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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 10-23-08, 07:52 PM   #1
chico1st
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-20C winter jacket

I was just wondering if anyone has any recomendations on biking jackets which would cover me down to -20C (i guess that is about -25F). I bike outside of toronto ontario, but quite early in the morning so sometimes it is as low as -30C with windchill.

I am fine with laying but I would like an outer layer.
Also would a softshell work down to this tempurature? im scared they would let too much wind through.

I know there are other posts about this but i didnt see any down to the tempurature. THANKS
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Old 10-23-08, 09:29 PM   #2
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I'm from Toronto as well. I recently bought a Showers Pass touring jacket, and it is very wind proof. I'll be adding layers underneath as the temperature drops.
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Old 10-23-08, 09:40 PM   #3
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I have a great lined jacket from Nashbar for winter cycling. Unfortunately, I don't think they sell it anymore. However, by the time it gets down to -20C, I'm into a regular winter ski jacket. You might check your local sports shops and see what ski options you've got.
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Old 10-24-08, 06:31 AM   #4
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I run a softshell over the gamut of layers. Air movement is good since it moves moisture with it. Remember, at those temps, stopping for a moment and getting a damp chill is a bad thing. Which is why I also suggest--strongly--you also carry a lofting insulation vest/jacket, extra hat and gloves when going out at those temps.
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Old 10-24-08, 07:30 AM   #5
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The Mec whoosh jacket is what I use here in Halifax. A t-shirt, sweater and that does me fine for an hour in -25degC (coldest I've tried it with) with decent steady wind. Sometimes just a long sleeve t-shirt and the jacket are all I need in the winter, and if you get hot the armpit zips are very nice and long.
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Old 10-24-08, 08:27 AM   #6
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if it's not a super foul alberta clipper, a windshirt with pitzips is enough to keep you comfortable with the proper layering underneath. A Pertex shell like the MEC standby pertex cycling jacket with the huge pitzips, is a great winter riding shell. For footwear, I've had great luck with USAF mukluks in extreme cold riding conditions for boots- lightweight! and warm like Sorels.

BUT neither of these are good during real sloppy storms around the freezing point. for those conditions you need waterproofness.

I remember riding in some real foul blizzards in a down jacket, ski pants, goggles, and choppers, sometimes the conditions will put you in the right clothing.



Bringing a puffy, warmer hat, and extra gloves is very sound advice.

Last edited by Bekologist; 10-24-08 at 08:30 AM.
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Old 10-24-08, 08:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
I was just wondering if anyone has any recomendations on biking jackets which would cover me down to -20C (i guess that is about -25F). I bike outside of toronto ontario, but quite early in the morning so sometimes it is as low as -30C with windchill.

I am fine with laying but I would like an outer layer.
Also would a softshell work down to this tempurature? im scared they would let too much wind through.

I know there are other posts about this but i didnt see any down to the tempurature. THANKS
Don't think of the cycling jacket as something to keep you warm but an outer shield from the elements. So the best approach for really cold is a standard good quality hard shell breathable but water resistant cycling jacket. A little over sized if in really cold conditions. This is totally flexible because you get the warmth you need from adding and adjusting the layers underneath. This allows you to use less expensive polar fleece and outdoor activity long john tops. You would be amazed at how warm you can stay with one thin to heavy weight wicking thermal top and one snug fitting polar fleece jacket under the cycling jacket. Even at 10-15F you will only need an expedition weight long sleeve top and a fleece jacket under the cycling jacket. I recommend taking a down parka but not wearing it in case you break down and have to stay warm while not exercising.
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Old 10-25-08, 09:09 AM   #8
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It's quite a bit of coin at $450 (I got it for ~75% off when I worked a mountaineering gear company) but the Arc'Teryx Fission AR is superb. http://www.arcteryx.com/product.aspx?Fission-AR-Jacket

Gore-Tex Pro = Windproof/Waterproof and still very breathable.
Primaloft = Stay warm.

I sweat in it at 55'F, but I expect to be nice and toasty with a light layer underneath to about 20'F. With a thicker layer underneath, I expect to battle any weather down to -20'F.
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Old 10-25-08, 09:50 AM   #9
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The last 2 winters I've worn a wickaway t-shirt under a thin liner shirt, either microfleece (when it is +-5 C) or wool sweater then a MEC SuperMicroft jacket. If it's really cold I wear a heaver rollneck wool sweater. I found heavier jackets too bulky to commute in during the winter and when it warms up on the commute I can take advantage of the pitzips on the jacket.
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Old 10-25-08, 10:48 AM   #10
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...the MEC Super Microfit cycling jacket is THE iconic winter cycling shell.

Why I called it pertex is beyond me, perhaps my old one is made of pertex nylon....
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Old 10-25-08, 11:26 AM   #11
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Long sleeve base layer by Craft and a Assos Airjack 851 or Fugu jacket............Expensive but awesome winter protection.
Although I have never used it in -20 degrees, maybe windchill equivalent.
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Old 10-25-08, 05:29 PM   #12
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Try an anorak Skookum Brand, www.northerngarments.com Can't wait for -30c to -50c. Got mine today am ready for winter.
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Old 10-25-08, 05:48 PM   #13
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this week that we are already dipping into the -7c with wind chills, i still ride with just the rain jacket, and any kind of long sleeve inside.

if it gets any colder, i'll add another layer of soft shell jacket

and if it gets even colder, just add another layer of soft jacket

3 jacket layers + whatever you normally wear, is more than good enough... well for me that is.

for legs
is just jeans
or jeans + rain pants
or leg warmer + jeans + rain pants

for shoes
just a nice sporty winter boots from Airwalk

for my head
face mask (also cover ears) + snow goggle + normal helmet with build in skull cap, which i don't use because i;m always overheating.
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Old 10-31-08, 02:51 PM   #14
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Go talk to Lou at www.foxwear.net. Last year I had him make me an E-Vap coat to my exact needs. I live relatively close by in the Buffalo NY area so we get similar weather. Where else are you going to find a custom tailored riding coat for around $80!

The fleece that Lou uses is nearly 100% wind proof, yet still lets tons of moisture out. I went with a yellow main body and used the "normal" thickness that he recommended. As I sweat a lot we went on the lighter side with the extra breathable side pieces (in black). This coat works amazingly well. I can use it in temps has high as the low 50's, yet be comfortable with minimal additions down to 2F (-26 with Windchil that day last year). For the higher temps I just wear a breathable T shirt. For temps 20F and lower I add a long sleeve jersey as an extra layer. For the 2F day I added my thin cheap shell as extra protection. The coat is remarkably water resistant. I will put on my rain shell for heavy rain, but a light dristle is no big deal. I rode through a major ice storm and was actually covered in solid 1/16" layer of ice, yet I was comfortable and dry. What is great with Lou is that he makes everything one-off therefore you can discuss you exact needs, your size and your color desires and from there he can whip up a coat to suit your needs.

When I get some money for my birthday in two weeks I'll be using some to give Lou a call and get some good Winter riding pants made. I have some tights that are great to around freezing, but at temps well below 32F they just don't work well and always riding with rain pants on over top is kind of a pain and causes a lot of sweat to be retained.

Happy riding,
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Old 11-05-08, 12:56 PM   #15
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i like this fox wear idea and the MEC whoosh but i also saw this softshell at MEC. Would this do for winter biking? It has very good reviews. i know I would have to layer underneath but does anyone have any thoughts?

MEC Commuter Soft Shell Jacket (Men's)


http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1225911243836
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Old 11-05-08, 09:00 PM   #16
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Lou totally rocks. I just sent him another order for some of his cold weather tights and another skull cap. It is always just the way you want it, and you can pretty much pick whatever color you want as well.
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Old 11-06-08, 02:57 PM   #17
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That looks fine. The performance fleece materials that are available today are great. They are very good at blocking wind, yet let moisture pass through easily, yet are also remarkably water resistant.

For an under layer I use a wicking T shirt for temps down to around freezing. Temps significantly below freezing I'll add a long sleeve wicking shirt as well.

Happy riding,
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Old 11-06-08, 10:28 PM   #18
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I wear my MEC insulated bike jacket at any temp below zero.

I'll add another layer under it around maybe -12C. The few days it's in the -20s I might throw a vest over top and a fleece underneath.

I find I don't need much on the core if I can keep extremities warm.
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Old 11-07-08, 10:01 AM   #19
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The past few winters I have been wearing the Pearl Izumi Ballistic jacket down to about -20C. It has been excellent, although with kind of a bulky fit. Past -20C, I wore the MEC Whoosh jacket over top of the Ballistic, and that kept me going into -50C windchill territory. This year I have a new Craft winter jacket. It fits so much better than the Ballistic, plus my wife says I look sexy in it. But I digress...

I will be going to MEC this weekend to pick up a vest of some sort, as the Craft jacket has a little too much venting in the back. When I'm waiting in traffic with my back to the North wind, it's a bit breezy for my tastes. When it's really cold, I'll layer up with long-sleeve underwear, then the Craft and the Whoosh on top of that. Snug as a bug in a rug...
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Old 11-09-08, 05:54 PM   #20
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In Calgary I rode with the super microft jacket over a polartec 100 fleece. In T.O. I've been riding with a Hydrocycle (when wet) or a supermicroft, with the fleece underneath. As far as I can tell as long as your outer layer is windproof, you are in good shape at -20. I have not had any problems whatsoever keeping my core warm (of course I'm always in urban areas - if you are trail riding, a crash or mechanical problem at -20 could become an issue)
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Old 11-10-08, 07:24 PM   #21
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I layer using a poly long sleeve tee shirt or UA shirt, wool sweater and use an REI cycling jacket that converts to a vest (sleeves and shoulders come off) so the back cape and under arms are vented open...very good to keep me from building up too much moisture. Takes me to those temps no problem.
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Old 11-15-08, 10:36 AM   #22
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how do you guys feel about these jackets with windstopper in the front and letting wind through in the back?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1226766960664

Would this actually work for cold winter? it looks tight fitting so i dont think i could layer under it. I was thinking that it is good down to -5c or 0c but after that I would need a more intense jacket. Does that make sense or am i crazy?
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Old 11-15-08, 04:01 PM   #23
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Wow. Riding in -25F temps?
I ski'd in temps of -5F (and windchills of -45F) but cannot imagine riding where the temps actually reach below 0F.
I got OK gear (except for shoes), maybe this will motivate me to ride in subfreezing <32F/0C weather.
You guys (and gals) in are hardened weathered cyclists.
Hope it's a relatively mild season for you.
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Old 11-15-08, 05:18 PM   #24
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Hmm. I was doing something when all of a sudden it hit me. -20C doesn't seem like it would be equivalent to -25F.

-20C = -4F Certainly cold, but not in the same league as -25F
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Old 11-15-08, 08:48 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chico1st View Post
how do you guys feel about these jackets with windstopper in the front and letting wind through in the back?
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1226766960664

Would this actually work for cold winter? it looks tight fitting so i dont think i could layer under it. I was thinking that it is good down to -5c or 0c but after that I would need a more intense jacket. Does that make sense or am i crazy?
It would work for 0C, but I wouldn't use that for really cold weather.
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