First Winter (southeast)
Hello all. I'm looking forward to my first winter of riding. I live in South Carolina where the winters aren't very harsh. I'm kind of at a loss to what I should order. I have arm/knee warmers, a base layer shirt, a cold weather skull cap, and some wool socks in the shopping cart. Is this a good starting point? Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Sounds like a decent start. Whats your winter weather like? Lots of rain/ice/snow? Each calls for different solutions. If your expecting ice you'll want to consider studs, if your expecting lots of rain, you'll want your top layer to be waterproof. Are you expecting mostly 30ish degree weather or 20ish, or 10ish? As it gets colder, you'll just want more layers. Also, how long is the commute? If it's 2 miles, proper gear is a lot less important than if its 20 miles.
Also, gloves, just make sure that you're still comfortable with shifting/braking, while wearing them.
Hi. I believe the coldest is around 25 or so. During the peak of winter it's usually around 30-35. I don't ride in the rain, so that's not an issue. I ride anywhere from 10-45 miles, but I'm going to start taking longer trips.
If your not planning on riding in inclement weather, and 25 as a general coldest day, then just make sure you have warm layers that won't interfere with riding (baggy pant legs)
At 30, I'm fine with this: Wind proof winter jacket(with fleece liner), full finger biking gloves with cotton glove liners, shorts, 1 pair of pajama pants, 1 pair of wind/rain pants, biking shoes and a decent pair of socks.
Colder than 20, I add a thick shirt and another pair of pajama pants and switch to proper winter gloves, warmer than 35 I lose the rain pants, the glove liners, and the jacket lining, so it's just a thick wind breaker.
The one other issue you'll have to watch out for is your glasses fogging up. A drop of dish soap spread over the inside/outside of the lens works great, as well as a product called 'cat crap' that you can get off of Amazon.
I'd say for the shorter rides (10 miles) layer up to the minimum of what you think you'll need, that way if your wrong it's not to long of a ride, and for the longer rides, take 1 extra layer with you in case your wrong, so you can put it on if you get to cold.
Fenders will keep road spray off your clothes and bike and are pretty essential in a damp winter.
Windproofing is the first priority, get a decent windproof-only jacket with very light insulation (or none), a drop tail, high collar and well sealed cuffs
Breathable waterproofs are never breathable enough and using them for every ride wil wear them out sooner.
Soft shells are useful, they handle light rain well without being plastic-bag waterproof.
For 10min rides you can use a cotton T shirt, these dont handle sweat very well and can be dangerous on longer exposed rides but I use them around town without a problem. Wicking T shirts are better and merino wool the best.
Tights, athletic tracksters or windproof hiking pants work on the legs. Keep lightweight water-resistant overpants handy for occasional rain or colder biting winds.
A neckwarmer-tube will seal your neck opening, it is small and light and very effective extra insulation. You will need full gloves.
Midlayer insulation can be anything handy, I use woollen knitted jumpers.