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  1. #1
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Any tricks to give wide temperature range?

    Here in Calgary the weather can be... changeable? I mean 3 seasons in one day, if not one ride.

    I leave for work early, that means in the dark and no solar radiation. Coming home, if early, I can have the sun, and a marked difference in temperature, 20C is not uncommon. I have various layers, and know some of the tricks, helmet cover, shoe covers, Leg and Arm warmers, any other little tricks that can give body temp flexibility with little bulk? I can carry enough different clothes to deal with everything, but going to work loaded as if for a tour is a little much.

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    Whats 20C, about 68 F. Here's a plan that I think will work for you.

    For top basically you wear a hardshell cycling jacket and a thin long sleeve poly top. This is good for around 45-70F temps. It might be a little warm for 65-70F but it won't be unbearable. And if you get overheated you just unzip the jacket and ride with all the cool air coming into your chest. All you need to carry is an insulation layer of a light wool sweater or long sleeve fleece or heavy base layer used as an insulation layer. Which you will wear when it gets too cold for the two piece combination. With the insulation layer and all three pieces it can be pretty warm. Should be good for 30-50F with this combination and can go even lower if you bring a little thicker insulation layer.

    For legs just wear cycling shorts which are good for 55-70 F. And carry some medium thick bike tights to put over the cycling shorts. Depending on the bike tights this will work for about 20-55 F. Maybe a little warm for 55F but not totally unbearable. Maybe a little cool for 20 F but manageable.

    So at this point all you are carrying besides what you always wear on the bike is a pair of bike tights and a long sleeve insulation layer.

    Then all you need is a scull cap and a helmet cover. Both very light and don't take up much room. And some kind of gloves to go over your normal bike gloves that will work for 55 F and lower temps. All this will only weight about 2 -3 pounds and will easily fit in a fanny pack or large trunk bag or even in a small stuff sack and lashed to the frame or seat post. No need for a rear bike rack, though if you have one it makes it a bit easier to carry stuff. No need for heavy panniers.

    Feet require more experimentation. And depend a lot on what you are currently using and how long you have to ride.
    Last edited by Hezz; 10-25-09 at 09:36 PM.

  3. #3
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coldfeet View Post
    Here in Calgary the weather can be... changeable? I mean 3 seasons in one day, if not one ride.

    I leave for work early, that means in the dark and no solar radiation. Coming home, if early, I can have the sun, and a marked difference in temperature, 20C is not uncommon. I have various layers, and know some of the tricks, helmet cover, shoe covers, Leg and Arm warmers, any other little tricks that can give body temp flexibility with little bulk? I can carry enough different clothes to deal with everything, but going to work loaded as if for a tour is a little much.
    Denver has very similar weather. I can start at -6 C (20F) and go home at 20C+. I don't carry panniers because I've never found the need for them. A trunk bag does the job if you use the pockets wisely.

    The key is lots of thin layers. For my torso, I use a short sleeve jersey under 2 thin long sleeve jerseys. I wear a wind resistant jacket over that. The jacket is as important as the underlayers for keeping you warm without a lot of bulk. For my legs and feet, I wear bib tights over the jerseys (traps heat better) and over regular bike shorts. I wear either over the knee wool socks or over the calf wool socks (it varies). I wear regular SPD shoes with wool fleece inserts and aluminum furnace tape under that to block the holes for the SPD cleat. Over the shoes, I wear neoprene shoe covers that are lined (Performance brand). For my hands, I generally wear thin gloves since my hands don't get that cold. I wear a helmet with the vents blocked and an ear warmer under that. I don't wear other hats under the helmet until the temp is below -6C.

    On the way home, the long sleeve jerseys go into the trunk. I roll them tightly and they fit in with my other clothes. The wool socks are stuffed into the outer pockets of the rack trunk. The gloves and the ear warmer go into another pocket and I use either short fingered gloves or light weight long fingered mountain bike gloves on the way home.

    The bib tights are worn under the short sleeve jersey (or the long sleeve jersey if the temperature is a little chilly) and I may, or may not, wear the jacket. Again it depends on the temperature. If I don't wear it, it packs down to a very small size and is stuffed in the rack trunk. The shoe covers are lashed to the top of the bag if the temp on the way home is over about 4C (40F).

    Part of the trick is to be able to endure a little cold...you get used to it...until you get warm enough to work up a sweat. All the jerseys and jackets have long zippers to help with heat maintenance too. By the time I get to work, I've usually opened all of the zippers to as low as they'll go and I'm still going to be soggy from sweat.
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  4. #4
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    I've included an illustrated list of winter cycling clothing on the new Winter Cycling page at VeloWeb.

    Layering is key, beginning with a good base layer of poly or wool. If you're dealing with changeable conditions (love those chinooks, eh?) it would seem a roomy pannier or other luggage to stash layers would be in order.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member Eclectus's Avatar
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    The really fun thing for us inlanders is when the dawn temp is 40 -60 and the 2PM temp is 20-40 degrees LOWER, which coastal people can never understand.
    Last edited by Eclectus; 10-26-09 at 10:03 PM.

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