Yeah, I'm still wearing shorts and a windbreaker until temps drop to 32F. Its highly variable from person to person.
The log thing is the best suggestion here. A month of uncomfortable experimentation will yield years of comfortable winter riding.
OP here again. Wanted to provide an update. Bellwether Coldfront fell through, but I found a Gore Performance Shell at a clearance price of $50 which I couldn't pass up. So, I'm now waiting for temps to drop to mid-30s at which time I'll try my UnderArmour coldgear jersey with the Gore Shell. I have a feeling I'll require even one more layer since the Gore Shell has very little insulation, but I'll need to wait for lower temps before I know for sure. Will provide results soon -- hopefully not too soon since I'm perfectly fine with 60 degrees in October.
Wow. 35 to 55 is not considered that cold? Can you operate at VO2 max in those temperatures? Is your maximal power less under these conditions?
semper ubi sub ubi
Probably part of the reason why marathon season is in the fall...
semper ubi sub ubi
Just in case anyone is still monitoring this old thread ... Original OP back. Rode in 40 degree weather tonight through a surprise unforecasted downpour. My toes were frozen by the time I arrived home, but my core was warm AND DRY. Not a single drop made it through the Gore Shell!! And, I've found that the UnderArmour coldgear jersey was just trapping in too much heat or was too warm. With two long-sleeve polyester layers underneath the Gore Shell, I'm toasty at 40 degrees (and dry as I found out tonight). Needless to say, I'm extremely happy with the Shell and the layers I'm using under it for my semi-cold rides.
Regarding the cold toes: I don't plan on riding in the rain often, so I'll keep a couple of plastic bags with me and insert those between my socks and shoes. Dry toes = warmer toes, I hope.
Regarding layering: After experimenting for the past month in conditions ranging from 40 degrees to 70 degrees, I've concluded that there are two ways for me to layer. The first involves two to three layers of polyester with none of it being windproof. This seems to work down to about 48 degrees. With this approach, my core is not toasty, but I arrive less sweaty and feel that any sweat I'm producing has a chance to evaporate. I feel a lot more wind on my core, and I think the wind is helping remove the sweat (and heat). The second method of layering is to use one or two base layers with my Gore Shell on top. This seems to work well in sub-48 degree temps, especially at night. This keeps my core much warmer probably due to the fact that I am protected from wind, and the heat from my body is trapped within the shell. The flipside is that my base layers are more sweaty, but not too bad as long as I layer appropriately.
I generally agree with jaidog but I would add that you can find jackets that are windproof on the front and not on the back. That allows moisture to escape from the back. When it's below freezing and my wife and I ride it's not uncommon to stop and brush off the frozen moisture off the back of our jackets. Even using the lightest weight windproof (back and front) jacket causes a lot of moisture to remain trapped inside. I also prefer more layers of polyester and hold off any windproofing layer till I really need it.
Not sure what shell you have, but a few are designed so that their pockets double as vents. If you're still having evaporation issues that might be worth a shot.
Hope you're enjoying the warm weather--40's here this morning.
Jackets typically have fewer pockets than jerseys. Usually one in the rear. Some have side pockets or a chest pocket. If you need to carry more stuff you can use a winter weight long sleeve cycling jersey as a middle layer. The jacket will need to be a little loose for this.
I'd do the jersey and a fitting shell. You can unzip the shell as you get hot.
Or get a nice base layer, and wear a summer jersey over it and use a shell. I'm a big fan of wind blocking layers. I also tend to get cold rather than hot, so....