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  1. #1
    Bike Commuter
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    What to wear for raining Winter Riding/Commuting

    I live in the San Francisco Bay area and the temps usually don't get below 20 degrees F very often. I bought my road bike this June (after turning 50) and ready enjoy the 26 mile round trip commute each day. I would like to keep riding during the winter and am curious about what others wear in rain with temps between 20 - 50 degrees.

  2. #2
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    This will be my first Wisconsin winter commuting, but I spent most of April and May in the conditions you describe. I found that breathable (relative) raingear with cycling shorts and jersey/t-shirt was ideal. Long sleeve jersey for the colder temps. Overboots for the shoes and wool glove liners for the hands. I now have waterproof/breathable overgloves, which should keep my hands warm AND dry.

    If its not raining, I don't like raingear since I end up sweating in it. For 20-50, I find that a combo of long sleeve jersey/base layer, 100 weight fleece tights, and a lightweight wind jacket work great. Again, the wool glove liners or thinner fleece are ideal as they take the sting away, but don't let your hands get hot.

    In those temp ranges, I wore either an earband and/or my helmet. SmartWool hiking socks also do well in this range.

    A few things to keep in mind in colder temps:
    1) Its easy to overdress. The first few miles of your ride should be cold so you're comfortable for the remainder.
    2) Same temps, different folks. You may run hot or cold relative to other's experiences.
    3) Even though its cold, you'll be more comfortable in breathable items than water/wind proof items when you don't really need them.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Torso - Long Sleeve base layer, thin and snug. underarmor type works, silkweight powerdry tops are my favorite base layer. Then a regular long sleeve jersey. Finally a showerspass elite rain jacket.

    Legs - Tights with windproof front, spandex back.

    Head - beanie and a waterproof helmet cover.

    Above works great in pouring rain from freezing to about high 50's for me. For the first 5-10 min im freezing my ass off, then im perfect temp for next hour till I hit work.
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  4. #4
    Bike Commuter
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    Additional questions

    Thanks Legot73 and Jarery,

    The information is very helpful. As for shoes, do you use regular cycling shoes, or winter shoes. I use Mountain bike clipless since the bottoms are less slick. The top of the shoes are like a net for airflow to keep feet cool. Do I need to get another pair for colder/raining weather? Winter cycling boots? Shoe covers/spats? If new shoes, do they have to be over sized to get thicker or two pairs of socks?

    For the base layer, do you recommend long sleeve since I will have a long sleeve Jersey over it?

    Legot73, Can you tell me what the Maker and possbily the name of the over gloves you have. I search Google for the information to get a better idea of what I am looking for and then search for the best price available.

    Jarery, Can you tell me what the Maker and possbily the name of the windproof front, spandex back tights you have and are tights worn over cycling shorts or do they have their own chamios?

  5. #5
    Senior Member Jarery's Avatar
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    Gloves - I use an inexpensive windbreakerer glove. Not waterproof. Hands get wet, but stay warm, and dont sweat to death. Failry quick drying.

    http://www.bbbparts.com/products/bik...ndbreaker.html

    Feet - I use shimano sandals, with a wool sock covered with a goretex sock (sealskinz). On real cold days I also wore a sugoi resister bootie over the whole mess.

    Legs - mec brand tights, worn over regular cycling shorts.

    http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1156813012202
    Jarery

    -If you cant see it from space, its not a real hill
    -If two bikes are going in the same direction, ITS A RACE!

  6. #6
    duh-river foe
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    For feet, I use an old, stretched-out pair of MTB shoes with neoprene socks over regular wool socks. Neoprene overshoes don't work with MTB shoes and they're a pain to deal with when mucky. I use the NRS titanium waterproof socks because I found the lining on the sealskinz doesn't work as well over another set of socks, they're designed to be worn on their own. This system works well for the sort of wet, sloppy misery you get right around the freezing point.

  7. #7
    meep! legot73's Avatar
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    The overgloves I got for this winter are Manzela lobster mitts from Nashbar. I haven't spent a winter with them yet, but have used Gore Windstopper fabric for skiing and other cold weather activities and been happy with it. I like this fabric because your hands don't get clammy from sweat, but it cuts the wind well enough to keep the cold off. These can layer over a light fleece glove or liner for really cold weather.

    My plan is to use my Lake MX 160 mountain bike shoe with a waterproof sock and/or SmartWool socks, adding neoprene overboots if its really wet. I'm going to use "campus" pedals with an SPD clip on one side, platform on the other so I have the option of winter boots, as well.
    Nothing says "in good times and in bad" like a good pair of fenders

  8. #8
    Senior Member inja's Avatar
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    Start Cold

    Legot has it right...
    I use the same thinking when hiking/backpacking...
    If you feel comfortable before you start - you are dressed too warm, and will soon overheat.
    generally, start your ride feeling a little chilly and you'll feel better when you're riding.
    A lot of people stress staying warm and ignore overheating issues in the winter.

    The areas that will be coldest are your extremities (toes/fingers).
    I will often be sweating like a dog and my toes and fingers will be numb with cold...
    don't hesitate to stop and drop or add and adjust (vent) layers as you acclimatize.

    Layers, layers, layers = adaptability and comfortability.

    Think:
    Base Layer - tight fitting and wicking material.
    Mid Layer - insulation - loose and lofty.
    Outer Layer - shell - breathable wind rain/snow protection.

    Oh yeah - did someone mention...WOOL ROCKS!!!

  9. #9
    Senior Member inja's Avatar
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    Check out the Bellwether Windfront tights. No padding...wear shorts underneath.


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