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Keeping warm

Old 09-14-11, 08:35 AM
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goldfinch
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Keeping warm

It is 30 degrees here today and I am off the bike. The high is 42. I ordered cold weather tights and a wool top, they should be here by Friday. I found a jacket when cruising through a bike store (size small, yeah me!). I have pullover wind pants I just picked up at a thrift store for 50 cents! Really nice quality. Kind of funny, buying $100 tights to match $.50 pants if it is really cold.

My hands are freezing after a walk this morning. I have a pair of full fingered padded gloves but they are not enough. I am tempted to try mitten over the gloves. What do you folks do to keep hands warm?

How about your ears? All my fleece hats are not going to fit under my helmet. How do you keep you head warm?
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Old 09-14-11, 08:43 AM
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sigh ... I HATE thinking about having to dress warm to ride, but I"m determined to ride as deep into the season as possible this year.

For my hands, it depends on how cold it is. Some days I'll wear a pair of full-fingered winter golf gloves under my bike gloves. If it's really cold I'll wear a pair of "glomits" over my biking gloves.

As for my ears ... I have a fleece earwarmer I use or I can use a thin fleece skullcap which is made by Mountain Hardware.

My trouble are cold feet/toes. I'm still working on that
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Old 09-14-11, 08:59 AM
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OK, so I'm a year-round commuter. My solutions reflect that, so they may not fit your particular needs.

Head:

Balaclava. They really help a lot. So much that I found myself having to pull it down to my chin at stops and sometimes when riding. But they really keep the ears covered.

I cut small holes in my at the top of mine so I could put the stems of my glasses through the holes. Basically, that kept my glasses from pulling the leading edge of the bala away from my face on each side. I have a $5 Walmart fleece bala, but it works.


Last winter, I put tape over the vents in my helmet. Did a lot to keep the wind from cooling my head off. I used office tape (aka 'scotch tape'). I do the strips lengthwise along each vent - two strips side-by-side for wider vents.

It's very 'freddish', if you care. I don't. If you care, you can go buy a helmet cover from a LBS or online for about 20 bucks.

The benefit of tape over a cover is that, if you start to overheat, you can poke holes in one or two vents with your fingers without having to stop riding or take the helmet off. Recover the tape when you get to your destination.

Hands:

I picked up a pair of snowmobile gloves last year at an outlet store. I used those, full finger cycling gloves, fleece glove liners, etc... carried them all and wore what worked for the particular temperature. I picked up a better pair of winter cycling gloves over the summer that I'll probably use most of the winter - unless the temps get below 25 or so Fahrenheit, in which case I'll probably wear them over the fleece liners.

Feet:

Cycling shoes have all kinds of vents in them to help keep your feet cool, and boy do you realize how great those vents work the first time you ride in 30 degree weather! Either swap your pedals to platforms (possibly with toe cages) and wear tennis shoes, or get toe covers to block the vents. Platforms + normal shoes can be better if you're going to ride in wintry mix conditions because you can put your foot down faster, and when you do, you'll have better traction. Guess it just depends on what kind of riding you see yourself doing this winter.

If I'm gonna use clipless pedals this year, I'll probably get MTB shoes with good traction and still use toe covers. I'll probably just put some campus pedals on my commuter so I can wear whichever shoes fit the road conditions.

Also? Wool socks. Definitely.
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Old 09-14-11, 09:09 AM
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Seattle Forrest
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Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
My hands are freezing after a walk this morning. I have a pair of full fingered padded gloves but they are not enough. I am tempted to try mitten over the gloves. What do you folks do to keep hands warm?
As with all things, the key is layers. Try a thin pair of merino (wool) glove liners under your gloves. Other people swear by silk for glove liners. My experience has been that silk does a slightly better job of blocking the wind, but is less good when you begin to sweat in it. I ride in these gloves, which are close to reasonably priced, and thin enough that I can play guitar or start a fire wearing them. But because they're so thin, they tend to last about a season.

Originally Posted by goldfinch View Post
How about your ears? All my fleece hats are not going to fit under my helmet. How do you keep you head warm?
A wool or cashmere neck gaiter. I fold it down in half, then wear it as an open hat. It keeps my head and ears warm, but lets out enough of my body heat that I can maintain a good temperature.
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Old 09-14-11, 10:04 AM
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For my hands: PI Cyclone gloves for all weather down to 30 degrees. I find that they're warm enough for me, even when sopping wet on a 200k rainy brevet when I spend 11 hours in low 40 degree drizzle.

Below 30 degrees I switch over to my PI lobster mitts. They're overkill at mid to upper 20s, but great in the low 20s to mid teens (it doesn't get colder than that here.)

For my head: I have a smartwool beanie that I wear down to 30 degrees. It keeps my bald dome warm and covers my big windflap ears. My face stays warm enough because I grow my beard out for the winter. (I know, not an option for you.)
When it's really cold; worse than just 'need a beard' cold out, then I have a Serfas balaclava and some Bugz ski goggles so I don't freeze my peepers. I've got a slightly larger helmet that I wear when I need the 'clava.
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Old 09-14-11, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the great ideas. I will hunt up a balaclava. I have variations on that theme but they are too thick. I like the tape idea over the helmet holes. If I ride my hybrid I and good on the shoes because I use platform pedals with powergrips. I will try mittens over my gloves as a first try at keeping my hands warm.
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Old 09-14-11, 04:20 PM
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Inexpensive sweaters, bought at a hand me down store. Got one that must sell high new, cause it is very very warm! Underneath a rain coat or windbreaker, excellent for keeping you warm! Army surplus sweaters are fine for this also. Combine this with a cheap Polypropylene shirt and you're in with Fred, not Flynn!

Very Fred, but I've had this particular army sweater forever and it has a nice high collar for wind.

I also like to use inexpensive flannel shirts under my flashy bike coat for semi cool days, no one knows how Fred I really yam!

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Old 09-14-11, 04:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclomania View Post
Inexpensive sweaters, bought at a hand me down store.
I do the same thing. You can get a wool sweater for $5, cut the arms off at the shoulders, and suddenly you have your choice between arm and leg warmers. $0.50 worth of elastic makes 'em even better.
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Old 09-14-11, 07:51 PM
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I use wool gloves in the winter (rainy and cold but not snow) they do a reasonable job keeping my hands warm. I find that if I can avoid resting my fingers on metal parts they stay warmer.
I had a pair of fancy cold weather gloves but my hands sweat so much in them that they got really cold.
I use a wool buff as a skull cap/neck gaiter.
I have wool longjohns that I will wear under rain pants.
wool wool wool for me all the way
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Old 09-14-11, 08:29 PM
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Wool. Layers. Experiment.

For gloves, I have a set of full finger liner gloves. Wrist length. They are too short to function right, but it is hard to find liner gloves that are long enough. I layer them with a set of fingerless gloves that come about midway between my wrist and elbow. That is long enough to do some real good for keeping me warm. Tho at 32 degrees, I am very likely to be wearing one or the other, but not both. The fingerless gloves are good down to about 20F by themselves and are more comfortable if I am working hard enough to sweat. The combo is good down to around -10F.

For legs, I tend to layer pants and long underwear. For long underwear... it might be actual long underwear, or wool tights (WITH FEET), or very long socks, or cycling knickers. I'm not real fussy, and a fair number of things work.

For torso, at 32F I tend to figure t shirt layered with wool sweater layered with windbreaker is fine. I won't break out the neck gaiter/balaclava for another 10 degrees. I may sub a Lands End Squall jacket for the windbreaker, especially if it is damp. The Squall may not be sold as bike gear, but it is very bike friendly and it layers well.

A lot of the time, it isn't just the layers that matter tho... it is having the right layers. A big thick wool sweater is often not as good as a T-shirt and a thin wool sweater. And I can ***** for hours about how horrible it is to have to deal with gloves that don't have enough cuff.
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Old 09-14-11, 09:27 PM
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It's snowing out. Piss!!

I have got to head south.
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Old 09-15-11, 09:37 AM
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It's already snowing?? Wow ... and I've been getting bummed because the needle is starting to dip below 60 F.
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Old 09-15-11, 04:08 PM
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I layer. Have not biked much (ok at all) in winter (temps 40 or less); but did walk most of last winter, including after a 6-12 inch snow that closed down the town. I wore a belaclava; a watch cap on my head. Had my wife knit me a gater to cover face and neck. Broke out the deer hunting clothes for the rest of me (insulated bibs; sweat shirt and pants; thermal top and bottom and for the feet I wore walking shoes covers with galashas (rubber shoe covers). I am thinking come October the bike will be put away till last Febuary early March. I will have to start then to get back in form; we have a fundraiser ride for youth football the second or third weekend of April. I am hopeing to do the 40 mile this year but I would want to have done at least three thirty mile (or more) before that day.
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Old 09-15-11, 04:16 PM
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I moved to the desert.

Before my move I used Richard Glover's solution for head warmth; balaclava and taped over helmet vents...only I used the 2 inch wide clear packing tape.
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Old 09-15-11, 04:38 PM
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I finally went for a ride today. The day started out in the low 20s and I walked a couple of miles with friends down the road. It didn't feel as cold as yesterday's morning walk, even though the temperature was lower, and I didn't get chilled like I did yesterday. But I also wore a fleece hat so my ears were covered.

I waited until it warmed into the 40s and went for a ride on my bike. I wore bike knickers covered with my old too big wool long underwear. The underewear is black, they just looked like extra baggy tights. I wore a thin wool sweater and thin jacket. Regular biking gloves. Scarf on my head under the helmet. Five miles into the ride I ditched the helmet scarf and the wool long johns and I was fine for the rest of the ride. It just took time to warm up. Forties are doable, especially if the sun is out. For temps below freezing I will need to address my head and hands. I ordered a smart wool balaclava off of www.sierratradingpost.com. Should be here in a few days. I am also waiting on the thermal tights I ordered, which should be here tomorrow. Too cold or if and I won't be able to breathe well and it will be time to head to Texas. Or if snow accumulates. We got a bit yesterday but it didn't stick around.
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Old 09-16-11, 10:21 AM
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Yeah, that is something to watch. A lot of the guys say to dress so you're cold when you start out. If I do that, I won't leave the house! But that means I do have to be more watchful about sweating. It is not good to sweat enough that you soak a layer in sweat... down that path lies hypothermia.
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Old 09-17-11, 03:31 AM
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Don't discount the value of polypropylene. I used it in preference to wool as a base layer. You can find plenty of stuff made from it -- base layers, tights, gloves, socks -- at outdoor shops. It's much cheaper than equivalent merino wool. You do have to pay attention to washing it, but I use borax in every couple of washes to kill off the nasties.

Its greatest value, for mine, is as a base layer that wicks away moisture from the skin. But it does need another layer over it to work sufficiently well -- this is where wool comes in, but I use my ordinary jerseys.

Finally, the major issue as far as cold on a bike is wind. The wind-chill can make a pleasant ride very unpleasant very quickly. A good quality "breathable" jacket with pitzips is vital. You can scrimp if you like, but you will regeret it.
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