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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 08-04-06, 08:16 PM   #1
oldokie
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How to keep face warm?

What do you wear to keep your face warm in low temps?
I know it seems strange to talk about that when temps are currently in the 100's but I am shopping for winter clothing so I am not scrambling for it at the last minute.
I assume some type of mask like a ski mask would work but they are too bulky to use under a helmet. What products are on the market that people typically use?
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Old 08-04-06, 08:24 PM   #2
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I use "el cheapo" dollar store bandanas--one as a neck gaiter and the other across my mouth and nose until I warm up. They seem to work all the way down into the teens-F.
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Old 08-04-06, 08:31 PM   #3
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See my sig. (ice, ice baby)

Wearing a balaclava (or two) and an earband. Temp was -3F. Cellphone froze up and quit but my face was warm.
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Old 08-05-06, 12:06 AM   #4
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You can also take a page from the skiers and snowboarders...

Wear ski goggles (which covers a significant portion of your face), and wrap your lower face in a scarf or bandana.

The ski goggles actually look quite cool when clipped to a Pro-Tec style helmet.
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Old 08-05-06, 05:50 AM   #5
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I wear a neoprene face mask I used these in mid state Ohio down to the -10 range and the face stayed warm.

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Old 08-05-06, 09:13 AM   #6
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Nashbar balaclava, fits like cycling shorts for layering, can be pulled over your nose or just the chin, and fits under a helmet. Lots of other cool-weather goodies on sale there, too. I just got a big order of winter clothing from there.
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Old 08-05-06, 07:38 PM   #7
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Thanks all. I have seen the balaclava in ad's but I was not sure how they would effect breathing or ice forming around your mouth area since they don't have a mouth opening. I like the ski mask approach. I wore one some years ago while skiing and forgot about that approach. If I dig deep enough, I might be able to find my old ski mask.
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Old 08-06-06, 01:28 PM   #8
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I cut air holes in my balaclava, it works great. Otherwise it iced up from the steam of my breath and NO AIR would move in or out. Almost suffercated. Live and learn! Mine is Mountain Hardwear from REI.
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Old 08-06-06, 01:43 PM   #9
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Pearl Izumi balaclava

A Pearl Isumi microsensor balaclava got me through last winter in NYC. A few days got down to -20F with wind chill. The fabric is thin and breathable yet warm enough so it never ices. It takes about 5 minutes of riding before the whole thing heats up and stays comfortable, though a bit wet.

The price might seem high compared to a bandana but it's worth it when the wind chill gets real low. And feel free to ignore the silly looking glases in the picture linked above, those are optional
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Old 08-06-06, 02:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MudSplattered
I cut air holes in my balaclava, it works great. Otherwise it iced up from the steam of my breath and NO AIR would move in or out. Almost suffercated. Live and learn! Mine is Mountain Hardwear from REI.
When you live in a climate cold enough to have icing problems consider a device used by people who work in commercial deep freezes. Under baklavas beneath their heavy hooded jackets they wear soft rubber nose and mouth masks (like dust masks) with copper mesh pads to breath through. Exhaled breath warms the copper sponge and water in the breath condenses in that sponge. Bitterly cold and dry air flows back in over the copper sponge being warmed and humidified. Back in Denver I found that two layers of baklavas worked down to 0 degrees F. Below that I used the re-breather for my 6 mile commute.
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Old 08-07-06, 06:26 AM   #11
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My wife made me a turtle fur out of some left over fleece and elastic she had. (Wraps up the neck, and can be pulled up above the nose) it lets in wind but keeps the face warm anyway, breathes well, and keeps rainy slushy water out (important in my part of ohio). I have a thin but warm wool took (sp?) that I wear under my helmet and can pull down below my eyebrows to keep the upper face warm.

In the coldest weather I start the ride with the turtle fur pulled up to just below the eyes and the hat pulled down to just above. About 2 miles in I stop and take the hat off, throughout the ride I adjust the turtle fur up and down as needed.
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Old 08-09-06, 10:03 AM   #12
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Try Mountain Headwear. Thin neoprene balaclava that fits nicely under a helmet. I noticed that it is pretty easy to overheat in winter. Having a place for the heat to escape works well, even if it is your face. After a couple of kilometers (Winnipeg, Canada) you really do warm up.
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Old 08-09-06, 10:47 AM   #13
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Grow a beard.
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Old 08-09-06, 09:03 PM   #14
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Grow a beard.
One of the strangest items I've ever seen was a jar of beard antifreeze that my (bearded) dad uses on winter commutes.
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Old 08-13-06, 12:21 PM   #15
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I have stuff called "Warm Skin" also. It's like a thick lotion that is supposed to keep your skin warm. I don't think it works well in cold temps, it's sort of lick putting vasiline on your face but not as greasy. I think it helps "protect" agains windburn and chapped skin, but as something to keep you skin warm, doesnt work for me. Maybe it's along the same line of beard anit-freeze. I'm a girl, growing a beard is not in the cards (fortunately -
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Old 08-13-06, 01:19 PM   #16
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Go faster. Eventually, the friction of molecules in the air against your skin will generate heat.

That's why they need all the heat shielding on the space shuttle.
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Old 08-13-06, 02:21 PM   #17
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I never commuted when it was really cold, but a polypro balaclava worked well enough for me, and it was thin enough to fit under a helmet.
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Old 08-13-06, 03:42 PM   #18
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A balaclava keeps my face warm in the winter.
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Old 08-13-06, 05:33 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ken cummings
When you live in a climate cold enough to have icing problems consider a device used by people who work in commercial deep freezes. Under baklavas beneath their heavy hooded jackets they wear soft rubber nose and mouth masks (like dust masks) with copper mesh pads to breath through. Exhaled breath warms the copper sponge and water in the breath condenses in that sponge. Bitterly cold and dry air flows back in over the copper sponge being warmed and humidified. Back in Denver I found that two layers of baklavas worked down to 0 degrees F. Below that I used the re-breather for my 6 mile commute.
Any idea where these could be found in smaller quantities for personal use? I know of one other winter commuter who would be interested, but couldn't do a box of 100, for instance.
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Old 08-14-06, 11:16 AM   #20
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My DH MTB riding full-face and goggles, combined with a neoprene lower face mask.


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Old 08-14-06, 11:41 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legot73
Any idea where these could be found in smaller quantities for personal use? I know of one other winter commuter who would be interested, but couldn't do a box of 100, for instance.

I've been using the psolar HX under helmet balaclava for very cold days last winter. Check out
http://www.psolar.com/id5.html
If I had to buy it again, I'd probably get the regular balaclava, since a vented helmet lets the air in, and can be cold. I adjusted to that problem by putting a cover on the helmet.

It's surprising how well this works though, but it's only really necessary for very low tempeatures, or when you have the coughs. Oh, and the "heat sponge" can be removed easily, which makes it suitable warmer temps as well.
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Old 08-18-06, 03:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I've been using the psolar HX under helmet balaclava for very cold days last winter. Check out
http://www.psolar.com/id5.html
If I had to buy it again, I'd probably get the regular balaclava, since a vented helmet lets the air in, and can be cold. I adjusted to that problem by putting a cover on the helmet.

It's surprising how well this works though, but it's only really necessary for very low tempeatures, or when you have the coughs. Oh, and the "heat sponge" can be removed easily, which makes it suitable warmer temps as well.
Thanks for the review. I already got a Nashbar balaclava, but I'll probably get the fleece model you mentioned once a friend of ours starts at a new Cabellas with his discount. Glad to hear it works well, that cold air really dries me out and makes my lungs hurt.
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Old 08-21-06, 11:16 AM   #23
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I'm somewhat of a winter cycling veteran, entering my 4th winter of daily riding in all sorts of conditions. Keep in mind that the biggest problem with winter cycling is dressing in a manner that you are warm but able to quickly dissipate heat. Your body will generate a tremendous amount of heat if you have any sort of a cadence at all.

If you click the "what i wore" sticky you will see that on most of my rides i wear only a lightweight balaclava. I even noted on a few rides where i tried a heavier balaclava, yet found it too uncomfortable and had to remove it during the ride.

What you need is a lightly brushed inner layer on the balaclava, nothing heavy! Remember the key is to be able to dump tons of heat. Generating heat is not a problem unless you are dead.
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Old 08-27-06, 05:32 AM   #24
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Don't forget the Dermatone or something similiar.

http://www.dermatone.com/tins.htm
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Old 08-28-06, 06:28 AM   #25
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What you need is a lightly brushed inner layer on the balaclava, nothing heavy! Remember the key is to be able to dump tons of heat. Generating heat is not a problem unless you are dead.
That's the problem I've found. If you are dressed right you'll be downright uncomfortable for the first 1/2-3/4 miles, after that, as long as you keep moving, you'll be fine. That's what makes winter cycle commuting difficult for me, it's not cold while you are doing it, it is just that it is really cold when you first leave the house. Well that and it is dark like far side of the moon dark.
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