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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 09-08-08, 03:34 PM   #1
Square & Compas
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Hi, first post & I'm a virgin winter time rider.

Hello, I just joined, this is my first post here. I am also a virgin winter time rider & have some questions. Can anyone help?

I have ridden in cool weather, but never anything below 45 degrees.

I have learned on my own that layering is the key. It is better to have too much on & shed layers then not have enough & need additional layers.

I live in the mid-west. So winters here get pretty cold. I will ride until there is snow & ice on the ground or until it is too cold. Right now I do not know what too cold is. I suppose it will be the limit of my cold weather riding gear.

What I normally wear in warm weather is always synthetic material that pulls moisture away from skin. Usually a performance type t shirt or bike jersey & performance type undershort with a loose fitting short over that. I plan on using my normal riding apparel as my base layer for cold weather riding. My biggest concern is keeping my core area warm enough. To me that is from betwen my knees to my neck.

Starting with my head here is what I have & up to how many layers:

Head: Under Armour Hood & bike helmet, 2 layres total.

Chest & arms: bike jersey, poly-pro long sleeve shirt, moisture wicking fleece jacket, moisture wicking, breathable, waterproof wind break jacket, up to 4 layers on my chest & back & 3 on my arms.

Legs: Base layer undershort, poly-pro long long pant, loose fitting over short, moisture wicking, water proof, breathable wind break long pant. Up to 4 layers between my waist & knees & 2 layers from my knees to ankles.

Feet: regular bike socks, wind proof over socks & bike shoes. Up to 3 layers.

Hands: Neoprene gloves. I also have a lighter weight DeFeet brand long finger gloves as well.

I will only wear all this at one time if I need to. It is just a list of what I have right now to start with before I buy anymore. I have a limited budget & can not afford high dollar items.

One of my concerns is my legs. I am not sure if just the poly-pro long pants & the wind reak pants will be enough to keep me warm once the temps. start dipping down to 35 degrees & below. Granted my legs are moving which means more circulation & blood flow & that will help my legs stay warm.

They type of riding I will be doing is commuting to & from work. Only about 3.5 miles one way.

Here is where I need your help. What can you recommed to keep myself warm & comfortable while commuting this winter? Am I off to a good start? What else may I want to use or what should I maybe change?

Thank you.
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Old 09-08-08, 04:37 PM   #2
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Long time winter rider here in temps down to -20C and below. Good on ya for givin' winter riding a go, I ride everyday regardless of the weather.

Couple things, in the winter extremities are just as important to keep warm as the core. Frozen toes/fingers can lead to disaster. Your 3.5 miler makes this not so dangerous as a farther distance but the principles apply. So make sure the extremities are warm too. Keep in mind the possibility of a breakdown in the cold that requires you to walk/wait for ..... pack accordingly. I keep an extra core layer in my bag all winter just-in-case. Once stopped , that exertion heat will quickly vanish, and sweat in your clothing will freeze, so be wary of over heating....use your pitzips and such to regulate the heat.

In the -10C-ish and lower I use snowboarding gloves, can't go wrong accept for wearing them when it's too warm out. Your neoprene glove will only get you to so cold then you need something better.

Lets go from the head down:

The hood will over heat you quickly unless it's freezing outside, a cold weather cap with ear covers and your helmet outta do it. Looked at the UA stuff a combination/mixup of the beanie and the neck gator should do you from fall til spring I would think. Being able to cover the air holes isn't a must for all but occasionally I need to when cold.

Eye protection is a must!!!! Frozen eyeballs, snowblindness, and salt in the eye. Depending on conditions differing lenses if you can swing it. I even have ski goggles for those I-can't-effin'-believe-you-rode-in-today!!!!! days

Chest and arms... put the fleece jacket in your bag as backup if your outer shell is awesome, I use a jersey, tight thin poly long john,, and my shell for most of the winter, I'll add maybe a track jacket in the c-c-cold. Maaaaybe a fleece jacket in the OMG-it's-cold temps under the shell.

Legs, shorts, poly john, I have a sport rain/wind jogging pant that suffices almost all winter in the dry. In the slop I have gortex pants with top to bottom side zips. Never underestimate winter's ability to soak you and make you damned miserable... water proof is the way to go sometimes. Experimenting with your combination is the ticket. I've stripped down to the shorts in -10 to add the polyjohns I didn't wear b/c I now have a differing wind. I only carry the gortex if I am expecting nastiness. Can't see you needing the loose short.

Feet, Get thee some shoe covers, snow and slush will make you miserable in no time with your setup. Nothing you have is waterproof. DO NOT SCRIMP!!! Cold wet feet halfway due to slush will make you wish you had stayed home, and putting on wet shoes and such to go home is the worst. I finally broke down and bought winter specific cycling boots.Gaerne Eskimos.. never been happier, my toes never knew there was a winter last year. But seriously find a waterproof something for your feet. My shoe covers work but only to a certain point, these boots are the ****, totally warm and waterproof. Leave the tootsies room to breath, don't wrap em up in too too much they need an air space in the footwear.

polypro long johns and wind/rain pants will do an incredible job as long as your feet are dry. You'll only need more in the most extreme weather.

Sounds like you are pretty well prepared overall, again experimenting is the key. That and having fun with it.

Look for Miska I believe her user is .. super incredible cold weather rider. She's got the 411 on all gear.

Good Luck and enjoy!!!
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Old 09-08-08, 08:10 PM   #3
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Traffic Jammer, thank you very much for the advice. I do not know if I mentioned it or it was missed. But I am not going to ride at all if it is snowing, or if there is snow, ice, slush, etc on the ground. I am only going to ride when it is dry. Keeping dry from precipitation is not going to be a problem. Keeping warm in the 20 degree temps. is the main issue.
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Old 09-08-08, 08:22 PM   #4
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Fair enough to dry riding , but you know how the weather can change in the winter from one end of the workday to the other. Riding in the crap can be just as much fun as in the dry, once you get used to it.
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Old 09-08-08, 08:33 PM   #5
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It gets really cold here, but is also very dry. We'll see regular 10* F temps during the ride in/out. As such, I don't need so much gear. I ride to work wearing my work clothes under a windproof jacket and snowboarding pants (with vents). I'll wear a watch cap under the helmet to keep my ears warm in the morning, and will just wear my regular fingerless gloves - I use pogies to keep the hands warm.

At night, I'll add a balaclava to the above. Never cold, the 60 mph winds will make me think about how bad I really want to ride more than the temps. As a headwind, they're merciless. As a side wind, well, I've spent time walking here because I couldn't stay upright and out of traffic...

I guess if you customize to your climate, you should be OK. For me, I've found that the actual ambient temperature isn't a show-stopper above zero. The winds can be. I'll also say that fresh snow (before it starts to melt) is fun as hell.
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Old 09-08-08, 10:30 PM   #6
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+1,000,000 Wind chill adds a whole new dimension to already cold air.
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Old 09-09-08, 07:43 PM   #7
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+1,000,000 Wind chill adds a whole new dimension to already cold air.
Heh, wind's the only thing that really gets to me. Sucks to have your eyes water up from the wind, then freeze in your eyelashes.
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Old 09-09-08, 07:50 PM   #8
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This thread had better not be a cruel joke. You had better be a female virgin who rides a bike or I'm gonna stick my head in the microwave. I can't take any more disappointment...TJ knows how fragile I am.
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Old 09-10-08, 01:00 AM   #9
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A 3.5 mile commute is only 10 or 12 minutes. I don't think you'll have time to get very cold even if you ride in nothing but a gold sequined cocktail dress and sheer nylons, as chipcom does.
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Old 09-10-08, 06:05 AM   #10
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It's easy to stay warm in winter when you are naturally hawt, like me.
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Old 09-10-08, 01:00 PM   #11
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The inverse of that is you also don't have alot of time to warm up either, I'm almost at work by the time I've gotten the engine warm.
Messing around in the winter isn't manly, no matter how long you're out there for, a ten minute commute could easily become a half hour walk. Be prepared, regardless. Though I will take the garbage out in bare feet in the snow.

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Old 09-10-08, 08:06 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
This thread had better not be a cruel joke. You had better be a female virgin who rides a bike or I'm gonna stick my head in the microwave. I can't take any more disappointment...TJ knows how fragile I am.
Well I used to wear the cut off feet from panty hoes or used nylon stockings to keep my feet warm when I ride in cool weather. Getting turned on yet chippy poo?
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