Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    bike-bus commute in winter

    Greetings,
    New to winter commuting here. Thought maybe some of you could help me figure out the right stuff to wear. Here are the details/ challenges specific to my commute: I ride in the AM in temps about 30-40 degrees. Humidity is high; there's lots of fog and/or rain most days. The bike portion is a little over 4 miles, and then I catch a bus. I sit on the bus for 20 minutes, and then get off and walk to my workplace. It's a very short walk, but pretty brutal, because after sweating on my bike and sitting on the bus, my body temp. is so low I am shivering as soon as I hit the cold air of the outside again.

    Any suggestions? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Mocha,

    This is my suggestion. Take it for what it's worth and test it and see if it works for you.

    Since your commute is short I think you could try and do it fast and dirty. Meaning that you don't need much insulation on your body while riding. Since rain and humid foggy air seem to be the biggest problems you may be tempted to wear water proof rain gear. Carry this with you in case of a torrential rain but don't put it on in normal circumstances like a light rain or fog.

    It is unclear to me wether you are cold on the bus from not wearing enough or from sweating too much on a cold bus. Either way you need to get the clothing right or you will be miserable. If the bus is heated you should not be cold on the bus. If you are it is because you have not had adequate protection from the cold and elements on your ride. Or you are wearing cotton which is a no, no. I would stay away from wool in these conditions also. Since you want to dry out as quickly as possible. You don't need much insulation while riding a bike but you need wind resistance and breathability and adequate insulation for the ride intensity and temperature.

    I would do this for 30 - 40 degree temps for a short fast ride. Wear a single long sleeve warm cycling jersey or snug fitting medium weight polarfleece runners jacket as a shirt, and a regular pair of riding shorts underneath some very breathable but wind resistant cycling pants and jacket. You want to feel a little bit cool during the ride but not cold.
    If at any time during the ride you feel really cold on the outer layers of your muscles you are not wearing enough insulation. You should just feel a lightly cool sensation which will pass as you warm up.

    This will help to moderate your sweating to some degree. A suggested combo is a pair of REI Novara headwind pants and Gore Balance jacket.

    Get a gore tex helmet cover to help keep your head warm without overheating. They are cheap and very useful because if your too hot you can take it off in seconds. Keep your hands and feet warm. Feet shouldn't be to hard to keep warm for this short of a ride.

    Next, carry a polarguard or primaloft or down jacket in a small pack on your back or in a stuff sack on your rack with your rain gear. This serves two useful functions for winter commuting. The first is obvious. The jacket will also be very useful to you for everyday body temp management.

    When you get on the bus take off everything that you can to cool off. If you are freezing when you get on the bus your clothing is not right. You should be warm except maybe a bit cold on the very surface of your skin. Remove your jacket and helmet. And unzip your jersey as far as you dare to help cool off faster. If you have good breathable cycling wear you will be reasonably dry in about 20 minutes as long as you don't wear cotton or wool stuff. IF you have worn cotton underneath a waterproof jacket you will be soaked and cold and yur shirt will be acting as an air conditioner. This will make you really cold!!!!

    Just before getting off the bus while you are still warm (assuming everything was right before this time) trade your cycling jacket for the down or polyester filled jacket to keep your body from taking a chill. You may also want to have a lightweight pair of nylon pants to put over your breathable cycling pants to cut the wind on your walk. This won't add much weight to your gear bag or pack.

    I would also put on a very thin synthetic hat or scull cap to keep your head from chilling to fast. Or use the hood of the jacket if so equipped. It is normal to feel chilled when your body is adapting to these big temperture changes but this will help a great deal.

    Take off the warm down or synthetic jacket as soon as your inside and continue to cool off until you are ready to clean up and/or go to work.
    Last edited by Hezz; 10-30-06 at 09:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Wow, thanks for all your help, Hezz! I am printing your response and will use it to put together a great commuting outfit for winter!

    Mocha

  4. #4
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Denver, CO
    My Bikes
    Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
    Posts
    15,312
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    It is unclear to me wether you are cold on the bus from not wearing enough or from sweating too much on a cold bus. Either way you need to get the clothing right or you will be miserable. If the bus is heated you should not be cold on the bus. If you are it is because you have not had adequate protection from the cold and elements on your ride. Or you are wearing cotton which is a no, no. I would stay away from wool in these conditions also. Since you want to dry out as quickly as possible. You don't need much insulation while riding a bike but you need wind resistance and breathability and adequate insulation for the ride intensity and temperature.
    I would suspect that the problem has more to do with getting overheaded - and damp - on the bus because it is heated. You may be dressing too warmly when you leave your house. Try to dress a little lighter so as you build up heat along the way, you get to a comfortable but not hot riding temperature.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    I would do this for 30 - 40 degree temps for a short fast ride. Wear a single long sleeve warm cycling jersey or snug fitting medium weight polarfleece runners jacket as a shirt, and a regular pair of riding shorts underneath some very breathable but wind resistant cycling pants and jacket. You want to feel a little bit cool during the ride but not cold.
    If at any time during the ride you feel really cold on the outer layers of your muscles you are not wearing enough insulation. You should just feel a lightly cool sensation which will pass as you warm up.

    This will help to moderate your sweating to some degree. A suggested combo is a pair of REI Novara headwind pants and Gore Balance jacket.
    I'd suggest against a wind resistant pant. Go with regular tights. Your thigh muscles generate a lot of heat because of the exercise and seldom need too much insulation. Some thing like the Pearl Izumi thermafleece tights offer good protection without being overly hot. For 30 to 40 F, I'd suggest bike shorts, a short sleeve jersey, a light long sleeve jersey over that, a pair of cycling tights and a wind resistant jacket. The Gore jackets are a little too hot in my experience, unless you are riding in rain.

    The fleece jacket would be overkill and probably too hot once you got to the bus, plus they can be a bit bulky to pack. If you need more insulation, go with another lighter layer - like another long sleeve jersey.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    Get a gore tex helmet cover to help keep your head warm without overheating. They are cheap and very useful because if your too hot you can take it off in seconds. Keep your hands and feet warm. Feet shouldn't be to hard to keep warm for this short of a ride.
    You lose a lot of heat through your head and here is a place to take advantage of it. Rather then something that covers the entire head, just cover your ears (my most vulnerable part ) with an ear warmer. Leave the top of your head uncovered and allow some of that heat to escape. I'll agree that you need to keep your hands and feet warm. If you have well vented shoes look for something that is warmer and fits looser than you would normally ride in. Use thicker socks they you normally would and shoe covers if your feet get too cold. Hezz is right that you shouldn't have too much problem with this short of a ride.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    Next, carry a polarguard or primaloft or down jacket in a small pack on your back or in a stuff sack on your rack with your rain gear. This serves two useful functions for winter commuting. The first is obvious. The jacket will also be very useful to you for everyday body temp management.
    Rather than this kind of jacket, perhaps a light fleece jacket would be better (I know I spoke against it above, but it might have it's place here). Think light multiple layers rather than one large insulating layer

    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    When you get on the bus take off everything that you can to cool off. If you are freezing when you get on the bus your clothing is not right. You should be warm except maybe a bit cold on the very surface of your skin. Remove your jacket and helmet. And unzip your jersey as far as you dare to help cool off faster. If you have good breathable cycling wear you will be reasonably dry in about 20 minutes as long as you don't wear cotton or wool stuff. IF you have worn cotton underneath a waterproof jacket you will be soaked and cold and yur shirt will be acting as an air conditioner. This will make you really cold!!!!
    Here I fully agree and I think this is where your problem is. You get on the bus and it's warm. You are warm but you might feel chilled. You sit there in all your clothes and continue to sweat. Now you are damp and once you get off the bus, the cold seeps right through. Cotton would be bad but wool will actual keep you warm even when wet. Wool is expensive and other bicycle clothing is almost as good so, depending on your budget, choose accordingly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    Just before getting off the bus while you are still warm (assuming everything was right before this time) trade your cycling jacket for the down or polyester filled jacket to keep your body from taking a chill. You may also want to have a lightweight pair of nylon pants to put over your breathable cycling pants to cut the wind on your walk. This won't add much weight to your gear bag or pack.

    I would also put on a very thin synthetic hat or scull cap to keep your head from chilling to fast. Or use the hood of the jacket if so equipped. It is normal to feel chilled when your body is adapting to these big temperture changes but this will help a great deal.

    Take off the warm down or synthetic jacket as soon as your inside and continue to cool off until you are ready to clean up and/or go to work.
    This is where I'd throw on a light fleece jacket over all the bike stuff. Make sure it's thin. If your legs get cold on your walk, certainly put on a pair of wind pants at this point, or ride your bike the rest of the way. That'll get your temperature up...or at least get it over with quicker
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    1,628
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Well Mocha,

    I hope our different approaches haven't confused you. The truth is that everyone is somewhat different in what they need for insulation and wind resistance and what they like for comfort. But hopfully these responses can give you a starting point for experimentation.

    Just remember:

    Breathability
    Wind resistance in cold weather and
    Wicking, quick drying synthetic insulation.

    They don't necessarily have to be bike specific but the biking stuff usually works the best and costs a bit more.

    Once you get your cold weather cycling clothing close to dialed in you will always be reasonably comfortable. Good luck on your commute and be safe.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Denver, CO
    My Bikes
    Some silver ones, a black one, a red one, an orange one and a couple of titanium ones
    Posts
    15,312
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by Hezz
    Well Mocha,

    I hope our different approaches haven't confused you. The truth is that everyone is somewhat different in what they need for insulation and wind resistance and what they like for comfort. But hopfully these responses can give you a starting point for experimentation.

    Just remember:

    Breathability
    Wind resistance in cold weather and
    Wicking, quick drying synthetic insulation.

    They don't necessarily have to be bike specific but the biking stuff usually works the best and costs a bit more.

    Once you get your cold weather cycling clothing close to dialed in you will always be reasonably comfortable. Good luck on your commute and be safe.
    I certainly agree. I'll add that bicycle specific clothing also last forever. I have wool jerseys from the 80's (Disco ready! ) that are still going strong. Over the long haul that makes them pretty cheap.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
    Picking the Scablands. Washington and Oregon, 2005. Pie and spiders on the Columbia River!
    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
    An Good Ol' Fashion Appalachian Butt Whoopin'.

  7. #7
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    3
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hi, thanks to both of you!

    I am keeping your thoughts in mind as I try new combinations and methods. I think I was wearing too many layers before; now I am down to either a short-sleeve or long sleeve t (polyester) and a polyester layer over that (or my very waterproof Helly Hanson jacket, which is not breathable at all but it's all I have...). When I wear a little less on the ride, a little more at the bus stop, a little less on the bus, and a little more on the walk I seem to come out warmer. (That's a lot of clothes changing... LOL... but it's the beauty of layering I guess).

    For my legs, right now all I have is one pair of running tights/ pants and something waterproof to pull on over it if the rain gets bad. I don't have any padded cycling shorts at all! But I will get some.

    Thanks for your help. Your input really has made a difference in my commuting the last few days, and that even as the weather has made a turn for the worse!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •