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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 11-02-08, 10:04 PM   #1
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Need Help Getting Winterized

I am wanting to use the trainer less this year. The good thing is I am in Alabama where it rarely gets very cold. I can handle 110 degree heat, but I really don't enjoy riding in weather that is below 30 degrees. So, I was hoping I could get advice on what I needed to handle 30 degree weather and what website would have the best deal on each item.

Things I have: long sleeves jerseys, underarmour top and bottom, patagonia long underwear top and bottom

I am thinking some things I lack are a balaclava, wool socks, gloves, whatever else to make sure hands/feet/and head stay warm. Again, I would really appreciate specific namebrands and which website I should get each item. Thanks for the help.
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Old 11-03-08, 02:07 PM   #2
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Old 11-03-08, 02:55 PM   #3
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that is not even cold, bub

you need long finger gloves and some type of head beanie under your helmet
...and your first line : Things I have: long sleeves jerseys, underarmour top and bottom, patagonia long underwear top and bottom

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Old 11-03-08, 02:56 PM   #4
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I doubt you'll get the specific "buy this here and that there" advice you're looking for. We all have different requirements and preferences.

For instance, we don't even know what you ride, how you ride, and what your preferences are. The needs of an MTBer, a utility rider, a hybrid rider and a roadie are all *very* different. And let's not even get started on preferences...

So far it seems like you're going for the "Nanook of the North" look, or what I call "fear of goosebumps". Bear in mind that part of winter riding is acclimating to the cold so you don't have to dress like an Eskimo. There's a reason Eskimos don't ride bikes--they can't move their knees and hips! Acclimating means being a little cold every now and again through the autumn so that nature can do what its done for us for the millennia before the invention of fleece.

With that in mind, there are some general rules.

If you're warm when you step out the door, you're overdressed. If you're warm after a mile, you're overdressed. If you're getting comfortable after two miles or so, you're dressed about right. Go out overdressed and you'll sweat through your layers. That's when you become at-risk for hypothermia.

I break out in a sweat just looking at the list of what you already have.

At 30, and assuming a sunny day with little wind, I'm riding in two lightweight wicking t-shirts, and a summer jersey on top, shorts, kneewarmers and tights on the bottom. I use a winter-weight cycling skullcap under my helmet and I double glove, wearing some Specialized summer-weight long-finger gloves inside a pair of Cannondale Windfront gloves. Thirty is about the borderline between booties over my three-season shoes, and my Lake winter cycling shoes.

That's what I was wearing when I took my avatar pic, and it was in the mid-20s that day. I was out for some hammertime and hill repeats. THAT'S what keeps me warm!

Hope this helps!

Last edited by tsl; 11-03-08 at 03:11 PM.
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Old 11-03-08, 04:32 PM   #5
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Thanks for the great reply, tsl.
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Old 11-03-08, 05:22 PM   #6
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I would guess that in 30 degree weather, the kinds of clothes you mentioned having will mostly take care of you. I would add:

-some kind of wind-proof jacket. Even a light uninsulated one, over the under-things you mentioned.
-Some thick tights for your lower body. I like the cheapish ones sold by Nashbar. With something under them, I am good down to about 0.
-Warm socks and gloves. Little body parts get cold fast in the wind.
-I don't think I use anything on my face in 30 degrees.

All this depends on how intensely you ride and how much sweat ventilation you need. Once I get into winter form, I could practically ride naked in those kinds of temps. ...Sorry for that image.

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Old 11-04-08, 08:39 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by recneps345 View Post
Thanks for the great reply, tsl.
The best teacher is experience. Dress as tsl suggests, but take some of the clothing you indicate above in a pannier. I might, for example, head out without too much on, but I also might stop and put something on if I was cold. Or take something off if I was too hot.

Another thing to remember is that you can end up 20 miles up the road with a flat tire. You might want some extra clothes available for that possibility. The balaclava is your friend!
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Old 11-04-08, 04:50 PM   #8
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Temps in the 30's. I wear a Wickers Balaclava from Sierra Trading Post. $8. For the fingers, go with cotton work gloves or mittens. I wear leg warmers over my regular work pants from, $19. I swear by SportHill XC 3SP Pants for anything below 40f. No layering, and they are comfortable. Google for the cheapest price. They're not cheap. Read the Winter Forum for advice. For the feet , try these.

Last edited by scoatw; 11-04-08 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 11-04-08, 05:02 PM   #9
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Easy stuff, like baggies over your socks and a few sheets of newspaper between your jersey and base layer, along with a windproof vest (breathable in back) are a good start. Make sure your head is warm on cold days, and it will help keep your fingers and toes warm, too. I use a cheap $3 pair of wool glove liners under my cycling gloves on cold days. Don't overdress, or you'll just sweat. Whatever you wear, it need to breathe.
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Old 11-05-08, 05:42 AM   #10
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tsl had some great tips in his post especially about acclimatizing. This year I held out until a week ago before wearing tights, and that was only because it snowed. It really does help more than getting extra clothing. And trust me I hate the cold.

At 40F all I wear is vest, long sleeve top, windstopper gillet, shorts and wooly socks. I can go down to 30F in shorts but my knees are starting to ache now as I'm getting older. At that temperature I will swap the gillet for a windstopper jacket and gloves.

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