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Clothing for cold weather

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Clothing for cold weather

Old 11-17-14, 02:23 PM
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Clothing for cold weather

Clothing choices for riding in different temperatures is highly individual, but I am still curious as to what other road cyclists are wearing when it gets down to freezing temperatures.

It's predicted to start out about 25F/-4C, then rise up to about 43F/6C the next time I plan to ride. I live in Florida, so that's a rarity, and 40-45F/4-7C is the coldest I've usually ridden around in, so I don't have much experience riding any colder than that. Usually for the lower body I'd wear shorts and thermal leg warmers in those conditions and feel a little chilly, but upper body I'd wear a base layer, short sleeve jersey, thermal arm warmers, and a wind blocking jacket and feel mostly okay. I think I got my hands and feet covered with wind blocking lobster gloves plus wool liner underneath and wool socks with wind blocking thermal shoe covers.

I'm wondering if many other riders get by on freezing days with a single layer on the lower body, like a wind blocking thermal bib tight. I don't have any bib tights without a chamois pad, so if I did layers, it'd have to be something like running pants over bib tights or compression athletic tights/underwear under bib tights.
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Old 11-17-14, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by milkbaby
I'm wondering if many other riders get by on freezing days with a single layer on the lower body, like a wind blocking thermal bib tight. I don't have any bib tights without a chamois pad, so if I did layers, it'd have to be something like running pants over bib tights or compression athletic tights/underwear under bib tights.
Yes. Single layers are adequate well below freezing, particularly if they are wind blocking.

Cold by itself is no big deal if you can keep your extremities from freezing. The real problem is the ice.
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Old 11-17-14, 03:25 PM
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Don't forget the balaclava to keep your head and face from freezing!
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Old 11-17-14, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by AndyK
Don't forget the balaclava to keep your head and face from freezing!
I bought underarmor long sleeve that has balaclava attached. It rained today, so didn't try it yet.
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Old 11-17-14, 03:26 PM
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For me what I wear depends on the intensity and duration of the ride. You should be fine with your single layer bib tights but may be warm if it's a long high tempo ride. For your hands I feel lobster gloves are over kill. I usually only wear Defeet Dura wool gloves in those temperatures maybe with a summer glove and bring out the outer lobster layer for rides staying below -5 C.
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Old 11-17-14, 03:42 PM
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Places when such cold waves are a rarity experience unusual high rate of road accidents because people can't prepare for it. Road maintenance service does not have the logistics and capability to service the roads as their northern counterparts.

Problem as mentioned before is not so much the cold but the ice. Drivers aren't used to ice and do not know how to react. I'd just sit the weather out, lift/run do other sports, drive to work if bike commute commute is the usual preference.

If you must do it, then layer up, cover all/most of your skin as possible, windproof outer layer, once in motion wind bites and bare skin won't last too long. Good luck
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Old 11-17-14, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by milkbaby
Clothing choices for riding in different temperatures is highly individual, but I am still curious as to what other road cyclists are wearing when it gets down to freezing temperatures.

It's predicted to start out about 25F/-4C, then rise up to about 43F/6C the next time I plan to ride. I live in Florida, so that's a rarity, and 40-45F/4-7C is the coldest I've usually ridden around in, so I don't have much experience riding any colder than that. Usually for the lower body I'd wear shorts and thermal leg warmers in those conditions and feel a little chilly, but upper body I'd wear a base layer, short sleeve jersey, thermal arm warmers, and a wind blocking jacket and feel mostly okay. I think I got my hands and feet covered with wind blocking lobster gloves plus wool liner underneath and wool socks with wind blocking thermal shoe covers.

I'm wondering if many other riders get by on freezing days with a single layer on the lower body, like a wind blocking thermal bib tight. I don't have any bib tights without a chamois pad, so if I did layers, it'd have to be something like running pants over bib tights or compression athletic tights/underwear under bib tights.
I used to get by in Irish winters in running tights over regular shorts, with temperatures down to the low single digits Celsius, so high-30s/low-40s. I did have overshoes as well. Your legs are constantly moving on a bike, so the main thing I found was to keep the extremities (hands, feet, ears) and upper body warm (many layers up top, and maybe a thermal jacket of some kind) and let circulation do the rest.
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Old 11-17-14, 04:39 PM
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I read it first as you wear depends.

Originally Posted by clausen
For me what I wear depends on the intensity and duration of the ride. You should be fine with your single layer bib tights but may be warm if it's a long high tempo ride. For your hands I feel lobster gloves are over kill. I usually only wear Defeet Dura wool gloves in those temperatures maybe with a summer glove and bring out the outer lobster layer for rides staying below -5 C.
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Old 11-17-14, 06:12 PM
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I'm in Michigan, so that's similar to what I rode in for the last month (indoors now). I wear a set of UnderArmour running tights over my cycling shorts for the lower body. For the upper body I usually head out wearing a long sleeve compression shirt under my jersey. I have a bright orange, thin running jacket I wear over that (form fitting with stretch) and if I warm up enough, I stow the jacket in my jersey pocket.
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Old 11-17-14, 08:43 PM
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We have similar weather to that December through about February or March. Usually not down to 25, but high 28-35 are not uncommon around sunrise.

I usually wear shoe covers, running tights over bibs, an under armor short sleeve shirt, jersey, arm warmers, jacket, and gloves. The key I have found is the jacket. It is windproof, but breathes rather well out of the back. Warming my core is what keeps the rest of the body warm. Once I am moving and blood is circulating, the insulation of the core takes care of the extremities.
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Old 11-18-14, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for all the comments and suggestions! I got a fleece neck gaiter thingy that I can pull up over my mouth and nose, so hopefully that and my winter cycling cap with ear flaps will be enough coverage for my head. I live in Florida, and I don't think there is a single balaclava for sale in any retail store within 100 miles of me.

Usually it's dry and cold down here on winter mornings, so I'm looking forward to trying out all the cold weather gear on the bike tomorrow morning.
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Old 11-18-14, 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by milkbaby
... and I don't think there is a single balaclava for sale in any retail store within 100 miles of me.
HA!

FWIW, it's about keeping the core well protected & warm. I ride through Minneapolis winter (coldest commute was -20F), I never ride with a balaclava; it's too hot for me. Normally, I ride with wool skull cap and a neck warm that I can pull it up over my mouth and cheeks when riding into the wind, but normally just pulled over my chin. Last night's commute, 10F with 20 to 25 mph head wind and I'd only cover my cheeks when stopped. I do get hotter than average when riding.
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Old 11-18-14, 03:08 PM
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rode in 30-42 degrees F Saturday with Novara Headwind Pants, they were just right over my tri-shorts
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Old 11-18-14, 07:31 PM
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Even though thermal bib tights are adequate to keep the legs warm enough, a light pair of woven loose-type cycling shorts over the top makes a bigger difference than I would have expected. May look kind of dorky, but it's modest and generally more comfortable than (unpadded) tights over regular riding bib shorts, too, I find.
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