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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 06-15-05, 03:22 PM   #1
ShannonH
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What about a shorty wetsuit?

Since we're talking about staying warm, has anyone tried winter riding in a watersports short wetsuit? There is extra wind protection on the chest, and it pretty warm, all things considered. I would use it as a base or second layer. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-15-05, 04:37 PM   #2
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I had this idea once, getting, what, a 1mm suit. Or whatever the lightest is. The consensus from surfers and cyclist was that it would be movement restrictive, not breathable, and if its raining, water would seep in and not be able to evaporate out. thus leaving you clammy and maybe chilled as well.
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Old 06-15-05, 04:44 PM   #3
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Most of the replies are going to be pretty snide, I'm sure, but I have tried something like this myself. A bit over a year ago I went on a ride wearing a full-body surfing wetsuit (3/2mm Rip Curl for those of you who are familiar with them). I put on some bike shorts under the wetsuit then some light spandex running tights and a light jacket over it, mainly so I wouldn't look completely stupid. I was quite comfortable for the whole 27 mile ride I did. The extra padding of the suit also prevented my rear from getting sore.

But what about sweat you say? Yes, I was completely soaked. However, since neoprene is closed celled the moisture just created a film over my skin and didn't wick out. Therefore, even when I stopped, I didn't get cold at all. However, my feet did get quite chilled. I did not have any thick booties or toe warmers or anything like that, but even so, I'll bet sweat from my whole body was working its way down the legs of my suit and soaking my socks and shoes. I think you'd have the same problems with a shorty wetsuit soaking your sleeves/tights as the sweat leaks out. Either way, it was an interesting experiment, considering you can get a wetsuit for lot less than one of those Assos Commander suits or some of the really pricey thermal bib tights.

One other thing to watch out for is when you have to go to the bathroom. Since most wetsuits have back zippers, it can be even harder to strip down than with normal winter cycling apparel (and even then it's hard enough). If the bathroom isn't well heated, you're going to get cold very fast, and so will your wetsuit.
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Old 06-15-05, 05:48 PM   #4
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I think a wetsuit would be really hot and really uncomfortable. It makes me itch just thinking about it....
I like a wicking long sleeve t-shirt, a wind-blocking fleece top and wind-proof shell. Neoprene boots are necessity to me. That's the only place I want any closed cell insulation on my bod. I have thought about wearing neoprene gloves and probably will on my next cold rainy ride.
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Old 06-15-05, 08:56 PM   #5
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Thanks every one. I had this thought that it might be kinda "slicky" feeling. Its a shame that "bike clothes" cost so much. I'm trying to put together a good ensemble for winter riding in Minnesota, and am willing to explore any avenue.
Peace
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Old 06-16-05, 03:22 AM   #6
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You dont always need bike clothing for winter. A lot of general purpose outdoor gear will do the job.
Have you checked the clothing advice at icebike.com?
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Old 06-16-05, 07:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelW
You dont always need bike clothing for winter. A lot of general purpose outdoor gear will do the job.
Have you checked the clothing advice at icebike.com?
No, but I will now..
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Old 06-17-05, 07:43 PM   #8
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sean yates - british tdf rider used to wear one for his 7 hour winter training rides. Try google for any references.
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Old 06-06-16, 08:00 PM   #9
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You will stay warm with one.
I have tried with my 3.2mm, but thats too hot unless it is snowy I think.

But if you can find a 1.5mm (or less), used and cheap, you could even cut holes under the arm pits, and also in the back of your knees for the movement

Or a sleeveless short legged one.. whatever, be creative. It works.
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Old 06-26-16, 01:09 PM   #10
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I don't think a wetsuit would work well at all. Wetsuits are by definition meant to be worn in water, and water is always above freezing (when it's below freezing it's ice and impossible to swim in because it's a solid).

In winter biking, one big challenge is finding an outer layout that's both windproof and breathable enough to let out water vapor from sweating. Because in winter biking you are biking when the outside temp is below freezing. It's easy to find material that's windproof, but if it's not breathable at all then your sweat freezes and makes you really cold.

The cheapest way to deal with it is to buy a decent next-to-skin layer made of merino wool, then use a regular non-breathable winter jacket, then don't bike that fast. If you bike around 12mph, you often don't produce enough sweat for it to be an issue. The need for higher tech stuff is more for people who want to bike full out at max speed.

Unfortunately I don't have a specific thing to suggest for merino wool, the cheapest decent stuff I know of is Icebreaker 200 weight stuff which is about $50 for a shirt and $50 for the leggings -
https://www.amazon.com/Icebreaker-Ev...Q1G/ref=sr_1_4
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Old 06-28-16, 10:23 AM   #11
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I've taken some cheap ski bibs and then had an alterations shop cut off the legs above the knee but moved up the elastic seal. But, my desire was more for crotch protection given the recumbent feet forward positioning. They are hot, so I only use then when it's below about 15F/-10C, but I do like the chest to knee insulating barrier.
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Old 06-28-16, 10:41 AM   #12
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Old 06-28-16, 11:53 AM   #13
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I've worn a paddle jacket in the past. Bad idea. It just gets everything underneath drenched with sweat.

On the other hand, I very much like my neoprene lined winter shoes/boots (Shimano MW-02). They are comfortable, warm enough, and seem to keep the feet feeling dry.

I'm not big on body suits, but the wetsuit sounds interesting.
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Old 07-01-16, 05:40 AM   #14
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I have a wetsuit I use for swimming sometimes ... I'm not even comfortable in it for the 5 or 10 minutes I'm standing on the beach getting things ready. Once I'm in the water it's fine, but out of the water it is hot, restrictive and uncomfortable.

I have also done a ride in a rashie, and that wasn't very nice either!
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Old 07-03-16, 09:05 AM   #15
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Winter cycling is all about layers. When you head out you have two choices. You can start out comfortably and after 15min or so remove a layer and then after another 30min remove another layer (assuming you're working reasonably hard, not just putzing along slowly), or you can start out quite chilled, uncomfortably so, and then be doing well after 15min or so. Either way, if you are going to be working hard, exercising or just having fun riding hard, you have to be prepared to add and remove layers as your work level changes. Even the lightest wetsuit layer would, I think, be horribly uncomfortable and you'd have to bring a LOT of extra clothing to deal with the possibility of a breakdown when all that sweat would be a huge issue. Winter cycling means a thin wool or synthetic layer and then a few more layers and windproof outer layer such that you are just a bit cool at all times...almost chilly...to try to minimize sweat. I know that folks that aren't used to winter exercise could never tolerate the level of cold that is comfortable to me when I'm out riding in winter. My best suggestion as you grapple with this is to keep a record each day of exactly what you wore and the temperature along with sunny vs cloudy (huge difference). You'll begin to note what worked and what didn't and exactly what layers were perfect for a given temp. Also...NO..cotton. None. Anywhere.
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Old 07-05-16, 06:09 PM   #16
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I don't think I'd like a vest, but has anyone trip neoprene mitts. My hands are the only area of my body that refuses to stay warm when it's raining and temps are less than 10 C / 50 F or so .
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