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Thread: Cold Legs

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    Cold Legs

    I've been trying to get out in colder weather, and have been putting together some winter-specific apparel. Let me give a little background on what I wear when it's cold (so far we're talking temperatures in the 40s).

    First thing is a long sleeve skinsuit (don't laugh ). It's a great way to avoid extra straps and elastic waistbands. I'd love to find one with long sleeves, full legs (not knickers!), and a chamois, but that's another story. Until recently, I've worn as many as two pairs of running tights (the plain nylon/spandex ones, with no lining or anything), and sometimes a pair of wind pants on top of that. I'll put on one of my normal jerseys and then my winter jacket. I have some thin glove liners and Castelli T-Tech full-fingered gloves. Finally, I have some Smart Wool socks, and I'll use Pearl Izumi wind shoe covers (the rubberized ones) with neoprene booties over that. I'll top it all off with a thin balaclava and my normal cycling glasses.

    So with all that, my chest, arms, and head are pretty warm. My hands are a little chilly at first, but they seem to warm up after about 15 minutes or so. The trouble is that even with 3 layers of spandex and the wind pants, my legs (mainly my inner thighs) still get quite chilly, and that eventually spreads down my legs and into my feet. I'm pretty sure that if I could warm up my legs, then I wouldn't have a problem with cold feet.

    Recently I substituted the running tights and wind pants for a pair of Assos AirBlock bib tights (I got them cheap for just $149, so I don't feel too bad about it). Anyway, I have the short legs and padding from the skinsuit under the AirBlock bibs. It was about 40 today when I finally got to try them out, and my inner thighs were still very cold. It just seems like I don't generate much heat in my legs, like a lot of you guys. What can I do at this point? I can handle an extra pair of thin tights, as that would be just one elastic waistband to deal with, but I don't know how much they would help. Would they be better over or under the AirBlock tights? I'd really like to avoid the wind pants, since they slide around and never seem to sit right anyway (these aren't cycling specific pants, though, but I'm trying to make due with what I have at this point). I don't mind layering, but after a certain point, enough is enough. I guess it's true that I inherited my mom's poor blood circulation.

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    I've had luck with Sugoi tights that have a bit of a fleece on the interior. The key to being warm is trapping air, and 10 layers of lycra will not do that. Fleece, even thin fleece, has many little air pockets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by velogirl
    I've had luck with Sugoi tights that have a bit of a fleece on the interior. The key to being warm is trapping air, and 10 layers of lycra will not do that. Fleece, even thin fleece, has many little air pockets.
    I agree. My legs never get cold, but everyone's body is different. Try putting an insulation layer in between your cycling shorts, and your tights. This will help to trap the warmth. I do this with my upper body, and it works well.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bac
    Try putting an insulation layer in between your cycling shorts, and your tights.
    An insulation layer of...?

    The Assos tights are fully fleece lined, but I guess it's just not enough.

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    Can't help you much, at 40F I'm still decked out in my regular shorts and maybe a long sleeve wicking type shirt. But I have to comment on the "Cheap at $149".....whoa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber
    But I have to comment on the "Cheap at $149".....whoa.
    Well, most Assos bibs are in the $250-$350 range. In fact, these particular ones normally go for $230. Some of their bib-SHORTS are even $200. Castelli has some really expensive stuff too.
    Last edited by JJakucyk; 12-12-04 at 02:39 PM.

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    For $230 you could just about buy everything you need to cycle comfortably in the winter. That includes, hands, feet, head, eyes, legs etc. The legs actually should be the last thing to get cold. They are generating a lot of heat if you are pedaling hard.

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    Well, obviously some people (dobber for example) have a much different tolerance to cold than I do. I couldn't imagine going out with bare legs in temperatures below 60, let alone 40. So while some people may not need much extra gear to be comfortable in below-freezing weather, I'm certainly not that lucky. And Ranger, it doesn't matter that you say legs "should" be the last thing to get cold. For some people that's true, but not for me.

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    By-Tor...or the Snow Dog? hi565's Avatar
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    Why dont you get fleece lined chamois tights? Im getting a pair soon.
    ----------------------------------------------------------

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    I already said that the ones I have are fleece lined.

    I thought about getting ones with a chamois, but I already have enough shorts/suits with a chamois, and I don't mind that one extra layer of clothing.

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    You might try some looser tights that trap a bit of air, and put them over your fleece ones. I've seen some running tights that are just a tad bit looser than skin tight. It might be worth a try...check out Road Runner Sports (google it). Or wool.

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    sorry, but you wore all that stuff at only 40degrees (~4.5C)? well when it is bellow 30degrees (0C) i wear leg warmers, wool socks, my lycra shorts, normal shorts over (to trap heat) a wicking layer which is a tight synthetic layer, breathable wind barrior, and when its really cold a balaclava. and on my hands, ninja turtles gloves (2 finger and a thumb)

    Try this for pants, you can put long underwear

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    REI sells wind pants that have a fairly thick windproof front and thinner more breathable back. I find that these make excellent outerwear. Underneath I go with either cycling shorts or cycling shorts with a wicking baselayer long underwear over the shorts (don't want to raise the ire of Underwear Nazi!). If you select the appropriate baselayer weight, this combo should be good down to the low 20s at least. You could substitute a fleece tight under the wind pants if it gets really cold.

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    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Wow, I don't have that problem until wind chill drops below 20F. But I was cool once last week and decided colder weather is coming. A NY bike commuter liked this from lands end, so I thought I would give them a try. This week will probably only see one day of commuting and then out til next year, so won't have a test of them before you need something.

    http://www.landsend.com/cd/fp/prod/0...37262929151500

    Another alternative, might be to add ear muffs over your balaclava. Maybe you're head is loosing too much heat and so legs are cooling to keep your brain working.

    Good luck.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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    Quote Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
    Maybe you're head is loosing too much heat and so legs are cooling to keep your brain working.
    That's an interesting thought. Wouldn't my arms and hands get cold too if that was happening?

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    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    Not necessarily. 50% of heat loss is thru head. I don't know the biomechanism well. When you are losing too much heat, the body turns down circulation in the extremities so the inner core remains at a constant temp. I think the way the body works is it turns off the most distant extremities first, i.e. the feet and then legs and hands.

    With most heat loss coming from head, the warm me up approach has to be
    1. contain head heat loss
    2. contain upper torso heat loss
    3. restrict leg heat loss
    4. reduce heat loss on hands and feet.

    Why are the 40's giving you the fits? High winds? High humidity?
    Never mind. Found the problem, it's wind chill.

    Low today for cinni= 25
    Gust max = 13
    Bike speed=12
    Thus, your wind chill is 9 degrees F today.

    On the 12th,
    low was 38, gust was 22, thus wind chill was 20F.

    Thus to be warm, you need to dress like it was 0F and then open zippers and snaps if too warm.
    I'd start with warmer bava, or double bava, or ear muffs and then if not warm enough add goretex type leg covers.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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    At the time the temperature was 40-45 with no sunshine, and winds in the 15-25mph range. I was going 14mph on average. Whether I was going with or against the wind didn't make any difference on my level of comfort, interestingly. It certainly did affect my speed, though!

    Anyway, it's supposed to be in the upper 30s this weekend, so I'll see what I can come up with for an added layer for both my legs and my head. We'll see if it helps.

  18. #18
    Rides again HiYoSilver's Avatar
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    38 mph gusts, wow.

    Must be nice to commute between 10:30am and 1:00 pm.

    Your wind chill at that time was 27 degrees F. No frostbite danger, although it may have felt like it

    Let us know if extras help, so we can learn.
    Hi 'o Silver away

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    Who said anything about commuting?

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