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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 12-29-04, 11:06 AM   #1
timmhaan
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after seeing my credit card bill...i was surprised how much i spent for winter clothes. i pretty much purchased all this stuff within the last two months, when it started getting cold. oh well, i guess it's worth it if i can keep riding during the winter. this set up allows me to ride in the 20F and up range for about 2 1/2 hours.

base layer long sleeve: 40
long sleeve jersey (on sale): 80
booties: 40
wool socks: 18
full length tights: 90
bellweather outer layer pants: 50
gloves: 30
fleece lined outer layer top: 75

Total: $423!!!

Last edited by timmhaan; 12-29-04 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 12-29-04, 11:17 AM   #2
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Methinks very few items of my winter gear are specific to biking... being able to use stuff for more than "just" riding makes the bill look more tolerable.

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Old 12-29-04, 11:23 AM   #3
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Most of those things should last through several seasons though.
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Old 12-29-04, 11:28 AM   #4
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yeah, they seem to be good quality stuff that should last a while. i was just a little shocked when i saw it all displayed in one bill. i even went as cheaply as i could and still spent that much. i saw some jerseys and outer layers that were nearly $200 each when i was shopping! I'm sure some people have spent a lot more than me.
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Old 12-29-04, 12:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
after seeing my credit card bill...i was surprised how much i spent for winter clothes. i pretty much purchased all this stuff within the last two months, when it started getting cold. oh well, i guess it's worth it if i can keep riding during the winter. this set up allows me to ride in the 20F and up range for about 2 1/2 hours. . . . . Total: $423!!!
I spent about that much a few winters ago and am still using most of the gear. Compared to the cost of a Gym membership for 2 or three winters, it's cheap.
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Old 12-29-04, 12:26 PM   #6
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Still cheaper than one average car payment
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Old 12-29-04, 12:29 PM   #7
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Still cheaper than one average car payment
you're absolutley right! i hadn't thought about it like that before.
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Old 12-29-04, 12:50 PM   #8
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Hi Timmhaan, that is expensive :-)

Nevertheless, if you're hitting some serious low temperatures then you better be comfortable and safe.

BTW, the total cost doesn't show bike related & safety related items either :-( As you've already pointed out the key is the LONG term usage of the bike . . . and so you're now committed to use it for the next 10+ years :-) . . . I'm kidding of course . . . But the economics balance in the long term as you already know.

I don't ride in super-cool temp like known polar bears on this forum and so have got most my stuff from general department & camping stores . . . Cheap Thinsulate hat/scarf & ski related items (eg gloves, vest) are sufficient for me at knock down prices . . . but decent looking stuff anyway.

I still don't have a helmet and other things remain on the list for the long term.

You've mentioned an important point.
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Old 12-29-04, 02:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
after seeing my credit card bill...i was surprised how much i spent for winter clothes. i pretty much purchased all this stuff within the last two months, when it started getting cold. oh well, i guess it's worth it if i can keep riding during the winter. this set up allows me to ride in the 20F and up range for about 2 1/2 hours.

base layer long sleeve: 40
long sleeve jersey (on sale): 80
booties: 40
wool socks: 18
full length tights: 90
bellweather outer layer pants: 50
gloves: 30
fleece lined outer layer top: 75

Total: $423!!!
It takes a little experimenting to get everything just right. You may spend more over the winter. But as already mentioned. It will last for years. Day before yesterday I went for a ride in 15 degree temps for about three hours. I could have kept going, but I had to come home for something else I had to do. This is a short ride for me. I am perfectly comfortable in this weather. It took me years to find all the right clothing, for different temps. I find many thin layers of fleece is the best. and you can add or subtract as the temp changes. With a windproof outer layer.

I noticed when I came inside that my heavy goose down, leather, mittens still had my name inside them. My mom sewed them in there in about 1968 .....I have some other cold weather gear from that era too.
You may get a few decades out of some of your gear. 1968 to 05 = 37 years.

I know, I know, my mommy put the name in there so I won't loose them.... It worked.
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Old 12-29-04, 02:34 PM   #10
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also cheaper than many car repairs...
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Old 12-29-04, 02:35 PM   #11
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one more thing...........winter cycling is expensive !!!!!??????? WHAT ??

Have you ever gone SKIING ?? I have not invested a penny in my winter riding bike or gear in about four years. I start riding from my house (no car ride first).

Do you own your own SKIS ? Can you use the skis in the summer??

Winter cycling is CHEAP !!
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Old 12-29-04, 03:29 PM   #12
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It's a good start and a challenge of how you can cycle for less. There are various how-to's and home-made stuff for winter cycling in this thread. Maybe your ideas are better...go ahead and share 'em!

My favorite home-made

Last edited by vrkelley; 12-29-04 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 12-29-04, 03:51 PM   #13
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The honor is in knowing that you spent the money on something which involves physical exertion - e.g. your own.
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Old 12-29-04, 05:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vrkelley
It's a good start and a challenge of how you can cycle for less??? There are various how-to's and home-made stuff for winter cycling in this thread. Maybe your ideas are better...go ahead and share 'em!

My favorite home-made
I'm not sure what you mean. were you addressing my post?

I mean as a winter sport compared to skiing. Cheaper than a lot of gym memberships. They add up over time very quickly. Plus you can't use skis in the summer. The bike is all year around use, and lasts a long time without much money spent on upkeep. Compared to driving to a ski area, having a room, skiing and then coming home. Even just day skiing. I have spent nothing in the last four years on Winter cycling. The cost of getting started can be a little higher than entry level skis, but there is not much ongoing cost.

I don't mean compared to other types of cycling.
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Old 12-29-04, 06:12 PM   #15
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Oh I thought you were looking for tips. Edited my original reply also 'cuz I think it came across wrong!
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Old 12-29-04, 08:49 PM   #16
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I am reminded of a post I made some time earlier this year on the tandem forum regarding the costs of serious cycling x2; that is, when you take up riding with a spouse or partner and need to outfit them as well as yourself. From my previous post.....

The Costs of Serious Cycling

Let's take a notional look at what the real costs are associated with what I would refer to as "serious cycling" by the folks who spend some evenings, most weekends, 1/2 their holidays, and a lot of their vacation with their partner on a tandem. In fact, the real hardcore teams can usually be found heading off with a few other couples for week-long self-guided tours, spending 3-day weekends at tandem rallies with 50 - 500 other couples or families, or perhaps taking at least one week or two week long tandem tour each year.

Disclaimer: The dollars for each item noted is intended to be a mid-range. Bargain shoppers can most certainly find the items listed for less and I can assure you there are certainly items on the market that cost more than the higher numbers presented below.

Cycling Gear For the Body – The Basics

1 pr Shoes............$60 - $200
1 Helmet...............$60 - $150
1 pr Shorts/Bibs....$50 - $130
1 Jersey...............$45 - $89 (Short Sleeve)
1 pr Eyewear........$35 - $125
1 pr Socks............$ 8 - $ 8
............................$258 - $702 per person
............................$516 - $1,404 per couple

Over time, most teams will end up with multiple pairs of riding shorts/bibs and jerseys and several pair of socks for any number of many reasons, e.g., multiple day events, club kit, event premiums, etc… So, you can easily see how the investment in basic apparel can grow rather quickly.

Cycling Gear For the Body – The All Season Gear

Winter/Mud Shoes......….....$60 - $200
Head Gear / Helmuffs...…...$10 - $15
Knickers or Knee Warmers..$20 - $30
Tights or Leg Warmers.…...$35 - $150
Tights – Heavy Weight..…..$60 - $150
Long Sleeve Jersey......…....$55 - $89
Winter Weight Jersey..…....$75 - $115
Wind Vest or Jacket....….....$55 - $95
Winter Weight Jacket ….....$95 - $150
Rain Jacket...............……...$35 - $85
Shoe Covers.............……....$25 - $40
Winter Weight Socks……...$10 - $10
..................................………$535 - $1,129 per person
.................................……….$1,170 - $2,258 per couple

Again, similar to warm weather gear, many teams will end up with multiple pairs of tights, long-sleeve jerseys, and different types of outerwear for different conditions.

Combined with the Basics, you're talking about having perhaps $1,678 - $3,662 invested in cycling apparel to support a very-active riding habit. So, as you can see, it doesn't take long to find that the investment in "gear you wear" can quickly begin to equal or exceed the cost of the "gear you ride".

(Devil's Advocate) Come on, you really don't "need" all of this fancy stuff just to ride a bicycle. Tennis shoes, shorts, and a t-shirt are more than adequate for me.

Everyone has different levels of "need" which can easily become blurred by "wants". When it comes to cycling apparel, "need" is really defined by where your ride, when you ride, the way your ride, and how far you ride. For cyclists who head out for 30 - 100 non-stop mile rides at a fast clip, long lasting, properly designed, and properly fitted cycling shoes and shorts are necessary, not just nice to have items. For tooling around on the bike path or "fun rides" at moderate speeds with lots of breaks, the benefits to be derived from high-performance cycling gear may not justify the expenses. So, again, it's all about matching up how you decide to spend discretionary income to meet individual needs and expectations.


However, as others note, the level of investment in cycling equipment tends to be amortized over many years, if not decades for some equipment and apparel items. Moreover, when compared to the costs of other "hobbies" cycling, even if you equip yourself to the nines, is still relatively cheap. For example, I ride commute to work via motorcycle all year long here in Georgia which means dealing with inclement weather and temps that run from 98 degrees with 90% humidity in the summer to the low-teens in the winter. All I can say is, I'm glad I use it for transportation and not recreation to where I'd have to outfit my wife with year-round riding gear. From lightweight mesh-jackets in the summer to rain gear to double-insulated jackets, heated gloves and heated base layers in the winter, you gotta have it all and none of it's cheap. Thank goodness I sold my sailboat and gave up downhill skiing when I left California....

Last edited by livngood; 12-29-04 at 10:02 PM.
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Old 12-29-04, 09:48 PM   #17
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I've taken a hint or two from the local bicycle couriers in the Boston weather and have found that military surplus gear is a very inexpensive way to obtain warm winter cycling gear. I bought some gloves, underwear and a hat for like $30 and they work great. Give it a shot. Army Barracks on Newbury St. in Boston has some very good deals.
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Old 12-29-04, 09:59 PM   #18
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But in the end its all worth it.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:23 AM   #19
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But, in the long run, it's still cheaper than getting fat.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:46 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan

base layer long sleeve: 40
long sleeve jersey (on sale): 80
booties: 40
wool socks: 18
full length tights: 90
bellweather outer layer pants: 50
gloves: 30
fleece lined outer layer top: 75

Total: $423!!!
But you could have gotten away with a lot less. Try online. There's always some clothing on sale.

Base layer long sleeve: Performance thermal crew underjersey: $15 Walmart base layer: ~$10.

Long sleeve bike Jersey: Performance midweight: $45 Heavyweight $50.

Booties: if you're talking about the waterproof, vapor barrier sort, then $40 is about right. Some people use bread bags, but I have to say that my booties for $35 were a great purchase.

Socks: $18! for how many pairs?? More like $5 for several pairs of perfectly serviceable winter socks.

Full length outer tights: Performance/other brands of winter tight: $50 or less.

Or: bottom base layer: Performance: ~$15, and full length (non-insulated) tights for $30 or so at performance.

Cheap gloves (see other threads): $20 ($30 not unreasonable, though, for a good pair).


To ride in 20F weather, with wind, I would wear:

Long sleeve base layer, top: $15
Two fleece lined Performance jerseys: $50 each (I paid significantly less a few years ago, but let's call it $50 each).
Base layer, bottom: ~$30 for backpacking tights. Can get away with $15 at Performance.
Long legged tights: $40
Knee warmers: $20
Socks: $1 (several pairs fleece socks from Walmart: $5)
Gloves: $20

Total: $201.

This doesn't count a balaclava, which you don't count above, but I got one I love for $12 at Gander Mountain.

It sounds like the stuff you got is the name brand stuff, Pearl, Canari, etc. That stuff is good. It will last you several years. So, even what you paid is not exactly a rip off considering the cost of outdoor clothing.

But even if you want a lot of bike-specific stuff, you can get away with a lot less if you look around online. Also, check backpacking sites for underlayers, gloves, balaclavas, etc. Someone could improve a lot on my totals above. Sometimes, for example, it's cheaper to layer than it is to buy a single jersey or tight with a thicker fleece lining. (The same is true with a lot of outdoor gear, like jackets, sleeping bags, etc.)

Everyone in the world needs cold weather clothing. So, even those gloves and hats you see sold at the supermarket aren't all that bad. Save the money for the stuff you have to have on a bike.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:46 AM   #21
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. . . But at the end you still have to convince your Mrs or partner!
:-)

Good, interesting read.

Regards
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Old 12-30-04, 09:53 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merriwether
But you could have gotten away with a lot less. Try online. There's always some clothing on sale.
Good advice. Winter gear is sold cheap when the weather starts warming up. Don't wait for the cold, you'll end up paying top dollar.
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Old 12-30-04, 09:58 AM   #23
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that's probably what got me. and the fact that i shopped completely at the local sporting goods stores and my LBS. AND being located in manhattan doesn't do much for prices either all in all though, i'll pay it off. in the meantime, it's just great to feel comfortable riding in the cold. this is the first winter i've had good quality cycling clothing, and i'm happy with it.
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Old 12-30-04, 10:01 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timmhaan
that's probably what got me. and the fact that i shopped completely at the local sporting goods stores and my LBS. AND being located in manhattan doesn't do much for prices either all in all though, i'll pay it off. in the meantime, it's just great to feel comfortable riding in the cold. this is the first winter i've had good quality cycling clothing, and i'm happy with it.
I think you're just happy your knee isn't bothering you. :-p

I actually didn't spend much on winter clothing. Cause I layer. So I still wear my jersey and shorts, but layer on top of that.
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Old 12-30-04, 10:18 AM   #25
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I think you're just happy your knee isn't bothering you. :-p

I actually didn't spend much on winter clothing. Cause I layer. So I still wear my jersey and shorts, but layer on top of that.
you're right, riding without knee pain is the best thing.

what do you wear over your shorts? i thought i remember you saying you had some tights or something but i can't remember. the bellweather outlayer i have is nice because it's waterproof, but makes significant swooshing sounds as i pedal.
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