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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 09-15-11, 11:24 AM   #1
triumph.1
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cooler riding head gear question

Since this is my first season riding after 30 years off cooler weather is going to take some adjustment. This morning it was 45 degrees and 15 mph winds out of the north. Short of having zero pleasure on the ride I had on a thin short sleeve base shirt, long sleeve jersey, compression tights, light full fingered gloves, summer socks (mistake) and shoes with the summer insoles 9also a mistake). My ears froze and my feet were numb after 34 miles. My fingers weren't able to move quickly either. At any rate I can fix the feet and hands being cold, but I need to find a windproof light cap of sorts to cover my head and ears that doesn't flap in the wind and will stay on in windy conditions. If anyone has some different suggestions on head gear I'd appreciate it. I am leaning towards not wearing a helmet and going for comfort and practicality which is warmth.

Tim
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Old 09-15-11, 04:12 PM   #2
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Somewhere around 45F I'll start wearing a polypro headband. Thin kind, covering my ears. As it gets colder that gives way to a pile headband, then a polypro skull cap (from which at least one ear inexplicably and inevitably escapes!), and finally, down around 20-25F, to a balaclava. All with a helmutt on top, to keep SWMBO happy. Below about 30F, I'll put a cover on the hellmut to keep the wind down.

I'd rather wear a Walz cap. At least they look cool!
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Old 09-15-11, 04:46 PM   #3
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20-25 degrees is not happening for me. I spent many years riding a motorcycle in the winter and despite all the heated gear it was still miserable in hindsight. I think I convinced myself it was ok at the time. A bicycle with the gear available makes me shiver thinking about it. Today at 45 was as cold as I will go. A trainer is in the near future. I will check out the options you gave me, thanks for the input.
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Old 09-16-11, 09:08 AM   #4
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After trying a bunch of skull-caps, etc. my advice for serious cold is to go with a ski helmet with good ear protection. I use the Smith Maze http://www.rei.com/product/792160/sm...ze-snow-helmet which provides excellent ear protection while being about the same weight as a bike helmet.
I am also a big fan of MIL-spec poly-pro underwear http://outersports.com/black-heavy-w...-10003240.html
It is possible to stay comfortable in quite cold weather if you choose the right gear.
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Old 09-16-11, 12:10 PM   #5
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I've liked the Winter Beanie from SweatVac. That's what's under my old Decibel helmet in the avatar.

When it gets to the lower 20s and below, I prefer a balaclava. The generic Nashbar one suits me fine. The hole is wider and accommodates my glasses.

I've tried helmet covers, but found they trap in the moisture, which condenses into water and my head gets wet. Not good in winter. What has worked nicely is the winter insert that came in my Giro Ionos helmet. It blocks just enough wind and still allows ventilation. I wish less expensive helmets also came with such an insert.
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Old 09-16-11, 12:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by triumph.1 View Post
20-25 degrees is not happening for me. I spent many years riding a motorcycle in the winter and despite all the heated gear it was still miserable in hindsight. I think I convinced myself it was ok at the time. A bicycle with the gear available makes me shiver thinking about it. Today at 45 was as cold as I will go
Bear in mind that you're just sitting there doing nothing on a motorcycle. On a bicycle, you're working. That's what keeps you warm.

When I get cold, I just pedal harder. Warms me right up.
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Old 09-16-11, 12:22 PM   #7
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Riding a bike at 15 mph in the winter is different than sitting on a motorcycle and riding at 50 mph... when I rode a motorcycle it got pretty chilly at 5C but cycling at -25C is less difficult.

Have you ever heard of a toque ?

They are nice little knitted hats that come in many weights and can be worn under a helmet... more technical versions come in synthetics and might provide better coverage for the ears and if you keep your head warm you have won a good part of the battle to stay toasty.
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Old 09-16-11, 04:33 PM   #8
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You guys have valid points about the motorcycle riding and sitting sedentary. I imagine once I experiment with different gear the cold will become a bit more tolerable. I think more than anything trying to strike a balance between being warm and trying not to sweat much will be key to warmth. None the less it will be interesting to try new ideas out and again thanks for the suggestions.
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Old 09-16-11, 07:44 PM   #9
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I got something like this for those cooler days:

http://www.performancebike.com/bikes...paign=datafeed
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Old 09-17-11, 05:07 AM   #10
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I think more than anything trying to strike a balance between being warm and trying not to sweat much will be key to warmth.
That there is the essence of dressing for winter cycling. Behind all the other advice out there, this is what we try to achieve.
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