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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 10-17-03, 08:34 AM   #1
cyclochica
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1 More question about layers

Can someone tell me if I am on the right track for this fall/winter (I live in the DC area):

For the cooler fall weather I am thinking of wearing a base layer shirt, a long sleeve jersey and knickers on my lunch time rides (temp in the 50's)

For winter rides (35 and above, no rain or snow) I am thinking of wearing a base layer, long sleeve jersey, tights, and dryline wicking winter jacket from Terry Bicycles.

I am only going to be riding for 45-90 minutes at a time. Of course I will have protection for my head, ears and hands, but I just need to know if I am on track for this year.

Thanks
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Old 10-17-03, 08:38 AM   #2
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You may need a windbreaker jacket or vest.
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Old 10-17-03, 08:40 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RonH
You may need a windbreaker jacket or vest also.
Stupid question, but when should I wear either of those? Is flannel ok for the vest? Instead of the dryline jacket could I just wear a heavy flannel pull over?
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Old 10-17-03, 08:54 AM   #4
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You might like to have some of the following on hand as well:

Thin nylon pants, to break the wind a little. Wind seems to go right through lycra tights.

A polyesther fleece pullover with a half zipper to use as a layer 2 piece between a coolmax or silk base layer and the nylon, gortex, etc shell. This will be helpful on the really cold days.

Neoprene (mostly) gloves. I use Nordic Skiing gloves. These are breathable and warm.

A thin silk or polyester balaclava to keep the ears warm.

A bandanna or silk hankerchief to tie around your neck. This helps get a good seal at the top of your jacket and keep the wind off your neck. It makes a huge difference.

Seal-Skinz neoprene socks. These keep the feet warm and mostly dry when not wearing winter boots.

A vented snowboard helmet instead of a bicycle helmet. These are designed for cold weather aerobic sports and seem to work better.

A large supply of spiced apple cider. Very nice after a long ride in the cold.

This is more than you really asked, but I hope it helps.

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Old 10-17-03, 08:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclochica
Is flannel ok for the vest?
PS: Avoid cotton at all costs. Flannel is cotton and cotton will stay wet and freeze and/or make you hugely miserable.

Choose polyester (coolmax, driclime, vapor-tek, etc), nylon, silk, acrylics, etc.

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Old 10-17-03, 08:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclochica
Stupid question, but when should I wear either of those? Is flannel ok for the vest? Instead of the dryline jacket could I just wear a heavy flannel pull over?
Sorry, can't help with the flannel question. I don't have any flannel clothing.

I wear a Sugoi "lightweight" windbreaker jacket when the temperature is below 60.
When I gets below 50 I just add more layers.
I have two fleece vests that work for me, plus base layer, arm warmers, L/S jerseys, tights, gloves. I haven't spent the $$ for a good winter cycling jacket yet. Maybe this year.

Just remember, if you're warm before you head outside you'll get too hot after riding for only a few minutes.
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Old 10-17-03, 09:08 AM   #7
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Thanks fellas, all this info helps and still lets me work within my budget.
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Old 10-17-03, 01:27 PM   #8
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Since this winter riding is new to me too, I can share what has worked so far, at least for me. I wear drymax T's I got at Wal*Mart for $5.00 a piece on clearance. Over that I wear a long sleeve cotton shirt. Over that I wear a gore-tex jacket. The jacket was the only real expense, and to this point has been the best investment I made. It has a mesh liner that keeps it away from the cotton shirt which inevitably get's wet but is kept away from my body by the dri-max shirt, the jacket also has a collar that can zip it up to my chin to keep my neck warm. I just throw on a pair of sweat pants over my bike shorts and can whip them off (the sweat pants not the bike shorts, for those in the gutter) if my legs get too warm. Hasn't happened yet, and in thinking about the jacket, I will probably get a pair of gore-tex or windbreaking pants. Found a pair of BMX (i think) style full finger gloves at a local bike shop on clearance, they appear to be neoprene with a leather palm, so they are comfy and block the wind, I have a pair of glove liners that work well inside them for when it gets really cold, but they block the wind very efficiently. Also got a skullcap and when the need arises, a balkalva (hope I spelled that right), but the hood on my jacket is large enough and adjustable that I can just put it over my head, draw the strings and put my helmet over top of that to keep my ears warm. Still working on my feet, which are always too warm anyway, so haven't become an issue yet.

The most important thing I have learned personally is that blocking the wind is the most important thing I can do to keep warm, hence the jacket, and most likely the pants I am considering. I am sure I can wear additional layers under the jacket, when it starts to get colder. I have been comfortable down to upper 30's lower 40's with this get up so far, and although I don't look like Joe Racer riding down the road, folks around here think I'm crazy being out in the cold anway.

That leaves me with a question, everyone is so down on cotton, and I can see not having it against your skin, but what is the problem otherwise? I do realize by the time I get home, my T-shirt is soaked, but it's away from my skin and has no negative effects on my warmth, (If anything it seems like it might almost be insulative!)? Can someone enlighten me on this part?

I dread going back on the trainer but have done many miles in years past on it but I miss not having scenery and obstacles to keep my attention, so my intention is to go as far into the winter as I can before my trainer days start. Now if only I didn't live in the snow-belt, I'd be all set!!

So what's the scoop on cotton???
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Old 10-17-03, 03:57 PM   #9
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I am sure I can wear additional layers under the jacket, when it starts to get colder. I have been comfortable down to upper 30's lower 40's with this get up so far, and although I don't look like Joe Racer riding down the road, folks around here think I'm crazy being out in the cold anway.
Is this your first year riding in the cold? It is mine so I am no expert. However I have ridden every day so far this year and have ridden in the 30's (upper) and 40's. I too have a Gore Tex jacket designed for cyling that I still haven't worn. I think it needs to be colder than that to require the Gore Tex jacket. The most I have worn is leg/arm warmers. I have worn nothing but a helmet on my head and cycling shoes on my feet.

The reason I make this point is because I think there needs to be a distinction made between cold and COLD. I presume that most advice given steering people away from cotton applies to temperatures below freezing. I have worn cotton over a wicking layer on 30 and 40 degree days with no problem. However I fully expect a different result when the temps sink into the 20's and below. Somebody please correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 10-17-03, 06:35 PM   #10
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[QUOTE=Ranger]Is this your first year riding in the cold? It is mine so I am no expert. However I have ridden every day so far this year and have ridden in the 30's (upper) and 40's. I too have a Gore Tex jacket designed for cyling that I still haven't worn. I think it needs to be colder than that to require the Gore Tex jacket. The most I have worn is leg/arm warmers. I have worn nothing but a helmet on my head and cycling shoes on my feet.


YES it is my first year in the cold, and it is not a lined jacket but more like a wind-shell, is yours insulated?? I had purcahsed a jacket with insulation and quickly came to the conclusion that it would be too warm this time of year and I would not get as much use out of it as the one I echanged it for. I'm figuring a couple layers under it and I would be fine for a few more degrees, and could add an insulated vest if necessary. The mesh which I am assuming is to keep it from sticking to your skin and or to keep an air layer between you and the fabric to prevent thermal transfer. I can certainly say that it has been cold enough for me to need, it as well as covering my head, when my ears started to go numb, as did my fingers the first time I whipped out the gloves.

Part of it may have to do with the fact that I ride between a river and a canal in a low lying valley, I have noticed a lot of "dew" forming not only on the jacket, but on my bike, rims, and any of the signs along the trail as well, and suspect moisture content in the air may have some effect.

BUT probably the biggest contributing factor is that I don't have time to ride in the day, so I have no sun hitting me to warm me up, which I suspect may be the difference between you and I. I would tend to agree with you on the jacket if I get out before sun down, but once the sun goes down it is a necessity as have been the hood and gloves. Keep in mind I don't have a thermometer, so I go by the temp usually at 6 when I go out, but there have been times I haven't left till 9, and you know what it's like once the sun goes down. I've only had ice on the windows of my van once so far, so I know of at least one time I was out below freezing dressed as I stated earlier. Last night was particularly interesting since a fog began forming over the trail. It was the strangest experience, and although I am no stranger to fog, last night it was hitting right about shoulder height, so I could see over it but not down through it to the trail. Very freaky experience since my lights were below or level with the fog, but my head and sight was above.

Sure hope someone fills us in on the cotton!! ;-)
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Old 10-17-03, 06:46 PM   #11
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We just had our first incidence of frost on windows today. We still have not had frost. My jacket is Gore Tex lined with pit zips. It is made by Performance. That is all I know. I just know how much heat I build up when I am riding and I know I am not ready for that yet.

I would also like to solicite some opinions on cotton as a mid layer.
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Old 10-17-03, 10:07 PM   #12
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One thing to keep in mind is if you have to stop to change a flat, or even if you ended up having to walk because of a breakdown, it might be a good idea to have something extra to put on. This is especially true if you've been sweating.

As someone said, they main thing is to stop the wind, so sometimes all you need is a windstopper vest under a fleece if you have a layer or two of insulation on your upper body.
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Old 10-18-03, 05:06 AM   #13
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Another forum poster, Michael, was kind enough to post a chart he had made for clothing vs temperature. It is very well done, and a great guide for selecting your cycling outfit. Although not everyone will make the same choices as Michael, the chart is a fine tool for considering your outfit. It ranges from 20 to 100

http://www.pjpress.com/michael/commutetemps.htm
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Old 10-21-03, 07:57 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
I would also like to solicite some opinions on cotton as a mid layer.
The main problem with cotton, even as a layer 2, is that it stays wet.

This is not so important for short trips, or point to point longer trips, where you can change clothes at the midpoint.

Wicking fabrics dry quickly. If you can vent in some drier air, then polyester will dry. In the same circumstances, if you vent dry cool air on cotton, you will just get chilled with no drying effect.

On trips where you are getting on and off the bike alot, you will walk around wet most of the time with cotton.

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Old 10-21-03, 08:09 AM   #15
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I agree on Ranger's "cold vs. COLD" -idea. I also think cotton is reasonable even in very cold weathers (-30C) as one layer, just do not wear it against your skin.

At 0C or above, in dry weather, you should be fine with 1-2 layers and a windproof outer layer and gloves. Add something to cover your ears if needed. And remember to carry something extra in case of a mechanical problem.

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Old 10-21-03, 09:43 AM   #16
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You guys have proven yet again that you are the best. I got most of my winter gear over the weekend and feel I will be handle my lunch time rides without freezing. Thanks again.
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Old 10-22-03, 11:38 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohio Trekker
That leaves me with a question, everyone is so down on cotton, and I can see not having it against your skin, but what is the problem otherwise? I do realize by the time I get home, my T-shirt is soaked, but it's away from my skin and has no negative effects on my warmth, (If anything it seems like it might almost be insulative!)? Can someone enlighten me on this part?


So what's the scoop on cotton???
On a long ride, wet cotton becomes very heavy and can get very cold. I was a big cotton fan last year, and didn't like polyester at all, but have found that the polyester works best at keeping you dry and warm. In colder temperature, at the start of the ride, you should feel a little cool, then warm up as you get going. The problem in cold weather is you start perspiring, then when things cool off ( due to wind change or change in effort) if you are wet you can get very cold, very fast. My problem all last winter was my feet - they'd be toasty warm at the start, sweaty shortly thereafter and then turn to iced bricks after 30 minutes of riding in the cold.

I found last winter that 2 layers of polyester (short sleeve bike jersey of soft fuzzy polyester + long sleeve polyester sweatshirt/or polyester fleece sweatshirt for very cold) under my Louis Garneau Spotlite jacket was all I need to stay warm once I got moving in temps of -15C, 5 F. The first few blocks of the ride could get a little chilly, though.

Last edited by pinerider; 10-22-03 at 11:46 AM.
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