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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 09-18-05, 06:05 PM   #1
rykoala
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Second winter cycling- first in snow.

I commuted as often as possible last year, when the roads were clear. I usually took the car when it got below 15 degrees or so, or when there was too much snow on the ground and I couldn't make it. I usually wore my cycling pants, long johns possibly, and a hooded sweatshirt. That worked pretty well down to about 20 degrees, then it got a little chilly. Also any stops in traffic made for some cold times.

This year, I plan on riding even when its nasty out. I have the same gear as last year, plus I plan on wearing some waterproof boots I've got, and some wool socks. But that's the only gear I've got. I know I"m going to need waterproof gear. Will standard rain gear work OK? I plan on cycling when the weathers rough, and I'm really not sure what will be needed for that.

As for the bike, I've got my fixed gear that'll fit studded tires, winter gearing being 38/19. Some fenders will be added too. So I am not worried about that part (although I've never done much off-road cycling, let alone studded tires in snow and ice) but I worry about it getting just too nasty for the clothing I have.

As for my commute, its 5.5 miles, mostly flat with and underpass and a bridge going over the local river, and that can get icy. Hence the studded tires. It usually takes me 25 minutes, although I expect to take up to 45 minutes during the heavy winter season. Last year the roads got pretty nasty.

I will also be commuting in the dark, so a reflective vest will go over whatever I wear, along with my cateye blinky and cygolite dual beam headlight.

What am I missing here? I need help with the clothing part for sure. I don't want to freeze to death, half way to work! LOL

Thanks alot, I appreciate any help given.
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Old 09-18-05, 07:37 PM   #2
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Go to http://www.icebike.com. I used their information and recommendations and avoided months of trial and error last winter (my first winter of cycling).
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Old 09-18-05, 08:32 PM   #3
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OK I did some reading there. I'm still a bit confused. I want to be able to ride when its 10 degrees outside, and snowing, so I need something that breathes but is waterproof. What kind of clothing do I look for? I understand that I want a synthetic base later, but I might not need anything more than that it seems, except for the shell layer. What is a good source for the shell, so I don't get soaking wet?
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Old 09-19-05, 07:14 AM   #4
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Consider the amount of clothing you need for a half hour walk in the snow. That is a lot more insulation than you will need for your ride. I wear a normal business suit and tie. Over that, I have a Gor-tex two ply hooded overcoat (hood goes under helmet). Gor-tex overpants, Totes over my shoes, and ski gloves complete the deal. Takes about one minute to put everything on, and it is good to 0 F (the coldest it gets around here).

Pants:

http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...=39663&feat=xs

Coat (shell):
http://www.llbean.com/webapp/wcs/sto...=pp&feat=dp414


Paul
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Old 09-19-05, 07:39 AM   #5
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Hey thanks for the information. I checked out those links and all I gotta say is WOW! Those are expensive! Any cheaper options? I mean, I'm sure they work and all, but I can't afford that.
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Old 09-19-05, 09:55 AM   #6
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Nashbar has some cheaper pants:
http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

The overcoat doubles as my non-cycling raincoat, so the cost was never an issue. Everyone needs an overcoat. Having once spent well over $4,000 to replace salt corrosion damage to one of my cars, a few hundred bucks seems cheap to me.

Any breathable outerwear makes a good shell for winter. Your raincoat should be fine, as long as it is not one of those waterproof plastic things. In fact, what you would wear for walking in the rain in the Fall is probably a good outer shell for winter cycling.

Good luck,

Paul
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Old 09-19-05, 10:07 AM   #7
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Thanks for the link. Now to just find something in my size...
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Old 09-20-05, 07:36 PM   #8
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With a ride shorter than 10 km, I suggest you experiment with what you have and adjust if necessary. I find that the same clothing is good for:
- waiting for the bus at 0 C;
- walking (5 km/h) at -10 C;
- cycling at -15 to -20 C.

The only caveats are that:
- you need very warm footwear because you feet don't move that much;
- you need gloves or mittens that are comfortable and slack a bit even when the hands are around the handlebars.
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Old 09-28-05, 10:11 PM   #9
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This thread has been very helpful. I appreciate it!
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Old 09-29-05, 06:31 AM   #10
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In many areas you may get a day or two of heavy moisture in the air. I wouldn't count on passive reflective items alone. It would be safer to have active safety/clearance lights.
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Old 09-29-05, 08:20 AM   #11
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A 5 mile commute is relatively short, so you may be able to get by in some areas where others may not. For example, you will be ok to error on the side of dressing too warmly. Worst, case is you are uncomfortable for 15 extra minutes, then you have destinated.

There are a number of threads discussing how to dress, including a sticky. So i am not going to repeat it. Generally speaking however, you are trying to dress in a manner that will allow heat to escape your body while retaining enough to keep you warm. Getting rid of heat is usually the big obstacle because most people overdress.

Purchase a cycling specific jacket with pit zips and a back vent, that way you can regulate your heat. The base "wicking" layer is also very important. NO COTTON! The mid and shell layers can be found very cheap.
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