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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 09-29-10, 02:21 PM   #1
jaidog
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Will this clothing combo work for 35-55 degree weather?

I'm looking for a 2-layer solution that is somewhat "aerodynamic".
I ride 1 hour each way to/from work, and don't plan to ride if it's
below 35 degrees.

I'm currently thinking of the Sugoi Wallaroo Long Sleeve Jersey:

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Catalo...hTerm=wallaroo

along with a skin-tight base layer such as Champion C9 PowerCore Tee:

http://www.target.com/C9-by-Champion...k&frombrowse=1

Any thoughts on whether this combination would work? My thinking is that the
base layer will provide some wind protection and the wallaroo will provide warmth.
I know that wind protection is usually on the outside, but maybe this will work??

Last edited by jaidog; 09-29-10 at 02:27 PM. Reason: Added extra info
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Old 09-30-10, 08:13 AM   #2
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I sometimes use 2 jersey layers to provide a wind baffle but its not windproof and only works at comfortable temperatures.
I would go with a base layer, long sleeved jersey and a windproof layer. You can mix and match them to get the right performance. You can add a sleevless gillet for extra versatility. Some people go the armwarmer route, more useful if the temperature varies a lot during your ride.
Windproof jackets are easy to carry and can be worn when making repairs.
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Old 09-30-10, 08:58 AM   #3
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The jersey by itself if fine for 55. Temperatures here have been high 40s low 50s the past couple of weeks and I've been comfortable with just a long sleeve jersey. At 35 you'll probably need a little more. I'd suggest a light windproof jacket and the base layer. You'll be surprised how little you need to stay warm.

This of course assumes that it is dry. If it is 35 and raining you'll need something waterproof or you'll be very cold.

There are a few other variables to consider:

*If your ride has big downhills you'll need a little more.
*35 and sunny is different from 35 and dark. You'll need a little more when it is dark

Paul
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Old 09-30-10, 09:54 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by paul2432 View Post
The jersey by itself if fine for 55. Temperatures here have been high 40s low 50s the past couple of weeks and I've been comfortable with just a long sleeve jersey. At 35 you'll probably need a little more. I'd suggest a light windproof jacket and the base layer. You'll be surprised how little you need to stay warm.

This of course assumes that it is dry. If it is 35 and raining you'll need something waterproof or you'll be very cold.

There are a few other variables to consider:

*If your ride has big downhills you'll need a little more.
*35 and sunny is different from 35 and dark. You'll need a little more when it is dark

Paul
I don't plan on riding when it's wet so 35 and dry is a safe assumption. It will
be dark on my way home so I will need to take that into consideration. So, I'll
shoot for a base layer and a windproof layer on top. I'm trying to avoid a
windproof jacket since I want to minimize drag so I'ld like something tighter
fitting that is still windproof. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-30-10, 11:47 AM   #5
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Maybe if you're really tolerant of cold and that were a good wool base layer. But work up just a little sweat or otherwise get that polyester base layer even just a bit damp in 35 F weather and you'll be freezing your nads off.

Even then I'd say jersey + baselayer is pushing it for 35, and I'm usually by far the lightest-dressed cyclist I see out in the winter.
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Old 10-01-10, 02:45 AM   #6
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I suggest you get something like a Montane featherlite velo. It fits into a jersey pocket, so you can carry it with you all the time. If the rain or sleet start coming down, you pop it on.

55-35 temperatures are what we get from october into the start of december. It's not really cold, you can get away with a short-sleeved jersey and arm warmer during the warmer days + a windproof in case the weather turns.
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Old 10-03-10, 01:03 PM   #7
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That is a nice jersey, but it won't cut it if you're not working hard on the bicycle... day in and out, just commuting, you'll want something more windproof that merino wool.

see here
That would be a good jacket with thin base layer approaching freezing... though not water-proof and it is "relaxed fit"
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Old 10-03-10, 02:17 PM   #8
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I agree with what electric said, the MEC Supermicroft jacket is great. I use it all winter as a windproof shell.Merrino wool base layer, polartec fleece and the MEC supermicroft shell get me through the worst winter weather. It's not waterproof but it is winproof.
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Old 10-03-10, 06:13 PM   #9
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For that kind of weather, a liner jacket should be more than enough.

If it drops below 35, add a softshell. If it rains or snows, a hardshell combo can do.

For the head, a baclava or watch cap for severe cold wind.

And gloves to keep the hands warm when out and about.

Its not a good idea to dress up like the Michelin Man in the winter.

The key is good layering and you should be able to add and remove them depending on what goes on throughout the day.
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Old 10-08-10, 09:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidog View Post
I'm looking for a 2-layer solution that is somewhat "aerodynamic".
I ride 1 hour each way to/from work, and don't plan to ride if it's
below 35 degrees.

I'm currently thinking of the Sugoi Wallaroo Long Sleeve Jersey:

http://www.nashbar.com/bikes//Catalo...hTerm=wallaroo

along with a skin-tight base layer such as Champion C9 PowerCore Tee:

http://www.target.com/C9-by-Champion...k&frombrowse=1

Any thoughts on whether this combination would work? My thinking is that the
base layer will provide some wind protection and the wallaroo will provide warmth.
I know that wind protection is usually on the outside, but maybe this will work??
There is a big difference between 35-55 degrees. What you describe might be OK for some people at 55 degrees but for others it would not be warm enough. It depends on how cold the ground gets at night were you ride. If the ground is frozen you have to wear more gear for the same air temperature than you would if the ground is warm.

Generally what you describe is inadequate for 35 Degrees. But will work just fine if you add a cycling jacket. There is no getting around the cycling jacket. It's the most important thing to keep you warm and dry. It has no insulation it's just a barrier to the elements. You layer things underneath it for warmth. The better ones can be rather form fitting and retain reasonable aerodynamics. It's better in my opinion to never have more than three layers no matter how cold. In severe cold you just wear a thicker middle layer. You can generally get by with 1 pair of medium thickness cycling tights over your cycling shorts down to 35 degrees if the ground is not frozen solid.

Advice: buy a cycling jacket first. It can work at 55 -35 degrees just fine depending on what you have underneath it. Long sleeve jerseys are best for 60-70 degree temps. The cycling jacket is more flexible and useful. You can buy a form fitting soft shell type if you want aero. But they are not usually as warm as the hard shell type. Under the cycling jacket you can layer cheap discount ski wear. Long sleeve jersey is nice for fall and can be used for layering in winter but it does not work as well as a mid layer as some cheaper gear.

I like to use a runners zip turtle neck long sleeve jersey or a lightweight polar fleece shirt for the middle layer depending on how cold it is. There is no getting around experimenting with this because everyone's metabolism is different while riding.
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Old 10-08-10, 10:57 PM   #11
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Thanks to everyone for the replies. The common theme seems to be that as it gets colder, I will need a base layer, mid layer, and then some type of jacket. Looking at jackets, I see some that are extremely lightweight and thin that I find it hard to believe they will work even with a base and mid layer at 35 degrees. Perhaps I'm mistaken. Is a lightweight jacket that can keep wind out, but provides no insulation capable of keeping one warm at 35 degrees with two layers beneath?

In the replies above, there are references to various types of jackets: liner jackets, softshell jackets, and hardshell jackets. What category would a Gore Performance Shell be under, and would it suffice for 35 degree weather? Another jacket that I thought may do the trick is the Peformance Aspen: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1077983_-1_1556501_1556500_400070.
Again, what category would this be in, and would it work?
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Old 10-09-10, 08:24 PM   #12
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I did two hours today. Temps were between 37 and 39. I was spot on comfortable. I had on thin patagonia long underwear tops with a thin polyester short sleeve shirt over that and a thin fleece vest over those two layers. There was no wind proofing at all. I wore a bandana under my helmet cause I'm bald. I used medium weight windproof gloves that have a bit of fleece on the outside to keep the hands warm. I had on regular biking shorts with windproof pants that are an open stretch weave on the back side. I use large shoes with thick socks but due to previous frostbite on my feet I also use a toe warmer (dry chem) on my right foot with a slightly thinner sock than the left foot. I tape over the vents in my shoes. As soon as I put on a wind block layer I overheat somewhere at those temps. I do bring a thin wind jacket in case it gets nasty windy but I avoid using it unless it gets really cold. That layer set is good at the 35F range. At 55F I would have taken off the vest, used thin polyrpo gloves inside my regular biking gloves, used my regular bike shoes and used either nothing special on the legs or I might have used some thin polypro long johns with my biking shorts. My favorite short-sleeve-nothing special temp for riding is 63F. Over that I consider getting warm...under that I start to consider layering something.
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Old 10-09-10, 08:27 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaidog View Post
Thanks to everyone for the replies. The common theme seems to be that as it gets colder, I will need a base layer, mid layer, and then some type of jacket. Looking at jackets, I see some that are extremely lightweight and thin that I find it hard to believe they will work even with a base and mid layer at 35 degrees. Perhaps I'm mistaken. Is a lightweight jacket that can keep wind out, but provides no insulation capable of keeping one warm at 35 degrees with two layers beneath?

In the replies above, there are references to various types of jackets: liner jackets, softshell jackets, and hardshell jackets. What category would a Gore Performance Shell be under, and would it suffice for 35 degree weather? Another jacket that I thought may do the trick is the Peformance Aspen: http://www.performancebike.com/bikes/Product_10052_10551_1077983_-1_1556501_1556500_400070.
Again, what category would this be in, and would it work?
Yes, on a bike you don't need much insulation because you are generating heat. But what you need that is critical as it gets colder is good wind resistance. Keeping out as much wind as possible while still allowing for breathability is the key. This is why the cycling jacket is so important. They are highly wind resistant but still breathable. Though the more wind resistant it is the less breathable it is.

Your goal of two layers can be achieved down to about 35 degree. I have done it just fine. But you have to use a cycling jacket to do it. Under the cycling jacket wear a long sleeve lightweight polar fleece shirt. This will wick enough so that you may not need a wicking base layer. If you need a little more warmth go with the base layer.

The Gore performance jacket will work well in cold temperatures. I have one and it performs very well. It is a good first jacket to buy and is about the best performance you can get in that price range.

Keep in mind that what I am telling you is average for most people. Some people get very hot while riding and need a little less and more breathability. Also, 35 in fall when the ground is still warm and not frozen is much warmer than 35 in the dead of winter when everything is frozen because you lose a lot of heat through radiant heat loss to nearby cold objects like the ground.

In the dead of winter when it is below freezing you can often get by with a more breathable outer layer. Because the snow does not get you so wet as rain would.

If you read Digibud's post above you will note that he has three layers on his torso but only one on his arms. This works well for some people and not for others. Personally, I need about the same amount of insulation on my arms as torso. But for others it works better for their arms to be somewhat cooler to keep them at a better internal temperature.

You will have to experiment.

Last edited by Hezz; 10-09-10 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 10-09-10, 09:46 PM   #14
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Sitting on my kitchen table is a large sticky note pad. As this Winter approaches I have begun jotting down what I'm wearing and what the temp it is. I note the outside-house temp and then when I return I put down the temp as shown by my computer. On a sunny day the difference is normally about 5˚F. I make note when something doesn't work and it's really helpful. There is a meaningful change of this or that piece of clothing every 5˚ or so. I ride to about -20F and getting it right the first time out of the gate is really nice when it gets chilly. Once it gets really cold I take panniers with me so I have warm clothing in the event of a breakdown or accident. Things get slow in the Winter but not overheating is even more important in the Winter so having just the right layers is really helpful so keeping a chart will go a long way to helping you find just the right clothing combination for any given temperature range.
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Old 10-10-10, 12:57 AM   #15
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I echo what Hezz says above, as its pretty much spot on. A very good starting point for winter wear.
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Old 10-12-10, 09:32 AM   #16
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I rode at 40 degrees last night. And I wore two layers. Merrino wool, with a jacket (mostly for wind resistance). I was also wearing a tuque (winter cap). The jacket had a bit of insulation or fluff or whatever and I started to get a bit warm after about 15 minutes so I took off the tuque.

When I was riding in the afternoon at 50-55 degrees, I was just wearing the wool and skipped the jacket and cap.

Though there is a huge variation in people's sensitivity to the cold...
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Old 10-12-10, 12:46 PM   #17
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I want to minimize drag so I'ld like something tighter
fitting that is still windproof. Any suggestions?
Waterproof = doesn't breathe if you ride at anytyhing resembling a decent pace -- pointless to me.

Windproof = good, but easy to overheat yourself if you wear too much under it

Try on your own: trial and error using various t-shirts, long sleeved shirts, sweatshirts, and maybe some wind pants/running pants. Nearly everything I've ever purchased that's "cycling specific" ends up in the bottom of my closet because it's too cumbersome to bother with changing clothes or because it simply looks too stupid to work in or perform normal human activities.

Plus this is stuff you probably already have, and if you don't it's cheap.

35F isn't anything to worry about, I could still be in shorts and simply wear a sweatshirt and a skull cap and ride just fine. Layering itself works great, but you can figure this out on your own using normal clothing. You don't have to buy name-brand moisture wicking, silver-impregnated, wind-shearing, poly-tech, or anything else like that.

Just underdress so you don't sweat -- than you don't need to wick anything. If you're still cold after 20 minutes make sure to bring an extra long sleeved shirt in a pannier or basket or backpack.

Or just do whatever you want. Different strokes.

Simple.

Note: I commute year round 30 miles daily between about....well, last year it hit 18F one morning and up to 103F several weeks ago now. 98% of the people I pass on the roads are in full racing kit. 80% of those same people are gone by November. I'm still wearing my normal clothes....?

Last edited by TurbineBlade; 10-13-10 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 10-13-10, 12:58 PM   #18
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Rode to work at 40 degrees this morning. Wore just the wool shirt, jeans, boots, gloves and tuque. I was starting to feel hot by the time I got to work (40 minutes).

Looks like it will be 55-60 on my way back, so I'll skip the gloves and tuque.

I agree you don't need special/expensive clothing. My wool shirt cost $25 and I can wear it to work.
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Old 10-14-10, 11:09 AM   #19
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Thanks for all the great suggestions and replies. I have started to log what I am wearing everyday I ride along with weather conditions. What I've found so far is that if the temp is above 65 and it's not dark, I'm comfortable with bike shorts and a poly T-shirt. At 55-65, bike shorts, poly T-shirt with a poly jersey on top works well. Between 45-55, I tried UnderArmour coldgear longsleeve jersey with a poly jersey on top and bike shorts. With this gear, I'm comfortably cool during my entire ride and don't work up much of a sweat.

I'm in the Chicago area and the ground is still warm. I haven't had to ride in sub-45 degree weather, yet. Based on the posts above, I am planning on purchasing a Bellwether Coldfront jacket and will use this along with my UnderArmour jersey for 35-45 degree rides. I'll add leg warmers, as well.
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Old 10-14-10, 02:56 PM   #20
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How do you not work up a sweat on an hour long ride?
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Old 10-14-10, 03:16 PM   #21
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you ride easy...but most folks here don't want to ride easy and if you push yourself for anything like an hour you'll be sweating (or you're not pushing yourself). some folks certainly sweat more than others and people in great shape can ride at some given speed more easily and sweating less than somebody out of shape but if any two people bike at 80 or 90% of their max for some period of time both will be sweating. By wearing clothing that can breath well, that doesn't absorb moisture and hold it (like cotton) and by keeping a windblock on your front (but not your backside) you can go a long way to controlling your body sweat.
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Old 10-14-10, 03:18 PM   #22
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How do you not work up a sweat on an hour long ride?
Either I'm not riding hard enough, or I'm wearing just the right amount of clothing (hopefully the latter ) The best way to describe how I felt when I rode at 45-55 degrees is comfortably cool. Also, I'm riding through traffic, and end up stopping at 2-3 lights. So, I'm not riding constantly for the entire hour.
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Old 10-14-10, 05:37 PM   #23
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it's easy to avoid sweating once the temp is about 65 and below...for me anyway. Just wear little clothing that leaves you feeling cold when you start riding....easy.

Most people I see are wearing a lot more than I wear....and like I said, by November the roads and paths in and out of DC are nearly empty of cyclists.

Note: If you ride at a really hard pace, you might not be able to avoid sweating until the temp is lower than that. It depends on the individual.
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Old 10-15-10, 11:38 AM   #24
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Note: If you ride at a really hard pace, you might not be able to avoid sweating until the temp is lower than that. It depends on the individual.
I ride hard, but I don't think "really" hard. That said, I sweat no matter what the temperature, and I'm pretty good about not overlaying. Definitely depends on the individual.
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Old 10-15-10, 11:48 AM   #25
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Yeah, it's hard to quantify "really hard" I guess. I used to ride harder than I do now -- when my commute got longer and added more traffic lights, I slowed down to a medium pace.....no point in hard riding in my circumstances, plus I'm not too fast even when I do .
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