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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 11-15-10, 10:21 AM   #1
himespau 
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Was I too hot or too cold?

So I know it's not really winter yet but I have a question about apparel. Yesterday morning, I was out riding in low-mid 40's. Light windbreaker shell (didn't really stop the wind and was pretty much like a sail in the headwind I was riding into, so I took it off, full finger gloves, compression shirt as a baselayer, jersey, arm warmers, bibs, leg warmers. I was feeling rather cool for most of the ride, but I was also sweating a fair bit in the headwind - it was dripping down into my eyes. I would have figured if I was working hard enough to work up a good sweat, I would be working hard enough to keep myself warm. Does this mean that I just didn't have good enough moisture management? Mainly I was cold in my arms and legs rather than my core, but when I pulled off my arm warmers at my destination, my arms were rather sweaty (and my hands were too sweaty, which is a problem with the gloves not being breathable. Anybody have suggestions on how I should be layering differently?
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Old 11-15-10, 10:36 AM   #2
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My guess? Too warmly dressed.

When you sweat through your layers, it feels cold, and in colder conditions, can rapidly lead to hypothermia. The trick is to not sweat through your layers, which means dressing lightly. Sweat management in the warm weather means getting rid of it. Sweat management in cold weather means minimizing production of it.

In similar conditions, I'm borderline too warm in a long-sleeved wicking t-shirt, cycling jacket, and bib tights. I have to play with the jacket zipper a lot to manage airflow.
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Old 11-15-10, 10:54 AM   #3
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Thanks, that's sort of what I was thinking. I definitely tried to lighten up what I was wearing halfway through the ride.
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Old 11-15-10, 11:24 AM   #4
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The beauty of the wind breaker is that you can open it up as you start to get warm to cool yourself off.

tsl is dead on IMO. You were too warm.

And if you don't like the loose fitting wind break buy another one that fits tighter.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:12 PM   #5
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Just as a for instance, I was out today in similar weather in a cotton t-shirt and a light fleece with wool tights, wool socks, cargo shorts, fingerless cycling gloves and a cap under a helmet and I was, if anything, too warm.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:45 PM   #6
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Mid-20s to lower 40s are really difficult to dress for IMO. There's no happy medium. I'd almost rather it be really cold out.
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Old 11-15-10, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Thanks, that's sort of what I was thinking. I definitely tried to lighten up what I was wearing halfway through the ride.
Yeah, and as you found out, by then it's too late.

There are two rules I follow: First, when I step out the door, my first thought should be, "This is effed! I need another layer." If I feel okay, I'm wearing too much.

Second, I should feel chilly for the first couple of miles, and warm up by mile three. If I warm up earlier, I'm wearing too much. YMMV on this second one. A lot of it depends on how hard one rides. If you just noodle along, I would reduce the distance to comfortable. Hammerheads could probably increase it.

In both cases, wind, precipitation and humidity have an effect too. For instance, if I'm pedaling into the wind, I usually need less, since I'm working a lot harder. (Note, all my outerwear is windproof.) I also need less if I'm pedaling with the wind, since there's less wind-chill.
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Old 11-15-10, 09:16 PM   #8
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Good points, I need to work on identifying better windproof gear. My long sleeved baselayer shirts aren't as windproof as I thought and my two windbreakers one is baggy and a sail in the wind and the other isn't vented so it gets really hot if it's above 40 or so. I've been liking my new arm warmers but for some reason they work down my biceps a little (or my shirt sleeve works up) and I have this band that's just frigid. Gloves are still a work in progress too. What I have right now are fingerless summer gloves and the windproof full fingers that just get too warm. I wonder if I should take the glove liners I got for the winter gloves and run them under my summer gloves for the intermediate temps.
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