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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 09-15-09, 10:16 AM   #1
larue
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Does anyone use a snowboard/ski jacket?

I don't actually snowboard or ski, at least not yet, but I would imagine that these types of jackets would work pretty well on the bike. Does anyone go this route? I'm thinking about a Patagonia insulated Sidewall jacket for this winter.
Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-15-09, 01:11 PM   #2
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The cut of a skiing jacket will be a little different than a cycling specific jacket. Leaning over may expose your lower back.

Also, a shell/liner combination would probably work best. A one piece skiing jacket would probably be too warm for cycling.

Paul
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Old 09-15-09, 04:01 PM   #3
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Skiing and snowboarding *are* physical outdoor activities, but only 25% of the time. The other 75% is standing around waiting for the lift, and sitting around on the lift. Thus, coats for skiing and snowboarding are designed to keep you warm when you're standing around or sitting around.

Cycling is completely the opposite, and then some. It's a very physical activity and for many riders, it's nearly non-stop. So our needs are different.

I know hardly anyone does this any more, but shoveling show (with an actual shovel, not a snowblower or plow) is the same sort of activity. And a ski jacket is just about the last thing I want to wear when shoveling show, because it's too sweaty. Although they're just fine if you choose the OPEC-assisted method.

What works best for many winter riders is a couple of fairly light, wicking layers under a cycling jacket with vents for heat and sweat management.

Crossover equipment that does work well are skier's and snowboarder's gloves and mittens.

Edit: My avatar picture was taken in February. It was a warm day for February, around 25°F. I was wearing a baselayer, a second long-sleeve wicking shirt, and my BikeForums.net Great Lakes Region summer-weight jersey. We did a lot of climbing that day (the pic was taken at the top of a hill) and I was still too warm.

The point is that I'm amazed at how little I have to wear for winter cycling, and just as amazed at how much heat I generate doing it.

Last edited by tsl; 09-15-09 at 04:14 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 04:56 PM   #4
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I don't actually snowboard or ski, at least not yet, but I would imagine that these types of jackets would work pretty well on the bike. Does anyone go this route? I'm thinking about a Patagonia insulated Sidewall jacket for this winter.
Thanks in advance.
Generally ski and snowboard jackets don't work that well unless you have only a short ride and don't work up a normal sweat. They are also generally too long in the front and too short in the back.

You can use about anything for a short easy ride. But if you are exercising or on a longer ride you need to get the shell and the layering right.

Last edited by Hezz; 09-16-09 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 09-15-09, 07:46 PM   #5
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My initial reaction would be that they would be too warm for anything but really cold conditions.
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Old 09-20-09, 02:13 PM   #6
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In the single digits and below zero Fahrenheit temperatures I do wear a regular winter coat. Most temperatures are just too warm for that stuff though. Anything above 0F when the sun is out I end up with half of the jacket unzipped at some point, though I really do need it for the commute home at 9pm.

Layers Layers Layers. I did a lot of last winter (15F+) in a thermal shirt, wool sweater, and a denim long sleeve shirt to block the wind. Not optimal, but it worked and I could take off a layer if it got too warm.

Traditional winter coats just do not breathe. At all. You'll be drenched in sweat.

Last edited by shouldberiding; 09-29-09 at 12:07 AM.
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Old 09-20-09, 02:45 PM   #7
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i'm sure cycling wear is better. but, i snowboarded before i ever cycled, and now i use my board gear for cycling with very positive results. especially my boarding mittens. they are perfect! and my jacket (optional hood, armpit vents). and improved wool socks (longer than they need to be but very comfortable)

edit: this is particularly the case for basic commuting. experience in grand rapids michigan and pittsburgh pennsylvania.
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Old 09-20-09, 02:51 PM   #8
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Skiing and snowboarding *are* physical outdoor activities, but only 25% of the time. The other 75% is standing around waiting for the lift, and sitting around on the lift. Thus, coats for skiing and snowboarding are designed to keep you warm when you're standing around or sitting around.
*Downhill* skiing, yes, but cross-country skiing is just like cycling, but at a lower speed.
I would suggest looking at cross-country ski wear.
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Old 09-20-09, 06:15 PM   #9
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I'm more into layers than a single-solution garment. Layers I can remove, one at a time, if I get too hot.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:00 AM   #10
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Okay I guess I rethink the snowboard jacket. I just wish bicycle oriented clothing wasn't so ugly. Twin Six has a very nice jacket that might work out with some base-layering, I'm just afraid of dropping a large sum on something that won't end up warm enough. It gets pretty cold here in Madison, WI.
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Old 09-21-09, 11:05 AM   #11
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I'm happy with just a cheap windbreaker. Anything heavier without expensive breathability just restricts movement and gets sweaty.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:26 AM   #12
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This winter, I'm considering this selection of clothing: long-sleeve base layer (like spandexy underarmour), bibs, long-sleeve jersey (lightweight), windvest, cheap fleece. Bibs on bottom, with long winter tights over them. Winter gloves, cycling balaclava. I'm hoping that the fleece will provide my arms with some warmth, while the vest underneath will block out any wind that gets through the fleece. Do you think the fleece is a good or bad idea, and if bad, what are my alternatives? I've found that jackets get too hot.
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Old 09-22-09, 07:47 AM   #13
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Fleece is pretty close to cheesecloth when it comes to wind. It sort of filters the air it lets through, which is most of it. If you have a thing for fleece and must wear it anyway, put the windproof layer on the outside of it. You'll find that when incorporated into winter jackets, makers put the fleece on the inside with the wind and water resistant layer on the outside.

FWIW, I find my arms get cold first, long before my core. I never could figure out why vests are so popular. If I'm wearing an extra layer on top, it's on my arms, not my core. YMMV.
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Old 09-22-09, 11:38 AM   #14
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Last winter I used a Ground Effect Frosty Boy over a wool jersey. I commuted to work with that combo down to about zero (F). Below zero I put another layer on.

The Frost Boy is a fleece sweater type thing that is wind proof in front. You can check it out online at www.groundeffect.co.nz. Or anything similar from the other manufacturers would also work.
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Old 09-23-09, 10:40 AM   #15
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+1 on everything TSL posted. You don't need to spend a forture to get a great cycling coat. If you can do without a fancy lable, then go and call Lou at www.foxwear.net. He can custom make you a coat for around $85 delivered to your house. Lou uses various types of fleece materials. Some of the fleece is extremely wind resistant, others breath. If you discuss your climate and your cycling needs he can help you determine what is the best combination for your riding. I have the Evap coat and it works great from aroudn 50F all the way down to 0F all wearing nothing more than a wicking T shirt as a base layer. In temps below 15F I tend to add a thin long sleeve jersey. When I get on the bike I feel cold to slightly cold. Within a mile I am comfy and by the time I get to work I am sweating heavily. The nice thing about modern soft shell coats is that they can hold in heat, but let out all the sweat. I used to wear a cheapy fleece with a "breathable" wind breaker. The inside of the windbreaker would be completely soaked with sweat. No such problems with the EVap coat. I also have the Power Shield pants for temps well below 50F. Those keep my legs warm right into the single digits. When the temps were hovering around 0F I added my rain pants as an extra wind barrier, but except for those extreme temps, the pants are fantastic on their own.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 09-23-09, 10:51 AM   #16
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Okay I guess I rethink the snowboard jacket. I just wish bicycle oriented clothing wasn't so ugly. Twin Six has a very nice jacket that might work out with some base-layering, I'm just afraid of dropping a large sum on something that won't end up warm enough. It gets pretty cold here in Madison, WI.
The jacket need not be cycling specific. It just needs to be made of the right kind of material for cold weather exercise. There are some casual outdoor jackets that are made of stretchy woven nylon or polyester that are both breathable and wind/water resistant. These will make good cycling jackets.

If you look for a soft shell breathable rain jacket, they will also work well for cycling.

For snowy and below freezing temperatures. A breathable jacket made of a woven stretchy material, like the old fashioned ski pants, makes a good outer layer. Insulation under the jacket need not be bike specific. Just needs to be breathable and wicking.

Check out the following link:

http://www.overstock.com/Clothing-Sh...i_sku=11902682

http://www.rei.com/product/778659?cm...:referralID=NA
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P11902682.jpg (14.8 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by Hezz; 09-23-09 at 10:56 AM.
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Old 09-30-09, 10:04 PM   #17
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*Downhill* skiing, yes, but cross-country skiing is just like cycling, but at a lower speed.
I would suggest looking at cross-country ski wear.
+ Lots.

A good long sleeved baselayer, breathable fleece and a super lightweight softshell jacket will cope, And most will be available in bright colours but without the horrid cycle team style.
when alpine ski touring I wear a patagonia capilene 3 crew, R2 fleece and a light pertex windshell and that is perfect. early morning starts can be as low as -15C and by mid morning it will be 20 or 25. It's much more versatile than buying an insulated ski jacket.
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Old 10-07-09, 02:52 PM   #18
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As stated by others, a shell outside with varying inner layers (how many and what materials to suit you, in various temps and winds, and for various ride lengths) is better than a ski/snowboard jacket with unadjustable insulation.
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Old 10-10-09, 12:02 PM   #19
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+1 on cross country skiing

My dad (I'm too much of a broke college student to buy technical gear for all sports so I stick with the stuff I had when I raced slalom in HS) wears basically the same stuff for XC Skiing and Biking.

It is actually very hard to tell which he is about to do before he gets the footwear on...IIRC the tights he has are not cycle padded and he wears shorts under them for biking
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Old 10-10-09, 02:37 PM   #20
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I use snowmobile suit and heavy jacket.
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Old 02-14-10, 10:52 AM   #21
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+1 on everything TSL posted. You don't need to spend a forture to get a great cycling coat. If you can do without a fancy lable, then go and call Lou at www.foxwear.net. He can custom make you a coat for around $85 delivered to your house. Lou uses various types of fleece materials. Some of the fleece is extremely wind resistant, others breath. If you discuss your climate and your cycling needs he can help you determine what is the best combination for your riding. I have the Evap coat and it works great from aroudn 50F all the way down to 0F all wearing nothing more than a wicking T shirt as a base layer. In temps below 15F I tend to add a thin long sleeve jersey. When I get on the bike I feel cold to slightly cold. Within a mile I am comfy and by the time I get to work I am sweating heavily. The nice thing about modern soft shell coats is that they can hold in heat, but let out all the sweat. I used to wear a cheapy fleece with a "breathable" wind breaker. The inside of the windbreaker would be completely soaked with sweat. No such problems with the EVap coat. I also have the Power Shield pants for temps well below 50F. Those keep my legs warm right into the single digits. When the temps were hovering around 0F I added my rain pants as an extra wind barrier, but except for those extreme temps, the pants are fantastic on their own.

Happy riding,
André
Any chance you can send a pic of the coat Lou made you?
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Old 02-14-10, 11:07 AM   #22
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I don't use ski/board specific clothing, but I don't wear a bike specific jacket either. It's just a Helly Hansen shell, which I also use on the slopes. It's main drawback and the drawback for ski/board jackets is that they flap in the wind.

If the Twin Six jacket you're looking at is a good shell, don't worry if it's not warm enough, just wear more underneath it. For vigorous cycling, a polypro/wool shirt and a good shell is good down to about 20 F for me. Add more layers as needed.

Bike clothing isn't always ugly. I had a Cannondale jacket that was all black with reflective piping that was quite attractive.
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Old 02-14-10, 11:30 AM   #23
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Ski stuff works great, usually has a long tail and arm cut, and often made much MUCH better than bike stuff. However, I'm not much of a sweater and I can see this being a big problem for some. The higher quality stuff does breath. Love the north face stuff for riding in winter, or at night, and you can find lots of it used or on sale.
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Old 02-14-10, 01:04 PM   #24
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One things this thread misses so far is dressing for a specific length of time in the saddle. For a one-mile trip to the grocery store, I'll wear anything that quick to don. For a 5-6 mile commute to work, I normally go for a windbreaking shell and a sweater or two and a base layer under the shell. For a 3-4 hour trip I might carry some extra clothes in a bag just in case I stop or break down.
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Old 02-14-10, 09:40 PM   #25
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I used to wear a Carhart shirt as an outer layer. I never realized how freakin' heavy it was until I got a $23 Performance C9 jacket from Target. It allows pit, side, and arm venting.
Down to 20 degrees I wear the C9 jacket, 100% wool sweater from the Goodwill store, and a wicking T.
The vent areas on the jacket are wet to the touch after my rides but I stay warm and comfy. The jacket zipper allows adequate regulation. I am an extremely heavily sweating person.
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