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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 12-20-04, 05:45 AM   #1
Daily Commute
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Today was my first 0F commute (one report said it was -1F, another 1F, so I'll split the difference). I took the short way to work (25 minutes) to minimize exposure. Almost all of my equipment worked great.
AmFib Tights: Excellent
PI Toasties Booties (with SmartWool socks underneath): Excellent
Moutain Hardwear Balaclava & Headband: Excellent
Oakley Double-paned goggles: Excellent
Underarmour ColdGear shirt (I put a wool sweater, spring jacket, and nylon shell over it): Excellent
My PI AmFib gloves were a dissappointment. I wore a wicking liner, but my fingertips got cold after 10-15 minutes. I'm probably going to look for a top-of-the-line liner or Gore-tex mitten shell to see if I can keep my fingers warm.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-20-04 at 06:16 AM.
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Old 12-20-04, 06:13 AM   #2
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I had a pair of cheap windproof cycling fleece gloves and I wore a thin liner glove, it knocked the lowest temp that I used them in down to about 7 degrees F. Goretex won't help much since the AmFIB is already windproof but the liner will help greatly.
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Old 12-20-04, 06:38 AM   #3
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My first one as well. Ride took about 35 minutes.

Duo fold fleece tights, Campmor Wind pants, one pair wool/blend socks and
Diadora MTB boots/shoes.
One compression nylon long sleeve, One thermal style cotton blend shirt, North face Denali jacket and a Patagonia windbreaker/shell with hoood.
$2.00 TJ maxx balaclava, wool hat, Specialized Sub zero gloves.
No glasses. Mistake, but no choice at the moment.

Was chilly for the first half mile, then once the climb up 5th Avenue started, I was generating and retaining heat. The gloves are going to have to give way to mittens soon though - I think they are only rated to 25 degrees or so. But the fingers were warm when I got to work. Probably could have went with just a heavy pair of tights rather than the fleece though. All in all, not so bad. Glad the wind wasn't really kicking though!
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Old 12-20-04, 06:57 AM   #4
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To be fair, my fingers did not seem as cold at the end of the ride as at the start, but one of my thumbs did hurt a little as it re-heated. I don't know if a longer ride would have resulted in warmer fingers or frostbite. I'll be looking at glove liners aimed at skiers.
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Old 12-20-04, 07:25 AM   #5
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What's odd about mine is that in the morning, they seem to work relatively well. But on the way home (warmer temps), after about a half mile, my hands hurt from the cold. I combat this by pulling my fingers inside towards my palm, but this dangerous to steer. Probably because I am traveling at a higher speed?
Either way, I'm looking into some lobster claws, or as you said, something aimed at skiers.
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Old 12-20-04, 07:44 AM   #6
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I love reading about all these frigid commutes. I feel like I've converted to a new religion and I want everyone to try it out.

-8F here. Snowing too. Saw a bald eagle.

I overheated in a big way. Had to stop twice to let the tail wind cool me down for a few minutes. Wasn't wearing anything technical. Balaclava, polypro long underwear, fleece pants and top, snow pants on legs, extra sweater and windbreaker on top. Snowboard gloves. Hiking boots with fleece socks. Ski goggles. I think I should lose the sweater and possibly the fleece pants.
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Old 12-20-04, 08:37 AM   #7
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Ah, yeah, the first really harsh night and morning. Went out on my mtb last night. Zero!

You don't have to spend real money on gloves for winter cycling. I got some cordura-like gloves, full fingered, with some waterproofing on the exterior and Thinsulate inside at WalMart for $13. They're pretty warm by themselves, and fully waterproof. They're slightly oversized, so thin full fingered gloves can be worn inside of them. With a fleece inner glove, or a neoprene inner glove, I've never had cold hands when cycling, even on long rides in driving snow, sleet, or down to -15F real temperature (that's the coldest I've ridden, but I'm sure the gloves are good further down).

I think the cycling specific lobster claws and such are too expensive.

A lot of good cold weather gear at WalMart, KMart, Target, sporting goods stores, etc. Not just gloves. Inner layer, socks, balaclava, knit caps, etc. Pretty good, and cheap.
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Old 12-20-04, 08:53 AM   #8
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Know what you mean, and I cannot believe what big geek I've become about it. The reactions at work are almost worth it alone

Dang, a bald eagle. I saw one when I was out west a while back. Could not believe how big they are 'in person'.

I was little warmer than I probably needed to be this morning with the fleece tights underneath, but I'm weary about underdressing. If your snow pants are lined with something that's somewhat insulating, you could probably just wear some kid of heavy tight rather than the fleece pants. Bet you'd be fine without the sweater too. I usually only have two shirts and a fleece under my windbreaker, and I still have to open up to vent on the way.

How did those fleece socks work out? I've been looking at those for a while, but was unsure how warm they may be.

Thanks for the glove tip, Merriwether. Will stop at Target tonight and browse.
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Old 12-20-04, 09:07 AM   #9
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Great info on gear - thanks. I'm shopping for things that will do well in 15F and below. I think I need a little more insulation than you, but still.

I will also hit the discount stores to shop for good cold weather gear. Cyclists are hardly the only ones out in this weather - share the wealth.
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Old 12-20-04, 09:20 AM   #10
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When I went to school in Grand Forks, ND where temps were often well below -20F (-40F or more with windchill) constantly, I would wear layers of gloves (sometimes as many as three) and clothes. Exposed skin would start to develop frostbite within 20 seconds. Of course I was riding a MTB and shifting and braking was a bit easier with gloves on. Also, I didn't have to go very far (2 miles or so) to campus. The layering allowed me to get to campus without being frozen over and then I could remove layers and wear lighter amounts for intra-campus treks between buildings. I typically wore a light layer of clothes (oftentimes a short-sleaved shirt) to allow me to not overheat indoors and also to allow any sweat to not soak my normal clothing with a fleece next and a shell jacket over that. The last layer was a heavier Gore-Tex jacket with a hood that was big enough to cover my helmet. I also stuffed newspaper into the vents of my helmet and I wore ski goggles and a Thinsulate facemask. For gloves, I used long-fingered gloves underneath oversized cheapo stretchy "fuzzy" gloves and usually topped off with some Thinsulated heavier-duty gloves. My fingers were actually able to move in all that believe it or not. For pants, I wore sweatpants on top of my normal pants and then donned an outer layer of Gore-Tex. The biggest challenge was protecting my feet. The problem was that I couldn't easily change out shoes and liked to wear boots in the winters. All my other winter-cycling wear could be layered properly for climate control and I would buy stuff oversized as appropriate but this was hard to do with shoes and socks. I eventually went with electrically heated socks (used 9V batteries... I bought rechargables) that I swapped out for regular socks once I was on campus and redonned them before the ride back home.

BTW, let me just say that I'm glad I can watch eagles from my bedroom window now without having to brave the +50F cold. My oh my has my blood thinned.
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Old 12-20-04, 09:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jerrryhazard
How did those fleece socks work out? I've been looking at those for a while, but was unsure how warm they may be.
They're okay. I think it's more psychological. They seem as warm as "regular" warm socks. Different wicking properties I suppose.
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