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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 12-05-08, 12:59 PM   #1
zowie
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Like Balaclava but not so warm?

I'm way too uncomfortable on the warm side in a balaclava in the coldest temps I ride in, only down to about 30F. What's a produce that would be better in 35F-55F to still block the wind on my face and give just a little warmth?
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Old 12-05-08, 01:24 PM   #2
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From 40F-55F, if you need anything, all you'd need is a very light headband that covers your ears.

Below 40F, you might want a slightly thicker headband.

Once you get down below freezing you might want to add a neck gaiter.

In the pictures below, I'm wearing a thicker headband and a neck gaiter which I acquired at my local $$ store for $1.
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Old 12-05-08, 01:44 PM   #3
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I agree with Machka at those temps you would mainly be concerned about your ears. But a product I really like is a Buff.
http://www.buffwear.com
Its really stretchy and can be worn many different ways, around your neck as a neck gaiter, as a hat, as a balaclava, etc. And the original one is pretty lightweight so is good for cool but above freezing temps. Actually I like wearing mine when its warm too to absorb sweat. (They have a polar version too but that would probably overheat you as well.)
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Old 12-05-08, 01:45 PM   #4
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In the higher temps you mentioned, even a bandanna would offer enough protection, as you got closer to that 35 degree mark I'd +1 on Machka's suggestion.
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Old 12-06-08, 05:18 AM   #5
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second the bandanna. keeps the neck plenty warm, pull it over your chin when it get a bit colder, over your mouth when it gets real cold. when not being used for warmth it becomes kleenex that wont irritate your nose.
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Old 12-07-08, 08:15 AM   #6
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I cannot wear anything over my mouth when it is cold. Actually, I can't ever wear anything over my mouth. I've been wearing wool ski masks under my over-sized winter helmet.
Any other suggestions?
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Old 12-07-08, 08:45 AM   #7
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Machka,

Re: second picture.

I don't want any trouble, lady. We'll give you our money. Just don't hurt anybody
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Old 12-07-08, 10:52 AM   #8
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Wearing a headband to cover the ears is a great idea! Beyond that, wear a woolen knit cap. Also, get a neoprene face mask for downhill skiing. When the winter wind kicks up, the mask will recycle your exhaled air to keep your face/chin from freezing. When it gets warmer, you can easily pull the mask off your chin, and it still blocks wind from your neck.
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Old 12-07-08, 11:04 AM   #9
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Try either of these thin silk balaclava's, don't hold a lot of heat in, breathe very well and also comfortable for me to 20 deg F by adding helmet cover. Balaclava and helmet comfortable to almost 50 deg F depending on HR zone. Silk is interesting in it's comfort range, seems very adaptable to a wider range of temps.
Adjustable opening balaclava and std balaclava.

I have the std one and can pull it down to just covering the mouth. I wear glasses and have no fogging problems with that except when stopped I'll get just a little bit. Clears immediately on moving.
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Old 12-08-08, 12:20 PM   #10
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Thanks for the replies. I'll check out the suggestions.
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Old 12-08-08, 12:34 PM   #11
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In the UK we have a Headover, a stretchy polypropelene/light fleece tube, longer than a buff that has many uses.
Besides its use as a simple neck tube you can raise it up just above your ears, over your head, under your chin, over your nose.
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Old 12-08-08, 04:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by LWB_guy View Post
Also, get a neoprene face mask for downhill skiing. When the winter wind kicks up, the mask will recycle your exhaled air, causing your glasses to fog up.
Fixed.
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Old 12-08-08, 10:18 PM   #13
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All great ideas, but I'm cheap. A balaclava can do all that and a bag of chips.
Pull the top back (to the back of your neck) so you don't have all that head cover. Then pull it up only as far as you need. It can double as a bandana, neck gator, or face mask.
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Old 12-09-08, 07:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by MNBikeguy View Post
A balaclava can do all that and a bag of chips.
Pull the top back (to the back of your neck) so you don't have all that head cover. Then pull it up only as far as you need. It can double as a bandana, neck gator, or face mask.
That reminds me, a decade or so ago I had a winter "hat" thing that was essentially a long tube of polypro. Wear it around your neck as a gaitor, or pull it over the back of your head as a balaclava, or just pull it down from the top so it's a hat (the tube was long enough that the top would flop over, effectively sealing itself). Wonder what I ever did with that?
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Old 12-09-08, 06:22 PM   #15
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I used one of these for the first time today and was well pleased with the face protection, but not too hot overall. Wore with goggles because it was snowing and 20f this am.



Bought it off ebay for 8.50 free shipping.
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Old 12-10-08, 05:06 PM   #16
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I use balaclava for 30F and lower.
PPE goggles for when its snowing.
hot pink bandana for all else. cuz thats how i roll.

i've heard neck gators are good too.
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Old 12-12-08, 12:08 PM   #17
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I use two fleece neck gator things for all my neck-up coverage, they do pretty well for all the conditions I face. From 45f down to ~35f I wear one gator on my head, under the helmet, then below 35 I wear a second around my face/neck, adjusting it for more or less coverage as conditions vary. The adjustability is really the best advantage over a balaclava, as it can go from covering everything but your eyes down to just around your neck, or removed entirely if you get too hot. I've ridden in temps down to the low teens with a fair bit of comfort, besides a touch of ice-cream headache occasionally.

Cheap, too. I think I paid $8/apiece, and if you made your own they should be even cheaper.
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Old 12-16-08, 10:14 PM   #18
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http://www.sierratradingpost.com/Pro...f=AffinitySale
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Old 12-17-08, 03:58 PM   #19
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I would suggest going into any sporting goods store and looking for balaclavas that are simply thinner than the others. I have three of them in various material "weights" and the lightest one works great in low to mid 30s. Non neoprene and not thick heavy fleece. Can't say what it is as I've had it for a long time and there's no tag or logo on it. All I remember is it came from a chain called MC Sports.

Edit: and i think it cost about $5.

Edit 2: it's open around the face, but covers the cheeks well. I can pull the chin part up over my mouth if I need to.

Edit 3: It's really fun walking into stores with heavy balaclavas on. Especially small convenience stores. Try walking into a bank sometime. :-)

Last edited by dobovedo; 12-17-08 at 04:01 PM. Reason: more thoughts
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Old 12-19-08, 09:33 PM   #20
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I have 2 balaclavas both from performance
1/is real thin good to about 30 degrees
2/thicker good for under 30
over 45 or so I can just use the ear warmers.
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Old 12-19-08, 10:30 PM   #21
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I have a craft balaclava that is thin and works very well but it costs about 30 bucks
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