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Very Chilly Chest.... need your opinions

Old 01-03-13, 03:28 PM
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chefisaac
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Very Chilly Chest.... need your opinions

Today was the worst of all my commutes since I started commuting in December of 2011. I would like to ask for your help with suggestions and ideas.

This morning, it was 25 degrees out so for the bottom half, I wore padded cycling bibs and wind breaker pants. On the top half, I wore underarmour base layer, jersey, and bombers jacket.

My chest was sooooo cold that it was very discomforting. I almost turned around several times to go home. As I was rolling along, I wanted to stop and call the wife to come pick me up. It was not good.

On the way home, it was 27 degrees out. I wore the same thing but added a wind breaker between the jersey and bombers jacket but still the same issue. The cold air really got to my chest and it started hurting.

I am not sure where I am going wrong. I commuted in colder last year but I was a lot heavier too weight wise.

I dont want to stop commuting in the winter time but if it is going to be like this, its not fun anymore. The only thing that I cannot deal with is a cold chest.

I wanted to ask you all, since most have more experience riding in the winter time then I do, what am i doing wrong? I had layers on and everything. Any suggestions? Advice? Tips?

Thank you.
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Old 01-03-13, 03:31 PM
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If it's really just your core getting cold, you can always buy a cycling vest for an outer layer. Esp. one that will be wind/chill resistant.

For winter riding my outer layer jerseys are all wind resistant for my core at least, if not also my arms. Keeping your body heat helps a lot.
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Old 01-03-13, 03:38 PM
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As a xmas gift, someone gave me a Turtle Fur neck warmer.

The intended use is to wear around the neck and you can pull it up over your mouth/nose if needed.
The first day i wore it, I noticed an added bonus effect, I was able to zip my jacket all the way to the top, preventing the air from entering around my neck. Prior, i always stopped short with the zipper on the jacket because it rubbed against my neck and underside of my chin.
My chest/torso stays warmer because of it.
The 2nd most beneficial piece of gear I've gotten. The first being the little reflective straps that also keeps your pant leg out of the chain.
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Old 01-03-13, 03:49 PM
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Maybe try adding a lightweight fleece vest to your layering?
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Old 01-03-13, 03:57 PM
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Similar temps here today, here was my clothing list up top:

Smartwool medium weight zip turtleneck longsleeve.
Hincapie Windtex Polar jacket
PI lobster mitts
Performance house brand lightweight balaclava

It's that windproof jacket that really does it for keeping warm. Seriously, that jacket is really incredibly toasty because the front and the leading side of the arms is a heavier windproof fabric.
A couple people mentioned getting a windproof vest, and I think you should consider it. Or go the cheap route and get some Tyvek wrap at the hardware store and shove it in the front of your jacket. (The old-school option for this one is newspaper.)
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Old 01-03-13, 04:02 PM
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A sweater? I'm not really seeing the complication here.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:12 PM
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I mentioned installing a Fairing on the handlebars before..


Zzipper in California makes them out of Lexan..
air goes around you then, so clothing doen not have to block it.

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Old 01-03-13, 04:19 PM
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Cyclists used to put newspaper between layers on their chests.

As they say in Minnesota, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Cyclists used to put newspaper between layers on their chests.

As they say in Minnesota, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
Tyvek is even better. Save the envelope the next time someone FedExes you a document.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:36 PM
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Thank you all for your recommendations!
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Old 01-03-13, 04:40 PM
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Layers are your friend. Merino Wool is your lover.


Also you can try a Buff. It's a piece of headwear that's convertible many different ways as a hood, balaclava, scarf, etc. Keep your head warm and the rest of you will be warm.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Cyclists used to put newspaper between layers on their chests.

As they say in Minnesota, there's no bad weather, only bad clothing.
I've used that trick while touring mountain passes in the west... Buy a newspaper in some small town at the top of the mountain, stuff part of it inside the jacket (share extra paper with other riders), then at the bottom of the mountain, throw out newspaper.
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Old 01-03-13, 05:57 PM
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i bought this recently as a "Layer 2" and it's slim cut and tight around the neck to keep air out when training.

super nice for the money.

i also picked up a "Layer 1" long sleeve breathable shirt for €15.



i don't think a bombers jacket would keep airflow out of the chest area through the neck hole.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:13 PM
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It's had to tell just where you're going wrong on clothing. All that you've mentioned seems as though it ought to be enough.

I'll second the notion of something to keep the wind out of your collar. You'll want to keep that buttoned up tight.

Other than that; this time of year I wear bibs. That helps keep your mid-riff warm. I also wear a sweatshirt. (Don't let them get old. You want them to be as fuzzy as possible. And they're cheap, anyway.) Over that I wear two basic, uninsulated cotton jackets. This is enough for me between about 15 deg F and, maybe, 30 deg. At lower temps I'm likely to switch one jacket out for a basic winter waist-length jacket with minimal insulation. Above 30 I'll wear just one cotton jacket.

It's not that I'm a cold weather champ, either. I'm more of a cold weather wimp.

This get-up has the further advantage of being somewhat adjustable for conditions. You can slide the sleeves up above your elbows to increase cooling. You can also zip and unzip the outer jacket for cooling.
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Old 01-03-13, 06:53 PM
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The problem i see is that your bomber jacket seems to lack a wind resistant/proof front panel that's what make all the difference. Adding a wind resistant layer under your bomber jacket won't help much because the wind stops when it encounters some resistance (the wind barrier). It's like if your bomber jacket didn't exist and at this time the only insulation left is your jersey and base layer which in your case seems not enough. Your wind barrier should be on the outer layer or you could go with your current system but you would have to add an insulation layer under.
You could go for cheap wind barrier solutions under your bomber like a pillow, some newspapers, a simple plastic film, a cardboard etc but you would need to had insulation as well under it or you could go for more permanent solutions like a new outer jacket with a wind resistant/proof front panel or a light wind resistant jacket not only on the front
Usually those so called windproof jackets are usually not windproof but wind resistant which could mean something like blocking 95% of the wind under 40mph or something like this.
I usually start to feel chest pain around 55/60F when it happens i know that i must start wearing a jacket with a wind barrier on the front. As my 2 outer jackets have a wind resistant front panel even if the wind go through the first barrier the second wind barrier stops the remaining cold wind but this usually happen only when the wind is very cold under 0F.

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Old 01-03-13, 09:08 PM
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I second the turtle fur idea. The neck is the gateway to the chest, and it's really important for keeping your core warm. As proof, the next time you come in from the cold, wrap a warm towel around your neck, and see how quickly you warm up.

I wrap my neck with a Dr. Who-like scarf when I'm shoveling snow, in such a way that I'm covered from chin to chest, and one loop of scarf covers my ears and the back of my head. The coat goes over this mess, so that it seals up the neck hole of the coat, and gives my chest an extra layer of scarf-end insulation. This works amazingly well at keeping me comfortable even in sub zero (Fahrenheit) temperatures and being showered in snow-spray from my shoveling.
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Old 01-03-13, 09:26 PM
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I wear smart wool arm warmers, cotton t shirt, fleece pull over (most important for warmth) and a showers pass jacket to block the wind and rain/snow if present. My core stays very warm. I road 18 miles at 10 degrees f today and became too hot and had to shed my showers pass jacket. Good luck!
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Old 01-03-13, 09:37 PM
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Do you think maybe breathing in the cold air might be causing or adding to the problem? Pre-warmed air is a lot more pleasant to breathe than the frigid stuff. I roll with a Turtle Fur Shellaclava and it takes care of this problem. It not only covers one's head with a thin insulating layer, but also will come up over the mouth and nose if needed, and then back down easily. The only problem is the lower insulating "fur" is quite thick and you may have to adjust your helmet straps. Good luck!

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Old 01-03-13, 09:44 PM
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Lots of good ideas here, probably the erig007 really nailed it.

I got one of these for Christmas and LOVE it: https://www.outdoorresearch.com/en/or-gear/ear-band.html

Keeping your head/neck warm goes a LONG way toward keeping your whole body warm. I also lost some weight a few years ago and noticed the cold affected me more. Not particularly my chest like you, but just everywhere. I got one of the Buff's mentioned above and like it. But the ear band works way better for me, and if I do warm up during the ride I can remove it without stopping.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:02 AM
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I'd normally be inclined to jump in and mention a wind-proof shell, but I'd imagine the leather of the bomber jacket would be okay for that. This leaves me with a suspicion that your upper chest and neck were not windproofed (bomber jackets typically don't zip up to your chin). Wind stopper neck gaitor should do the trick.

I was out in single digits today, and was quite comfortable - thin base layer, light microfleece mid-layer, rain shell. On my head I wore my thin balaclava with a polar fleece head band. My layers all zipped to my chin - shell to just below the chin. I was very comfy.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:50 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Cyclists used to put newspaper between layers on their chests.
You beat me to it. I usually use one of the weekly throwaway papers. It will cut the air flow, is good insulation and gives you something to read.

It looks like the OP's problem is the weight loss and the zippers in the front of his jackets. My typical response to such weather would be a long sleeved t shirt, a sweat shirt and a wool pendleton shirt.
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Old 01-04-13, 08:54 AM
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Why the bomber jacket? That's not something I'd choose.

I think you want a completely windproof shell and zipper, a high and tight neck closing, long cuffs that close down tightly over gloves, a long back/tail, zippered vents under the arms. That is a cycling rain jacket. Note the important additional benefits of rain protection and bright color/nightime reflectivity.

I don't much care for the expensive "breathable" materials like GoreTex. I prefer a material that is impervious to wind and water; let the vents do the breathing. I wear an old Burley, no longer made, but people seem to like the Showers Pass jackets too. The Touring and Transit jackets look good.

Once the wind is stopped, then add insulation to your core. A light fleece vest or a light fleece sweater, on particularly cold mornings maybe both. The vest layer can be removed for the ride home.

The jersey and base layer aren't adding much insulation. By Underarmour base layer, you mean a compression top? Those seem to make me feel colder, if anything.

A thin balaclava will further protect your neck, ears, and head. It can be stuffed in your pocket for the ride home.

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Old 01-04-13, 09:08 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by jyl View Post
Why the bomber jacket? That's not something I'd choose.

I think you want a completely windproof shell and zipper, a high and tight neck closing, long cuffs that close down tightly over gloves, a long back/tail, zippered vents under the arms. That is a cycling rain jacket. Note the important additional benefits of rain protection and reflectivity. I don't much care for the "breathable" materials like GoreTex. I prefer a material that is totally impervious to wind and water; let the vents do the breathing.

Once the wind is stopped, then add insulation to your core. A light fleece vest or a light fleece sweater, on particularly cold mornings maybe both. The vest layer can be removed for the ride home.

The jersey and base layer aren't adding much insulation. By Underarmour base layer, you mean a compression top? Those seem to make me feel colder, if anything.

A thin balaclava will further protect your neck, ears, and head. It can be stuffed in your pocket for the ride home.
Gotta agree, the bomber jacket is a horrible choice.

Some inexpensive sport clothing like what I posted with a front zip + a collar + hood + draw strings with clamps around the neck at Layer 2 with a waterproof/windproof at Layer 3 would be optimal.

The newspaper idea sounds great for 100 years ago.

For example, these 3 products altogether are roughly €50 (65USD) with shipping and the sleeve even unzip off of the Layer 3. I'm not saying it's the best quality but it's much better than a bomber jacket and you must have access to something similar.







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Old 01-04-13, 09:16 AM
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Another thought I had on the ride in today, is you could down shift and spin faster, that'll get your core temp up, and could solve the problem all on it's own with out screwing with your layering.
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Old 01-04-13, 09:20 AM
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I don't think it's cold air causing the issue as 25F is not that cold. It could be that your neckline is drafty. Make sure your jacket zips up to your chin. I ride in -10F often and I put on two dry wicking layers and then a cycling specific windproof but breathable jacket over that. In extreme cold like around 0F and below, I use a neck and face warmer. My chest feels comfortably cool going down hills at 20 mph but I warm up to almost having a light sweat on the climbs. Try different layering methods, you will get it as it just takes a little experimentation and everyone's tolerance to cold is different. For example when I'm pedaling away, I can take extreme cold temps as my body generates enough heat to keep me warm. If I just stand around in below 0F weather, I get cold if not properly layered.
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