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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 12-13-05, 07:08 PM   #1
winston
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Breathing in extreme cold

Sometimes, on very cold and windy days, I occasionally have trouble breathing. When a gust of cold, cold air hits me in the face, I find that sometimes my throat just won't open up -- I think there's some sort of reflex that causes this. Anyway, I've done some riding with a balaclava or fleece scarf, but I find that these can restrict the airflow and prevent me from getting enough oxygen. They also tend to direct the air up into my face, fogging my glasses.

How do you deal with breathing in extreme cold?
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Old 12-13-05, 07:31 PM   #2
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I use a very loosely tied, wide, wool scarf. Wide, enough so that it has to get to and/or over my nose if only tied once around the neck in the back. Ideally, though, I tie it so that both ends are hanging around my front and tucked underneath the front layer (added layers for the core that is getting hit by the wind), and, once around the mouth. I wish I had a camera, I'd show it with a photo. Start with the center of the scarf at the mouth, take the right tail and wind it around behind and to the left front, take the left tail and wind it around to the right front.

If you tie it loosely enough, the wind will be blocked and create a sort of warm air pocket from the exhale, and you don't feel constricted. Also, as the moist exhale accumulates on the wool, you don't feel that moisture, therefore you don't freeze. And as, you warm up, you can just pull it down from your face.

Don't use fleece; it doesn't block the wind. Never use cotton. At the most, a 75% wool/25% acrylic is ok, but, no more acrylic than this.

Good luck!
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Old 12-13-05, 07:38 PM   #3
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I found a balaclava last year at Canadian Tire that has a fleece nose and mouth piece with perferations
covering the mouth and an opening to allow you to breath at your nostrils. Works great and really helps
with fogging problems. It's light weight and allows you to put a skullcap on over top.Heavier versions
can be found with a neoprene covering, not very comfortable as Rudolph would say.
p.s. the front of the nose and mouth part has a thin layer of neoprene and is comfortable
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Old 12-13-05, 08:34 PM   #4
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I use a Polar Wrap ST/Sport with Moderate Efficiency Module that provides increased air flow and a lower degree of warming. This module is recommended when the wearer is in cold temperatures and is physically active and generating body heat. The only problem is my Uvex Supersonic goggles fog up sometimes when winter biking so I just remove the goggles and switch to a balaclava and North Face sunglasses.

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Old 12-13-05, 09:40 PM   #5
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Last cold ride was -26C and I found trying to breath through the nose was a hardship. But the mouth was not the greatest, as the old throat was drying out severely. Best result for myself was to stop twice during 30 minute ride and use some kleenex that I brought along. This let me breath through the big ol schnose well enough.Stopping was a drag but breathing seemed to demand priority !!

At that temp it seemed i was pedalling at a steady rate not overly exuberant. Therefore not needing to breath at excessive rates.
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Old 12-13-05, 10:08 PM   #6
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www.psolar.com
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Old 12-14-05, 09:53 AM   #7
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I find the Pearl Izumi Microsensor Balaclava works great to about -10 (F) then I wear a Leather Scarf over it.
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Old 12-14-05, 11:48 AM   #8
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Man, that psolar balaclava sure looks funny, but it looks like it's designed to solve exactly the issue I have...

My current balaclava is made by Sugoi and looks like that Pearl Izumi one, and I have some trouble breathing with it when riding hard.

I think I'll try the loose wool scarf trick first and then if that doesn't work, I'll try the psolar balaclava.
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