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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 10-18-06, 08:23 PM   #1
Portis
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Do you sweat?

This is my 4th winter riding. I ride early AM when it is usually the day's low temps. I constantly read threads on here where people say that they are wet from sweat when they ride. That always puzzles me, because I never sweat in the winter. In fact I find it hard to see why others do.

I've posted some on this topic before and the first thing people do is accuse me of not riding hard enough. Maybe so, but I ride just as hard as i do in the summer and i can assure you that i sweat tons in the Summer. I usually average between 13 and 15 mph over a couple hours on unpaved dirt and gravel county roads on my mtb with 2" tires.

I don't kill myself but I'm not on a Sunday stroll either. Thing is, that it seems like you are dressed "cool" enough then sweating really shouldn't be possible. I NEVER really wear a mid layer or what is called an insulating layer. I wear a winter cycling jersey as a base layer that is basically like long underwear in thickness. Depending on the temp I might add a nylon unlined vest over that.

If it is freezing or above i wear only a very light pearl izumi jacket as a shell over that. Below freezing i just wear a goretex cycling jacket that still doesn't have insulation. So it seems like the people that are sweating might me wearing heavier midlayers than I. I guess i really don't wear a mid layer for that matter.

I like to dump heat quickly and having no thick layers on makes that possible.
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Old 10-18-06, 09:24 PM   #2
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I certainly sweat less in winter but I still sweat no matter what the temp. It it is above freezing and dry I wear a long sleeve jersey type shirt and shorts with thin gloves. I've always been a big sweater ... even where I was a in shape teenager. I wonder if it just varies greatly between individuals.
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Old 10-18-06, 09:44 PM   #3
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You probably do sweat, but since your body is not encased in a vapor proof shell it evaporates before acumulating. When I forget my shell and ride in the cold I arrive fairly dry, but know that I have sweated by my extreme thirst and, if I did not drink enough water, dehydrative induced mild headache. When I have my raingear on as a wind shell I sweat like a pig.
But then again, I am sweating just typing this post... I need a beer.
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Old 10-19-06, 12:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
This is my 4th winter riding. I ride early AM when it is usually the day's low temps. I constantly read threads on here where people say that they are wet from sweat when they ride. That always puzzles me, because I never sweat in the winter. In fact I find it hard to see why others do.
Each person is different. I sweat riding a bike across the street. Doesn't matter if I go at walking speed or do a sprint nor if it's winter, spring, summer or fall. Or if the temperature is 90 F or -5 F. If I start to exercise, I sweat...buckets! Personally, I find it hard to see why people don't sweat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
I've posted some on this topic before and the first thing people do is accuse me of not riding hard enough. Maybe so, but I ride just as hard as i do in the summer and i can assure you that i sweat tons in the Summer. I usually average between 13 and 15 mph over a couple hours on unpaved dirt and gravel county roads on my mtb with 2" tires.
I have a similar ride to and from work. I sweat slightly less on the way home because it's down hill but I still need a shower at the end of it. Even when I go to my other work assignment which is only 5 steep downhill miles from home, I'm soggy when I get there. Again, people are different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
I don't kill myself but I'm not on a Sunday stroll either. Thing is, that it seems like you are dressed "cool" enough then sweating really shouldn't be possible. I NEVER really wear a mid layer or what is called an insulating layer. I wear a winter cycling jersey as a base layer that is basically like long underwear in thickness. Depending on the temp I might add a nylon unlined vest over that.
If it works for you, that's great. But that may not be enough for others. I see people out riding in 40 F weather in shorts and can't for the life of me see how their knees function. Some people can ride in any weather as long as their hands are warm...I get by in even the coldest of weather with rather light gloves. Some people can ride with just a helmet...I have to have my ears covered. If my feet get cold, I'm done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
If it is freezing or above i wear only a very light pearl izumi jacket as a shell over that. Below freezing i just wear a goretex cycling jacket that still doesn't have insulation. So it seems like the people that are sweating might me wearing heavier midlayers than I. I guess i really don't wear a mid layer for that matter.

I like to dump heat quickly and having no thick layers on makes that possible.
You may like to dump heat quickly but be aware there is a risk there. Hypothermia happens when the body's core gets too cold to maintain function. Dumping heat quickly could lead to hypothermia in some situations. Better to keep the warm air trapped and be somewhat soggy then to lose it all and fall into that situation. Additionally, in some temperatures, dumping heat will cause the body to preserve core functions at the expense of the extremities. That can quickly lead to frostbite if the temperature is far below freezing.

I agree that you should start cold but don't be silly about it.
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Old 10-19-06, 01:20 PM   #5
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I sweat as much in the winter as summer, I think. After a good ride, my skin will be nice and dry, my outer layer will also be dry, but the second layer of clothing will be soaking wet.
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Old 10-19-06, 01:21 PM   #6
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I have a mile-long hill with 400+ ft elevation gain on my way home each day. If not for that, I could ride with minimal sweat.
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Old 10-19-06, 01:40 PM   #7
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I'm in Kansas and I always sweat in the winter when I ride.

I dunno what you're doing wrong.
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Old 10-19-06, 03:19 PM   #8
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yes. If my core isn't warm enough to perspire, then my limbs will freeze.
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Old 10-19-06, 03:22 PM   #9
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In the winter, I'm that guy you see waiting at lights literally smoking (and not just a bit) from the moist/heat that I generate. I get strange looks sometimes...

I think parts of it is based on how I dress (still experimenting), but I (like cyccomute) always sweat buckets as soon as I exercise.
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Old 10-19-06, 04:22 PM   #10
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Yes, I do ... a lot! But it's OK, because as I described in another post (One Hour Threshold), I've got a layering system that works very well for me to keep me warm and dry.

It's interesting ... the more fit I've become, the more I seem to sweat (summer and winter) ... not sure why.
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Old 10-19-06, 05:08 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by BenyBen
In the winter, I'm that guy you see waiting at lights literally smoking (and not just a bit) from the moist/heat that I generate. I get strange looks sometimes...

I think parts of it is based on how I dress (still experimenting), but I (like cyccomute) always sweat buckets as soon as I exercise.

+1

I went for a run with a neighbor the other day and afterwards we were standing near the curb talking and steam was coming off me like a nuclear reactor!
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Old 10-19-06, 05:15 PM   #12
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I get the sweat going up the hill and then it freezes to my chest going down. Lots of fun.
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Old 10-19-06, 05:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantoj
I have a mile-long hill with 400+ ft elevation gain on my way home each day. If not for that, I could ride with minimal sweat.

I'll agree with this. Granted Kansas is known for being flat. In fact most people who ride the BAK (bike across Kansas) comment on how wrong that ascertion is. Mix in the fact that it is the home of the windiest cities in the USA and you can find some resistance.

But it is pretty flat where i ride. There are a few good climbs on my routes but certainly nothing serious. I am experienced enough to know that climbing increases the heat in winter. In fact, I call hills "heaters" in my own mind. ("here comes a heater")

This is my 4th Winter of daily riding so I consider myself experienced and have never had hypothermia. To me, it seems a greater threat to be wet. I also will mention that I am in pretty good shape. I'm 6'2" and 150 lbs. I've riddden over 15,000 miles on roads like these in the last 3 years, and many more on my road bike.

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Old 10-19-06, 06:53 PM   #14
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Everything I've read about how the body works while exercising is that the more you sweat, the more efficient your body is at cooling itself. There are some people that don't have the same amount of sweat glands as the average person and because of this, they can't handle as much high aerobic activity as it will bring on heat exaustion or at the worst, heat stroke.
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Old 10-19-06, 06:59 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by barba
I get the sweat going up the hill and then it freezes to my chest going down. Lots of fun.

That must loads of fun
In the past -- I'm talking years ago, the TDF riders used to stuff their jerseys w/ newspaper on the downhills to keep themselves warm. I heard that was also good for aerodynamics
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Old 10-19-06, 07:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by woody_1029
That must loads of fun
In the past -- I'm talking years ago, the TDF riders used to stuff their jerseys w/ newspaper on the downhills to keep themselves warm. I heard that was also good for aerodynamics
That was the good ol days. Now they stuff themselves with all sorts of performance drugs.
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Old 10-19-06, 07:13 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by woody_1029
That must loads of fun
In the past -- I'm talking years ago, the TDF riders used to stuff their jerseys w/ newspaper on the downhills to keep themselves warm. I heard that was also good for aerodynamics

I actually still use that trick. It works fairly well. Oldies but goodies.
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Old 10-19-06, 07:29 PM   #18
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That was the good ol days. Now they stuff themselves with all sorts of performance drugs.
Some vintage doping
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Old 10-20-06, 08:28 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by woody_1029
That must loads of fun
In the past -- I'm talking years ago, the TDF riders used to stuff their jerseys w/ newspaper on the downhills to keep themselves warm. I heard that was also good for aerodynamics
I actually saw a rider in one of the spring classics (or was it the Giro) put a piece of what looked like paper down the front of his jersey just after cresting a mountain on a cool day. I don't think the newspaper stuff is that old.
If its warm enough that I can wear only fleece type layers without a windproof layer then I arrive at work mostly dry. However as it gets colder it gets harder and harder to get the number of layers just right so that I do not get cold extremities and I do not sweat. Below freezing I find it more comfortable to wear a windproof layer and deal with some sweat. I tend to underdress because my commute is only 40 mins of sprinting from light to light but still I almost always arrive at least a little wet.
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Old 10-23-06, 12:01 PM   #20
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In my experience, people vary greatly in the amount they sweat. My wife recently ran a marathon and only got a bit damp. I would've been dripping. (I also drink twice as much as she does. I know sweating and drinking are connected, but I'm not sure which one is the causal factor.)
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Old 10-23-06, 12:54 PM   #21
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Based on my lengthy experience, the heavier the layers, the more you sweat. Like i mentioned, i don't really sweat, at least not enough to have "wet" clothing. If i start to feel myself sweating, i start unzipping or take stuff off. I don't like the notion of having wet clothes on my body when it is 0F outside.

I have one midweight cycling jersey which would be classified as HEAVY for me, probably most would classify it as midweight. I have to be very careful, when i wear it because it is usually too hot. Just the other day i wore just it and a lightweight Pearl Izumi jacket. Temp was 27F. I was nice and toasty for most of the ride, but there were times where i was borderline too hot.

I think the answer to my own question is: (not necessarily in this order)

1. Everyone is different, some sweat more than others.

2. Depends on the number of hills you have to climb.

3. Depends on how heavy your clothes are. Anything cosidered mid weight is often too hot for me. I prefer a thin insulating base layer, a nylon unlined vest, and a shell. (gore tex shell for extreme cold)
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Old 10-23-06, 01:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
Based on my lengthy experience, the heavier the layers, the more you sweat. Like i mentioned, i don't really sweat, at least not enough to have "wet" clothing. If i start to feel myself sweating, i start unzipping or take stuff off. I don't like the notion of having wet clothes on my body when it is 0F outside.
When you have passed your 10th year of winter cycling, come back and talk to us about your lengthy experience.

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Originally Posted by Portis
I have one midweight cycling jersey which would be classified as HEAVY for me, probably most would classify it as midweight. I have to be very careful, when i wear it because it is usually too hot. Just the other day i wore just it and a lightweight Pearl Izumi jacket. Temp was 27F. I was nice and toasty for most of the ride, but there were times where i was borderline too hot.
I did a ride two rides this weekend. Saturday the temperature was 40 to 45 F and was a mountain bike ride. Dressed in a cycling jersey, shorts, tights, wool socks, a thin long sleeve jersey and an outer unlined jacket light long fingered gloves and an ear warmer, I was not overdressed at all. Started damned cold and stayed that way all day. But I was sweaty as hell all day long.

Sunday the temperature was 45 to 55 F on a road ride. Dressed in a jersy, shorts, tights, and the outer jacket, I started cold and stayed cold. I was again sweaty all day long.

Each person is different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
I think the answer to my own question is: (not necessarily in this order)

1. Everyone is different, some sweat more than others.
Yes. But you are starting to come off as being superior to the rest of us because you don't sweat as much. Here's a clue: Everybody is different. Not better. Not less fit. Just different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
2. Depends on the number of hills you have to climb.
Nope. Flat. Road. Mountain. On road. Off-road. Fast. Slow. Carrying a load. Or bopping down to the local malt shoppe. You name it and I'll sweat getting there. Some people do. Some people don't.

Everybody is different. Not better. Just different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Portis
3. Depends on how heavy your clothes are. Anything cosidered mid weight is often too hot for me. I prefer a thin insulating base layer, a nylon unlined vest, and a shell. (gore tex shell for extreme cold)
Nope. Depends on the person. The man makes the cloths, not vice versa. Your system works for you. It might not work for anyone else. Everybody is different.
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Old 10-23-06, 01:27 PM   #23
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there are many rides where i swear i'm not sweating at all, but when i smell my clothes afterward...guess what? they stink. so, i'm sweating more than i realize.

i wear wind breaker style pants over normal cycling shorts in the winter. this tends to make my legs sweat quite a bit and usually my shorts are pretty damp with sweat when i take them off after the ride. i just never notice any sweat on my exposed skin (usually just my face).
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Old 10-23-06, 03:15 PM   #24
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there are many rides where i swear i'm not sweating at all, but when i smell my clothes afterward...guess what? they stink. so, i'm sweating more than i realize.
That's me too. Remember that the wicking cloths dry pretty fast.
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Old 10-23-06, 03:21 PM   #25
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psychocommute,

I don't think I have ever been in a thread where you weren't being argumentative. What's up with that?
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