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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 11-15-04, 09:23 AM   #1
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At what temp do you usually add head covering?

This morning the temp was about 28F. I down layered as last week I was too warm and just used long sleeve shirt, fleece and wind breaker. Dropped the vest. Temperature was perfect by the end of the 5 mile ride. But the first couple of miles was nippy. Coldest hands and cold ears. So the question:

At what temperature do you start wearing a head band/balacalva/ear muffs/ etc. ?

I don't know to try light ear muffs or go to balacava tomorrow. Thanks for the advice.
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Old 11-15-04, 09:55 AM   #2
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I usually wear an earband from 35F - 32F. Below 32 F I wear a very lightweight balaclava. Sometimes wearing an earband over the balaclava if my ears still get cold. An earband will easily slip into a pocket as will a balaclava, take them along and expirement.

What works for one won't necessarily work for the other. You will have to experiment. Also yours hands shouldn't be cold. You don't have the right gloves if you start out cold at 28 F. There are many options for you. I wear a pair of thinsulate glove mittens with a light pair of fleece gloves underneath.

The top flips back on the mits to expose my fingers when i need them. I picked them up at Walmart for like $12 last Winter. I have NEVER had cold hands and see no need to spend more at this point. Keep a track of the temps and what you wear. You will soon look at the thermometer (hope you have a good one) and be able to say......"it is 28 F out, i need this, this and this." Instead of having to guess and be uncomfortable.

Last edited by Portis; 11-15-04 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:12 AM   #3
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Thanks, I'll dig out the ear band.

I'm still experimenting to see what works. Last week about the same temp, my hands were toasty when wore the vest but didn't like the overheating at the end. Right now I am just using some leather work gloves. Yes I know they are super light and valueless in rain. So I watch the forecast carefully. I tried the black diamond gloves one day and they are too hot. I think even if I took out the liners they would be still too hot. Looks like I need a pair of inbetween gloves like you use.

I'm set for thermometer. I got a wireless at walmart that is located on a post under the deck, in the shade. So I have a worst case temperature.

Thanks for the suggestion of keeping a log, that is great advice. I just have 30 miles on the bike, so still trying to find the right balance.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:36 AM   #4
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Once it hits -5C including the wind chill I wear the balaclava. I expect that as it gets colder I will tape up the vents in my helmet. If it is warmer I wear a headband, but I wear it on a slant from my neck to the top of my head because otherwise I found it a pain in the butt to put my helment overtop. For my hands I wear a pair of fingerless wool (lined with thinsulate) overtop of a thin pair of rock climbing gloves to give me dexterity when I need it. The wool gloves have a flap to pull down over my fingers for when I am cruising. If it is warmer than 3 or 4C I will ditch the outer layer. I figure that with what I am wearing now I should be good to -20C.

I reserve the right to modify on a regular basis as this is the first winter commute for me.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:51 AM   #5
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I move from a bandana (bald head, so it stops the sweat running down too much) to a light wicking beanie when the temperature drops into the mid-30s. If I get too hot on the ride, I can usually just push the beanie up a bit off my ears and be fine. If you've got plenty of hair on your head, a head band might do the trick. When it gets to the mid- to high-20s, I either add a neck gator, or switch to a balaclava.
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Old 11-15-04, 11:04 AM   #6
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I put up my hood under my helmet somewhere around 32 F -- about the same temperature at which I put on the gloves. You will have to experiment. It sounds like your headgear should easily fit in a pocket when you don't need it, so why worry?

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Old 11-15-04, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
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You will have to experiment. It sounds like your headgear should easily fit in a pocket when you don't need it, so why worry?
Paul
Not worried, the top section of rear rack pack is set aside for weather gear. All there's now is windbreaker hood and balaclava. I wasn't quite cold enought to stop and put on the bala, but if I stayed cold, I would have stopped on put it on.
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Old 11-15-04, 12:16 PM   #8
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around 0c i slap the headband on.
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Old 11-15-04, 12:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ranger
Keep a track of the temps and what you wear.
Very interesting idea. Here's what came of it. Since it's my first winter attempt at commute, I put it all in a spreadsheet.
Date
Wind chill [ calculated on new formula using variable columns wind speed, bike speed, outside temp ]
Experience [ just measuring hands and body on 5 pt scale ]
what wearing [ check list of available options ]

I had to revisit frostbite and the key details are:

Wind chill frostbite effect after
above -17 >30 minutes
-18..-33 30 minutes
-34..-54 10 minutes
below -54 5 minutes

Not too much of a problem at this location, as would need temps below 10F and winds above 40mph plus bike speed of 10mph to get wind chill of -18. Whoops, think again. 11.15.2003, wind gusts of 34mph.

Yeap, should be an interesting winter.

Funny, my "experienced rider" who helped encourage me to get back to biking is now feeling guilty because I rode in and she drove it. Claims she will ride in tomorrow. Turn around is fun, isn't it.
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Old 11-15-04, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Very interesting idea. Here's what came of it. Since it's my first winter attempt at commute, I put it all in a spreadsheet.
Date
Wind chill [ calculated on new formula using variable columns wind speed, bike speed, outside temp ]
Experience [ just measuring hands and body on 5 pt scale ]
what wearing [ check list of available options ]
One factor to take into account is the level of moisture in the air. I rode in Friday at ~14F and was just toasty. Today was around 34F but with a heavy frost and I felt chilled the whole way.

Like you I've developed a set of trip points, when the temp is expected to be XX, the gear consists of YY. The ***** is when the temp swings 30 between the morning and evening ride
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Old 11-15-04, 07:20 PM   #11
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Yeap, unless you wait til twilight.

I give up on the work gloves til spring. The black diamonds are all set for tomorrow. Toasty fingers again.

We only have about 17 inches of moisture a year, so not much to worry about here. But in some places it is very important both for cold and hot when you can't cool down cause it's so muggy.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:33 PM   #12
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About 13 C/ 55F. If it's a little warmer in temps, but the wind chill drops the temperature into seeming colder than the actual temperature, I'll add a hat anyway.

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Old 11-16-04, 06:59 AM   #13
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Thinking about this thread, it is interesting that there is not an air moisture content factor in either the original or revised chill factor. There is in the heat factor. With the original chill factor beging developed in antartica, I can understand no moisure factor. But you whould think NOAA would have added some moisure component for chill when they revised it. I wouldn't know how to begin to do this. Just for fun, I'll add a moisture column and see if there is any variation.
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Old 11-16-04, 07:46 AM   #14
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For bike riding, moisture is hugely important. Wet kit chills; incident rain or snow super-chills. I cna suffer unbearable brainfreeze at 10C in rain and be fine below freezing in dry still air.

FWIW: Down to freezing, merino beanie; down to -5, fleece beanie; below that, well, it doesn't get that low often in the southwest UK but I have this cool Russian hat...
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Old 11-16-04, 09:15 AM   #15
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Well at 33F it is too warm for Balaclava by the end of the ride.

Do you just use a head band or ear muff at this temp, or do you stop and remove the balaclava after you heat up?
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Old 11-16-04, 04:08 PM   #16
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My bacalava is thin polyester stuff. I wear the bacalava when the temps go below 50. If the temps are below 40 I use a bacalava and a helmet cover.

I wear a cycling cap (no dew rags for me) when the temps are between 50 and 65.
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Old 11-16-04, 05:12 PM   #17
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Moisture in the air is seldom a problem here. When it gets below freezing the air is typically pretty dry, hence the chapped lips, dry skin etc. I expect it could be a problem in other parts of the world. A bigger factor here that doesn't get accounted for is sun.

20 F with dark cloudy skies feels different than 20 F with bright sunshine. I don't care what the thermometer says. I suspect it has to do with the absorption of sunlight by clothing although i am not sure. Many, many other factors come in to play. Some days you just feel warmer than others as well. THat is hard to explain but it happens.

I get by very well by looking at the thermometer and just consulting my mental data base on what works. I am usually dead on. It is important to be dead on, or pack extra gear or the consequences can be bad. How bad depends on how long your ride is and how cold it is.
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