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Cold weather layer to go over tights - want to ride in the "30s"...

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Cold weather layer to go over tights - want to ride in the "30s"...

Old 11-15-19, 01:55 PM
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Cold weather layer to go over tights - want to ride in the "30s"...

Hi all looking to extend the season a bit here in Chicago. Usually, I hang it up once the temps dip below 50, but Im realizing that with a long layoff, it takes forever to get fitness back.

I have tights that keep my legs warm down to about 40 degrees, but Im looking for another layer, so I can ride in the 30s.

Fleece lined, wind-proof running pants seem like they might be a good option to wear over the tights that would still allow some freedom of movement. Any other suggestions?
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Old 11-15-19, 02:06 PM
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I go all year in Chicago and in the real cold I use these over tights

20 bucks for a 4 pack

80/20 wool/poly blend, they are warm, wear like iron, and don't get near the cranks. You DO look like you're on your way to direct a Charlie Chaplin film, but I like the retro look with the retro bike

https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...-new?a=1744086


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Old 11-15-19, 02:31 PM
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Nothing fancy pancy or pricey.

Most dept. stores offer long 'john' type under layer pants in a nylon / stretch fleece type for hunters. Heavier stock or thickness and in standard black.

They work well for outdoor fitness, x-skiing, cycling, and used as the outer layer. Not baggy. I've purchased them cheap as $6 each from Meijer.

--
Other:
None of the following specified or branded fancy blah blah cycling.

Thicker winter gloves and a skier helmet with goggles. Bike helmets suck for the winter. The ski helmet doesn't need a hat or liner, its insulated, nicely covers the ears, reduced wind noise. I have one with a greatly needed adjustable vent on the top side. Ski goggles rule.
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Old 11-15-19, 02:59 PM
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I wear cycling tights over cycling shorts. Unlined, since I'm wearing something underneath, and with the bib / suspenders to keep them in place. They are remarkably effective down to about 20F.


Not cheap, but you can sometimes find them on CL or Google around for a decent close-out price.
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Old 11-15-19, 03:12 PM
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I regularly wear knee warmers with shorts in cool weather so, for super cold (mid 30’s usually, lower than that and it’s ride indoors) I’ll wear thicker weight bib shorts with the knee warmers covered by a pair of tights. Using bibs in the mix is important IMO, whether shorts or tights - upper butt crack is a weak point in cold defense.

Keeping feet and head warm also very important. I wear booties (on the feet) below 50 degrees.
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Old 11-15-19, 03:25 PM
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I rode this morning with something like these Novara pants over my Ibex wool cycling shorts:

https://www.rei.com/product/157092/r...ing-pants-mens

Was in the high 20s. My toes were a bit numb when I arrived home (hour ride), but I had nothing but wool socks under my shoes, no toe covers or booties.
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Old 11-15-19, 04:38 PM
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For road bike rides when I want to stay fairly aero on cold rides, I've had good luck with some inexpensive kit from Amazon, REI, Jenson, Nashbar, etc. I'll post a couplafew links. I don't care about brands or being matchy-matchy. Cheap and good is good enough.

For casual rides or errands on my hybrids, I wear various thermal tights under my jeans. Women's tights are good and cheap, usually $5 or less from any drugstore or grocery store. Same material as our fancy wicking fabrics. I also have a 30 year old red woolen union suit for seriously cold weather.

Best buy in shorts and bibs I've tried are Przewalski, also sold under the Spotti brand. Costs $15-$40, depending on model and size. Some clothes have both labels. In particular I like the CoolMax 3D orange and yellow/black pads. Feels a little unusual at first but really comfy and better at wicking sweat that anything else I've worn. The orange pads are fairly flat across the surface with subtle differences in pad thickness. The yellow/black pads are sculpted with thicker padding for the sit bones and much thinner elsewhere. Both suit me fine.

I like 'em better than my Pearl Izumi shorts and Black Bibs. Only problem is the Przewalski/Spotti shorts run just a little short for my thigh length. Fine in summer. But for cooler weather I just got a set of their capri length bibs that cover just below the knee -- Spotti label on the hems, Przewalski label on the inside and pad. No fleece lining but comfy down into the 40s so far. I'm going to order the Przewalski fleece lined padded tights or full length leg warmers for colder rides.

For now in cool weather or additional layering in cold weather, I can cover my knees with a generic Nashbar knee warmer, and arms with an older style Pearl Izumi arm covers that feel more like cotton or merino wool than the usual wicking fabric -- more of a heavy tight knit or weave, very comfy.

I've tried several windbreakers, jackets and combinations of layering, between Shimano, Pearl Izumi, GoreTex and off brands. But the best I've tried so far for temps into the 30s is this inexpensive Outto brand thermal jersey/jacket. Windproof material where it's needed for bike rides, breathable mesh fabric where it's out of the wind and needed for venting sweat. After three or four hard rides of 20-40 miles in temps from 30s-50s, I've always felt warm and dry inside the jacket, but after each ride I'll find the black mesh breathable fabric is soaked. Even the pockets made from that material. The fleece lining of the windproof material effectively wicks sweat to the breathable mesh fabric, where it's away from the body and wind. I usually wear a Pearl Izumi Transfer Minerale baselayer sleeveless shirt (no longer made, alas), then a thin Champion or other brand wicking fabric long sleeve t-shirt, no pockets. So far I've never felt clammy or chilled, nor overheated.

And there are some effective visibility aids -- hi-vis colors and reflective materials, without looking like a road crew utility vest. Three open pockets and one zippered pocket in the back, and a zippered chest pocket large enough for my phone. Very impressive garment performance for only $20-$25.

And it's remarkably aero for a light jacket/heavy jersey. It's not race fit, but not bulky and flappy, and the windproof material seems slippery in the wind. I'm usually a little slower on cold weather rides and can feel the bulky jackets or flappy windbreakers catching air. Not with the Outto jacket. Might just be a happy accident of design because they don't advertise it as aero fabric like some skinsuits for time trials and triathlons.

Fleece lined full shoe covers are a must. Mine are hi-vis yellow Pearl Izumi Wxb, but any comparable shoe covers will do. Aero Tech has some great shoe covers too. My toes get numb easily but so far I've been comfortable with those shoe covers, as long as I'm careful about sock selection and foot pressure. Too much compression from too many layers can compress the tops of my feet, restricting blood flow for the toes. So I need to ensure there's just enough air space in the toe box for blood circulation. I got a pair of Fizik Tempo shoes with a bigger toe box and few vents for winter use. My favorite shoes are Scott Road Pro, but they're basically clipless sandals with just enough support material for hard riding, and mesh fabric uppers and big vents in the soles -- great summer weight shoes for Texas heat, but not great for winter even with shoe covers.

Gloves are tough too. It's always a trick to choose the right hand covers for the ride. Usually I'll go with Bontrager Thermal RXL unpadded full finger gloves down to the 60s. I got 'em a little large to leave room for cheap microfiber liners for cooler weather. The layered combo is fine into the 40s.

Below 40F I'll go with ski gloves with Thinsulate. My hands are a bit odd, with unusually long thumbs so I need to try on gloves to be sure I can operate the bike controls without constricting the thumb. Usually that means the little finger is too long, but that's not as important as proper thumb fit. My current ski gloves were $10 from Walgreen's a couplafew years ago. Warm and comfy but not much grip in the palms and fingers, so I need to be very careful riding the hoods with emergency braking. I might try to add some grippy material to the palms and fingers. Or I could be less of a cheapskate and get some proper winter cycling gloves.

If we had colder winters I'd get lobster claws or bar mitts. But even when we have days that cold I don't ride.

My main persistent problem is sinus headaches from cold dry air. I've tried balaclavas, full length knit headgear, paper surgical masks. They all have shortcomings. Knit cloth like balaclavas get really nasty and snotty very quickly. Paper surgical masks are cheap, disposable and I can carry two or three and replace 'em as needed. But the surgical masks hinder my breathing a little so I can't do efforts more than 75% of maximum effort without feeling like I'm gasping for oxygen. And they fog up my glasses. So I'll usually pull the surgical mask nose piece just slightly below my nostrils. I'm still getting some warm moisture from my own breath, without hindering breathing too much.

Last night I did a 40 mile ride with a friend, starting with temps in the low 50s and dipping to nearly 40 by the time I got home. During the last 30 minutes I got a sinus headache that didn't let up for hours. I used heat and cold packs, Neti pot, hot drinks, etc.
But I finally had to take a strong pain pill to get to sleep. Still kinda aches today. That's always been my main issue with exercising in cold dry air. The effects feel kinda like the flu but it's not flu. Just a much lesser bout of similar symptoms, minus any infection or fever.

BTW, I'm also a bit paranoid about emergencies so I often carry at least a bare minimum first aid kit including one of those aluminized Mylar emergency blankets. Takes up very little space or weight, fits in my seat bag or jersey pocket. Could be a lifesaver. And the shiny stuff grabs attention. So far I've only needed one for car wrecks I happened to be the first to respond to, and even used one rescue blanket on a dog that had been hit by a car. Those Mylar blanket are cheap, around $2-$5, so I consider 'em disposable after use.

Come to think of it, the same aluminized Mylar material might be good for cutting to fit under a shoe insole to reflect a little more heat. Or between a jacket and inside baselayer.
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Old 11-15-19, 04:53 PM
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Many cross country ski pants have a windproof front panel, such as these from Craft. https://www.rei.com/product/120348/c...er-tights-mens
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Old 11-15-19, 05:18 PM
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I like Kucharik wool tights that are very thick compared to Lycra tights, and they are soooo warm.
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Old 11-15-19, 05:18 PM
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I wear silk long underwear under my tights in temperatures down to the 20s Fahrenheit.
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Old 11-15-19, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by smontanaro View Post
I rode this morning with something like these Novara pants over my Ibex wool cycling shorts:

https://www.rei.com/product/157092/r...ing-pants-mens

Was in the high 20s. My toes were a bit numb when I arrived home (hour ride), but I had nothing but wool socks under my shoes, no toe covers or booties.
I'm the same with pants. Ibex wool knickers, then layer on top of that when it gets too cold. Rain pants on top of knickers or tights are good for about as cold as you can go. My PR is 18F wearing these, legs were fine. If it's 18F, it ain't raining, but the rain pants keep the warm inside and act as a wind break on the outside.

If it's above freezing and raining, same combo, but I switch to my bike with platform pedals and wear high top waterproof shoes. Chrome makes a nice pair, waterproof, real comfy, and rain pants overlap the high tops like a shingle, keeping rain out of your socks, which should be wool, IMO.

Remember what the Boy Scouts taught you, and layer.
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Old 11-15-19, 06:11 PM
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My standard sub-freezing lower-body kit consists of silk long johns and MUSA pants from Rivendell. I find that keeping my feet warm is the challenge, but that's been made much easier with Shimano Spd winter shoes/boots.
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Old 11-15-19, 07:07 PM
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I'm spot on with the silk tights, but they have become near impossible to find. For my second choice, I have used for the last five years the Lycra style tights from Jockey they are light weight but another layer that is easy to put other layers on over. Same for the Jockey long sleeve t-undershirt. As a golf coach, I will normally spend five hours out in the cold not moving around much so the need to stay warm is paramount. These undergarments have helped when they are combined with rain gear, which is also mostly wind proof. I would recommend the two items used together especially when riding. HTH, MH
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Old 11-15-19, 07:57 PM
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Hincapie wind pants.
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Old 11-15-19, 08:21 PM
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I've been racing so long that I have to have my own closet for all the clothes - but I think one of the best winter gear buys I ever made was three pair of Bike Nashbar insulated bib tights on their "Seconds" clearance page - I think they were $12.00 each. I put those on first, and on super cold days (15-20deg) I'll layer a pair of leg warmers over them, then my usual bib shorts and my legs never feel the cold. I have to take a lot more care keeping my feet warm, going as far as using the little heat packs.

Insulated or fleece lined cycling tights are often referred to as Cyclocross tights. The charge a premium for them though, which makes that Nashbar find even better. All the performance for 1/10th the cost.
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Old 11-15-19, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
I go all year in Chicago and in the real cold I use these over tights

20 bucks for a 4 pack

80/20 wool/poly blend, they are warm, wear like iron, and don't get near the cranks. You DO look like you're on your way to direct a Charlie Chaplin film, but I like the retro look with the retro bike

https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...-new?a=1744086

Jodhpurs!!!

I don't care about riding- I want to ******g wear jodhpurs!!!
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Old 11-15-19, 08:45 PM
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I finally took care to outfit my upper torso properly last winter. This coming winter, Ill address the legs. To keep it simple, and affordable, Ill probably search out a decent pair of tights as a base layer. Im thinking wool pants from a thrift shop will make a good outer layer as wool stays warm when wet.
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Old 11-15-19, 08:53 PM
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No doubt I'll be a minority of one again, but here I go.

About an hour ago I got back from riding a 200 km "permanent." It was about 28 F when we started at 6:30 AM, gradually rising into the 50's in the afternoon. I wore rather thin Chino slacks over garden variety cotton boxer-briefs. I could just as well wear any bike shorts under them, but I don't bother. I don't get any advantage from bike shorts in cold weather.

I have ridden in much colder weather than what we had today. I've done plenty of 200 km brevets in which the temperature never got above freezing. Honestly I don't know why anyone would do that, but there it is: I've done it plenty of times. Always with thin polyester trousers over cotton briefs.

I often get cold feet, cold hands, cold face. The nose runs and runs. I use a bandana to wipe my nose, and it's pretty wet after eleven hours on the bike. It kinda sucks. But I never get cold legs. Cold legs just aren't an issue for me.

Last edited by rhm; 11-15-19 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 11-15-19, 08:59 PM
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Back when I used to ride to work, rain paints over fleece tights kept my legs warm down to the lowest temp I encountered (7 degrees F). Simple, cheap, durable combo.
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Old 11-15-19, 09:25 PM
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Once you go Merino wool you will never go back
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Old 11-15-19, 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Honestly I don't know why anyone would do that, but there it is: I've done it plenty of times. Always with thin polyester trousers over cotton briefs.

I often get cold feet, cold hands, cold face. The nose runs and runs. I use a bandana to wipe my nose, and it's pretty wet after eleven hours on the bike. It kinda sucks. But I never get cold legs. Cold legs just aren't an issue for me.
Still doing 200 kms? My hero.
I get the leg thing. Least likely to go numb. The rest? Yes.

Sub zero temps aren't a problem. More quality thin layers work. Skin coverage will prevent frostbite. In a nutshell, cold winter = more gear.
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Old 11-16-19, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
I wear silk long underwear under my tights in temperatures down to the 20s Fahrenheit.
^This
Silk is light weight and does the trick.
I am good to about 10 degrees.
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Old 11-16-19, 09:31 AM
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Forget the East German pants. The Italian Officers PJ’s that Sportsman’s Guide has are much more stylish!
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Old 11-16-19, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
Still doing 200 kms? My hero.
If you follow Rudi's posts, 200km is a warm-up for him.
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Old 11-16-19, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Chr0m0ly View Post
I go all year in Chicago and in the real cold I use these over tights

20 bucks for a 4 pack

80/20 wool/poly blend, they are warm, wear like iron, and don't get near the cranks. You DO look like you're on your way to direct a Charlie Chaplin film, but I like the retro look with the retro bike

https://www.sportsmansguide.com/prod...-new?a=1744086

I JUST ORDERED A PAIR LOL!!!!!! Those things are just awesome!
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