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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 11-13-11, 12:39 PM   #1
scale
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long underwear.......?? what do you you use

First year of trying to winter cycle at much as possibe.

I have your standard set of waffle pattern old timey long johns that everyone has used through out the history of time but i have heard there are better things in this department.

IM really debating some smartwool midweight long johns from REI but the price is like$80. Granted they are Merino wool and probably some of the best you can get but just curious what everyone else runs? I have heard the SW is worth every penny.

I live in MN and it can get down to -40 on any given day in the winter.

Probably not worth replying if you dont live somewhere where it doesnt get down in the single digits.....to below zero.

On that note i did score some nice REI switch back gloves today which have a nice long gauntlet. Got them on clearance for 44 bucks. IM figuring i can throw some $1 stretchy gloves as liners in them when it gets really cold. I justified this purchase as i needed some decent winter gloves and this seemed as good or better than the Peal Itzumis in the bike dept for the same price.

Anway.......Long underwear.........?
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Old 11-13-11, 01:16 PM   #2
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I live in MN and it can get down to -40 on any given day in the winter.
I live north of you so it gets that cold here, but if there is any significant wind I usually don't ride
in under -25C (have done -35C and colder, but it's more about survival than exercise at that point).

In those temps I usually have long thermal bicycling bibs under a ski pant.
I have an extra big columbia ski jacket that I can fit a couple of layers under for warmth.
I would go with a cycling specific thermal bib tight over long underwear every time. It's just
soo much more comfortable.
It usually isn't the legs,body arms that get cold it is the feet,fingers,face.

The problem with this is it is very bulky and constricting. This winter I am trying an ASSOS Fugujack
and a Sugoi RS Zero jacket and tights for the cold weather. It is really nice riding and not feeling and
looking like an arctic explorer from the 1800's.

I just tried the Fugujack with a very thin base layer, and some light thermal tights (not the RS zero ones) in around 0C (32F)
with a strong N wind and I was almost too hot. I think with a little thicker base layer and the RS zero tights, I
should be good to about -15C or 0F, but I will have to see.

The problem up here is there always seems to be a stiff wind, -25C is quite nice with no wind on a sunny day,
you can easily overheat. It's just that strong wind with no sun that makes it suck.
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Old 11-13-11, 01:25 PM   #3
scale
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yeah...id rather not look like that arctic explorer from the 1800s

IM going to try to use what i have on hand first and see how that works. I dont really have any cycling specific winter stuff but i have layers i can pile on like crazy until i look like that kid from "A Christmas Story"
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Old 11-13-11, 01:45 PM   #4
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yeah...id rather not look like that arctic explorer from the 1800s

IM going to try to use what i have on hand first and see how that works. I dont really have any cycling specific winter stuff but i have layers i can pile on like crazy until i look like that kid from "A Christmas Story"
The problem is, it is easy to dress warm enough, but when you start really exerting yourself and you get overheated and start
sweating, the sweat can't escape. I ride for 1.5-2.5hrs in the cold and can get pretty sweaty. I have had 4-6" icicles hanging from
my toque after a 2 hr ride in -30.
The bicycling specific stuff does a better job of moisture regulation around your body.

I found great deals on ebay, that Sugoi RS zero jacket is about $189ish I won a new one for $39 (I can't get a ripped used t-shirt at my LBS for that price)
The good thing about winter cycling stuff is you can get good deals on it (especially in the summer) since 1000's of people aren't rushing out to buy clothes made
for riding in freezing temps. I got new answer kashmir boots for $27 shipped they run around $159, but you have to spend some time looking.
Those are extreme examples but I can usually get new items at 60-70% off. Nashbar had great deals on De Marchi stuff, they have
some awesome thermal bibs, but it seems they aren't stocking De marchi as much as they used to, but I havn't been looking
lately.
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Old 11-13-11, 01:58 PM   #5
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I wear lightweight Target base layer long johns to about 10F.

Under that I use a pair of heavy weight long johns. Just department store polyester.

Wool would be nice, but more than my budget.
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Old 11-13-11, 03:10 PM   #6
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LL Bean has some good base layer offerings in light, moderate & heavy weights. Better than your normal long johns because of their wicking properties.
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Old 11-13-11, 03:16 PM   #7
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An argument for wool (and the reason I am on the lookout for a second pair of wool long johns that don't cost $80) is that they don't stink nearly as quickly. Between 0*F and 20*F, I often wear a pair of heavy tights over my wool/poly blend long johns. This works unless the wind kicks up or it gets even colder, then I normally swap the tights for wind or rain pants. At any rate, if you don't want to wash your long johns on a daily basis, I would recommend a wool blend at the least. Plus mine are comfy.
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Old 11-13-11, 03:32 PM   #8
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I live in southern maine and commute til there is snow on the ground, last year this was mid december, and the low was -10air temp and swear by under armour cold gear. I will say that I havent tried the wool though
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Old 11-13-11, 03:42 PM   #9
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ive thought of checking out the UA cold gear. I havent yet.

THere are no LL Bean stores here. I live in MN. I wish we had one. The prices on the thermals seem pretty darn good on the web site.
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Old 11-13-11, 03:55 PM   #10
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REI is a great store but can be a little pricey. I have found some great winter biking clothes at Performance Bike. The newer polyester materials have a better wicking ability than the wools and cottons. Layers work well especially if your polyester layer is against the skin. Then you can shed on the climb and layer up on the downhill.
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Old 11-13-11, 06:00 PM   #11
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Under armor.
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Old 11-13-11, 06:50 PM   #12
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I get the Champion C9 stuff they sell at Target. This year they have a wool blend. $15.00.
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Old 11-13-11, 07:08 PM   #13
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The upside to wool is it keeps you warm even when it gets a bit wet. Big downside is it gets wet and stays wet and doesn't pass the perspiration through. Great for standing around. Less great for underwear worn while exercising hard in my opinion. Down to 10F or so I wear one pair of lightweight patagonia long johns. Any synthetic polypro type will do. Cheap stuff stinks fast and better stuff helps with that, but they all pass the sweat through. My outer layer is windstop front with a permeable synthetic on the backside to let moisture through, just like I have on my jacket. When it gets colder I add one more layer of thin poly pro and that's good to -20F or so.
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Old 11-13-11, 07:30 PM   #14
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Minus 33 merino wool. About $60 for the midweight and $80 for the expedition weight. I like them better than the smartwool pair I own and much better than the ibex pair (and heavier as well)
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Old 11-14-11, 06:56 AM   #15
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I get the Champion C9 stuff they sell at Target. This year they have a wool blend. $15.00.
funny you should mention this.

I am wearing these now. I stopped there last night to look at what they had to offer because i have used and own some c9 base layer and workout gear and i found these. I think i paid 20 but i had a gift card i needed to use up.

So far so good. To me they feel like they run a bit small. Ill be able to test them out once the temps drop a bit.
I also picked up a pair of wind paints from Kohls. It was the house brand Tek Gear or whatever but they seem soild and well made. I got them on a good sale at $17.
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Old 11-14-11, 09:16 PM   #16
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Hmmm, did not experience the need for any kind of "long johns" while riding through the whole winter last year. In temps down to around 10 F my Pearl Izumi tights did my legs just fine. Under that I just added a lightweight pair of old softshell running pants over the tights and my legs were fine. Underarmor baselayer with a mid-weight fleece and then my Foxwear jacket was usually enough up top for the coldest days. Coldest I saw was a 27 mile ride with temps at -7 F. Ride hard, and keep the sweat moving away from the skin and you'll see it does not take a lot to keep you warm. But to play it safe I always used a rear rack and trunk bag with extra clothes on the colder days. Mainly in case of mechanical problems to keep from freezing if I had to walk or wait awhile for help since I ride in a very rural area.
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Old 11-14-11, 11:47 PM   #17
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I live and ride in Minneapolis and use Cabela's or Gander Mountain synthetic gear. Usually just the johnnies under Dickies jeans. On the very coldest of days I layer the heavyweight johnnies under Polarfleece britches and put a light wind layer over that. I have never (okay, once, but that was my own fault) had to cut a ride short because of leg hypothermia.

I got a sewing machine for my birthday this year and want to cut down a pair of the double-front Carhartt jeans into knickers and then oilskin the front layer so I have windproof, waterproof breatheable britches without resorting to Gore-Tex or something.

/\/\ I like the idea of carrying a spare pair of dry socks with me just in case. One thing the Army drummed into me over and over was the importance of a spare pair of dry socks and just because I've been discharged doesn't mean the lesson no longer applies.
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Old 11-16-11, 11:10 AM   #18
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When I was in Japan I bought long underwear and tops from Uniqlo called Heat Tech. This stuff really works well for the winters here in Toronto. On the coldest days -30 C I will double up on the bottoms but most of times just the long underwear and winter tights. This stuff is quite inexpensive and I see they have now moved into the US market. I also have seen these stores in London England and Paris France and now New York. I use the tops also since they don't seem to get the funk after wearing it for a few days. Highly recommended. Very light weight, you could even wear it under skinny jeans if you were so inclined.
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Old 11-17-11, 02:17 PM   #19
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When I had a short commute (5miles) and wore my work clothes (blue Jeans) I found that craft windfront long underwear were my most important piece of gear, as they kept my private parts warm down to -15F.
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Old 11-17-11, 03:30 PM   #20
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For years I have been wearing Hot Chillys baselayers, usually the Pepperskin line. They are thin, have a drop tail with flat seams and are available in different warmths. They are the softest feeling fabric too. Usually can find them on sale for a good price. I also found a Smartwool shirt at TJ Maxx for super duper cheap, but it was too small. Was really warm though.

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Old 11-28-11, 01:50 PM   #21
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Over the years here in MN I've collected several sets of tops and bottoms. Hands down my favorites are the wool. Smartwool first then Ibex. They are softer, warmer, breathe well and above all don't stink even if you wear them several days in a row. I've got a thin set and medium weight set. No synthetic even comes close when you add all that up. But they are pricey, I've bought all mine off season at substantial discounts.

I still have a bunch of synthetic as well. I really like Craft base layers for cycling all year. Maybe it's the weave they use but for whatever reason they seem a little warmer and they are cut better for cycling (longer arms and torso especially) than the REI, Patagonia, TNF, or C9 stuff from Target. They all work pretty well though, but they all stink after one day, and the cheap stuff can become permanently smelly after a while. Craft is on the spendy side, but you can find deals and off season specials. Winter just keeps coming back every year and these things last so keeping an eye out for deals in the spring and summer is the way to go.

Never cotton, the waffle knit long johns are just awful and god forbid they get wet, which they will when you cycle. Then they'll act as a chilling layer.
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Old 11-28-11, 06:09 PM   #22
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thanks for the info!

Off topic but winter related. Man i was in Freewheel on 6th this past weekend and i almost bought one of those fancy Gore Bike Wear winter jackets. Those look so nice. Great reviews too. Xmas is right around the corner. Id love to treat myself to a $170 jacket
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Old 11-28-11, 10:05 PM   #23
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I've gone a couple of winters without any winter underwear. It's just a 6 mile commute, but starts between 4:20 and 6:20 in the morning. Temps down to about -36 C at that time.

My theory was that since the legs were so active, work pants would be good enough. Since then, someone mentioned that keeping your legs warm helps your feet stay warm, and that sounds worth a try.
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Old 12-02-11, 09:53 AM   #24
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I am in NE North Dakota and deal with similar temps. I love my Under Armour! I bought some "Frosty Tights" about 6 years ago and they are still in great shape (regular wash, hang dry) after near-daily use all winter long. I would love some SmartWool underwear, but it isn't in the budget for now.

I also second extra socks. I walk a lot at work (warehouse worker) and even in the summer, I just have an extra pair for my commute. Nothing is more miserable than blistered, soggy feet!
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Old 12-03-11, 07:04 AM   #25
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In temps below 30 degrees, I am wearing two to 3 pair long johns, and topped off with under armour cold gear. Full face mask, and I wear my motorcycle coldweather gloves. On the shoes, I am slacking a bit, but not cold. I used fishhead tennis from walmart, with a couple pairs of socks. Never a problem. My commute is about 10 miles one way, and I pass when it is snowing or ice and snow on the ground.
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