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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 10-02-12, 12:17 PM   #1
redeyedtreefr0g
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Coat?

I have a pattern for a coat (picture of the pattern HERE, I like the white or corduroy options) that I'd like to make, something that looks great and I would like to wear as an everyday option. I just finished a nifty cape of waterproof-breathable fabric that could act as a rain/snow barrier, so this coat would just be for warmth.

My problem is- I have no idea how to NOT overheat! I'm assuming I'll need to put vents in for airflow, but where? How are they constructed?

Colorado is supposed to get colder than where we were in Oregon last year. I had just a windbreaker, and would occasionally have a long sleeve shirt underneath with my long sleeve silk underlayer. My problem is that the surface of my skin would be cold but I would get hot very quickly around my torso and underarms.

Ideas or construction tips would be great.
My commute right now is 4.6 miles that I do 4 times daily, if that information is useful.
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Old 10-02-12, 03:13 PM   #2
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Have a look on sites like Nashbar, Performance Cycles, MEC, REI, Sierra Trading Post, etc. to see how their jackets are made (pit zips, back vents, etc.).

But I'm not sure a coat would be very practical for cycling ... most cycling jackets are made long in the back, as long as a coat, but shorter in front so that the wearer can pedal.
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Old 10-02-12, 07:04 PM   #3
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At a minimum, I'd think it would need to have a back vent, so it can move around when you sit on a saddle. Much better would be a pair of vents, a bit behind the midside line. That coat, with a suitable vent, isn't too long to ride a bike in. I see people doing it all the time. It might not be suitable for a road bike, where you're leaning forward, but for a relatively upright bike, I think it wouldn't be awful.

You'd do better with a shorter jacket, though. There are patterns from Jalie and Green Pepper (and probably others) that are pretty suitable. For venting and overheating prevention, you'll want zippers. A two-way seperating zip at the front, minimum, and probably pit zips (easy to add if there's a side seam to insert a zipper in. Adjustable cuffs are useful, too.

Even in very cold weather, I've not had a problem with my legs getting cold while biking. A pair of long underwear, good trousers, good boots, and good socks (I wear lots of wool knee highs in winter) are good enough.
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Old 10-09-12, 08:26 PM   #4
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Machka, I ride a hybrid bike with a pretty upright posture. I was going for a coat style so the garment would be wearable off the bike (i.e. stylish as well as simply warm), but still allow me to be comfortable during my commute (not overheat). I tend to wear regular clothes so far. I think the longer length won't interfere too much at all- it would be like wearing a skirt. I could be wrong, and if that's the case, then I'll just have the perfect excuse to make another one!

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Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
...it would need to have a back vent, so it can move around when you sit on a saddle. Much better would be a pair of vents, a bit behind the midside line.
A back vent meaning a slit up the back from the hem? I had an "all-weather" puffy coat given to me that cannot be worn on the bicycle because the rear hem is just short enough to worm its way out from underneath my rear end, then when I stop and try to dismount it tries to kill me by hooking itself around the back of my saddle! It's very awkward to say the least.
Or a back vent meaning more like a full flap across the back about armpit-height to allow air to flow out?
Both?


Quote:
Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
Even in very cold weather, I've not had a problem with my legs getting cold while biking. A pair of long underwear, good trousers, good boots, and good socks (I wear lots of wool knee highs in winter) are good enough.
I love knee-high socks! So far I only have one pair of wool socks though- crewcut and extremely thick. I can't even wear them in most of my shoes because there isn't room for both those socks and my feet. I need a new pair of winter boots anyway, though. My cheapie Goodwill pair work in a pinch, but they are a tad ugly, and more importantly a pain to get on and off with those laces. I need something that I can slip in and out of to take my old dog outside on his short notice.

My legs DO tend to get cold though- my thighs turn a bright red and can get a bit painful after I stop. It's not that the legs themselves are cold- they don't generally feel uncomfortable- it's just the surface of my skin. I suppose I need a better under layer, or something to block the wind.
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Old 10-10-12, 12:32 PM   #5
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So for your legs, long underwear in polypro/ silk/ wool with something wind proof, like running pants or nylon wind pants. Target or walmart will have some exercise type wicking undergarments for low money. Running or cross country skiing type stuff works well for bike wear. For my winter top layer, I use a polypro top, wool sweater, and a wind layer. Changing thicknesses with the temp. Regular clothes aren't going to work, esp. if you are over heating. there is a reason bike clothes work, ie breathable and moisture wicking.

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Old 10-10-12, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redeyedtreefr0g View Post
I would get hot very quickly around my torso and underarms
If I am not cold for the first 20 minutes of my ride I am overdressed. In other words, if I was wearing something that got me hot very quickly I would be drenched with sweat by the middle of the ride.

The whole cold skin thing is interesting and might just be unfortunate. When I am preparing to ride through the winter I prepare for pain... because it hurts.
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Old 10-10-12, 01:47 PM   #7
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I've never really worn a long coat of that sort, but it seems possible that you could just ride with it "open" to stay cool.
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Old 10-11-12, 09:52 PM   #8
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A back vent meaning a slit up the back from the hem? I had an "all-weather" puffy coat given to me that cannot be worn on the bicycle because the rear hem is just short enough to worm its way out from underneath my rear end, then when I stop and try to dismount it tries to kill me by hooking itself around the back of my saddle! It's very awkward to say the least.
Or a back vent meaning more like a full flap across the back about armpit-height to allow air to flow out?
Both?


I was thinking along the lines of the vents found in the back of most mens suit coats. Most American suits have a single vent, in the center back, which runs from the bottom hem up to about the natural waist or a little bit lower. Some have two, a bit behind of the side center lines, which is nicer for riding, because the flap covers your butt. That's how English horse riding coats are traditionally cut.

The basic idea is that it lets the two sides move independently, and still let you sit and pedal. Looking at what people wear when riding a horse will give you some ideas.


I love knee-high socks! So far I only have one pair of wool socks though- crewcut and extremely thick. I can't even wear them in most of my shoes because there isn't room for both those socks and my feet. I need a new pair of winter boots anyway, though. My cheapie Goodwill pair work in a pinch, but they are a tad ugly, and more importantly a pain to get on and off with those laces. I need something that I can slip in and out of to take my old dog outside on his short notice.

My legs DO tend to get cold though- my thighs turn a bright red and can get a bit painful after I stop. It's not that the legs themselves are cold- they don't generally feel uncomfortable- it's just the surface of my skin. I suppose I need a better under layer, or something to block the wind.
[/QUOTE]

Some long underwear is a good idea. I don't wear it much, unless it's very cold, or I'm spending all day outside. I do have a pair of wool flannel lined trousers, which are very warm.
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Old 10-13-12, 08:02 PM   #9
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I usually just lurk on forums, but I saw your cape and I have to ask about it! I have always wondered about something like this. What have your experiences been so far? I think it is a great idea, but I wonder if it flaps around much or gets in the way at all.

If you decide to make this jacket I hope you post about it!
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Old 10-16-12, 11:48 AM   #10
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Hi SierraBravo! Welcome to the forums.

I really like my cape, although it is still unfinished in my mind, and not just because there aren't real buttons on it yet.

I'm not certain how functional the arm slits are. I want to add zippers to them to keep them closed while on the bike so that rain won't get inside. It seems that having the cape simply over my arms while I ride is a better option as the cape is held more forward that way, and not having my forearms exposed through the armslits means they would stay dry also. With my arms in the slits, the front of the cape just hangs down from my elbows and doesn't protect my knees much at all. Also, the slits are not spaced widely enough to use the cape that way- they are made to allow a person wearing the cape to grab things, open doors, use their hands semi-normally with the garment still on. But holding wider handlebars is a bit awkward.

The hood works extremely well over a baseball cap (I need the brim to try and keep excess water or snow from my glasses) and under my helmet. I haven't gotten extremely hot that way either, so I suppose the temperatures were low enough, or maybe the fabric does breathe pretty well.

I need to add some sort of loops for my hands to go through to hold the cape in place. It tends to start sagging in the middle due to the wind of pedaling.

If it was a very windy day, I imagine my legs would need more protection, maybe something like half-chaps to protect the upper and outer surfaces. I do have rubber boots, I was thinking they would look adorable with some of the green and white fabric around the outside like a fake cuff. I haven't ridden a bike with those boots yet though, so not sure if they might restrict pedaling motion.

I'll need more rainy days for a proper test and review


I DO know that I'll have to do something soon.
My leather jacket seems to work better than a hoodie for temperature regulation (go figure- shouldn't the hoodie breathe better?) and it doesn't offend my husbands sense of fashion, but it is not sized right at all- this is where my petite shape is a pain. Because my torso is shorter than normal, the chest of the jacket is a bit low, but the hips are worse- my second button is nearly torn off because the jacket is too slim around my hip area (since its not supposed to go that low anyway).
I'm dying for something that fits better, but still looks nice.
(Most of my cold-weather stuff is over-sized and therefore unattractive in my husbands opinion. While I gripe, I have next to no fashion sense at all, so I trust his judgement.)
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