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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 01-17-05, 07:25 PM   #1
mattmor
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winter clothing guide??

Hi,

I've been off a bike for about 5 months and I'm getting FAT again I need to get back out and ride but it's cold in Eastern Pennsylvania. Could you give me some ideas on what you die hard guys/gals where in the winter. For example a 20 degree ride day - what would you wear. So please give me some of the combinations of gear for the different temp ranges you ride in. Thanks for your help.

Matt
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Old 01-17-05, 07:36 PM   #2
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You are in the right place--take a look at this Winter Cycling forum and see what people are wearing. There's lots of info already here, and you'll be sure to find out some suggestions.

Welcome back to the bike!
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Old 01-17-05, 07:54 PM   #3
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Believe it or not it was 20 degrees in Atlanta when I took off this a.m.
2 pairs socks - nylon and wool (I don't have fancy shoe covers)
Wind pants (nylon panels in front to cut the wind)
Polypro tee
Long-sleeve tee
Nylon bike jacket
Nylon wind vest
Glove liners and ski gloves
Nylon ear warmer (very thin)
Polypro balaclava
Ski goggles

I have an 8-mile ride and felt toasty by the time I arrived.
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Old 01-17-05, 08:07 PM   #4
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130+: Wuss out.

115-130: Shorts, loose white long sleeve mesh jersey, ride slower. Cycling socks. Shoes with lots of mesh.

100-115: Shorts, loose jersey. Cycling socks. Shoes with lots of mesh.

55-100 degrees: shorts and jersey. Skull cap. Cycling socks. Shoes with lots of mesh.

40-55 degrees: long sleeve top, jersey, tights and shorts. Skull cap, ear warmers. Cycling socks. Shoes with lots of mesh.

30-40 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece powerstretch jersey, tights and shorts. Skull cap, ear warmers. Full finger gloves. Cycling socks. Shoes with no mesh.

25-30 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece powerstretch jersey, tights, shorts, legwarmers. Skull cap, ear warmers. Windproof gloves. Wool hiking socks. Shoes with no mesh.

15-25 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece powerstretch jersey, tights, shorts, legwarmers, windproof vest. Balaclava. Windproof gloves. Cycling socks. Shoes with no mesh. Booties.

10-15 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece powerstretch jersey, tights, amfib windproof tights, windproof vest. Balaclava. 2-layer windproof fleece gloves. Wool hiking socks. Shoes with no mesh. Booties.

0-10 degrees: fleece sweater, windproof jacket, tights, amfib windproof tights. Balaclava, ear warmers. 2-layer windproof fleece gloves with liner. Wool hiking socks. Shoes with no mesh. Booties.

-15-0 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece sweater, windproof jacket, tights, amfib windproof tights. Balaclava, ski-mask/heat exchanger, goggles. Down gloves. Wool hiking socks. Shoes with no mesh. Arm and feet chemical warmers stuffed under gloves and booties.

-45 - -15 degrees: long sleeve top, fleece sweater (down sweater near -45), windproof jacket, tights, fleece pants, windproof pants. Balaclava, ski-mask/heat exchanger, ear warmers, goggles. Down gloves (with liner near -45). Wool hiking socks. Shoes with no mesh. Arm and feet chemical warmers stuffed under gloves and booties.

Below -45 F: Wuss out.

But I usually push pretty hard so I warm up. If I'm going a bit slower, bump everything up by 1 layer. Also, this is in the city, where I'll be drafting heat off cars and doing a lot of stop and go (which means the wind isn't continuously sucking heat off my body). It'll usually be a few degrees colder on the open road vs. the city so dress appropriately.

Last edited by slvoid; 03-13-06 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 01-17-05, 08:13 PM   #5
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Again, search this forum for how to dress. Also consult www.icebike.com.

For a 20 F day I wear:

Head: Lightweight BAlaclava, Earband

Upperbody: LS Cycling Jersey, unlined cycling vest, Goretex jacket

Lowerbody: Cycling shorts, Powershield tights.

Feet: Light wool socks, with heavy wool socks over top. Hiking boots with thinsulate.

Hands: Lightwieght synthetic glove with heavy convertible glove/mitten. (thinsulate lined)

That is it.

I have been riding in windchills below 0 F lately. I wear the above with an extra jersey, an extra light pair of tights and a heavier balaclava over top and the earband used to cover my cheeks and nose instead of ears.
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Old 01-17-05, 08:24 PM   #6
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Ok, it's all been said before, but I'll bite.

Today was about 20 degrees. I was very comfortable with a short sleeved wool T-shirt, a Land's End ski jacket, neck gaitor (up over my mouth because cold air gives me the coughs and my ears get cold), synwool lined leather work gloves, bike shorts, synthetic long underwear, jeans, wool socks, shoes. Rocking out in the snow for 3 hours. Moisture management (read, not getting drenched) is usually my biggest issue.

I'm excited, my commute tomorrow is supposed to be in the single digits. MORE WINTER!!

Ride on.
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Old 01-17-05, 09:15 PM   #7
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Today was a 20 degree day. I wore:
Suit and tie
Short sleeve shirt
Dress shoes
Gortex overpants
Hooded Gortex overcoat
Ski gloves
High Totes over the shoes

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Old 01-17-05, 09:26 PM   #8
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For me, it was 3 F when I left out. I wore:

Performance Triflex tights, with the performance rain pants over that
SPD sandal with hydrosocks, and toesies over the sandal, and booties over everything
long sleeve cycling shirt
Fleece sweatshirt
Gore tex windbreaker
Baclava and skull cap
fleece neck scarf
liner gloves
lobster mitts

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Old 01-17-05, 11:45 PM   #9
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I'd take all the examples, and start with something conservative. Keep a diary of the temperature and what you wore. Note if you were too hot or too cool.

I'm not really big on cycling specific clothing, and my only recommendation is a windproof helmet liner and/or a balaclava. The windproof helmet liner I have covers my ears and makes all the difference in the world when I'm out. The only cycling specific things I have are my helmet and gloves, which are specialized subzeros. I have a habit of tearing these up a after a few months of use, but they have been the best combination of warmth and usability I've tried.
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Old 01-19-05, 09:40 AM   #10
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It's been in the single digits the last few days. 20 or 30 minutes of spinning to and from work and I've been getting along with the same setup as above plus a stocking cap.

My toes and fingers have been a little colder than comfortable, but not terrible.
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Old 01-19-05, 10:18 AM   #11
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on a ride where the temp won't get over 20 degrees

-Lake MXZ MTB boots with Smartwool hiking weight socks & toe warmers
- Castelli tights, they're a middle weight fabric
- lightweight wicking base layer
- midweight long sleeve jeresey
- Castelli Pendragon winter riding coat
- Pearl Izumi Amfib lobster claw gloves with liner
- Balaclava with light weight skull cap

Thats what I wear on my weekend 3-4 hour mtb rides. If it warms up much (say 25-30) I'll take the jacket off and stow it in my camelbak.
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Old 01-19-05, 12:01 PM   #12
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Slvoid....I'm printing your what-to-wear chart out....I't's awesome!
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Old 01-21-05, 01:24 PM   #13
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I'm sorry but I think you guys are dressing to warm!

-17F today 23 miles round trip.

Lower body

Legs- 1 expedition weight long underwear pants with nylon wind pants.

Feet- 1 pair of thin wool socks, 1 pair neoprene socks over the top and light weight hikers.

Upperbody

2 light weight wicking shirts with gortex jacket.

Hands - Pair of buckskin mittens with wool liners. Warm!!!

Head - Balaclava, Goggles and helmet. Head needs to be examined!

It works for me.
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Old 01-24-05, 05:54 AM   #14
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Here is what I wear on my 25-35 minute commutes when it is 0 to 10F (-12 to -18C).
AmFib Tights
PI Toasties Booties (with SmartWool socks underneath)
Moutain Hardwear Balaclava & Headband
Oakley Double-paned goggles
Underarmour ColdGear shirt
Wool sweater
Nylon shell
PI AmFib gloves w/ Mountain Hardware liners.
Everything works well except for the gloves. Unfortunately, the limit of the PI AmFib gloves with liners seems to be about 10F (-12C) for me. Below that, I have to stop every 10 minutes to warm up my fingertips. It seems that my fingers start to warm up by the end of the trip, but I'm only out for 25-35 minutes. I should really test the gloves on a longer route, but I am worried about frostbite.

So, northern commuters, what do you use on to keep your fingers warm when it is 0F (-18C) or less? How much do they cost and where can I find them?

For 20F-30F commutes, I ditch the booties, the wool sweater and the goggles. Depending on conditions freezing rain, wind, etc.), I wear either the Mountain Hardwear headband or balaclava.

For 30F-50F commutes, I open the vents on the nylon shell. I replace the amfib tights with PI fleece tights . Depending on whether its raining, I either use the amfib gloves or the Mountain Hardwear liners with fingerless cycling gloves on top.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 01-24-05 at 06:13 AM.
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Old 01-24-05, 08:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daily Commute

So, northern commuters, what do you use on to keep your fingers warm when it is 0F (-18C) or less? How much do they cost and where can I find them?
Grandoe GCS downhill ski gloves.
http://www.tramdock.com/tramdock/GND...word=skigloves

This weekend, the gloves and I got to ski Mont Tremblant. They were comfortable, without the liners in, at -33 C / -27 F. They are clearly overkill for bike commuting.

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Old 01-24-05, 10:06 AM   #16
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Here's what I wore yesterday for an extended 10F ride w/ 30mph winds:

Feet:
- Wool hiking socks
- Bags over feet
- Cotton socks on top to hold down the bags

Lower:
- Biking shorts
- Polypro longjohns
- Snowboarding pants

Upper:
- Wool T-shirt
- Light ski jacket

Hands:
- Leather gloves with synthetic wool lining

Head:
- Stocking cap
- Neck gaitor

Kept me toasty warm. We went inside at one point and I took off my coat and cooled down quite a bit so I threw on a wool sweater and left it on under my coat when we went back out.
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Old 01-24-05, 02:24 PM   #17
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I guess I will list my wears as well
Feet:
cool max socks
Itasca boots

Legs:
Under Armor tights
snowboard pants

Body:
Under Armor shirt
T-shirt
hooded sweat shirt

Paws:
cheap thin gloves
BMX gloves covering

Head:
Beanie
scarf
behind the ear muffs
Fly away helmet
Oakley googles

Mouth:
Woodford Reserve bourbon

I didn't really perspire to much and I was very comfi in my gear.
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Old 01-25-05, 07:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostontrevor
Here's what I wore yesterday for an extended 10F ride w/ 30mph winds:

Feet:
- Wool hiking socks
- Bags over feet
- Cotton socks on top to hold down the bags

Lower:
- Biking shorts
- Polypro longjohns
- Snowboarding pants

Upper:
- Wool T-shirt
- Light ski jacket

Hands:
- Leather gloves with synthetic wool lining

Head:
- Stocking cap
- Neck gaitor

Kept me toasty warm. We went inside at one point and I took off my coat and cooled down quite a bit so I threw on a wool sweater and left it on under my coat when we went back out.
What were you wearing on your feet ,Shoes or boots?
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Old 01-26-05, 06:45 AM   #19
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Sorry. Yeah, I was wearing shoes but they're heavy synthetic bike shoes from Vans. They don't make them anymore but let me see if I can dig up a product photo.

Nope, can't seem to find anything. Anyhow, these things may be the heaviest damn shoes I have EVER had. Real thick synthetic outers, shelltoes, super thick bottom sole (because it's got the insole + stiff midsole + rubber sole).

So it's technically a shoe, but thicker than most.
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Old 01-27-05, 10:55 PM   #20
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I just picked up a really sharp item. It's a Nike wind shirt with no-seem netting for venting, and it works most excellently. I pull it over my poly pro long sleave shirt in 30 degree weather, in the teens and 20s I pull on a light wool sweater in-between. It is pretty toasty. Of course I'm riding fixed gear with a messenger bag on my back, that's extra insulation. I've also switched socks to Smart Wool, and that's helped keep the little piggies warmer!
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Old 01-28-05, 07:40 AM   #21
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I wear a bunch of layers .All wool ,Ibex brand .My over coat has pit zips which help regulate internal temps.Synthetics tend to be uncomfortable.Neo Botties over my shoes. Depending on temps I will have 3 layers on my legs .Currently it is -16f and there is no way I would ride ......Looking forward to moderating temps this weekend .Good luck
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Old 01-28-05, 12:20 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maple king
I wear a bunch of layers .All wool ,Ibex brand .My over coat has pit zips which help regulate internal temps.Synthetics tend to be uncomfortable.Neo Botties over my shoes. Depending on temps I will have 3 layers on my legs .Currently it is -16f and there is no way I would ride ......Looking forward to moderating temps this weekend .Good luck

You should have rode its warm now -2 below
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Old 02-02-05, 08:52 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=Daily Commute]

So, northern commuters, what do you use on to keep your fingers warm when it is 0F (-18C) or less? How much do they cost and where can I find them?

I use CliMitts (any bike shop should be able to order them for you, SideTrak is the manufacturer and many parts distributors stock them, should be around $42) on the handlebars once the temperature drops into the low forties. If you are in a really urban area and signal turns a bunch they could be a nuisance, but they work on straight bars and drop bars. My Campy Mirage ergo shifters are all resin (much, much warmer than aluminum or steel). Check out my page: http://hometown.aol.com/vtwjksr/myhomepage/index.html it was written two years ago, but nothing substantial has changed (the fenders are longer now, a two legged kickstand, a front rack and different taillights) Back to the hands, my problem has always been too cold or too sweaty, with heavy gloves my hands start out warm - get too warm and sweat and then freeze in the breeze. Using the climitts I can wear much thinner gloves and when I start to sweat too much can just stick them outside in the breeze to cool down. I wear my summer cycling gloves down to about 25F or if not windy to 20F, then I switch to a ragwool and thinsulate glove ($10 at Aubuchon hardware) down to about -17F so far. Last week when it was -17F I let my gloves get nicely moist and then put them out for a while, instead of freezing my hands the moisture froze on the surface of the gloves and actually added some windproofing to them. My commutes have always been hilly, some might say mountainous, with multiple climbs and descents. A flat commute, with some experimentation should be fairly simple to dress for, although really long lights/delays could be a problem. My current ride has a 3 mile gradual uphill (last half mile 6%) to a 1 mile descent (moderate) to a 2 mile moderate climb (sometimes with big wind in the face) to a 5.5 mile descent of about 8% (reverse it on the way home). I've experimented with a lot of different clothing, both synthetic and wool, and have found the wool to offer a much wider comfort range with less need to adjust layers. The only place I use synthetics is for blocking wind/rain and on my legs (although, someday I may get rich and buy some $120 Rivendell wool pants) where my normal winter garb is: Ibex wool shorts, Craft windblock briefs, Pace polypro kneewarmers, Pace polypro tights and/or SmartWool long johns or another Pace polypro tight. Because the legs are usually putting out a lot of heat if I get splashed with icy water, etc. the polypro dries while I ride. My upper body layers are thin wool, which dry quickly, plus a Craft windblock undershirt. At around 0F I can be toasty with just a thin wool top and a 3M Propore rain jacket, but the inside of the rain jacket will be hoar frost city by the time I get to work. On the head: Bell Influx, mirror on visor (visor is essential to block car high beams), 10 year old Performance Gore-Tex helmet cover, depending on temperature and wind, layered: illuminite headband/ear cover, Pace balaclava, Pearl Izumi balaclava, some polypro balaclava I got on sale, clear glasses (about $10 at Home Depot) or clear ski goggles (below 5F or if really windy) or sunglasses for that rare day in the winter. Feet: down to 40F Shimano spd sandals and wool sock, below 40F (Oct to April) Lake winter boot, single heavy wool sock, the toe section of an old wool sock (to put on the outside of the boot, under the booties), SideTrak neoprene bootie, an 8 to 10 year old Nashbar neoprene bootie. The wool sock between the boot and neoprene has eliminated condensation during long rides. If I am going to be out a long time (4+ hours) sometimes I'll put a vapor barrier (plastic bag) between the sock and boot. The key to being comfortable in the winter is in balancing your heat and moisture production with the amount of cooling due to wind and temperature that you experience along the ride. The way I found what works for me was by wearing way too much and stopping (allowing extra time) frequently to shed layers. Also, it takes about 10 to 15 minutes for your body mass to find it's balance in the outside conditions, so it's always a bit of a guess what will be comfortable 30 minutes down the road.
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Old 03-18-05, 07:20 PM   #24
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I did my first ride of the season yesterday evening. Temp was around 30.

I wore on my Torso:
Long sleeve turtleneck tee shirt, covered with a tee-shirt type (old) jersey (for it's pockets) and a windbreaker.

Legs:
Bike shorts (with Chamois), Wind proof tights (neoprene on front, poly on back), Smart wool socks and my mtn bike shoes.

Other:
Full fingered gloves, neoprene Balaclava and sunglasses.

I rode 45 minutes. The only part of me that got cold was my feet because my shoes are "breathable". EVerything else was FINE. Just warm enough to exercise and cool enough not to sweat.

I'm getting neoprene or similar toe covers from Performance BIke or Nashbar over the weekend and I"m thinking about a glove that isn't quite so breatheable as well... the hands were "okay", but could have been warmer without the air flow.

Can't wait to get out again tomorrow after the roads dry off from today's snow.
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Old 03-18-05, 10:52 PM   #25
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A nice white thong and some flip-flops for anything over 5 degrees.
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