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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 09-15-07, 08:23 AM   #1
EdT
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staying dry while sweating

So yesterday morning was lovely cool & dry, the first cool morning of the year, about 50 degrees. I head out for 60 miles with a little more clothing on than normal. Long sleave polypro shirt under a gortex shell/windbreaker. I was comfortable enough. After sunrise, it warmed up and I shed the shell, but it was completely saturated around my waist.

So I'm thinking maybe the shell doesn't breath as well as all that after all. Or maybe that's just what happens on long rides in cool weather. You sweat and your clothing gets completely drenched.

Any advice for staying dry (relatively) in cool weather cycling?

Thanks
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Old 09-15-07, 09:30 AM   #2
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Goretex is not what one wants to wear if you dont like getting wet from sweat. If its dry and cold a softshell is much better. If its wet and cold, or dry and real cold something from event is much better.

As you can see from articles below, goretex has been surpassed in the breathability department. Event material has its limits also, its just noticably better than goretex.

http://www.climbers-shop.com/Waterproofs.aspx

http://www.spokesmanreview.com/sport....asp?ID=193267

http://www.prolitegear.com/cgi-bin/p...xdpy/kb/00029/

For 50 degrees and dry, id be wearing several layers under a cycling nylon windbreaker.
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Old 09-15-07, 11:37 AM   #3
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Gortex is a permeable membrane that allows moisture to pass when the humidity inside the garment is greater than the humidity outside. This means that you will become damp when riding in the rain, which is better than being soaking wet. If you start to sweat, unbutton the garment. This is why jackets and coats with buttons, zippers, even pit zips are a good thing. At 50 degrees and dry, you don't need anything - you will start cold but aarm up in a few miles.

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Old 09-15-07, 06:17 PM   #4
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I think that Goretex is great but not breathable enough for heavy riding at warmer temps. For 50 degrees I think it works better just to wear a thick long sleeve jersey and a more breathable light windbreaker.

In fact, any kind of shell that has good windbreaking properties can't breath well enough to dissipate the vapor your body creates from sweating fast enough so it is a fine balance to find out what works for you. It is better to start out the ride with the shell/windbreaker in your back jersey pocket and only put it on if necessary to stay warm. It is better to keep the body as highly breathable as you can.

The thing is the cycling jacket is very versatile when it gets below 45 F degrees or so but for warmer temps it's better to have a heavy weight long sleeve cycling jersey as it's the only good solution for 50-60 degree temperature range.

Last edited by Hezz; 09-21-07 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 09-17-07, 07:01 AM   #5
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I humbly suggest that at 50 you don't need anything more than a long sleeve jersey. Maybe a short sleeve or sleeveless wicking baselayer if you're not used to cycling in these sort of temps...but definitely not a Goretex shell. Polypro jersey should be fine, polyester might even wick better (depending on design) though it won't be as warm if it does get wet. Merino wool is also nice for 50.

The fundamental rule of thumb for cool (and cold) weather riding is that you should not be "comfortable enough" when you start riding; you want to be a little cold, to the point where you almost feel like you should go back inside and throw on another layer. Don't do it. Go ride. In 4 or 5 miles you'll be more than comfortable enough, and you'll be really grateful that you don't have any extra layers. If you're warm enough within the first mile or two of cycling, you're dressed too warmly for cycling.
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Old 09-17-07, 08:03 AM   #6
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Any advice for staying dry (relatively) in cool weather cycling?
The answer is to stay cool when riding.

This was my biggest challenge last year. A lifetime of "bundle up" messages had to be overcome. It took me until towards the end of February before I could finally ignore all that advice and ride cool.

Follow Bob's "fundamental rule" above and you'll be okay.

Everyone's different, of course, but for me, I'd switch to long sleeves in the 50s, add a light windbreaker and full-finger gloves in the 40s, add tights or long pants in the 30s, add a fleece and windstopper gloves in the 20s, longjohns in the teens and a sweatshirt in the single digits.
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Old 09-17-07, 11:12 AM   #7
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You should restrict your gortex use to riding in the rain or when you are feeling cold. For cooler dry conditions try some of the following strategies:
Use an lightweight windproof shell that is NOT waterproof (carry the gortex for rain)
Wear 2 jersies to provide some wind baffle.
Cover up other parts of your body , eg full leggings.
I use all of these. On some rides I wear leggings and a short-sleeved jersy, sometimes shorts and a windproof smock.

In winter I give up on gortex altogether and use a winter grade "softshell".
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Old 09-18-07, 08:44 PM   #8
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I humbly suggest that at 50 you don't need anything more than a long sleeve jersey. Maybe a short sleeve or sleeveless wicking baselayer if you're not used to cycling in these sort of temps...but definitely not a Goretex shell. Polypro jersey should be fine, polyester might even wick better (depending on design) though it won't be as warm if it does get wet. Merino wool is also nice for 50.

The fundamental rule of thumb for cool (and cold) weather riding is that you should not be "comfortable enough" when you start riding; you want to be a little cold, to the point where you almost feel like you should go back inside and throw on another layer. Don't do it. Go ride. In 4 or 5 miles you'll be more than comfortable enough, and you'll be really grateful that you don't have any extra layers. If you're warm enough within the first mile or two of cycling, you're dressed too warmly for cycling.
I prefer to be warm for the first 4 or 5 miles, then stop and peel off a layer.
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Old 09-18-07, 08:52 PM   #9
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I would suggest wearing a vest with a mesh back in lieu of a shell and arm warmers. After about 10 minutes at 50 deg. you'll probably want to remove some of the extra items anyway

P.S. Why stop and peel? Just remove 'em while riding.
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Old 09-19-07, 07:44 PM   #10
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I prefer to be warm for the first 4 or 5 miles, then stop and peel off a layer.
And that's fine for San Diego. But when the temps drop towards freezing and below, that's a perfect recipe for hypothermia.

In places where we have real winter, as opposed to a bit of a chill, it's best to stay on the cool side right from the get-go to avoid getting sweaty in the first place. The combo platter of sweat and cold can be a killer--literally.
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Old 09-19-07, 07:53 PM   #11
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And that's fine for San Diego. But when the temps drop towards freezing and below, that's a perfect recipe for hypothermia.

In places where we have real winter, as opposed to a bit of a chill, it's best to stay on the cool side right from the get-go to avoid getting sweaty in the first place. The combo platter of sweat and cold can be a killer--literally.
I'll totally defer to you on that one. I have NO experience in biking in freezing temps.
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Old 09-20-07, 05:23 PM   #12
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I have been extremely impressed with my rain/cool weather jacket. It is supposed to be waterproof-breathable, and does reasonably well for that, but the features I find most impressive are the long pit-zips and the vented back. My pit zips go right from my elbow to my waist, and there is an opening across the entire back (it is covered with a flap so water doesn't get it if it is raining).

I can ride in temps between about -10C (with some layers underneath) to about +20C in that jacket and still be comfortable.

As for being wet around the waist, that's the most likely place you'll be wet because that's where the most layers are.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:21 AM   #13
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Pit zips are a great way to regulate temperature. I even had them put on the soft shell I ordered from Beyond.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:36 AM   #14
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interesting articles on eVent material. i didn't know about it. i'm a winter mountain hiker/snowshoer and have not been too impressed with Goretex.
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Old 09-21-07, 11:28 AM   #15
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Chances are if you are sweating much at all, you have dressed too warmly. I hardly ever sweat in the winter.
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Old 09-21-07, 11:47 AM   #16
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Chances are if you are sweating much at all, you have dressed too warmly. I hardly ever sweat in the winter.
i don't think that applies to most. i run all winter and even with just a thin baselayer and wind shell in 20 degree layer i sweat. that can hardly be considered over dressing because if i stop for just a minute i chill.

isn't the idea to sweat at least some while working out?
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Old 09-21-07, 05:16 PM   #17
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Chances are if you are sweating much at all, you have dressed too warmly. I hardly ever sweat in the winter.
Lately I seem to suddenly sweat completely without warning and no matter what I'm wearing. I walked 2 kms to class the other day, at 7 am, when the temp was about 4C in a long-sleeved T-shirt and jeans (no jacket of any sort) because I was dripping. And I don't think wearing less would have helped.

I have a terrible time guessing what will work and what won't. One day 4 layers of clothing is just comfortable, or perhaps I'm even a bit too cool. The next day, under the same conditions, 2 layers of clothing is way too hot.
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Old 09-21-07, 09:04 PM   #18
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Edt,

When it comes to riding in cooler temperatures, 50 degrees in the early fall should be about the easiest to get right. THe ground is not frozen and cold so you don't really need that much on. The danger is putting on too much because you feel cold not being used to these temps yet.

If you are working hard you are going to sweat even if it is cold. But in really cold weather you just have to slow down so as not to sweat too much as it can be dangerous if your not prepared. I have found nothing that works 100 percent in cold weather (0 - 30F) for a hard ride. Except I have found a way to stay warm but when I get home I am soaked. If I had worn so little as to not been sweating I would have been extremely cold and uncomfortable.

The thing is that if your dressed right you will be warm but not overheated even if you are somewhat wet from sweat.

Bottom line is that you have to have a bunch of different cycling clothing choices to experiment with and use for varying conditions.

Your overall conditioning level and age and genetics will determine how much you sweat while riding.

Last edited by Hezz; 09-21-07 at 09:26 PM.
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Old 09-28-07, 09:13 PM   #19
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I have been experimenting with this all week 50ish in the mornings.

Novare Conversion jacket from REI that converts from jacket to vest, does not breathe too well. Returned it. If it had pit zips it would be better.

Northface Windwall 1 Jacket also from REI. I bought it for non-bike use; it is black. This thing breaths great, keeps me warmer than the bike specific conversion jacket and I could wear it off the bike. Although it is not the most visible jacket for cycling, it is a keeper.
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Old 09-28-07, 09:25 PM   #20
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Goretex can allow water vapor to permeate. But, what you never read, is exactly how easily water vapor can go through. Just a little? A lot? I read one guy's quote "Reality check: It's more like a sheet of plastic".

Anyway, if it's dry, no reason to have goretex on at all. If you start exerting yourself, you maybe able to ride nude and still sweat. (In the past, I've found myself sweating profusely while snowshoeing uphil, although not in the buff...but that probably wouldn't have made a lot of difference.) Start off too-cool, take extra stuff just in case, maybe the goretex in case it rains.
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Old 10-01-07, 07:18 PM   #21
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Above 40 f. I wear a very light cover of wicking fabric. If it's very rainy I'll wear a pancho. Anything more invites sweat. The less you can wear over the heat generating areas of your body, the more sweat you'll evaporate off.
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