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  1. #1
    Mad scientist w/a wrench
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    Gearing up for first winter as a cyclecommuter

    This morning it was 60f and reality blew right through my lycra, although after I got going body-heat made things a bit more bearable.

    my question is, what am I looking at for my first kit of winter-gear?

    I figure I need a pair of cycling pants, a long-sleeve jersey, full fingered gloves and a balaclava.

    I also had a thought that getting a black helmet w/o many holes would be a good idea (less heat loss and a little solar energy absorbtion) has anyone noticed an effect from this?

    my questions are 1) do i need some kind of baselayer beneath the jersey/tights (and what's a good cheap option for this) I was thinking underarmor.
    2) what's a good price for full leggings and a longsleeve jersey?

    winter for the record, usually dips down to about 15f at the worst
    Proudly wearing kit that doesn't match my frame color (or itself) since 2006.

  2. #2
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    The sticky "Winter clothing guide" has quite a bit of info you would find interesting.

    At 15F I am wearing:

    Head:
    Skull cap and a helmet. I do not need a balaclava (sp?) until somewhere around 5F. I have a bit of a high cold tolerance.

    Torso:
    Nike Dri fit wicking base layer
    poly long john from target ($15)
    Jersey
    Maybe one other poly layer.
    J&G cycling jacket

    Legs:
    cycling shorts
    performance tights
    wind pants

    Feet:
    cycling socks
    wool socks
    cycling shoes

    This year I plan on adding several under armour shirts for wicking, wool shirts, another pair of tights, and possibly several more long john tops. If I manage to find a bit of money under my pillow, I may change to more of a form fitted jacket and a closer fitting pair of wind pants.

    Answer to questions:
    1) I do not use a baselayer for my legs. The cycling shorts and tights accomplish the same thing.
    My baselayer Nike Dri Fit shirt costs $30 at espn shop. Under armour should also work.
    2) I believe my tights costed somewhere around $30 at performance. A regular jersey costs me somewhere from $30-$80.

  3. #3
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    In April, temps were typically in the 20s and 30s here. In that range, I found the following really comfortable:

    top:
    poly thermal top w/ zip
    lightweight jacket or breathable raingear w/ vents

    bottom:
    cycling shorts
    fleece tights

    feet:
    SmartWool socks
    cycling shoes

    hands:
    fleece gloves and/or wool glove liners

    head:
    fleece earband (cap if you have little or no hair)
    older helmet w/ low vent count (but still need some)

    put raingear, neoprene overboots, and shell gloves on if it gets really wet.

    I found that overdressing is more uncomfortable than less, especially on the body. Hands, feet, and ears need protection, but the body generates a lot of heat after a few miles, so too much clothing makes you clam up. If you feel you need more, do lots of light, easily-removable layers as you will need to adjust throught the ride. Avoid sweat!
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  4. #4
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    I commuted EVERY day by bike last winter. When the weather was below 50*F I wore the same items EVERY DAY. One set. Lake winter shoes, Bell Metro helmet (with all the winter goodies), and REI Mistral softshell pants.

    I varied the rest (layers, jackets, etc.) depending on the needs that day. Expensive kit? You bet. Worth every damn dime too.
    Mike
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  5. #5
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron
    I commuted EVERY day by bike last winter. When the weather was below 50*F I wore the same items EVERY DAY. One set. Lake winter shoes, Bell Metro helmet (with all the winter goodies), and REI Mistral softshell pants.

    I varied the rest (layers, jackets, etc.) depending on the needs that day. Expensive kit? You bet. Worth every damn dime too.
    Love those shoes! I've been considering the mistral pants, there are some on the clearance rack for $70 right now.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  6. #6
    Sensible shoes. CastIron's Avatar
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    The pants are kinda funny. Really stretchy softshell wtuff without the fuzzy lining. They aren't waterproof but take a pretty good hit of rain or slop and then only 'sweat' through. Breathe great, though.
    Mike
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    It looks silly when you have quotes from other forum members in your signature. Nobody on this forum is that funny.
    Quote Originally Posted by cedricbosch View Post
    Why am I in your signature.

  7. #7
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    You need a gradation of clothing for colder conditions.
    You dont need a seperate base layer with a jersey, most are polyester wicking fabrics. Use a base layer wicking T shirt if you need the insulation. Sometimes 2 layers of jersey is just the right amount of wind proofing.
    Get a non waterproof, ultralight windpoof jacket or smock. They are eay to carry and very effective. Maintaine featherlight is a nice example.
    I have never ridden in conditions cold enough for a balaclava, this would be below -10C. A neckwarmer tube is probably more versatile.

  8. #8
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CastIron
    The pants are kinda funny. Really stretchy softshell wtuff without the fuzzy lining. They aren't waterproof but take a pretty good hit of rain or slop and then only 'sweat' through. Breathe great, though.
    I pulled the trigger and picked up the last pair of Mistral pants and jacket in my size. The fit is nice and close on the top for layering under raingear, and the pants have a good cut for cycling. Good deal at $100 for the jacket and $70 for the pants vs $139 and $100 for this year's (identical) model.

    I plan on this being my outer layer for all but the coldest and/or wettest of conditions, and will probably ski (xc) in it, too. Thanks for the feedback on them. I'll have to make due with overboots and good socks on my current Lake shoes unless I can find those sweet boots 1/2 off!
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  9. #9
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelW
    You need a gradation of clothing for colder conditions.
    .
    +1

    There are two ways to go (depending on your winter climate of course).

    1) Gear up in wool, which if you dont buy at a second hand stores is expensive. If it gets wet it wont be dry for your ride home. Since it doesnt wick as well as some synthetics, it tends to get moist. Its main advantages is the 'feel good' factor, and most importantly, it has a LARGE temperature in which it is comfortable. Also, if it does get wet, its still warm.

    2) Synthetics. Much narrower temperature range of comfort, dries before your ride home when wet, not as nice feeling against the skin. Some people itch, even with the merino woll varieties. less bulky when layered.


    I use a combination of both wool/synthetics depending on temps.

    From hot to cold I dress as listed below

    Jersey - short sleeves
    Jersey - long sleeves
    Jersey short + ultralight shell (Sugoi Viper)
    Jersey long + ultralight shell
    base layer + long jersey + shell
    jersey + softshell Jacket (Ibex Neve Jacket)
    wool base + jersey + ibex jacket

    Rain : Ibex Jacket if light rain, Showerspass Elite if pouring.

    All it takes is a few items, and you can mix/match them over a wide range of temps.
    Synthetic is cheaper, dries fast, wicks well, but you need more pieces to cover the full temp range.
    Wool is more expensive per piece, but you need less pieces.

    Edit: oh, and underarmor is NOT a cheap base layer. I have a couple of their 'metal' long sleeve tops and a 'cold gear' top. The cold gear is utter crap, the metal ones are so so. For the price they charge, you can get much better base layers. My favorite base layer is a powertech silkweight longsleeve tops. Inexpensive, wicks better than anythign i;'ve ever used, and dries in no time at work. http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1155951444576
    Last edited by Jarery; 08-18-06 at 07:39 PM.
    Jarery

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  10. #10
    Banned.
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    The stickies at the top of this forum are very imformative and pretty much cover everything. I suggest you read them thoroughly and then report back.

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