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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 03-28-13, 08:00 AM   #1
Dannydyn
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How would you dress for low 50s (road biking)

Excuse the newbe question….

With winter finally showing signs of dying, it looks like we’ll be getting a low-50s weather (9-10mph wind) here in the northeast this coming weekend. This will be me my first ride in temps like this, as I’m a novice biker who started road biking late last year for the first time in my life.

What would be your choice of dress for these kinds of temps? Would long tights and long-sleeve jersey suffice for you? Or would you put something on top of the jersey? We’re expecting sunny conditions (if that matter al all).

I understand it's a subjective matter of preference, but I'm just trying to gauge some general opinion.

Thank you in advance
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Old 03-28-13, 08:34 AM   #2
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thin socks
bike shoes with thermo cover
leg warmers
cycle shorts
wind blocking warm base layer
thin long sleeved jacket
glasses
helmet
thin gloves under slightly thicker gloves
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Old 03-28-13, 08:50 AM   #3
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It's really hard to gauge for these temps, and everyone's different. Also depends on the intensity of the ride.
When the headwind picks up it's frosty, but when the sun comes out, it can feel totally different.
My choice would be shorts and tights, a wicking upper baselayer, long sleeved jersey, thin hat, gloves, and a thin jacket.
The jacket, hat and gloves can be stashed in a jersey pocket if and when I get too hot. Flexibility is key.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:02 AM   #4
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low 50s? dude, t-shirt and shorts.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:03 AM   #5
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Light pair of thermo tights, thermo shirt/jersey, light gloves (maybe, depending on which way the wind is blowing and whether it's sunny outside you might not need the gloves). For socks and shoes, I'd just wear whatever you normally wear in the summer. At this temperature the cold won't really bother your feet much. If you wear all the stuff Mr Pedro recommends, you'll sweat like an electric pig with all those layers on (in fact his list is almost identical to what I wear in the low 20s, I'd die of heat stroke if I wore all that in low 50s). Low 50s isn't really very cold. Unless you're just coasting along barely working, you should stay plenty warm with what I've recommended. All you really need in low 50s is just enough to keep your skin covered; it doesn't even need to be windproof material at this temperature. If your ears are sensitive or it's particularly windy the day you ride, maybe consider wearing a headband to cover your ears. Again, I don't think you'll need it, but I don't know how sensitive you are to cold. I stop wearing my headband in upper 40s.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:05 AM   #6
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low 50s? dude, t-shirt and shorts.
For longer rides where you can really generate some heat I'm totally with you on this; however if it's a short commute of less than 10 miles, I might dress a little warmer. Especially if it's urban where you spend a lot time sitting still at stoplights and such.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:10 AM   #7
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Kneewarmers, armwarmers, possibly a windvest. Thin, full finger gloves.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:20 AM   #8
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Kneewarmers, armwarmers, possibly a windvest. Thin, full finger gloves.
This is a really good recommendation, if you have kneewarmers, armwarmers and a windvest. I don't have any of those things, so I get by with what I recommended above, but if I had this kind of gear, it is exactly what I would wear.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:41 AM   #9
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Some links that I have found helpful:

http://www.bicycling.com/whattowear/

http://www.bicycling.com/training-nu...g-cold-weather

I always find that if when I first go out I feel just a bit chilly, then when I am warmed up I will feel fine. If I feel warm when I go out, once I start riding I will be too hot.
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Old 03-28-13, 09:52 AM   #10
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I'm a big believer in 'covered knees below 60 degree'. Therefore tights, knee warmers, or knickers.

Long sleeved jersey. Medium or heavy weight material.

Probably a sleeveless wind vest. If there was a chance of rain, I might go with a full jacket.

Full-fingered gloves or regular gloves with some light inserts.

Wool socks and/or toe booties if riding my with road bike shoes. My mtb shoes are warmer so no booties needed at that temp.

I'd probably start out with a light head covering, but hopefully warm up enough to remove it during the ride.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:00 AM   #11
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Thanks for all the feedback guys, really appreciated!

Quick question: what's the difference between leg/arm warmers, and just full length tights and long-sleeved jersey?
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Old 03-28-13, 10:38 AM   #12
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^Flexibility. If you get too hot, you can roll the arm warmers down to your wrists. Legwarmers you can stop and take them off. If the forecast says it's on the border between short/long sleeve weather, they're ideal. For me, that temperature is high 50s to low 60s.
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Old 03-28-13, 10:38 AM   #13
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Thanks for all the feedback guys, really appreciated!

Quick question: what's the difference between leg/arm warmers, and just full length tights and long-sleeved jersey?
That if you get too warm you can take them off and stick them in a jersey pocket.
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Old 03-28-13, 11:09 AM   #14
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Excellent, thanks much!
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Old 03-28-13, 11:26 AM   #15
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Hey OP

You should look into the Sound Cyclists bicycle club if you interested in riding with others in Fairfield County. The season starts next weekend with rides offered for many different levels. Starting points are at various train stations and commuter lots near I95 and the Merritt Pkwy.
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Old 03-29-13, 12:14 PM   #16
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I use my bike shorts (or tights), light wool socks, and windpants for the bottom half. Up top, I use a long sleeve lightweight merino shirt with a windbreaker jacket. I wear some neoprene gloves, and a wool cycling cap with earflaps as well the windjacket and pants can always come off, but with wind I find them necessary in lower 50's temps.
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Old 03-31-13, 01:04 AM   #17
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I am usually pretty cold but find low 50s to be great biking weather. Long sleeved jersey and wind jacket. I have Novara Headwind Pants, but perhaps leg warmers would be warm enough. Long fingered, no insulation, leather gloves. At these temps, the head is warm enough and no skull cap needed. I have several pair of thin wool hiking socks that I pick up on sale at REI.

At these temps, I'm not chilly after the first five minutes.

YMMV.
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Old 04-01-13, 01:49 AM   #18
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I'll reiterate a point made earlier. If you are comfortable for the first 10 min of a ride when it's chilly outside, you'll be overdressed and sweating very quickly. Either be prepared to drop some layer or learn to start out a bit uncomfortable. In the winter I ride in stupid cold temps and just have to suck it up for the first 10-15 min when it's often -very- chilly. Same thing today. It was 34F and I wore bike shoes with insulated covers, thin polypro long underwear bottoms under my bike shorts, a single thin polyprop long underwear top with a bike jacket over that and some "regular" gloves. I'd suggest keeping a running tab of the days temperature and what you wore and what needed to be corrected. I have a little set list I consult and find it handy as seasons change and I forget exactly what I wore on a cloudy day at 60F...which is different that what I need on the same sunny day. A quick glance at my list and I grab exactly what I need to be comfy.
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Old 04-01-13, 06:35 PM   #19
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tights
long sleeve jersey
maybe a windbreaker
full finger gloves
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Old 04-08-13, 09:37 PM   #20
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Long-sleeve heavy jersey or long-sleeve light base layer under a short-sleeve jersey
Wind breaker
Beanie under your helmet
Tights or leg warmers (I just started using windproof runners pants and like them so far)
Wool socks
Full finger gloves
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Old 04-08-13, 10:22 PM   #21
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For low 50s (1951-1952) i will dress like this


Last edited by erig007; 04-11-13 at 08:04 AM.
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Old 11-04-13, 08:32 AM   #22
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I agree with some above posters...

For commuting
Shorts or thin ttights
thin full finger gloves
light smart wool socks (mid calf height)
Thin jacket over short sleeve jersey

Hard road ride - same minus jacket, no tights
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Old 11-04-13, 09:18 AM   #23
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41 degrees here this AM at 7:00 for my 10 mile ride... Sweatshirt, long sleeve tshirt over that, silk glove liners and full finger gloves, base layer tights over my padded shorts and a Balaclava... All ok but the shirts. i need a windbreaker. and maybe some warmer gloves for this temp or colder...Got frostbite as a kid in Canada on my toes and fingers and since then they get cold quicker for some odd reason...Either that or that memory still in stamped in my brain and it tells me to warm up quick...LOL. Hadn't got on the bike for 2 weeks and felt good.,
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Old 11-04-13, 09:38 AM   #24
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41 degrees here this AM at 7:00 for my 10 mile ride... Sweatshirt, long sleeve tshirt over that, silk glove liners and full finger gloves, base layer tights over my padded shorts and a Balaclava... All ok but the shirts. i need a windbreaker. and maybe some warmer gloves for this temp or colder...Got frostbite as a kid in Canada on my toes and fingers and since then they get cold quicker for some odd reason...Either that or that memory still in stamped in my brain and it tells me to warm up quick...LOL. Hadn't got on the bike for 2 weeks and felt good.,
the one thing that concerns me about your outfit
is that most sweat shirts and t shirts are made from cotton
which is great in warm weather
but can be dangerous in cold weather

if it gets wet
like from sweat
it almost entirely looses its ability to insulate
which is even more likely to happen if you cover the whole ensemble with a wind breaker

if your clothes are indeed cotton
go to the store and get some synthetic tops
even a cheap polyester t shirt is better than a cotton one

polypropylene is commonly used for performance undergarments for this reason
and wool is an awesome insulator in almost all conditions
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Old 11-04-13, 11:16 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
the one thing that concerns me about your outfit
is that most sweat shirts and t shirts are made from cotton
which is great in warm weather
but can be dangerous in cold weather

if it gets wet
like from sweat
it almost entirely looses its ability to insulate
which is even more likely to happen if you cover the whole ensemble with a wind breaker

if your clothes are indeed cotton
go to the store and get some synthetic tops
even a cheap polyester t shirt is better than a cotton one

polypropylene is commonly used for performance undergarments for this reason
and wool is an awesome insulator in almost all conditions
I made due with wath i had... I am pretty sure a wind breaker will suffice... i might get me a pair of thermal tights but not sure yet...40 in the AM in eastern NC is probably the coldest i will go out this winter so i will get plenty of rides in...Yes it was cotton and it lets the wind in pretty good...I will stop by wal-mart and get a cheap starter windbreaker or something like that...That balaclava and silk liner is what i use for motorcycling in the winter and it works pretty good.

Brings back the good old New Brunswick ski-doo days of bundling up...
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