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it will start getting colder...

Old 10-23-13, 07:26 PM
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it will start getting colder...

hi,
I have been commuting for the last month and wanted to know what kind of clothing I might need to get
when the weather gets colder. I live in new jersey...

I normally wear loafers or running shoes... do I need / want to get neoprene booties? do they make them for normal shoes or only "bike shoes" ?

I have leg warmers with bike shorts, balaclava, mittens (non cycle specific but do the job)...
what else would I need and if more than one, what priority should I put on getting it...

thanks!
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Old 10-23-13, 07:36 PM
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Put clothes on until you get too hot, then take some off. That's pretty much all you can do.
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Old 10-23-13, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by ShartRate
Put clothes on until you get too hot, then take some off. That's pretty much all you can do.
ShartRate is right on - only experimentation and experience will help you find the right combo of clothes for you. Your choices don't need to be cycling-specific, particularly while you're figuring out what works at different temperatures.

I like to wear two pairs of socks once it gets below 45. Booties, if you mean shoe covers, are a pain.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:03 PM
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It's the mid-40s (Fahrenheit) during my morning commute here. What works for me is a wicking T-shirt, a regular long-sleeve cycling jersey, and the Shower's Pass Elite 2.1 rain jacket on top. As for bottoms, I wear a pair of Novaja Headwind cycling pants and thick cotton socks. I may need to wear more once the temperate dips into the 30s, but so far, so good. Oh, and a pair of full-fingered cycling gloves.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:09 PM
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I like the booties because they basically act as wind breakers and reduce the "wind chill" heat loss from your shoes. I can handle a bunch of things but cold toes suck.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:12 PM
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A wind breaker helps keep cold air from seeping into your clothes which can afford you to bundle a little less. I'm not accustomed to weather on the NE coast though.
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Old 10-23-13, 08:24 PM
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What you need depends on the length of your commute (in time) and the terrain. You can take almost anything for 20-25 minutes, but if your commute is longer you need to dress more precisely matched to the weather. Terrain is important because you'll be hotter climbing than if your commute is on the flat.

Then there's rain. Down to about 40 degrees I only keep my upper body dry (with a garbage bag) and let my hands feet and legs get wet. When it gets colder I protect my feet with a plastic bag over my socks (the shoes get wet), and when it's really cold and wet I use 7mm neoprene dive boots. My feet get wet, but stay warm. The above is fine for my 25 minute mad dash home, and I've done it just that way, fighting hypothermia and getting home seriously cold, but OK. (the longest time it took to feel warm again was 2 hours (caught in rain at 35 degrees, no protection).

If my commute was longer, I'd be more careful because there's only so much this old body can take.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:17 PM
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many people here dont like toe warmers but I find they help out. They're only about a buck per package but if you're using 2 packs a day everyday it may get alittle expensive. I also put baggies over my feet for shorter rides. long rides that may backfire as your feet sweat.

I also recommend getting a good pair of gloves that still allow you to use your fingers for shifting/braking. I use bike gore brand.

Good face protection comes in handy. like a balaclava and pair of goggles or sunglasses. of course a hat under your helmet.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:23 PM
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If you don't use clipless pedals, I think it's a lot easier to just ride in boots than to get neoprene shoe covers. I commute in boots all winter, and I find it very comfortable.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:27 PM
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I have found that if my head, hands, or feet are cold, it doesn't matter how warm the rest of me is. Once it gets below 40f, I break out the skull cap, toe covers, and ski gloves.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:33 PM
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No two people are alike and what works for one person might not work for another so there is usually a lot of trial and error involved until we figure all this out for ourselves.

If there is one truth it is that nothing is better than wool to keep you warm and dry under almost any conditions.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
...
If there is one truth it is that nothing is better than wool to keep you warm and dry under almost any conditions.
I used to be a real wool fan. Used to arrive places on wet winter days smelling like a sheep. But I've found that quality poly fleece works about as well and is easier to care for, plus no sheep smell. My preferred cold weather cycling gear is fleece with a wind stop breathable outer shell.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
If there is one truth it is that nothing is better than wool to keep you warm and dry under almost any conditions.
Great tip. Here's a great video by Dottie of Let's Go Ride a Bike. She gives a thorough overview of How to Dress for Winter Bike Commuting in windy, sub-freezing Chicago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i7vcboSje0 None of the clothes are "cycling specific."

In a nutshell, she wears:

wool over regular work clothes
lightweight windbreaker
overcoat if especially cold
two layers or wool socks
boots
leggings
helmet with built in winter hat with ear flaps
scarf
plastic glasses

She also talks about overcoming any humps of feeling self conscious upon arriving at work or meeting up with friends, etc. Great video.
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Old 10-23-13, 11:13 PM
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LL Bean Boots .. you might like the insulated ones for casual but wet use I just Got the Moccasin version,,

platform pedals Ergon's ... have a couple years on mine .. perfect with rubber shoes..
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Old 10-23-13, 11:33 PM
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One year a window in my office was broken. Whole summer, autumn, winter. As the temperature dropped, my office got colder. I got used to it. By the middle of the winter, I didn't need too much clothers while sitting at the office computer, and when moving outside, I went t-shirt, or just some thin jacket over it. Somehow got used to the cold. Never got sick that winter.

Same with bicycle commuting - if I commute regularly, my body gets used to cold, just like it gets used to summer heat. So all I need is a wind breaker of some kind when it's really cold (and raining). My commute is under 45 minutes.

Just make sure when you stop and cool down, you put dry clothes on.
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Old 10-24-13, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY
I used to be a real wool fan. Used to arrive places on wet winter days smelling like a sheep. But I've found that quality poly fleece works about as well and is easier to care for, plus no sheep smell. My preferred cold weather cycling gear is fleece with a wind stop breathable outer shell.
I have synthetics and a good amount of high tech gear that is only advantageous in that it is lighter than wool but at -40 I don't trust my bits to anything but wool as a base and more importantly as a mid layer... my shell is synthetic.

Synthetics develop a funk that is harder to get out while wool resists the bacteria that cause odour.

I have always preferred good quality winter rated hiking boots to any other kind of footwear as they are waterproof and warm... when it gets really ugly I put on the real winter boots with a -50 rating but with a base sock under a heavy wool sock those hikers are awesome.

I did pick up some military grade polypro that I am going to test as a base layer... will have to report on that in the blog.
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Old 10-24-13, 02:37 AM
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Arm and leg warmers are good for very variable conditions. If you find yourself wearing them for the whole ride, then long clothes fit better.
If you are using platform/toeclip pedals, then wear your trainers as much as you like but with warmer socks. If it gets too cold, wet or snowy some lightweight boots work well.
I like merino wool baselayers, plain Tshirt style for winter. You need good quality superfine grade. Poor quality ones itch, pill and wear out, the good ones last for years. Mixing with polyester is not needed for the best merino.

You need a windproof shell; save the waterproof for rain. Protect your extremities with versatile stuff, buffs, beanies, gloves, warm socks. Sleeveless gillet style jackets are useful for a quick thermal boost over a windproof.

Neoprene booties are used over mesh cycling shoes which offer no protection in winter. They are slower to fit and remove and not suitable for short-range stop-and go riding.
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Old 10-24-13, 05:15 AM
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Depends on what kind of pedals you have, but I find hiking boots warm enough for most temperatures.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Sixty Fiver
I have synthetics and a good amount of high tech gear that is only advantageous in that it is lighter than wool but at -40 I don't trust my bits to anything but wool as a base and more importantly as a mid layer... my shell is synthetic.

Synthetics develop a funk that is harder to get out while wool resists the bacteria that cause odour.

I have always preferred good quality winter rated hiking boots to any other kind of footwear as they are waterproof and warm... when it gets really ugly I put on the real winter boots with a -50 rating but with a base sock under a heavy wool sock those hikers are awesome.

I did pick up some military grade polypro that I am going to test as a base layer... will have to report on that in the blog.
Wool socks are the greatest invention!

But for other things, since temps never get below -20 celsous where I live, sythetics are just fine.

Also, when it is warm enough for rain, synthetics are perfect - they dry almost as soon as i get out of rain (while still warm from peddaling). Although I usually take them off and hang them to dry, just to put them back on on the way home.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:36 AM
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"start"? I put on the studded tires last night since it was drizzling and starting to freeze on the deck at 9PM.

I find neoprene booties to be a complete pain in the butt. I bought a set about 6 years ago and used them once. They're too much of a pain to get on and off.

I just wear thicker socks. Eventually I switch to hunting boots on platform pedals with thick socks.

This morning it was 32*F. I just wore my poly ankle socks and normal mountain bike shoes and didn't have any trouble. I wear vented rain pants and jacket too and keeping my legs nice and warm helps a lot.

When it's really cold (below about 5*F) I do have issues with my toes. You want to be careful when adding socks that you don't restrict blood flow to your toes. Even so the toes can get cold when it drops below zero. I'm kind of thinking about making an electrical toe warmer; just some nichrome wire between a couple of pieces of kapton tape for maybe a watt or two of heat should be plenty, it takes surprisingly little. Chemical warmers would be too expensive for my tastes using them twice a day.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:45 AM
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I'm in south-central PA. When it gets below about 55F, I switch my t-shirt to an Under Armour "ColdGear" long-sleeve mock turtleneck and put on some fleece gloves.

When it gets under 40F, I layer a t-shirt on top of the mock turtleneck and put on a face mask that I originally got for skiing years ago. It covers my nose down to my chest and wraps around my head with Velcro. I also start wearing wool socks instead of the normal cotton.

When it gets under 30F, I put on some long underwear below my pants and switch to ski gloves.

This does me well for my 7 mile trip to work. You should experiment and see what works for you. Make sure you feel a bit cold when starting out; otherwise you'll be too warm when you arrive.
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Old 10-24-13, 06:54 AM
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A windblock headband is my must-have accessory as the weather cools down, and warm gloves.

It can be a nuisance having to lug all the heavyweight stuff back if it warms up a lot during the day though.
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Old 10-24-13, 07:26 PM
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What do you guys do when tights aren't quite doing the trick? I have a couple of pairs, the warmer of the two linked below. What sort of pants have you found? I don't necessarily need something skin tight however anything too loose will get stuck in the chain and flap excessively.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 10-24-13, 08:09 PM
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^ I just wear running pants from the Champion C9 brand.. They're pretty well-fitting, so not too much flapping. I find that my legs don't really get cold until it gets below freezing. Then I just throw on some long underwear underneath and I'm good to go.

That said, it gets a lot colder in Wisconsin than it does here in PA.
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Old 10-24-13, 08:11 PM
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I use J&G cyclewear vented/breathable pants when it's too cold for tights. They have velcro cinches on the bottom of the legs, so they don't get caught in the chain.

My tights are definitely not as nice as what you link to - I'm way too cheap to spend that kind of money on something I really will only wear a dozen times a year. I did spend $80 on the rain pants but I wear them probably 100 days a year.
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