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  1. #1
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    If you are starting out on a chilly (under 50F morning) and the temp rises later in the ride, what is the best way to stay comfortable. I'm thinking that wearing a small daypck may be the answer where extra clothes can be peeled and stored during the ride. I bought a Fox Huck jacket which has zippered sleeves and can be converted to a vest, to address this issue.

    I also bought my first pair of tights, Gore Bike-Wear classic action bibs with windstopper. I think these will be great under 50, but wonder at what temp will heavy-duty tights be too hot ?

    I ride in the mountains, so the temp fluctuations are magnified by the exertion and speed differences caused by the terrain.
    Last edited by 1-track-mind; 10-14-05 at 10:37 AM.

  2. #2
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind
    If you are starting out on a chilly (under 50F morning) and the temp rises later in the ride, what is the best way to stay comfortable. I'm thinking that wearing a small daypck may be the answer where extra clothes can be peeled and stored during the ride. I bought a Fox Huck jacket which has zippered sleeves and can be converted to a vest, to address this issue.

    I also bought my first pair of tights, Gore Bike-Wear classic action bibs with windstopper. I think these will be great under 50, but wonder at what temp will heavy-duty tights be too hot ?

    I ride in the mountains, so the temp fluctuations are magnified by the exertion and speed differences caused by the terrain.
    Depends on the individual but for that pair of tights I'd suspect that they would get too hot around...um.. 50F Honestly, they are some serious fire power for "cool" weather riding. I don't wear that when I'm riding at 15 to 20 F (my cut off, which is kinda wimpy by the way compared to the frozen North).

    You are starting right by layering but stick with many light thin layers instead of one thick one. I always carry a rack bag or panniers to put my extra clothes in. If I'm riding to work, I don't usually strip layers because I'm not riding for that long. But if I'm out for a long recreational ride, I take things off and put them on all day long.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind

    I also bought my first pair of tights, Gore Bike-Wear classic action bibs with windstopper. I think these will be great under 50, but wonder at what temp will heavy-duty tights be too hot ?
    Probably anything over 40 F. Honestly I am not familiar with the bib tights you mention but if they are made of Gore Tex the standard rule for me is "NOT ABOVE FREEZING!"

    To give you an idea, i left out this morning at 6:30 AM for a 25 mile mountain bike ride in the country on gravel roads. I wore: LS cycling jersey, cycling shorts, socks, shoes and helmet. I was a wee bit chilly the first 15 minutes and perfectly comfortable for the next hour and a half or so.

    YOu have a valid question about dressing for warming temps but your base temp is too warm to be concerned with. If you had asked what to do when starting at 35 and with temps expected to climb above 50 then you have to prepare. I use a trunk bag on my rack to give me a place to stash extra clothing if it warms up and i need to remove it.

    Again, at 50 F, the most you would need to take off is a pair of arm warmers. Maybe an earband...

  4. #4
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    That's why I bring my Carradice with me on just about all my rides.

    I live in Canada ... most mornings all year ... start below 50C, and then possibly rise during the day.

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    I guess it would be more appropriate to discuss dressing for the wind chill factor. Even at 50-60 degrees, I'm working up a sweat on long ascents and getting cold on the subsequent 45mph descents when dressing lightly (shorts/longsleeve polyester shirt with a shortsleeve T shirt on top). The shirts (Starter) are not cycling-specific. Are the moisture-wicking properties of cycling jerseys a noticeable upgrade from standard polyester. The hot/cold issue in mountain cycling at cool temps seems tougher to solve than preparing for cold temperatures on level terrain.
    Last edited by 1-track-mind; 10-15-05 at 08:28 AM.

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    Some leggings are wind resistant rather than proof, which is useful for intermediate temps.
    I find that a fleece bodywarmer worn over my windproof is useful for cold starts and hills. You can add or remove it quickly. If you want to remove midlayer insulation you have to faff around with your windproof layer.
    A saddlebag large enough to store you clothing is a useful device. Carradice make several types which clamp onto seatposts and proveide a better load-weight ratio than clamp on racks with a top-bag.

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    The guy at the LBS told me that basic unlined tights are worthless, and encouraged me to go for ones with windstopper on the front. The backs are unlined. Sounds like this might be overkill...Should I exchange them for unlined if I don't intend to ride under 35 degrees ?

  8. #8
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    It depends how much you you ride. I have leg-warmers, which are fine for a fall day, specially in the mornings, and lightweight tights for when it gets a bit colder. And I just bought some windblock tights in the hope that that will enable me to extend my commuting season a little bit further into the fall. In the past I have stopped riding in mid-October, but it's still pretty comfortable out there this year, and I am dressing up a little warmer so I feel pretty good. I'd like to try to go into November this year.
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    I took the bibs with windstopper out for a 1 1/2 hour ride today to try and determine the upper temp range. The temp was low 60s with 20-30 mph wind. My legs were warm while climbing but never uncomfortably hot. I was impressed by the breathability and moisture wicking properties. This product looks like a keeper, but I'm still wondering what is best for the chest.

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    My advice is to think about the whole body and not just your legs or chest. I have found (after much experimentation) that wool has a wider comfort range than does technical polyester. Thin merino wool dries almost as quickly as polyester but will keep you warmer on descents following long climbs. Don't neglect your head when it gets cool, since up to 60% of your body heat is pumped out through it. Sometimes a helmet cover or ear cover is just as effective as a jacket or vest at improving comfort. At 50F degrees cover your knees, maybe long finger gloves if your brake levers are aluminum, maybe some light shoe covers or snuggly warm wool socks and a long sleeve wool jersey. If you are too warm you will sweat and then freeze on descents, so try not to sweat (or never descend). Cold weather doesn't get serious until you are below 40F, and with proper layering -17F can be toasty. Listen to any and all advice, but you will need to experiment to find what works for you, that's half the fun!

  11. #11
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    Armwarmers. Then you can roll them up and stick them in your pocket when you're getting hot.

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  12. #12
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    I picked up a Descente baselayer product today. Sleeveless D Vente Power compo. Basically a mesh shirt with windbreaker-like (aquilibrium) shell sewn on front. This looks excellent for changing wind-chill temps.

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    (Hm. Dunno what happened to my post.)

    I recommend stuff with zippers. You unzip everything for the climb, then you zip it up for the descent. Plus a helmet cover because you can easily take it off, or put it on, while riding. toe covers -- shoe wind covers that you can put on and remove while riding -- are handy too.

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    Where I currently ride it is flat, so there are no huge downhill sections where I can become extremely chilled. As such, I just start out wearing a t-shirt and a long sleeved flannel or perhaps sweatshirt, some full fingered rain gloves, my sandals and shorts. Past week it has been about 0-5C in the mornings.

    When I have toured under similar temperatures I just wore a wind proof jacket, usually taking it off on the ascent and then wearing it fully zipped on the descent.

    I personally would rather bring just a jacket and suffer through a cold descent. Unless you are dealing with truly extreme temperatures, a lot of how you deal with cold is a frame of mind.

  15. #15
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    I start out at about 38 degrees (F) @ 5am
    When I get off work @ 6 or 7 pm it will be 60-65 degrees (F) {I hope**

    I have to have Panniers with me to haul this stuff when I am not wearing it home.
    Some mornings I wear "Full Winter Gear" to beat the wind. Gator Booties, Bib Tights, 3-4 layers on top, PI head covering, Ear warmers and full inserts in/on my Bell Metro Helmet, Windstopper Gloves.... etc...


    *Oh and plenty of LIGHTS!

  16. #16
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    Layer,layer,layer.
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  17. #17
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    I am thinking that I'm a worst-case scenario:
    I sweat like a pig
    I'm cold natured
    I live in the mountains
    I'm a rookie as far as cold weather cycling.

    My volume of sweat climbing seems to overload cheaper wicking materials like dri-star (Starter) and even Nike tennis shirts. Will expensive bike jerseys or polartec powderdry or merino wool actually wick away alot of sweat or is there a saturation point where nothing works? Even with zippers, I'm getting soaked with sweat on the climbs. It,s like I'd be better off without a shirt on.
    Last edited by 1-track-mind; 10-20-05 at 08:29 PM.

  18. #18
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    The sweat wicking properties are about the same, but bike shirts have an advantage in that you can zip the chest open and closed. You'll sweat less uphill and be warmer downhill.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1-track-mind

    My volume of sweat climbing seems to overload cheaper wicking materials like dri-star (Starter) and even Nike tennis shirts. Will expensive bike jerseys or polartec powderdry or merino wool actually wick away alot of sweat or is there a saturation point where nothing works? Even with zippers, I'm getting soaked with sweat on the climbs. It,s like I'd be better off without a shirt on.
    I just wanted to share the good news. The Descente DVente sleeveless windlayer is working great at 50-55 degrees F. It is basically a mesh sleeveless T shirt with a stretchy sheath sewn on the front coated with some sort of windproofing material. No zippers. This worked perfectly on a 3 hour ride yesterday with alot of ups and downs. I think it will be great in colder temps as well as a baselayer. Has anyone tried the longsleeve version ?

  20. #20
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    Layers are the key. And in winter I keep some extra clothing in pannier, in case of a mechanical problem or if I want to take a break. If you're comfortable when riding, you will be shivering in no time when stopped.

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  21. #21
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    Like Vermont Rides mentions above, WOOL. It has a wider comfort range than any of the synthetic fabrics, and you are less prone to evaporative cooling wearing wool. You feel dry riding in wool. When you stop, you are much warmer because of some serious wool alchemy I cannot explain.
    This is after decades of experience in serious, ne' stupid, outdoor pursuits in all temperatures and weather conditions.

    I've worn the same jersey at 55 and at 95 degrees. Wool is absolutely incredible this way. You have to find your own degree of layering comfort, of course, but with wool as your first layer or two you are comfortable and dry for the duration.

    There are thicker, more wind resistant tights out there, both wool and synthetic. I've got some Metolius climbing tights with doubled seat and knee patches that are some of the best synthetic thick tight I've worn. Ibex makes a great wool tight, and Ibex knickers are extremely rightous cold weather kit.


    For those of you who haven't tried a nice wool jersey or undershirt from Ibex, Smartwool, Icebreaker, Devold, Filson, and others, TRY ONE! put it on your christmas list. And I can't recommend the Ibex Knickers strongly enough.

  22. #22
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    Did a very comfortable 37 degree road ride today with the following:
    Gore Bike-Wear gloves
    Gore Bike-Wear action bibs
    Gore Bike-Wear tool tricot jacket
    Duofold longsleeve polyester T shirt
    Descente shoe covers
    Descente baclava

    Was able to effectively regulate temp with front and arm pit zippers. Whoever said soft shell is the way to go, was right on the money. Very little perspiration for a change. The windstopper in the Gore Bike wear works perfectly. Amazing technology.

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