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15 degrees, what to wear.

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15 degrees, what to wear.

Old 02-26-13, 10:42 PM
  #1  
Miles2go
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15 degrees, what to wear.

On Thursday, I'll be commuting for the first time to my new job, a little over an hour's ride away. Gotta hit the road at 7am when it's likely to be 15 degrees Fahrenheit. I'm not usually riding below about 30 degrees. I'll be on my cross bike, likely averaging 15mph.

My plan is mtb shoes with no shoe covers, alpine skiing socks, Schoeller shell pants over smartwool bottoms, arcteryx alpha sv jacket over a mid-weight insulating layer (like patagucci r1), windblocker mittens over mountain hardware power stretch gloves. I'm at a loss for what to wear on my head and face at this temp. I'm going to have some exposed skin around the eyes unless I wear ski goggles, which I think is probably overkill for this temp, but I'm not sure. The only balaclava I have is THIS ONE.

What holes do you see in my gear?
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Old 02-26-13, 10:54 PM
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I'm gonna guess your biggest problem will be the toes. Try some baggies over them. And does that balaclava cover the ears?

I've always used Dermatone on exposed skin but have heard questions about it's effectiveness.
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Old 02-26-13, 11:05 PM
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I have shoe covers someplace which I'm not sure will work with my mtb shoes, but I just moved and it will be a year before I find them. I could switch to spd sandals with gore-tex socks. That setup would probably be warm enough for me, but I haven't tested it at 15 degrees.

The balaclava covers my ears but will likely migrate down while riding. I plan to wear a thin beanie cap under my helmet which will cover my ears.

Dermatone....interesting.
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Old 02-27-13, 03:30 AM
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for me:

gore-tex lined Nordic walking shoe
standard socks
lycra running pants
XC ski under layer
XC ski middle (integrated collar so it zips half way up neck with hood to cover head)
L.L. Bean windproof jacket
hood from XC ski middle under helmet
XC ski gloves

seems pretty easy to me
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Old 02-27-13, 03:41 AM
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i find that a zip-up middle layer (Layer 2) like this works really well. the hood even tucks in under the helmet and is held in place to protect the ears from wind. i find a balaclava slightly useless in continental Europe, where it doesn't get below -12C/+10F that often. same with glasses/goggles ... save them for the slopes.

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Old 02-27-13, 03:42 AM
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mind you, it was 0C/32F today and i see people in full suits riding to work with just a outer wind-blocking shell extra
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Old 02-27-13, 05:16 AM
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Man, I've been winter comunting for awhile (3rd season) and I wish I had some cold weather gear. I keep saying I'll buy some at the end of a season but usually don't (obviously)... I just layer up. MN had a cold one this year too. Probably the coldest morning was -15F with 35 MPH winds out of the North (headwind). Local weather guys said it was at least -30 windchill. Loving today (leave in about 20 minutes for my 35 minute commute) 28F. Above zero! I'm sure your gear will be fine...
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Old 02-27-13, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by merkong View Post
Man, I've been winter comunting for awhile (3rd season) and I wish I had some cold weather gear...
Haha! Good thinking there!

Yeah, toes, fingers and head need to be kept cosy... For the rest, layer up and adjust accordingly. I prefer starting off slightly cold and riding myself warm, ymmv

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Old 02-27-13, 07:22 AM
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Sounds like you've got it covered except for your feet and head. I would wear some shoe or toe covers, and don't tighten your shoes too much. Tight shoes will make your feet colder than anything. Also wear a fleece cap or beanie to cover your head and ears. It doesn't need to be real thick because your head generates a lot of heat, but you need something, particularly covering your ears.
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Old 02-27-13, 07:27 AM
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My toes and fingers are the first to go. I wear a nylon shell over a base and mid layer for my upper body, cycling tights (partly windproof) with a thin base layer underneath (merino wool), heavy gloves or mid-weight mitts (much warmer), heavy wool ski socks with shoe covers, balaclava (mid-weight) and a helmet cover (prevents heat loss through the vents and snow from getting in), and larger glasses to reduce the cold air getting at my eyes (ski goggles is overkill at this temp). My exposed face is fine. Put your glasses arms over your balaclava to keep it tighter to your head and prevent wind getting to your ears. Depending on your jacket, you might want to add something to your neck such as a light scarf: my jacket (shell) is snug to the neck portion of my balaclava so I don't get cold air against my neck or down
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Old 02-27-13, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by merkong View Post
Man, I've been winter comunting for awhile (3rd season) and I wish I had some cold weather gear. I keep saying I'll buy some at the end of a season but usually don't (obviously)... I just layer up. MN had a cold one this year too. Probably the coldest morning was -15F with 35 MPH winds out of the North (headwind). Local weather guys said it was at least -30 windchill. Loving today (leave in about 20 minutes for my 35 minute commute) 28F. Above zero! I'm sure your gear will be fine...
You're from Minnesota. You were born...outside in a balmy -30 windstorm with ice skates on your feet, just like everyone else I know from MN, including my wife.
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Old 02-27-13, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Miles2go View Post
You're from Minnesota. You were born...outside in a balmy -30 windstorm with ice skates on your feet, just like everyone else I know from MN, including my wife.
That must explain why I like commuting in winter better than summer. I was born in Minneapolis, and although we moved South when I was 3, my mother would push us outside to play whatever the weather. I've got plenty of photos of me as a 2-3 year old bundled up outside in the snow. The problem with hot, humid weather is that you can only take off so much clothing. July and August are the worst commuting months for me.
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Old 02-27-13, 08:27 AM
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Like others have mentioned I think you have it covered pretty well except for your feet and head. I use a light beanie under my helmet and safety glasses and when its below 0, I use a balaclava. For the feet, wool socks and insulated hiking boots or sorels are the best. You have to remember that you will be out there for more than an hour and feet and hands will get cold quick without taking these measures. Best of luck and enjoy.
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Old 02-27-13, 08:36 AM
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Thanks all. Yeah, I've been at playing out in the cold and snow for a while now but just don't usually bike when it's below 30 degrees. On the bike I'm taking it easy compared to xc skiing, snowshoeing and even alpine skiing. I'll start with the light cap I planned to wear and carry the balaclava. I'll find those shoe covers tonight or I'll just buy some. I have some hills to climb and like getting out of the saddle for that so I'll want to be clipped in.
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Old 02-27-13, 09:13 AM
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In Celcius I always go by the "add 10C" rule. Where what would be comfortable at an additional 10C.
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Old 02-27-13, 09:31 AM
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I would pick up a Seirus Ultra Clava for about $30 to cover your head. That is where you will lose a lot of heat. I would add some chemical toe warmers to your shoes for the ride. Yes, I would suggest ski goggles for those conditions.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4-tByXjYHA
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Old 02-27-13, 09:51 AM
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My hands warm up while riding. My toes do not. With an hour ride I will guess that your toes are going to get cold. Mine start getting cold after about 30 to 45 minutes with medium weight winter cycling boots. This winter I took the plunge and switched over to platform pedals with real insulated boots for the cold stuff. No more cold toes, even when it is below 0F.

I usually prefer a neck warmer and beanie to a balaklava. More flexibility that way. The cold doesn't make me want to wear goggles. It is the stinging, wind driven snow that blinds me that makes me want to wear goggles.
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Old 02-27-13, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by hubcap View Post
real insulated boots
Which ones?
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Old 02-27-13, 11:13 AM
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I agree with head (especially ears) and toes. Face should be fine with that balaclava. Baggies can help too if you don't have shoe covers. For me, below 20 degrees I'll use chemical toewarmers too, or my toes end up in serious pain, even with shoe covers/baggies/every type of sock I've tried. My hands are always fine though. From 30 degrees to 15 is a huge difference.
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Old 02-27-13, 12:28 PM
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I use a shemagh tied traditionally around my my head which covers the top ears and mouth, and can be adjusted mid ride if i get too hot

i double up on wool socks in my shoes, but theyre just canvas macbeths which are slightly better than converse

northface gloves with 99 cheapo gloves underneath

Heavyweight merino shirt under a sleeveless jersey and a thick fleece pullover

still seems to be too much on my torso but everything else is fine for a ride of the same length in 10F with a lot of wind
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Old 02-27-13, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by RCS1300 View Post
Which ones?
Keen Brixen.
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Old 02-27-13, 01:03 PM
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I think so far the advice has been good, toes are the hardest part to keep warm for me. But I think for the rest you are good. i use goggles below 20F My eyes water too much and below 20F they can freeze up. of course YMMV. But some sort of eye protection from the cold wind is pretty key.
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Old 02-27-13, 01:05 PM
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I run flat pedals and insulated winter boots, works for me, YRMV. Rethink your mt bike shoes. Last week was 22F for 18 miles
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Old 02-27-13, 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Miles2go View Post
You're from Minnesota. You were born...outside in a balmy -30 windstorm with ice skates on your feet, just like everyone else I know from MN, including my wife.
I'm from Az. When it's that cold, I wear my car.
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Old 02-27-13, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Miles2go View Post
You're from Minnesota. You were born...outside in a balmy -30 windstorm with ice skates on your feet, just like everyone else I know from MN, including my wife.
Nonsense. Some of us (like myself) were born in July during a balmy -20 windstorm wearing swim fins.
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