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Getting cold...Recommend me winter commuting clothes please!

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Getting cold...Recommend me winter commuting clothes please!

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Old 10-31-14, 06:32 AM
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kimpw
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Getting cold...Recommend me winter commuting clothes please!

I usually take a break from commuting in the winter, but think this year I'll try to commute through this winter in DC.

I'm fortunate to be able to have a locker at my office where there are showers and I can keep all my work clothes.

I'm not really a cycling bib guy, but I was thinking of getting a 3/4 cycling bib with arm and leg warmers. Is this enough?

What kind of jackets/pants do you guys use?

Anything would be helpful so I can gather all this and get it slowly since cycling gear is always expensive.

Thank you!
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Old 10-31-14, 06:51 AM
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I am actually about to post my entire winter biking wardrobe with explanations on use and where i got it, but winter here i think may be a bit different than in DC...

One theme that anyone riding in cooler weather should always follow, is cold air on sweaty skin = not good. Even 50 degrees can lower your core temperature if you're not dressed right, regardless of exertion generated heat. Skin = radiator, wet skin = supercharged radiator.

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Old 10-31-14, 06:52 AM
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In my opinion, winter gear should start with an outer windproof (unless you live in a wet climate, then waterproof) layer, then warm layers underneath (merino wool is nicest but not necessary): top, legs and hands. Also, it is darker so lights and reflective wear is more important.
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Old 10-31-14, 06:58 AM
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i think that you have to experiment with what works for you and tweak it depending on the temperatures. It is always a guess as to what is the right combination for the right temps.

I wear bike specific stuff other than my long underwear top when it is really cold 20F- 30F. It really depends on the temps and what you are comfortable wearing. Guys in Canada are still wearing shorts and jerseys but I NC rode this morning in: long sleeve jersey, bib tights with knee warmers underneath, performance jacket, gloves, and a balaclava. It was perfect for me but other people would be sweating like crazy. I was comfortable.


Originally Posted by kimpw View Post
I usually take a break from commuting in the winter, but think this year I'll try to commute through this winter in DC.

I'm fortunate to be able to have a locker at my office where there are showers and I can keep all my work clothes.

I'm not really a cycling bib guy, but I was thinking of getting a 3/4 cycling bib with arm and leg warmers. Is this enough?

What kind of jackets/pants do you guys use?

Anything would be helpful so I can gather all this and get it slowly since cycling gear is always expensive.

Thank you!
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Old 10-31-14, 07:22 AM
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I have a goretex jacket and pants, and rubber boots when the occasion calls. Depending on the cold outside, I can add layers as needed.

If you're new at this, remember not to wear cotton against your skin. You can still have a cotton sweater as long as you have wool or polyester underneath. Cotton will leave your skin wet from sweat and give you a chill.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:32 AM
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You will want layers. Good base layers like underarmour and merino wool. merino wool socks. When I is real cold out I double layer socks with a thinner bicycling under a thick wool sock. Good gloves and glove liners. Waterproof, breathable shells and make sure they have zip vents in the jacket. As El Sid mentioned, get breathable material, don't use cotton in your base layers. You need the base layer to wick the sweat away and adjustable vents to give it somewhere to go.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:37 AM
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I just add a layer for every ten degree drop in temperature to the low 20s. Below that, it's just too cold for me, and we only get a couple days a year that cold. Strong headwinds require an additional layer.

All breathable cycling gear for the most part. I have winter MTB shoes, add two pairs of wool socks and finally shoe covers. Regular winter boots on platform pedals for really cold or bad weather. Gloves, glove liners, winter gloves. Balaclava, skull cap, headband to cover ears. Leg warmers, tights, warmer tights, and really warm tights.

Layers, layers and more layers.

I'll also shorten my commute a bit, which is possible because I drive part way. Riding over an hour in really cold weather for some reason is more of a challenge.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:40 AM
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+=1 on the Balaclava and headband. Forgot that.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:47 AM
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Also, the advantage of layers is the ride in is usually much colder than the ride home, so you can adjust for the temperature. Could be 30 in the morning and 50 in the evening. That's a two layer difference for me to ride comfortably.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Also, the advantage of layers is the ride in is usually much colder than the ride home, so you can adjust for the temperature. Could be 30 in the morning and 50 in the evening. That's a two layer difference for me to ride comfortably.
+1, that's why I use 2 panniers, one for the day's lunch and work clothes, the other for spare cycling clothes (coming or going).
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Old 10-31-14, 08:45 AM
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I'm a fan of the Novara Headwind pants. The block the wind on the front but are breathable on the back. That with some kind of a coat with a wool baselayer should be fine for DC. A wool beanie under the helmet also makes a huge difference. The hard item I find is gloves. I tend to use cheap wool gloves over a windproof liner. I keep a second pair in the office in case they get wet coming in.
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Old 10-31-14, 09:01 AM
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My ride in yesterday morning was a little chillier than I expected - mid/upper 50s. Half way around the block, I turned around and grabbed my wind breaker. It was great, kept the chill off my arms, but after a few miles, my core was warmed up pretty good. For comfort, I had the jacket and jersey both zipped way down. I don't own arm warmers, but that seemed like the perfect conditions for them.
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Old 10-31-14, 09:56 AM
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Depends how far your ride and your budget. If only a couple of miles (say, 2-3, maybe up to 4) anything will probably be fine. Personally, I prefer bike or at least outdoor (think backpacking) specific stuff. It's lighter in weight, doesn't get in the way, has strategically placed pockets, etc. I've done plenty of cold morning fun rides through the woods, and only just recently picked up appropriate clothing for winter. Layer yourself, and typically if you are a little uncomfortable at the start, you are probably wearing enough clothes. Unless your commute is only 2-3 miles. Probably not long enough to actually warm up.
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Old 10-31-14, 10:31 AM
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Gear aside, the most important advice I learned is to judge how you feel after 10 minutes. After a decade of ending up overheated and sweaty, I started wearing less. So it's a little chilly starting out, but delightful after 10 minutes and I arrive at work or home feeling refreshed. In fact this morning I rode in and it was 32F at the start and 36F at the end and I wore a long-sleeve turtleneck, windbreaker, thin belaclava, thin long athletic pants and long finger cotton gloves and felt just toasty once I warmed up 10 min in. I arrived at work 25 min later very dry and refreshed! YMMV.
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Old 10-31-14, 11:20 AM
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^ & ^^ are good advice, you're going to be cool when you start out but you'll warm up as you go. You may run into situations, like I did this week, where I went from cool to comfortable within about 15 minutes and then I turned direction and the cool headwind to which I had become acclimated became a non-cooling tail wind and I started to warm up too much and, despite opening my coat, I wasn't really cooling off until about 25 minutes later when I turned again and got a cooling cross wind. There isn't much you can do about this other than to be able to open a layer or two: a pullover wind/rainshell/outer layer doesn't allow you to open it as much as a fully zippered outer layer.
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Old 10-31-14, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
Gear aside, the most important advice I learned is to judge how you feel after 10 minutes. After a decade of ending up overheated and sweaty, I started wearing less. So it's a little chilly starting out, but delightful after 10 minutes and I arrive at work or home feeling refreshed. In fact this morning I rode in and it was 32F at the start and 36F at the end and I wore a long-sleeve turtleneck, windbreaker, thin belaclava, thin long athletic pants and long finger cotton gloves and felt just toasty once I warmed up 10 min in. I arrived at work 25 min later very dry and refreshed! YMMV.

I agree. Vented jackets can make a difference. You can start out with them closed then open them up as you warm up.
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Old 10-31-14, 02:11 PM
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Thank you! I did not know that about cotton vs wool. No wonder...Always brought my cotton flannel on bike camping trips and always feel cold from the sweat.

Are there any good vented jackets you guys like? I think this seems to be important@!
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Old 10-31-14, 02:44 PM
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Lou atFoxwear | Custom Sized Sports Outerwear | Made in Salmon, ID makes some amazing custom sized clothing. He made me a jacket that's got softshell material in the front with regular polartech in the back that keeps me warm but not too warm. The custom sizing makes it warmer for you too, there are several of us here wearing stuff we've bought from him over the years.
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Old 10-31-14, 05:51 PM
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Pearl Izumi AmFib tights. Yeah they're expensive, but you'll only cry once.
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Old 10-31-14, 06:02 PM
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Some good suggestion already given here. This is really my first year riding in cold weather, but am a year-round runner here in Southern Ontario. Some of the same strategies would apply to riding--layering, starting out feeling colder than is comfortable, no cotton, etc. But the one thing that I found even riding in 5*C is that my fingers and toes are frozen after an hour. Mittens or thick gloves and winter riding shoes/shoe covers are a must. Running in 5*C is quite pleasant. Riding in 5*C feels much colder.
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Old 10-31-14, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Pearl Izumi AmFib tights. Yeah they're expensive, but you'll only cry once.
I tried the Amfib tights, and they are a bit too warm for the DC climate. Also, a vented jacket or jersey is simply something that zips up in the front.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:17 PM
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Since i'm in Houston, I don't need to worry about it being super cold - but it does get chilly, and down into the 40s or 30s if its a cold snap here in the mornings.

What I need is some pants that are good for 40-50 degree with a little breeze. Should I get my first pair of tights? Or are there other options?

I already know I'll be investing in a light/medium weight hi-vis windbreaker for up top, with my regular Asics riding shirts underneath. (though recommendations for jackets are welcome too.
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Old 10-31-14, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by the sci guy View Post
What I need is some pants that are good for 40-50 degree with a little breeze. Should I get my first pair of tights? Or are there other options?
I find that a single pair of tights over my shorts/bibs does the trick from about 35 to 55. My favorite pair is a set of Sugoi Subzero tights, which have held up remarkably well. Three years old and barely a loose thread.
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Old 10-31-14, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ratell View Post
I'm a fan of the Novara Headwind pants. The block the wind on the front but are breathable on the back.
+1 and the headwind jacket is just as good. You can go a long way (so to speak) with those two items, smart wool bottoms and a lighter long sleeved top, and decent balaclava, gloves, and socks. Probably all the way through winter in DC, if you already have rain gear.
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Old 10-31-14, 08:22 PM
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Originally Posted by kimpw View Post
Anything would be helpful so I can gather all this and get it slowly since cycling gear is always expensive.

Thank you!
What are you commuting on ? Road bike with clipless and bike specific clothing or something with platform pedals where you wear non-bike clothing ?
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