-shirt, sweatshirt, "outer shell" black diamond jacket, gloves
Head: cool head cover that includes face, neck, and ears, helmet, and clear safety glasses to block brutal winter winds. Keeps me warm to about 10. From there it's my subaru.
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Old 10-15-09, 04:31 PM   #15
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As of late, I've been 'wearing' my car.

(Sorry hardcore commuters...I've been sick these past few days.)
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Old 10-15-09, 04:54 PM   #16
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I got through last winter couriering in Toronto with the following. I'd wear pretty much the same outfit for commuting to work if I ever got an office job.

Head - cheap wool winter cap, or jacket hoodie.

Top base layer - soft wool sweater, directly against the skin. Cheap thrift store wool for me. I prefer something with a zipper at the collar, for ventilation. Keeps me nice and warm. It's as good or better than any expensive advanced-technology base layer you'd buy from a sports store. Do not wear anything cotton as a base layer, especially t-shirts. They soak up sweat and chill your skin.

Jacket - Loki Myth jacket. http://www.lokiusa.com/product_detail.php?ID=C101 EF. FING. AWESOME. Soft shell, with huge vent zips, gloves built into the sleeves and a facemask built into the hood. Facemask can also be pulled down and used as a scarf. I love this jacket to death. Sometimes will wear a hoodie under the jacket if it gets too cold.

Face - Some kind of face mask is a huge help on colder days, or even just a fleece scarf pulled over your mouth. It makes you feel way warmer.

Pants - Just jeans, or whatever you usually wear. Maybe some slim long underwear on brutal days. Your legs are doing the work, so you don't have to insulate them too much.

Socks - Cheap wool socks (those grey ones with the white and red stripes), 1 or 2 layers depending on coldness, over my normal summer cycling socks.

I hope this advice isn't too lengty. I don't want to repeat the same tendency of some people when they write out a huge list of every item they wear winter cycling, making it seem like biking in the winter is akin to trekking to the North Pole. Really, winter cycling is no big riddle. Just dress like you would to go skiing or doing any other winter sport. I think a lot of people get unnecessarily intimidated by it because of the idea that you need tons of special gear to do it. A lot of people I talk to are all like, "OMFG, you BIKE in this cold weather?!" Then they go freeze their asses off waiting 10 minutes at the streetcar stop, while I bike by warm and comfortable.
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Old 10-15-09, 05:06 PM   #17
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Jacket - Loki Myth jacket. http://www.lokiusa.com/product_detail.php?ID=C101 EF. FING. AWESOME. Soft shell, with huge vent zips, gloves built into the sleeves and a facemask built into the hood. Facemask can also be pulled down and used as a scarf. I love this jacket to death. Sometimes will wear a hoodie under the jacket if it gets too cold.
Looks like a sweet jacket. I just got a REI Taku on sale for $150 that I'm quite happy with, but the Loki appears to 1-up it.
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Old 10-15-09, 05:38 PM   #18
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Honestly for short commutes I don the hobo garb. Normal shoes/jeans with a hoodie underneath an army-vet-looking coat. I complete the look with a beanie and fingertip-less gloves.
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Old 10-15-09, 06:26 PM   #19
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Honestly for short commutes I don the hobo garb. Normal shoes/jeans with a hoodie underneath an army-vet-looking coat. I complete the look with a beanie and fingertip-less gloves.
What, no newspaper stuffed down your jacket and pants? You call yourself a hobo? Amateur.
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