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  1. #1
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    Autumn cycling...what to wear? HELP!

    Alright...I am SO LOST! This is how I felt when I first go into cycling and started shopping for a bike. Cycling clothes has me totally lost. I've only biked in warm weather. Easy...cycling shorts...cycling short sleeve jersey...helmet...sun glasses...cycling shoes...ankle or short length socks. Good to go!

    But cold weather stuff? OMG. Baselayers. What? And who's do I get? Cheap $20-$30 Giordana? Outrageous $170 Assos? For freaking baselayers?!?!?!?

    And even long sleeve jerseys...seems like they have different weight/warmth for how cold you want to ride in. Once I pick a jersey...I wear my baselayer under it? Do I need to get some sort of jacket or vest?

    What about bottom. Seems like the only option are long pant sleeve bib style. Right? Do you wear anything like long johns or something under it? Do you wear leg/knee warmers over them? Or are the tights/kickers warm enought by itself?

    What about my Sidi Genius 6.6...won't the wind just rip through them? Do I have to get new shoes? And what socks?

    Gloves? Any suggestions?

    And finally...how about my head? Skull cap? Or a thing that covers my whole head, mouth, nose, ears?

    I am so lost...

  2. #2
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    that "thing" is a balaclava. unless you got a whole "look" thing going on, I just wear my summer gear (bike shorts, jersey) under increasingly heavier clothes as it get colder out. basically warmth is important at the vulnerable points - ankles, fingers, neck, face, eyes, top of your head. warm (and proper) gear doesn't necessarily have to be made by cycling industry manufacturers. For example in February, I wear ski mittens.

    As long as it doesn't flap like mad in the wind it's good.

  3. #3
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    I, too, am in the same predicament. I rode in today with the temp at 42*. My commute is fairly short, clear skies, no wind today.
    I wore:
    Oakley Compression Shorts
    Endura long sleeve jersey
    Fox Trooper Jacket
    Specialized 1/2 Finger gloves
    NB Trainers with 3/4 riding socks (MKS GR-9 w/ PowerGrips)
    Bandanna on head

    My fingers froze of course but my torso was hot. Jacket was overkill for this temp.

    Looking for recommendation for gloves and jersey for these conditions. Is there a heavier jersey that will breath but keep in some warmth?
    David Howard
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  4. #4
    Senior Member bluenote157's Avatar
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    i personally like silk or light wool baselayers. Although I would imagine one of those PI tank tops underneath your jersey will work fine as well. Don't wear cotton....or you will be drenched in sweat.

    Baselayer is essentially to get the moisture away from your skin.
    Insulating layer is well.. to insulate... this can be something thin like a jersey paired with arm warmers or maybe a longsleeve jersey. I was asking around about this and this year i'm going to experiment with an old thin/medium merino crewsweater. Any colder.. start layer this stuff...base+longsleeve+armwarmers and maybe throw in a vest.

    I usually dont use a shell unless its a vest. If its any colder than that.. i wimp out.

    Legs..i just wear shorts and knee warmers..

  5. #5
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaHowie View Post
    I, too, am in the same predicament. I rode in today with the temp at 42*. My commute is fairly short, clear skies, no wind today.
    I wore:
    Oakley Compression Shorts
    Endura long sleeve jersey
    Fox Trooper Jacket
    Specialized 1/2 Finger gloves
    NB Trainers with 3/4 riding socks (MKS GR-9 w/ PowerGrips)
    Bandanna on head

    My fingers froze of course but my torso was hot. Jacket was overkill for this temp.

    Looking for recommendation for gloves and jersey for these conditions. Is there a heavier jersey that will breath but keep in some warmth?
    Below 42F:
    * balaclava
    * riding gloves with cotton work gloves underneath
    * base layer shirt, polyester long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker
    * wind pants with base layer and riding short underneath
    * wool socks

    Below 32F:
    * wool scarf over the balaclava
    * wool sweater under the windbreaker
    * thermolite gloves
    * 2 pairs wool socks
    * heavier wind pants (preferably lined)

    Below 22F:
    * add heavier jacket
    *

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Below 42F:
    * balaclava
    * riding gloves with cotton work gloves underneath
    * base layer shirt, polyester long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker
    * wind pants with base layer and riding short underneath
    * wool socks

    Below 32F:
    * wool scarf over the balaclava
    * wool sweater under the windbreaker
    * thermolite gloves
    * 2 pairs wool socks
    * heavier wind pants (preferably lined)

    Below 22F:
    * add heavier jacket
    *
    What do you wear for a ride in weather 50-60 degrees?

  7. #7
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
    What do you wear for a ride in weather 50-60 degrees?
    50-60F? That's not Winter Cycling!

    Actually that range is a mystery to me. I have lately been wearing my aforementioned wind pants, with a long-sleeved polyester shirt (and maybe a base layer shirt if it is windy..) However, the wind pants are too warm. Maybe I'll dig out my polyester/cotton Dockers with elastic bands on the legs. They actually worked pretty well, although I also got a few stares...
    Last edited by gerv; 09-30-08 at 07:26 PM. Reason: ye olde spelling

  8. #8
    Senior Member striegel's Avatar
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    When it's in the low 50's to low 60's (like today), I wear the following:
    Summer socks and cycling shoes
    Knee warmers
    Padded cycling shorts
    Short sleeve base layer top (like a Nike Dri-fit compression shirt)
    Wool pullover sweater
    Long-fingered cycling gloves
    Wind shell vest, mostly for visibility, left unzipped almost to the bottom
    If something doesn't ache, I could be trying harder.

  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
    What do you wear for a ride in weather 50-60 degrees?
    Ah ... summer conditions.

    You wear a short-sleeved jersey, light windbreaker, shorts, and leg warmers ... some of which you might remove if it happens to go over 60 degrees.


    Now for fall ... here in Alberta this year ... you'd wear shorts and short-sleeved jersey. We're having nicer weather this fall than we did over the summer!!


    Oh, and it's all about trial and error. Get some inexpensive stuff ... that's all I use ... and experiment with it.

  10. #10
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Below 42F:
    * balaclava
    * riding gloves with cotton work gloves underneath
    * base layer shirt, polyester long-sleeved shirt, windbreaker
    * wind pants with base layer and riding short underneath
    * wool socks

    Below 32F:
    * wool scarf over the balaclava
    * wool sweater under the windbreaker
    * thermolite gloves
    * 2 pairs wool socks
    * heavier wind pants (preferably lined)

    Below 22F:
    * add heavier jacket
    *
    Wow! You must be from Florida I don't wear what you wear for temps above 30F.

    Everyone is different, celerystalksme, and you have to find what works for you. There isn't one way to do it. For example, I wear for around 40F

    -shorts
    -short sleeve jersey
    -short bicycling socks
    -arm warmers or light long sleeve jersey
    -wind jacket
    -tights, either bibs or waist. Bibs are a bit warmer

    For my extremities, I wear long finger mountain bike gloves and an ear warmer. I'd be dripping sweat wearing what gerv is wearing (not that there is anything wrong with his choices)

    For 35F, I add

    -a long sleeve jersey with the short sleeve jersey. No arm warmers
    -definitely bibs
    -a little heavier glove
    -over the calf wool socks
    -neoprene shoe covers
    -vent blockers in my helmet

    For 30F down to around 20F, I add to the above

    -long sleeve jersey (now wearing 2 of them with short sleeve)
    - over the knee wool socks
    -maybe a heavier glove

    Below 20F, I change a few things

    -heavier long sleeve jersey
    -Pearl Izumi Amfib tights
    -balaclava

    Much below about 15F, I add

    -a car

    I could go lower - and I admire those crazed individual who go way low - but, damn, it hurts to ride that cold. I'll wuss out, sorry.
    Stuart Black
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by striegel View Post
    When it's in the low 50's to low 60's (like today), I wear the following:
    Summer socks and cycling shoes
    Knee warmers
    Padded cycling shorts
    Short sleeve base layer top (like a Nike Dri-fit compression shirt)
    Wool pullover sweater
    Long-fingered cycling gloves
    Wind shell vest, mostly for visibility, left unzipped almost to the bottom
    I would be 'well done' if I wore this on a 15 - 20 mile road ride or a 5 -8 mile MTB ride. 50 - 60 I consider warm in the fall and just plain hot in the spring.
    David Howard
    '05 Electra Townie 3
    '06 Specialized RockHopper Comp Disk
    '08 Surly Steamroller

  12. #12
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    fall weather isn't bad, and you don't really need too much more stuff until it gets down to under 40 degrees.

    Arm warmers are one of the most important things. You can wear your regular summer stuff and just add the armwarmers. Push them down or take them off if it gets too warm. Or you can wear a long sleeve baselayer something out of Polartec or Patagonia capilene, or wool, just a silkweight. Not warm enough with just the long sleeve, add the armwarmers. That's why they're indispensable.

    Then, a pair of light tights, knickers, or knee warmers, just the same stuff the shorts are made of, no insulation. Long finger gloves, some light or midweight wool socks, maybe a windbreaker or lightweight vest, again, no insulation necessary. At these temps, I prefer an earband to a balaclava, that's for the colder weather. I just overheat with my head totally covered.

    As it gets closer to 40 degrees, you can start adding heavier tights with fleece insulation, a midlayer or heavier weight jersey like the PI Kodiak and Kodiak light, windproof vest with fleece insulation, heavier gloves like PI Cyclones, or my fave, Garneau windstoppers, the balaclava, booties or winter cycling boots. But now we're talking about spending a bunch of money.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaHowie View Post
    I would be 'well done' if I wore this on a 15 - 20 mile road ride or a 5 -8 mile MTB ride. 50 - 60 I consider warm in the fall and just plain hot in the spring.
    Me too for the most part, although this year for some reason, I've been liking it really hot, and anything below 70 starts to feel chilly to me.

    But I think I'm adjusting to the fall temps, and usually I don't start adding too much more other than tights and armwarmers until it gets below 50.

  14. #14
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by striegel View Post
    When it's in the low 50's to low 60's (like today), I wear the following:
    Summer socks and cycling shoes
    Knee warmers
    Padded cycling shorts
    Short sleeve base layer top (like a Nike Dri-fit compression shirt)
    Wool pullover sweater
    Long-fingered cycling gloves
    Wind shell vest, mostly for visibility, left unzipped almost to the bottom
    Wow, I'd be drenched in sweat with all those clothes! So much for geographical stereotypes.

    50s and 60s for me: bibs, jersey, kneewarmers, armwarmers, glove liners.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Wow, I'd be drenched in sweat with all those clothes! So much for geographical stereotypes.

    50s and 60s for me: bibs, jersey, kneewarmers, armwarmers, glove liners.
    knee warmers and arm warmers. why not just long sleeve jersey and long pant sleeve bib thingy's or tights? is that too harm? are long sleeve wear warmer than knee warmers and arm warmers?

  16. #16
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalksme View Post
    knee warmers and arm warmers. why not just long sleeve jersey and long pant sleeve bib thingy's or tights? is that too harm? are long sleeve wear warmer than knee warmers and arm warmers?
    Flexibility if it warms up. If you get hot, you can easily push down the arm warmers or take them off and stuff them in your pocket. Long sleeved jerseys tend to be made of heavier material than short sleeved jerseys so you're kind of committed. Same with tights or knickers (3/4 length).

    Also, typically here it's cool in the morning but warm in the afternoon so if I rode into work with a long sleeved jersey, I'd be stuck with it on the way home.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  17. #17
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

    Much below about 15F, I add

    -a car
    I have a lot of trouble under 15F too I travel 7 miles to work and I have never been able to dial in something for my feet. I could wear 7 pairs of wool socks and would still have two cold junks of ice when I arrived.

    I think the balaclava is essential under 40F. I wore one this morning with 38F. It makes the whole ride so warm and comfy, particularly if there is any wind.

  18. #18
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I have a lot of trouble under 15F too I travel 7 miles to work and I have never been able to dial in something for my feet. I could wear 7 pairs of wool socks and would still have two cold junks of ice when I arrived.

    I think the balaclava is essential under 40F. I wore one this morning with 38F. It makes the whole ride so warm and comfy, particularly if there is any wind.


    Have a look over my article on cold feet ... perhaps something there might help you with yours:

    http://www.machka.net/whatworks/coldfeet.htm

  19. #19
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    We've been riding in great fall weather lately and it's all about layers right now. At night it's been getting down to about 25 F so everything is frozen when we wake up. Fortunately, we have warm sleeping bags so we're toasty while camping out. But getting up in the morning and taking down the tent is tough!!

    As for what we're wearing - we are four people and have four completely different levels of tolerance for cold. My husband has only put on his tights two or three days so far, while me and our sons are wearing ours every day (at least in the morning). We've got plenty of thin layers that we pile on together for the morning, and then do our onion act as the day progresses and start peeling off the layers.

    I've found that I really don't like a balaclava - I have no flexibility with that thing. I use a hat and a neck gaitor, which accomplishes the same thing as a balaclava, but I have the flexibility of wearing one or hte other or both. Works a lot better for us!

    I also really like wool (I'm sold on Ibex - I think I'll buy stock in that company since I personally will drive it to success!!). Wool just seems soooooo comfy on cold mornings!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    my all giordana fall weather gear down to about 40 degrees is gonna run me like $900!!!!!!!!!!!!! i'd rather put that towards a SRAM Red groupset!

  21. #21
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    As others pointed out you realy don't need that much gear to ride into the Fall or Winter.

    For temps down to about 45 I wear the same short and T shirt I wear all Summer. I have a Performance long sleeve jersey and a Performance Illuminite Vest. Depending on the temperature I'll mix and match the two top with what ever works for that day. For my legs I add a piar of Illuminite tights. These are not super tight and medium thickness. The tights realy keeps the wind out and that helps keep your legs and especially the knees warm. They breath very easily so that you don't get all sweaty. For gloves I just wear a cheap pair of full fingered Schwinn gloves I got at Target. Temps here in Western NY swing quickly from warm to cold in the Fall and the reverse is true in the Spring as well. Therefore a cheap pair of gloves will work for those 30 days or so that they hover in the 40's to 50's in the morning in the swing season. Once the temps drop more I switch over to an old pair of Gotex winter gloves. I do want to get something more Water proof this Fall for those rainy days. 40F and raining just hurts your hands.

    For temps close to Freezing I add a beanie cap to my head. Once the temps get well below Freezing I was adding my rain pants as an additional wind barrier. This worked OK, but the legs get a bit sweaty. I will get a pair of tights made by www.foxwear.net this year. For a Winter coat I got the Foxwear E-Vap coat. It is very wind tight, yet breaths amazingly well. Once the temps got realy cold I added a wind breaker to help keep me warmer. When the temps dropped into the single digits I added an XPolar face mask to make breathing easier (it pre-heats the air), and when the temps dropped to 2F with -26 wind chill I wore my ski mask to protect my eyes and the skin around my eyes from frost bite.

    For foot wear I switch over to Winter boots. I just can't justify spending tons of money on cycling boots. I used to use toe clips, but I am going to try power-grips this Fall and see if I like them better.

    Happy riding,
    André

  22. #22
    Senior Member GTALuigi's Avatar
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    My planned Gear for Fall / Winter / Spring

    - Sunglasses / Skii Googles (depending on temperature)
    - Face warmer for Winter (i don't like balaclava)
    - Use my head warmer (it came with my Giro Iono) if it gets really cold, which i doubt my head is always over heating.
    - Water & Wind proof gloves, if necessary, i just add an extra layer of thin gloves.
    - Winter Boots, make sure they are water proof, some are not.
    - Good pair of socks for winter, or wear 2 pair of socks on top of each other.
    - Layer 1 jacket - my usual reflective bike jacket for rain (waterproof)
    - Layer 2 jacket - my soft shell jacket
    - Layer 3 jacket - any soft sporty jacket
    - Layer 4 sweater or long sleeve shirt / tshirt - just anything that feels warm
    - Layer 5 any non cotton tshirt to keep moisture away on Layer 4
    - Layer 6 optional
    - Layer 1 pants - my usual waterproof pants overlay
    - Layer 2 pants - whatever you are comfortable with
    - Layer 3 pants - leg warmers
    - Layer 4 ... your underwear / boxer whatever you use usually.
    - Winter tires with studs
    - Hot or Warm bottle of water / it will be chilled to cold / ice water after a few miles
    (if you are planning to go long distance fill up with hot water, if you are for short distance, then warm water)
    - clean up your bike at least once a weekend, to keep Salt away
    - Lights, blinkers, Batteries, Spare tube, air pump, the rest of your usual gear.

    - optional a rear rack.

    A rear rack becomes quite handy in Winter, since you'll probably be overloaded with too much stuff on you, so it's better to have your back pack, laptop, or whatever you normally carry on the rear rack.

    You'll need all the attention on the roads for any random black ice, or some cars not being able to stop on time, and slide right into you, etc...

  23. #23
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    I have a lot of trouble under 15F too I travel 7 miles to work and I have never been able to dial in something for my feet. I could wear 7 pairs of wool socks and would still have two cold junks of ice when I arrived.

    I think the balaclava is essential under 40F. I wore one this morning with 38F. It makes the whole ride so warm and comfy, particularly if there is any wind.
    Neoprene is your friend I have a very old pair of Performance neoprene shoe covers (and a pair of shoes one size too big) that I use all winter. Add in a pair of wool socks and, lately, a pair of thin bicycle socks under them and my feet never get cold. In fact, I'm usually end up pouring sweat out of my shoes

    Personally, I don't need the balaclava. I'm kind of a hot head...wait, that didn't come out right
    Stuart Black
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  24. #24
    IguanaFred Rider WillynHook's Avatar
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    umm,....

    Let's see.... it was 40degF this morning. I wore, long sleeve T-shirt, under a short sleeve T-shirt (both
    cotton), baggy shorts, socks, sneakers, helmet, no gloves. A bit of head wind.

    I over dressed. I was too hot. Interesting.

    I've been exploring the "winter" ride issue trying to develop a plan. I've been somewhat interested
    in all the different temperature tolerances of all the many bikers in the various regions around the US
    in the discusions & information.


    Dr. Joe

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    Do you think this will do for down to 40 degrees? My shopping cart so far:

    Giordana Forma tights $200
    Giordana Skullcap $25
    Giordana Jersey long sleeve $200
    Giordana baselayer long sleeve $30

    I think I probably needs some gloves...and maybe a bootie/shoe-cover thingy? I don't think I need a jacket for 40 degrees????

    Feedback please! Thanks!

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