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Cold weather and road riding?

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Cold weather and road riding?

Old 11-09-19, 06:02 AM
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Lrdchaos
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Cold weather and road riding?

If this is the wrong forum I apologize.

Now that the weather is turning colder Im looking for suggestions on a few items. I dont plan on riding below 40 degrees, but Im looking for shoe warmers, gloves and hood recommendations. My fear is that I over buy and I end up melting down on a ride, so what do you all use when riding in 40 degree temps?
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Old 11-09-19, 06:08 AM
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Check the "Winter Cycling" section. A mod can move this for you.
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Old 11-09-19, 06:17 AM
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Better too warm than too cold is my motto.
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Old 11-09-19, 06:27 AM
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I have a light fleece balaclava that allows some options for neck and head warmth...and some tightly knit fleece gloves (Performance I think, but they are many years old). I keep a larger pair of shoes and use heavy wool socks. Experiment with layering to your personal comfort.
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Old 11-09-19, 08:50 AM
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40 degrees is a tough spot. Not cold but not warm either so easy to over or under dress. I go maybe a shell and knee warmers at most. But, dude, no riding if tempts are below 40? Where do you live? I might skip a ride when tempts are below 20 and winds above 15 but otherwise I just add a layer and go, even down into single digits (a rarity here in Virginia) if winds are calm and roads are dry.
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Old 11-09-19, 09:21 AM
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I think its easier to ride in extreme cold than heat, as you can layer up or down to control your temp. In the heat you just suffer.

For me, the keys to riding in the cold are Merino wool socks and shoe covers (I use the ones just cover the front of the shoe), full fingered insulated gloves, and a head cover that comes down over my ears (I get middle ear pain otherwise). I have a very light weight outer jacket with a zipper. I'll start the ride with it fully zippered, then gradually open it as I heat up. Works great. If it gets too warm I take it off and roll it up and put it in my jersey pocket. It says it's made by Cannondale...it's probably 15 years old and I doubt Cannondale actually made it. Any light weight, full-zippered cover would do I imagine.
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Old 11-09-19, 09:58 AM
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Depends on how intense you ride and how much heat you give off, because there are a lot of gear that can keep you warm at 40F, but then chill you to the core if you stop and let the absorbed sweat cool you down.

I don't do much easy riding outdoors so PI headband, fleece-lined tights, PI toe covers, Castelli Perfetto over a ss baselayer, and PI long sleeve gloves with a bit of insulation are more than enough. Sometimes I add a buff when it's closer to freezing, which helps on descents. I've found that I always get drenched with sweat if I wear anything heavier.
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Old 11-09-19, 10:36 AM
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Shoe covers more useful than toe warmers IMO. Size large so they are not as hard to get on/off. Hi Vis FTW.

Under-helmet hat that can cover the ears. Thin liner gloves under either full or 1/2 finger ones- can be taken off if it warms up.

Un-padded thermal tights over regular shorts works well.
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Old 11-09-19, 11:33 AM
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Merino glove liners. Something like a buff to protect my forehead and ears but vent the back of my head.
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Old 11-09-19, 11:43 AM
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I keep a spreadsheet with complete clothing records for various temperatures and ranges. It goes back years with changes as my choices became more optimized.

As ridden 36-41 and dry:
Undershirt: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858737377339
Jersey: https://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1T10196
Jacket: https://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1010E72
Vest: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858778239035
Shorts: your regular
Leg warmers: Whatever
Shoes: regular
Booties: Wiggle has a great selection. I've been using the BBB ones.
Gloves: Mine aren't made anymore. Something long finger, not too warm, but padded cycling specific. Maybe these: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858763034683.
Head: Pearl Izumi skull cap, pulled down over ears
Helmet cover: Never!
Balaclava: Maybe below 40 and raining. Usually way too warm.

Jacket and vest small enough to easily fit in jersey pocket. Usually start in jacket, change down to vest or just remove later. Jersey is not windproof so has wide temperature range.
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Old 11-09-19, 12:47 PM
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Much depends on wind velocity. My mantra is " If you are not at least fairly chilled when you start out, you have too many clothes on." For me, layering and having on bike storage for either a layer you take off, or for a layer to put on. Starting off too warm and sweating is no good.
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Old 11-09-19, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I keep a spreadsheet with complete clothing records for various temperatures and ranges. It goes back years with changes as my choices became more optimized.
I started doing this last year, even though I have almost three decades of cold weather riding experience. I found I was spending too much time trying to decide what to wear. The table saves me at least 10 minutes of dithering each time I suit up to ride in the cold.

Here it is, for the curious: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

I share for concept, not specifics. Everyone has their own personal thermostat and preferences. And of course it's geared towards the clothing I personally happen to have.
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Old 11-09-19, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
Much depends on wind velocity. My mantra is " If you are not at least fairly chilled when you start out, you have too many clothes on." For me, layering and having on bike storage for either a layer you take off, or for a layer to put on. Starting off too warm and sweating is no good.
I agree completely. A little discomfort at the start is worth the better comfort during the rest of the ride.

I recently bought a Revelate Shrew just for purposes of holding spare layer or gloves, etc. I keep an emergency layer in there, and there is still room for stuff I want to shed but don't want stuffed in my rear pockets.
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Old 11-09-19, 07:15 PM
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I often see cyclists dressed both warmer and lighter than myself. It really comes down to your tolerance and acclimation to your local riding conditions, how long youll be cycling, and how quickly the weather is prone to deteriorate or improve during your ride. But I would say it is hard to over buy quality lightweight layering gear. Everyone eventually ends up with an item or two that rarely gets used. You will figure out your favorite gear as you go along. Cant use it if you dont have it. Just be sure to have enough pack space on you for layering up or down as you warm up and cool down during your ride.

Lots of good gear already mentioned. No need to repeat. Dont worry about brand names. Look for quality and affordability.

Dont let foul weather hold you back. Good luck!
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Old 11-09-19, 07:19 PM
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Anyone who recommended merino anything in this thread is correct.
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Old 11-09-19, 09:32 PM
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In base layers, jerseys or windbreakers, look for designs with wind-resistant materials on the chest but breathable material in the underarms and along the back, or at least along the sides if the back also has wind resistant material.

Pearl Izumi used to make baselayers with a thicker wind resistant material along the chest. I don't know if they still make those. A few long sleeve jerseys are made similarly, but availability varies from season to season.

Regarding merino wool, while it's good stuff it isn't magical. My 1970s wool shorts and jersey was comfortable pretty much year 'round in Southern California, even in cool rain. But it isn't wind resistant at all. In ye olden days of the pro tour, before gilets and team cars available to hand out and retrieve layers, racers stuffed newspaper under their wool jerseys after cresting the mountains for the fast and chilly blast downhill. Contemporary designs are much better. I don't even wear merino wool anymore. Good synthetic wicking fabrics are as good or better, and much easier to maintain. It washes easily, dries quicker and doesn't need to be stretched to shape and laid flat on a towel to dry for hours.

This $23 Outto cycling jacket turned out to be remarkably good for the money. Wind resistant front and back, breathable mesh fabric along the sides and underarms. I wore it on an early morning group ride that started with temperature in the mid-30s and warmed up to the 50s after a couple of hours. I wore a long sleeve baselayer under it, nothing else. So if it got too warm I was stuck with unzipping but nothing else -- I had no backpack or bag to stuff it in, and it's a little too bulky to roll up and stuff into a jersey pocket. But it was comfortable the entire ride.

When I got home I was surprised to discover the black mesh fabric was soaked (the day was sunny and dry). Even the rear pockets of the same material were soaked, even though they weren't in direct contact with the inner liner. Apparently the fleece lining of the wind resistant material wicked the sweat toward the black mesh breathable fabric. The fleece liner wasn't wet and I never felt wet or clammy the entire ride. Eventually the sweat would have evaporated from the mesh fabric. This jacket should be perfect for our winters with temps in the 20s-50s.

Before this year, on every cool weather ride I toted an ultra-thin Pearl Izumi Select Barrier Jacket, basically a windbreaker. The main advantage is it rolls up small enough to stuff into a jersey pocket, or water bottle cage. The downside is this type of material never really breathes, no matter what the makers claim -- same with my heavy duty Shimano Storm Jacket. It's fancy plastic. It's a good windbreaker, and while the Pearl Izumi jacket soaks through in precipitation heavier than fog, it stays warm because it's windproof. But I get just as wet from sweating inside the jacket. No such problem with the Outto jacket, which also has more and better pockets, including two zipper pockets.
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Old 11-10-19, 01:25 PM
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To ride well in winter in nwnj takes big money to stay warm.
My $25 otter socks not very good today
Booties work better.
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Old 11-13-19, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I keep a spreadsheet with complete clothing records for various temperatures and ranges. It goes back years with changes as my choices became more optimized.

As ridden 36-41 and dry:
Undershirt: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858737377339
Jersey: https://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1T10196
Jacket: https://www.voler.com/browse/product/li/1010E72
Vest: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858778239035
Shorts: your regular
Leg warmers: Whatever
Shoes: regular
Booties: Wiggle has a great selection. I've been using the BBB ones.
Gloves: Mine aren't made anymore. Something long finger, not too warm, but padded cycling specific. Maybe these: https://www.craftsports.us/collectio...16858763034683.
Head: Pearl Izumi skull cap, pulled down over ears
Helmet cover: Never!
Balaclava: Maybe below 40 and raining. Usually way too warm.

Jacket and vest small enough to easily fit in jersey pocket. Usually start in jacket, change down to vest or just remove later. Jersey is not windproof so has wide temperature range.
Spreadsheet?! I admire your organization!
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Old 11-13-19, 07:31 AM
  #19  
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Yes, there's a lot of variation between riders. I made some notes the first few years about selected winter rides and what I wore. It helped to remember the next year.

Rides that start cold and warm up (or vice versa) are harder to plan.

I now have a small, cheap handlebar bag that attaches with two velcro straps. I probably paid around $20. It's very nice to be able to remove layers as the day warms up. I can start out comfortable instead of chilly. I can stuff a jacket, gloves and skull cap in this little bag.

For me:
Above 45F is easy. Below that, it depends on the ride--hilly or flat. And how late in the season, etc.

My favorite layers:


Convertible jacket. This Pearl Izumi jacket has zip-off sleeves, connected by a yoke across the shoulders. Then there's a big mesh panel under the yoke across my back. The vest is great by itself, too. I can lower the zipper and get lots of ventilation through the mesh, or zip up to my chin if it's cold. The fabric breathes enough to keep me from getting soggy from sweat.

I can even roll up the vest and sleeves separately, and stuff them in two jersey pockets -- it barely fits.

Thin long sleeve baselayers. I like the smooth surface synthetic ones from REI. It's easy to wear multiple baselayers if they are smooth--they slide over each other easily. The extremely thin layers are surprisingly effective, and very useful off the bike too. I've quit buying long sleeve jerseys -- I just wear short sleeve jerseys with base layers as needed.

Two (or three!) baselayers stacked are surprisingly wind resistant. Just one thin layer doesn't stop much wind, but stacking them multiplies the effect.

Glove liners. I have some very thin ones, and some midweight ones. These are great under fingerless gloves or inside warmer gloves. I love glove liners!

Unlined tights.
These go over bike shorts. I can even use my old, worn out shorts with these. Since they are unlined, fit isn't critical. I have a very thin pair, and a midweight pair.

Toe covers
-- easier and quicker than booties. I use windblocking booties around 50F or lower. The booties are okay up to about 60F if the day warms up.

Skull cap. I have a summer weight for sweat and sun protection, good down to about 55F. And midweight and heavy caps for winter. (I should try the summer one layered under the midweight -- I bet that works.)

Neck gaiter.
A tube of fleece, cheap and simple. Keeps cold air out of my neck, and covers my nose and chin on cold downhills.

~~~~~~~~~

60F+
REI glove liners under fingerless gloves. A very thin longsleeve base layer under a short sleeve jersey. Shorts. This is fine up to 70F or so. I'll stash the glove liners in my pocket as the day warms up.

55F
It depends. Sunny? A hilly ride? early in the winter season before I adapt?
Likely: wind vest (from the convertible jacket) jersey and two very thin longsleeve base layers. Thin tights over shorts. maybe toe covers, but not necessary.
fingerless gloves and medium glove liners. Or lightweight wind blocking winter gloves.

50F:
convertible jacket. Likely jersey and one thin base layer. Thin or midweight tights. toe covers or bootles. midweight winter gloves (my fingers get cold easily)

45F:
convertible jacket, jersey and two baselayers, perhaps a wicking tee too. Shell gloves+ liners for my cold fingers. heavy cap. midweight tights. Probably wear the neck gaiter.

Last edited by rm -rf; 11-13-19 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 11-13-19, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
...snip...
Before this year, on every cool weather ride I toted an ultra-thin Pearl Izumi Select Barrier Jacket, basically a windbreaker. The main advantage is it rolls up small enough to stuff into a jersey pocket, or water bottle cage. The downside is this type of material never really breathes, no matter what the makers claim -- same with my heavy duty Shimano Storm Jacket. It's fancy plastic. It's a good windbreaker, and while the Pearl Izumi jacket soaks through in precipitation heavier than fog, it stays warm because it's windproof. But I get just as wet from sweating inside the jacket. No such problem with the Outto jacket, which also has more and better pockets, including two zipper pockets.
Yes, I bought this same PI jacket some years ago. It rolls up to a size about 1.5 inches diameter x 6 inches, so it takes just half a jersey pocket. The fabric is so thin it's translucent.

But it's just not very breathable. My arms get soaked with sweat.

Now it's the emergency just-in-case rain jacket.
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Old 11-13-19, 09:53 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
Yes, I bought this same PI jacket some years ago. It rolls up to a size about 1.5 inches diameter x 6 inches, so it takes just half a jersey pocket. The fabric is so thin it's translucent.

But it's just not very breathable. My arms get soaked with sweat.

Now it's the emergency just-in-case rain jacket.
Try the Voler wind jacket instead. I can't wear anything marketed as waterproof/breathable. I've tried convertible jackets, but they're bulky and the converting process is so slow that everyone's minutes gone by the time I get going again. Fine for touring or solo rides, especially if one has adequate storage for when the rain quits.

I've found that the same upper body insulation, if it's breathable enough, can work as well with a wind jacket in the rain and after the rain quits without the jacket. Nice.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:05 AM
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my fingers tend to warm up while riding but not my toes, so handling cold feet is more of a priority for me. 40 isn't that cold tho so any glove will do & for my feet I'll wear sock liners & a light hiking sock. up top I'd be fine with a long sleeve base layer & a long sleeve quilted running shirt. I have cycling pants, which provide wind protection on the front facing panels. that's good enough for me for 3 hrs, especially it's it's sunny & not raining
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Old 11-13-19, 10:16 AM
  #23  
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Lots of good information in this thread. Here in Minnesota, the season of riding in 40F is mostly already done. We are now thinking of riding in 10 or 20 F. I don't necessarily agree that 40F is a difficult temperature for riding. It's cool enough to be refreshing but not so cold that issues of real frozen pain in the hands/feet/cheeks becomes an issue. What IS a challenge during the swing weather is those days when the temperature changes a lot during your ride. A long morning ride during this sort of season can begin at 40 (or 35 F, or....) and then end at 65 or 70F. It's really tough to dress for conditions that are going to change so much over the course of the ride.

Anyway, some general points about cold weather riding:

*Layering is not just for your core. Instead of finding the warmest possible gloves or mittens, I recommend medium weight gloves and glove liners. Glove liners do wonders. Of course, in the real cold, lobster claws, bar mitts and chemical hand warmers are the way to go. But still with glove liners.

*The cheap shoe covers (i.e., Pearl Izumi, Louis Garneau) get ripped to shreds in a season or less. This year I'm using Endura neoprene shoe covers and they seem much more durable and also warmer. For really cold weather, a warm cycling boot is essential. People favor Lake or 45 North, but I think I get almost as good performance from the much lighter Bontrager OMW, which features an inner and outer boot system (again, layering!). And yes, sock liners too. Merino of course.

*Yeah - Merino, Merino, Merino.

I also endorse keeping notes as to what works at what temperature. At the beginning of every winter, I can't remember the exact combination that was the sweet spot at, say 40, 30, 20, 0 F. Do I need the heavy gloves at this temperature, or will my hands sweat with them? So I keep extensive notes and consult records from previous years.

And circling back to the beginning, if the roads are dry, I really love a nice brisk ride at 40 F. It feels cool but enjoyable in the fall. And in the spring, after tolerating far colder, it feels like liberation.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:22 AM
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40F is pretty typical winter road riding in NorCal. My main thing is that if your head, hands, and feet are warm, you'll be warm. So get an earband or skullcap, decent toewarmers or booties, and some decent medium-weight gloves.
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Old 11-13-19, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
40F is pretty typical winter road riding in NorCal. My main thing is that if your head, hands, and feet are warm, you'll be warm. So get an earband or skullcap, decent toewarmers or booties, and some decent medium-weight gloves.
Oh yeah, I forgot to say this, so I'm glad Caloso did. The core is almost never the problem. Take care of the extremities and the core takes care of itself.
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