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  1. #1
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    New Winter Commuter

    So, I have searched some of my questions, and got a good idea on what I want/need. But I want some direct responses and opinions.

    I want to start commuting. We don't get snow here (Alabama) but we will get ice every once in a while (max 5 times during winter) and it rains quite often. I do plan on commuting as often as possible to school. (3 miles) But, I have a car and I am going to be a "fair weather" commuter so that makes it a little easier.

    Now things I think I need:
    Gloves (my fingers were FREEZING today)
    Insulating pants (underwear)
    Glasses/Goggles
    Ear Covers

    Is there any reason to buy any of these things from a "biking" type store? Is there anything else that I need?

  2. #2
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    "Is there any reason to buy any of these things from a "biking" type store?" Answer is NO!. You'll pay three or more times as much. I don't know what part of Alabama your in. North or South or the middle? But here are a few things to consider.

    Gloves: I use the cheap cotton jersey gloves that you find in most convienient stores for about $1.59. I use those down to about 28f. Below that I use a good pair of waterproof mittens. Mine are Loki's. They're extremly heavy duty for the kind of cold we get up here.

    Insulating pants (underwear): As far as cold weather gear goes. IMO, you're better off spending the extra $$ on good gear. It will make your ride more comfortable and last alot longer. Get a good pair of rain pants. I use O2 rainshield. But there are others. Depends on how much you want to spend. There are all kind of tights to use. I use Sporthill XC pants. Which once again. Are heavy duty cold weather loose fitting pants that I wear alone from 45f to 15f.

    Glasses/Goggles : Once again you can spend any amount on goggles that you want. You need prescription goggles? They got em'. For a hefty price. I use Visorgogs. Cheap. They accommodate eyeglasses. Here is link to some others. http://mxdirtrider.com/h-products/pr...t-standard.htm

    Ear Covers: Below 42f I wear a thin balaclava. You'll ride all day with that on. I use a Wickers lightweight model from Sierra Trading Post for $7. Keep a pair of 180's in your bag in case you need them.

    See. You search around and you'll find better stuff than that bike specific stuff for alot cheaper. But like I said. I don't skimp around on cold weather gear cause I like to stay warm when I ride.
    Last edited by scoatw; 01-14-10 at 03:48 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the info. (I live in north Alabama)

  4. #4
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    You might consider a windprof breathable jacket.
    Scoatw posted
    I use Sporthill XC pants. Which once again. Are heavy duty cold weather loose fitting pants that I wear alone from 45f to 15f.
    I'll second his comment. I use the sporthill XC for skiing and cycling. I also have another pair of heavier Sporthill's that I use for really cold weather. I ride every day and rode when the temps were down in the low teens a few weeks ago. My wife commutes a couple of days a week year around and swears by her Sporthills. We also have several tops made by them. They are a local Oreon company, and we can pick up things at their annual sale. Sporthill products are a little on the spendy side, but in this case you truely get what you pay for.

  5. #5
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    I use a Sporthill Travellor jacket underneath my Showers Pass Century rainjacket that gives me all the protection I need. It's unbelievable how light these jackets are yet still protect me from the elements all the way down to -12. Believe me, I did it. Down in the negative digits I added a fleece vest that I took off half-way thru my 45 min morning commute. Sporthill is incredible clothing that will last you many years. Anything with their 3SP will work in these frigid temps. You'll barely feel it.
    Last edited by scoatw; 01-11-10 at 01:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Bike addict, dreamer AdamDZ's Avatar
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    The only bike specific pieces of wardrobe I have: tights and shorts and Pearl Izumi barrier jacket. Everything else is either regular stuff or hiking clothing, including cheap wool sweaters I got on sale from Gap outlet. I don't even buy cycling shirts any more but get cheap shirts from Costco or BJs that are meant for general sport use. They're often $15 and work just as well as $60 ones. I also visit the "cheap" stores such as Marshall's, Century 21, they often have good Nike, Adidas, etc. stuff for cheap that works well for cycling.

    Adam

  7. #7
    Very, very Senior Member JPprivate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scoatw View Post
    I use a Sporthill Travellor jacket underneath my Showers Pass Century rainjacket that gives me all the protection I need. It's unbelievable how light these jackets are yet still protect me from the elements all the way down to -12. Believe me, I did it. Down in the negative digits I added a fleece vest that I took off half-way thru my 45 min morning commute. Sporthill is incredible clothing that will last you many years. Anything with their 3SP will work in these frigid temps. You'll barely feel it.

    Holy cow, how do you ride on unplowed streets like that? I just can't do it, despite my Nokian106 and lowered tire pressure, it seems I am sliding with the snow...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFS Jake View Post
    So, I have searched some of my questions, and got a good idea on what I want/need. But I want some direct responses and opinions.

    I want to start commuting. We don't get snow here (Alabama) but we will get ice every once in a while (max 5 times during winter) and it rains quite often. I do plan on commuting as often as possible to school. (3 miles) But, I have a car and I am going to be a "fair weather" commuter so that makes it a little easier.

    Now things I think I need:
    Gloves (my fingers were FREEZING today)
    Insulating pants (underwear)
    Glasses/Goggles
    Ear Covers

    Is there any reason to buy any of these things from a "biking" type store? Is there anything else that I need?
    I'm guessing your winter riding temperatures will be between 35-50F most of the time. For a 3 mile commute you don't need much. At 50F almost any kind of thin glove will work. At 35F you will need good wind breaking properties and a little insulation in a glove.

    I would get a cheap freeride/skateboarders helmet for the commute. They are warmer and you might not need anything else under it for a 3 mile ride. They are inexpensive and have less venting so are warmer in winter. Just use some cheap sun glasses or safety glasses and a neck gaitor on the colder days.

    I would recommend getting some long cycling tights with a chamois and wear them under your regular pants for the commute and then take them off at school.

    Wind breaker with wool sweater on top works great. Can be from the thrift store.

  9. #9
    Senior Member coldfeet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPprivate View Post
    Holy cow, how do you ride on unplowed streets like that? I just can't do it, despite my Nokian106 and lowered tire pressure, it seems I am sliding with the snow...
    Your Nokian 106s are approximately equivalent to the snow studs I was using las year. I switched to full studded tires, ice Spiker Pros recently, and the difference in grip is quite a revelation. On soft brown, car packed and traveled snow, (car snot) the bike still moves around, but you can learn to ride through that, traffic permitting.

    It is important to remember that snow comes in many guises, what works for me may not be that great for you. Having said that, if you ride snow similar to that pictured, you might want to investigate the price of full studded tires.

  10. #10
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    I bought some gloves and they made the ride much more enjoyable. My face is a little chapped, not sure how I want to handle this. (I rode for about 5 miles tonight)


    thanks for the info guys, I got some ugly winter sweaters (not ugly but not "cool") that should do the trick. I'll post the results.

  11. #11
    Senior Member scoatw's Avatar
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    "Holy cow, how do you ride on unplowed streets like that? I just can't do it, despite my Nokian106 and lowered tire pressure"

    I'm riding on 294''s. Those will get you thru anything.....up to about 4 or 5 inches.

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