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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 11-30-07, 04:14 PM   #1
madfiNch
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Keeping your face warm and dry

I wear a thin balaclava, which seems to be plenty warm so far (5-10 degrees, down to -20 windchill). The problem is that within 10 minutes my face is soaked from my breathing. Eventually, this gets uncomfortable, so I pull the balaclava down. Today it was so cold that the balaclava froze into a bunch under my chin and I couldn't (while riding with big ski mittens on) get it back on my face. Is there a way to keep your face warm and dry at the same time? Thanks.
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Old 11-30-07, 04:17 PM   #2
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If there is, it's news to me. You're simply putting out too much moisture.
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Old 11-30-07, 06:43 PM   #3
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I use this, but only when it is real cold, like this morning (-18C/0F)


Seems to work ok so long as you don't start hyperventilating.
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Old 11-30-07, 07:33 PM   #4
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Who is that masked man?
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Old 11-30-07, 07:39 PM   #5
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A full clear see-thru bubble like motorcyclits use?
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Old 11-30-07, 07:55 PM   #6
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I use a balaclava and a scarf and it seems to minimize moisture if I breathe through my nose more.
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Old 11-30-07, 09:06 PM   #7
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I wear a thin balaclava, which seems to be plenty warm so far (5-10 degrees, down to -20 windchill). The problem is that within 10 minutes my face is soaked from my breathing. Eventually, this gets uncomfortable, so I pull the balaclava down. Today it was so cold that the balaclava froze into a bunch under my chin and I couldn't (while riding with big ski mittens on) get it back on my face. Is there a way to keep your face warm and dry at the same time? Thanks.
Last year someone posted about using the same type of face mask as shown above and a 'snorkling mouthpiece/tube' rig and having it be surprisingly effective. There's, also a website w/full balaclava/mask combos made out of neoprene w/vents on either side to dissipate air/vapor. I remember a vent opens to allow air to be pulled in and as you breathe out it closes and forces the air out of the side vents. I've lost the website address, though. Check in the commuting section on BF and also http://www.icebike.com as I may have seen it in one of those two places. Sorry, not to be able to be more help.
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Old 12-01-07, 09:35 AM   #8
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I like the fleece neck warmers that are sold for skiing. I have a patagonia one, super thin, but warm enough. Very easy to pull up or down too, since it's not too tight. I went for a ride yesterday with a balaclava, and I didn't like it too much. I couldn't breath through it, so I pulled it down, and it was tight around my neck. I think I'm sticking with the neck warmer.
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Old 12-01-07, 10:34 PM   #9
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Once I'm warm enough to be uncomfortable with a balaclava, my face is warm enough to be uncovered.
Same with my hands... if I am generating enough heat to have my hands on the edge of perspiring, I peel those neoprenes off.

Alot of staying warm in winter is knowing when to vent instead of sweat.
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Old 12-01-07, 11:32 PM   #10
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I ride with my balaclava or neck gaiter positioned right under my mouth. That way, it doesn't freeze up from my breath, and my neck is still protected ... I hate it when cold air goes down my neck. However, the exposed part of my face can take the cold.
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Old 12-02-07, 12:01 AM   #11
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I want something like this:



Anything on the market do basically the same thing? I'm going to try to make one when I get my balaclava.
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Old 12-02-07, 08:52 AM   #12
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Matchka's right about keeping our face clear. As soon as you have something over your nose or mouth, it gets wet, then it freezes up and then it's horribly uncomfortable. Get something a balaclava pulled to chin level, and an extra scarf round your neck, or an extra headband on top of the balaclava if you are still cold. I suppose the next stage is a helmet cover, but I've not tried that one yet. Fear it would trap the moisture.
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Old 12-02-07, 09:01 AM   #13
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Respirators for particles or vapors are like that. Not sure how effective it would be for cycling, but you can review them at almost any paint or hardware store. Normal construction on the lower cost models will be some sort of flap valve out of thin hard plastic or with an elastomeric disc of some kind. You'd still have moisture condensing on the outflow, but it would be outside your balaclava. Keep in mind respirators do place a slight drag on your respiratory system, and in the industrial world the user must have a respiratory test showing the respirator will not cause harm prior to using. Then again, since you just want flow control, you could probably run without any cartridge or filter, so the drag would be minimal. The fit can be quite comfortable in my experience . . . maybe I'll give it a try now that you mention it.

Like some of the others, today, I just pull my balaclave down far enough that my nose is exposed, and breathing through your nose lets you keep more of your face covered, but it takes some discipline in the beginning to keep your mouth shut while convincing your brain you're getting enough oxygen while everything warms up to operating temp. Nose-only breathing has a benefit of pre-warming the air a little more so your lungs stay warm too.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:25 PM   #14
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This seems to work well. I still struggle on the steady climbs.

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but it takes some discipline in the beginning to keep your mouth shut while convincing your brain you're getting enough oxygen while everything warms up to operating temp. Nose-only breathing has a benefit of pre-warming the air a little more so your lungs stay warm too.
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Old 12-02-07, 01:27 PM   #15
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Matchka's right about keeping our face clear. As soon as you have something over your nose or mouth, it gets wet, then it freezes up and then it's horribly uncomfortable. Get something a balaclava pulled to chin level, and an extra scarf round your neck, or an extra headband on top of the balaclava if you are still cold. I suppose the next stage is a helmet cover, but I've not tried that one yet. Fear it would trap the moisture.
I start wearing a helmet cover consistently around 0C ... it doesn't trap moisture but does help keep my head a little bit warmer. Even on warm days when I wear it in the rain, it's fine.

So, on really cold rides I wear a thin but fairly large (to cover quite a bit of my head) headband, then my thin cycling balaclava goes on over top and hooks under my chin, then my neck gaiter goes on (I hate scarves!) and rests just under my mouth, then my helmet which has a helmet cover on it. I can pull the neck gaiter up over my mouth if I want, and will do that on occasion if it is quite windy, but I don't pull it tight over my mouth, there's a gap at the top so my breath can escape. I never pull it over my nose.

And that setup seems to work down to some bitterly cold temps.
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Old 12-10-07, 03:12 PM   #16
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I found this post late, but have an answer to it that works for me...

I could not stand to try to breathe in through my balaclava, so I put it on where I normally wear it and cut a small mouth hole about the size of a nickel. Now I can breathe easier, and just blow the humid air out through it. This has worked very well for keeping it from freezing up. The hole is small enough that I can close it with my lips (sounds funny while typing that) to warm up the incoming air a little bit, or breathe in through my nose if necessary.

Now what to do about the snot... LOL! (TMI??)

The fabric has not frayed on it either- it is a LG.
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Old 12-10-07, 03:37 PM   #17
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I use the lightweight balaclava (sometimes 2 of them when really cold) then i use ear bands to cover the rest of my face except for the eyes. There is a natural opening created where the nose protrudes from the head. I breathe through that opening.

My mouth doesn't really touch anything yet it is still protected behind the bottom ear band.

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Old 12-10-07, 03:44 PM   #18
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I want something like this:



Anything on the market do basically the same thing? I'm going to try to make one when I get my balaclava.
http://www.psolar.com
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Old 12-11-07, 05:15 AM   #19
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I reckon you are after some of these: http://www.respro.com/urbancommuting_cycling.php
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Old 12-11-07, 03:34 PM   #20
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cut a hole in front of your mouth. I put a hole in mine about the size of a quarter right in front of my mouth. I just blow through it. so far good to 0 degrees F.
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