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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 12-18-11, 10:45 PM   #551
djb
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madame kitty, if you ride in cold often, I would highly recommend MECs rain booties, these ones:

http://www.mec.ca/AST/ShopMEC/Cyclin...ers-unisex.jsp

I have had a pair for ages and ages, over 10 years and maybe 15--I use them obviously for rain, but I find I actually use them more for cold weather riding and they are great for this. With wool socks in my bike shoes and keeping teh shoes loose, plus rain booties (plus of course good leg and everything else layers and shells) I am very comfortable around 0 or below somewhat. Today I was out for a short time and it was -8 or something, so put on top of my shoes some fleece neckups/tubes we have kicking around, then put the booties on, worked well as a simple extra insulation layer under them.

In any case, for any biker these booties are a great buy, especially for being able to use them for all kinds of conditions, wet or dry.


My wife got me some Sporthill stuff a few years ago, its great for wind blocking isnt it?(not sure if my pants and top are the same as yours, but the windstopping ability of it is really impressive)
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Old 12-18-11, 10:58 PM   #552
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If all you want is waterproofing and a bit of windproofing, those booties are great value... they don't add much warmth, but will keep the salt off your hiking shoe if that is your weapon of choice.
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Old 12-27-11, 04:04 PM   #553
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My usual 4mile route home, 12F and windy:

Cotton turtleneck (tissue-weight style)
UA tights and cotton leggings, again.
Lightweight wool socks
Ugg-type boots
Down 3/4 length jacket.

I was way too hot! I had my thin gloves again and a wool neck gaiter that I knitted last winter, but my jacket is just too warm to bike in, I think. At least until it gets below 0F.
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Old 01-04-12, 08:47 PM   #554
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Upgraded to an Endura Windchill jacket today. Not really any heavier than my older jacket (which I didn't realize until I got home from my LBS), but the windproofing definitely helps and I was able to wear one less layer underneath than with my old jacket last night. I'm thinking if it gets verrrry cold this winter (for my area anyways), I can always layer both jackets!

27F and not too windy tonight. Yesterday I went out in 20F in a bit of wind with my old jacket and was freezing once the wind hit, which is why I bought a new jacket tonight!

I also recently purchased some Specialized Sub Zero gloves, which have an inner and outer glove. Hands are nice and warm (but not sweating) down to 20F on a road ride. Very pleased with them, especially with how they seal around my wrists with about 2" of jacket tucked in to keep the cold out. A little bulky for the mountain bike's rapidfire shifters, but still great with road bike brifters. I'm glad I bought them.
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Old 01-09-12, 09:32 PM   #555
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Another nice day in Pittsburgh. Slight overcast, around 40 F. Not much wind.

All I needed was a pair of wool socks under my SPD shoes, Reebok loose-fit running pants (my usual non-wet-weather winter pants), a mid-weight polypro base layer under my Showers Pass jacket, zipper half-open and vents open wide, a pair of Under Armor gloves (I sometimes wear a light pair of stretchy acrylic gloves underneath, but didn't need them today), a skullcap covering my ears under my helmet. 17 miles, some in stop and go traffic. An hour and 20 minutes. Very comfortable.

Last edited by ultimattfrisbee; 01-09-12 at 09:33 PM. Reason: punctuation
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Old 01-14-12, 12:03 AM   #556
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Winter has finally come to the midwest......
Temps 7 Deg F ( about -13C I think) , Very light and variable winds, clear with beautiful moon out.
What I wore:
Bottoms: Polypro tights, wool socks medium crew style, cotton Sweatpants, ( I know cotton is bad but this was a test run ), Nylon Windpants with ploy lining.

Upper : T-Shirt, Sweat Jacket, Medium WT wind breaker/ coat, Belaclava medium wt ( so it says! ), Ubex Clear Ski Googles ( fit over glasses ) and cheap ski gloves.

Thats is about it.

This was a test run to see how the new Belaclava ( Balaclava? heck I don't know) and the new goggles would do. Each by them selves was fine, the belaclava was great and the googles kept the wind and cold from my eyes....however when used together - FOG city. at 7 F I did not want to expose my mouth but I had to in order to see. The experiment was a , in the words of my young nephew, FAIL!

As for the rest: my legs and knees stayed about right, feet did not get too cold at all but I aborted only 15 minutes into the ride, upper was OK, wrists got cold as I could not get my gloves and jacket to overlap well. I had the hood of my windbreaker over my helmet and actually that was too warm. All in all layer wise was about right.

Question to anyone and all: How do you deal with the fogging issue of goggles and glasses when wearing a belaclava or other face protection? Get a respirator?

Last edited by Scottrod; 01-14-12 at 12:07 AM. Reason: forgot the gloves
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Old 01-14-12, 12:54 AM   #557
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Ubex Clear Ski Googles
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Old 01-14-12, 07:15 AM   #558
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Fun stuff you learn on two wheels in the winter: I've been wearing an old pair of handball/racquetball eye guards on those days when it's too gray for sunglasses (every day in Pittsburgh's winter, it seems). Thinking of getting goggles for really cold days, but haven't so far.

Anyway, I've learned that when I'm wearing my balaclava over my mouth, I have to breathe through my nose when I'm stopped at a light or the warm breath from my mouth will fog up my glasses (no problem when I'm moving, as the wind acts as a natural defogger). This can be a challenge when I don't have what I have concluded is the most important, underrated and cheapest piece of winter cycling equipment:

Kleenex (or a rag/bandana) in the jacket pocket!
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Old 01-14-12, 11:24 AM   #559
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I wore my Scott OTG goggles for the first time today. Don't know how I got along without them.
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Old 01-15-12, 11:55 AM   #560
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First day of sub zero F temp riding.

Head: Full, well use balaclava(divers balaclava) with a ski balaclava on top that covers the cheeks and nose.
Upper body: Duofold thermal top with homemade fleece on top and a nylon wind shell on top of that.
Legs: Cycling tights, long johns and nylon wind pants.
Hands: Ragg wool mitts.
Feet: One pair wool socks, road cycling shoes with shoe covers.

In the first couple of miles the top of the upper knuckles got cold(very unusual). They warmed up as the body warmed up and felt fine the rest of the first hour of the ride for today. The feet did get cold toward the end of the ride.

Temperature was -2F when I left home and I saw -3F on the bank sign. Wind was ligh and skies were clear.

Finally got out in subzero temps. Being waiting a year to do it.

Now I need to try my warm feet idea. I should have come prepared today for trying it. I'm not so sure it would work though but hey anything is worth a try even dumb ideas like this one.
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Old 01-15-12, 10:25 PM   #561
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During spring/summer/fall I had been wearing whatever I was wearing that day to work/classes: jeans, t-shirt, maybe a shell, and carry my actual shirt in my pack or pannier.

Now that it's chillier I've been wearing jeans, wool socks, some cheap skate shoes that are surprisingly warm, a fleece, a shell, a fleece neck gaiter/buff, and toques of various weights under my helmet. Hands are covered with XC gloves and overmitts if it's really cold. I carried a pair of nylon trekking pants to put over the jeans if it was really windy, but most days I was fine.

This was good down to about -15C ambient, but now it's starting to get really cold and I don't think that outfit is going to cut it.

I have some lined nylon warm-up pants from my XC-ski days (would wear them over the lycra) so I am hoping these may fit the bill over my jeans. My feet haven't been cold thus far but I do have hiking books that may or may not be warmer than my current shoes just in case (also may remedy this by layering socks).

For the face I have a neoprene mask and OTG goggles that I can add to the kit - I hope this will be enough for the crappy days or I'll be relegated to the bus once more.

I think I'll go test this combo out right now (-23c/-34 with windchill) to make sure I can get to work tomorrow.

update: shoes won't work at those temps... feet got a little chilly after only a few minutes so I'll have to wear boots. That neoprene mask is gonna get nasty!

Last edited by boro; 01-15-12 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 01-15-12, 11:59 PM   #562
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Boro, I recommend that you find all of your old XC-ski attire. It will work well on the bike. Put your jeans and t-shirt in your bag or pannier. Don't know what kind of bike clothes that you have. But wear the nylon lined pants over some lycra tights and use the boots and you should be good for the legs. Add bike shorts if you have them for an extra layer on the thighs. Use a long sleeve wicking long john top with a breathable XC-jacket on top and top that with a wind resistant breathable shell and you should be good in pretty cold temperatures as long as you are riding. If that's not warm enough use a cheap fleece jacket or wool sweater for the middle layer.

If you are working up a sweat you need to ditch all cotton when riding the bike.

Last edited by Hezz; 01-16-12 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 01-19-12, 09:20 PM   #563
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It was 8F for my ride home from work today. I wore a polypro base layer, a quarter-zip fleece, a rain jacket, and a cycling jacket over that. The cycling jacket is not very windproof while my rain jacket is. But I need the bright yellow jacket so drivers can see me.

Commute distance is about 10 miles one-way.

I had a mid-weight wool bottoms and a pair of rain pants over it. Again I use the rain pants to keep out the wind.

I had a pair of fleece gloves and a pair of Walmart mitts. Keens hiking boots with wool socks.

A balaclava. Safety goggles over my glasses.

I was drenched in sweat by the time I got home.

Everything worked except for the goggles and boots. Hands were nice and toasty but my feet were numb from the cold by the time I got home. And I stripped off my glasses and goggles after the first 2 miles. And pulled the balaclava right up to my eyes.

The balaclava was caked with ice by the time I got home. But strangely, I had no problems with tearing. I discovered with the balaclava all the way up that my breath escaped through it right under my eyes and that was enough to warm them up (?).

It's my first winter cycling. So far so good. Still looking for solutions to these 2 remaining problems.

Last edited by longhaulblue; 01-19-12 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 02-10-12, 02:15 PM   #564
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I was drenched in sweat by the time I got home.
A 10 mile ride in 8░F, and you're drenched in sweat?!?! My first suggestion would be Don't Work As Hard.

Seriously. Just go slower, quit pedalling so fast.


Other suggestions would be to lose the rain pants & the rain jacket; those are both just moisture traps, turning your body into a greenhouse. Get rid of the non-breathable layers; you may not even need to replace them with breathable layers. Yeah, it'll be cold to start, but that's the cardinal rule of winter cycling: If you're not cold for the first ~2-4 miles, you're overdressed.
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Old 02-11-12, 11:15 AM   #565
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come on, dont work as hard? Its normal to sweat, but as you say, the rain pants and jacket arent the best thing. I cross country ski and overdressing will always result in over sweating, so you just have to figure out for a given temp what layers to wear for a given output, and/or to take stuff off and/or put on when you begin to overheat or chill down when you stop. Its not rocket science, you just have to observe how a given set of layers work for a given temp.

But again, you are spot on that of course non breatheable layers are not the way to go in any winter activity.

every year whether its cycling in the fall or XC skiing, I always find I have to relearn what to wear for a given temp, but its easy, one ride or ski and you figure it out and adjust (and having a pannier is always a plus as you can have space to have extra stuff or to quickly stick a layer into it if overdressed.)
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Old 03-28-12, 08:12 PM   #566
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50 F - 10 mph wind .. gusts 26mph on and off rain

feet : wool sock and chuck taylor all stars, zimco thin booties
leg : levis , rain pants
upper: lightweight 1/4 zip poly turtleneck , rei shell
head : skull cap and helmet
hands : bare
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Old 11-09-12, 10:15 AM   #567
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34░ Clear skys
Head: Columbia Fleece Neck Gaiter Omni-Heat« and beany with Omni-heat, helmet
Body: poly t-shirt, long sleeve poly shirt, Performance full zipper winter jersey, wind breaker
Legs: Performance fleece lined winter tights, cycling undies with chamois
Feet: poly hiking liners, mid-weight wool hiking socks, Performance MTB shoes.
Hands: Pearl Izumi soft shell winter gloves.
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Old 11-09-12, 10:31 AM   #568
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I forgot about this thread!

-6C with a 30kph headwind. I dug out the jar of petroleum jelly this morning. At this temp and below I need to apply some to my cheeks and nose to prevent wind burn. A good headwind is enough to mess up an otherwise adequate clothing choice. The wind was getting through my gloves making the tips of my fingers cold.
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Old 11-09-12, 10:56 AM   #569
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Re headwinds and gloves. I have on old pair of mec outer mitts, thin goretex, made to have mitts inside. When its near 0c with wind, I throw these on top of my gloves and cutting the wind makes all the diff. Plus I can take them off easily or use thinner gloves if need be, like changing clothes layers.
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Old 11-09-12, 10:59 AM   #570
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It is still t-shirt weather here.



In that, a cotton t-shirt under my wool sweater that goes under my shell jacket is fine... legs have polar fleece pants under a windproof shell and am wearing my new winter boots for pretty much everything due to the high accumulation of snow we have now.

The boots were a great deal... bought them at the end of last winter at Mark's Work Wearhouse for $49.99 instead of $139.99 and they have a -30 rating without the added felt liners I added.

The traction on ice is wonderful which is good for walking and riding as when you put your foot down you want it to stick.



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Old 11-09-12, 12:30 PM   #571
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65, fun shot to include the shop as background.

yup, here Ive been riding around 0, but go figure, monday is going to be 15c....(mind you afew weeks back we had a friday of 21 so was out in shorts, you take em when they pop out of the woodwork doncha?)
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Old 11-09-12, 04:53 PM   #572
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first ride with wool felt insoles (reflective material on bottom) in my Sidi Diablo clipless boots.

what an incredible difference. got by with a single pair of thin wool socks at the same temp i used to wear thin polypro/thin wool/thick wool.
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Old 11-18-12, 12:39 AM   #573
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Icebreaker marino wool: socks, 200 g/m^2 base layer, 320 g/m^2 hoodie. I was freakin' toasty toasty the whole day outside.
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Old 11-18-12, 08:17 AM   #574
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Effective diy system for my feet with my spd mtn bike shoes:

At around 5c or so, my mtn bike shoes and MEC rain booties to cut the wind aren't warm enough, so one day I figured I just needed more insulation.
Took a fleece neckup, layed it on the top of my shoe before putting rain hottie on and voila warmer feet.

Would really have to use proper boots for colder temps but this, plus thick wool socks and keeping shoes loose is good for my one hour rides or less when I commute.
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Old 11-18-12, 04:59 PM   #575
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8║C and sunny today with a light breeze. I wore hiking shoes, wool socks, wool long underwear, bike shorts, mtn capris, long sleeve wool undershirt, Sporthill jersey, light gloves, and my helmet. I felt toasty warm all day.


@djb heh, I haven't read this thread in awhile. Yes, Sporthill makes some fine and fairly windproof gear. I keep an eye out in the spring for any Sporthill tops and pants that are on sale. They are definitely my favourite and pretty sturdy (which is necessary for me because I am cruel and sadistic to my gear).
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