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Winter Commuting

Old 09-17-12, 02:22 PM
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Winter Commuting

I spend most of my BF time in the Commuters section as that is how I use my bike 99% of the time. A topic was brought up in that section about winter coming. I am planning on riding as much as I can come winter and I was curious if you guys had specific things you wear or other techniques to stay warm come winter time and how bad it actually gets here is Sunny So Cal.

My commute is 11 miles each way from North Long Beach to Los Alamitos. I am pretty much a wuss when it comes to cold but my car doesn't have a heater anyway so either way I am going to be cold. Might was well be cold riding too.

Any thoughts on how I should prepare for the time change and cold season of riding?

TIA
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Old 09-17-12, 02:26 PM
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Cold?
Winter?
Is there anyone here who can translate this Northern Dialect for me?
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Old 09-17-12, 02:27 PM
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It never gets that cold here but when it does, my ears, fingers & feet get the coldest, especially if it's wet out. So, long fingered gloves, shoe covers (if you ride clipless) and some sort of ear covers. Add a jacket (water proof in February of course) or a base layer to keep your core warm. I personally rarely get cold enough to make me want to wear pants, so I don't wear anything other than shorts all year, but you can always get some leg warmers if you get chilly knees.

I'm kind of assuming you're wearing normal cycling clothes (bike shorts & jersey) so if you're not this may not apply.
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Old 09-17-12, 02:44 PM
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Sorry, should have clarified about what I was already wearing.

Fingerless gloves, regular shoes, padded shorts but I am wearing some long running shorts over them to protect my decency and Dri-Fit shirt.

What water proof jacket are you using?

Looks like some fingered gloves might be in my future as well as another pair of shoes I can wear once I get to work if my feet do get wet from rain while riding.
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Old 09-17-12, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris
Cold?
Winter?
Is there anyone here who can translate this Northern Dialect for me?
Funny, I have a friend who lives in Carlsbad he feels the same way.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:00 PM
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My one water proof jacket is an old performance house brand with "illuminite"... I'm sure there are plenty of suitable jackets out there nowadays.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:22 PM
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My wife and I were talking about this on our 6am ride today. Winter is coming, and sorry folks, it gets pretty cold in Santa Clarita. Full-finger gloves, ear protection, base layer and jacket are in my future. For her, thermals, full-finger gloves with heat packs, ear covers, maybe more ear covers, and maybe more thermals. She doesn't do well in the cold.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ckaspar
What water proof jacket are you using?

Looks like some fingered gloves might be in my future as well as another pair of shoes I can wear once I get to work if my feet do get wet from rain while riding.
I have a Canari jacket that works well and doubles as a vest because the sleeps zip out.

The drivers in SoCal are bad enough in the dry. (2 women killed this weekend in Newport Beach) that I don't think I would take my chances in the rain. SoCal drivers really don't handle rain well at all. Hundreds of accidents on rainy days. Literally. Hundreds.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
My one water proof jacket is an old performance house brand with "illuminite"... I'm sure there are plenty of suitable jackets out there nowadays.
Sounds good. I'll look around

Originally Posted by PhotoJoe
My wife and I were talking about this on our 6am ride today. Winter is coming, and sorry folks, it gets pretty cold in Santa Clarita. Full-finger gloves, ear protection, base layer and jacket are in my future. For her, thermals, full-finger gloves with heat packs, ear covers, maybe more ear covers, and maybe more thermals. She doesn't do well in the cold.
I sound kinda like your wife. I hate being cold. I suppose I'll just have to learn to adapt to the colder weather as it comes. If I am too cold then I need to buy something else to keep that part of me warm.

Originally Posted by cdp8
I have a Canari jacket that works well and doubles as a vest because the sleeps zip out.

The drivers in SoCal are bad enough in the dry. (2 women killed this weekend in Newport Beach) that I don't think I would take my chances in the rain. SoCal drivers really don't handle rain well at all. Hundreds of accidents on rainy days. Literally. Hundreds.
Riding my bike at 14 mph or driving my car at 65 mph, either way I still have to deal with SoCal drivers. Sure I am less protected when I am on my bike but I am also around cars less due to the traffic flows of the streets I take to get to and from work. The only time I see a car is when we are both stopped at a red light. Once the light turns green I am relatively alone on the road.
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Old 09-17-12, 03:56 PM
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Leg, arm warmers, wool gear I've tried everything. I finally settled on just gloves and maybe ear warmers. However all the exposed skin can become numb from the cold, a fact that this all-weather-commuting-hard-man-tough-guy found out when the cute 25 year old barista suggested that " you may want to clean that snot trail going back to your ear!"
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Old 09-17-12, 03:59 PM
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cdp8 has a good point. Another thing you may not think about (sounds like you're new down here?) is that it rarely rains, so oil accumulates on the pavement. A little rain is enough to bring that oil up and it rarely rains enough to really wash the streets, so the roads are very slick when the surface is wet - slicker than you may be used to.
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Old 09-17-12, 04:02 PM
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I'm in Los Angeles, I am looking forward to the "winter", won't have to take 3 showers in a day from commuting.

In "winter" I wear wool socks(all year round), full finger gloves, cycling shorts with knickers(wind/water resistant) over them. Then usually just a wool t-shirt or one cycling shirts as a base layer, with a synthetic cycling hoodie on top, that usually comes off about 2 miles into my commute. I've acquired another long sleeve wool+synthetic shirt which will probably make the rotation this winter. I find that I really don't need that much as I get pretty warm once I start riding
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Old 09-17-12, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Jan Feetz
Leg, arm warmers, wool gear I've tried everything. I finally settled on just gloves and maybe ear warmers. However all the exposed skin can become numb from the cold, a fact that this all-weather-commuting-hard-man-tough-guy found out when the cute 25 year old barista suggested that " you may want to clean that snot trail going back to your ear!"
Obviously, she was turned on by your tough guy snot trail. If she was grossed out, she wouldn't have said anything.
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Old 09-17-12, 04:28 PM
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6:45 am commute

Clothing - Thin base layer, L/s jersey, uninsulated tights, light jacket or rain jacket, fleece gloves.
Bike - add lights and maybe fenders.
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Old 09-17-12, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ckaspar

Riding my bike at 14 mph or driving my car at 65 mph, either way I still have to deal with SoCal drivers. Sure I am less protected when I am on my bike but I am also around cars less due to the traffic flows of the streets I take to get to and from work. The only time I see a car is when we are both stopped at a red light. Once the light turns green I am relatively alone on the road.
I usually drive on the rainy days. With the decrease in visibility and bald tires it makes me nervous. It is also not really cost effective for me to invest money in a nice rain gear since it rains so little here. Though the few times I've ridden when its been raining, I ended up enjoying it, its nice to be out in the elements. Fenders are important for that though, more to protect from all the gross stuff on the street than the rain in the air.
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Old 09-17-12, 04:52 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
cdp8 has a good point. Another thing you may not think about (sounds like you're new down here?) is that it rarely rains, so oil accumulates on the pavement. A little rain is enough to bring that oil up and it rarely rains enough to really wash the streets, so the roads are very slick when the surface is wet - slicker than you may be used to.
Lived here all my life. Just never rode in the winter times.
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Old 09-17-12, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by ckaspar
Lived here all my life. Just never rode in the winter times.
Having spent a large portion of my life elsewhere, this persistence in calling what we have "winter" is cracking me up.

I think another problem to consider is the available light - you should dress your bike up like a Christmas tree. For whatever reason, Californians can't drive at night any better than they drive in the rain.
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Old 09-17-12, 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cdp8
I have a Canari jacket that works well and doubles as a vest because the sleeps zip out.

The drivers in SoCal are bad enough in the dry. (2 women killed this weekend in Newport Beach) that I don't think I would take my chances in the rain. SoCal drivers really don't handle rain well at all. Hundreds of accidents on rainy days. Literally. Hundreds.
Yeah, it's like the apocalypse when it rains. You'd think that would be the best time to go to the indoor velodrome, but it's actually the worst, because it takes 2 hours to do what would be a 40 minute drive without traffic.

As far as winter gear for socal-- unless I'm going up in the mountains, it's rare to need more than tights and a wind and water proof shell. I wear full finger gloves, but I wear full finger when it's hot, too. I've never found regular cycling gloves that I liked.
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Old 09-17-12, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
Having spent a large portion of my life elsewhere, this persistence in calling what we have "winter" is cracking me up.
That's why I moved here after 6 years in Minneapolis (and most of my life in other cold snowy places). Winter here is "OMG, I can ride with shorts and a jersey" weather in minnesota. I'm spoiled now, and sometimes won't ride if it's a little cloudy.
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Old 09-17-12, 09:50 PM
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Last year we had a few days that were crazy cold for CA (low 40s in the early a.m. - probably considered warm everywhere else!) and I quickly went online and bought some Hincapie winter bib tights and wore them twice, both times i practically overheated. Arm warmers, leg warmers and maybe a light base layer is pretty much all you need for 95% of the days
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Old 09-17-12, 10:26 PM
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Yeah, don't go posting in the road forum for advice on winter wear... they'll never stop laughing.

I picked up one of those craft cold weather shirts last year that was pretty fantastic too - I think this is the one.

https://shop.craftsports.us/base-laye...-2-colors.html

I actually thought it was fairly comfortable clear up to 70, when I finally took it off. I got it on sale late in the season so didn't wear it much, maybe $30-$40 at most. It folds up small. The under armor cold wear seems pretty good too.
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Old 09-17-12, 10:45 PM
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Please read Winter Cycling 101, I believe I covered what one needs to ride in SoCal in the winter.
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Old 09-18-12, 09:39 AM
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I commute all year long, and pretty much in the same area as you.

I hate being cold, so I wear what it takes to stay warm, and if I need to, remove it along the way.

1. Get yourself an indoor/outdoor thermometer. It's indescribably convenient to see the exact temperature outside before you leave.

2. Add the following in this order to taste as the weather chills:

a. Arm warmers. Get some wool ones from Kucharik.
b. Base layer. I like the Descente base layers, but Craft makes some decent ones that are much less expensive.
c. Light windbreaker - almost any will do.
d. Leg warmers.
e. Windproof/waterproof jacket - must have pit zips and velcroed cuffs for ventilation. Two way zipper is a plus.

I actually got this one for ~$35: https://o2rainwear.com/2011/03/primar...hi-viz-yellow/
I use this one as well: https://www.showerspass.com/catalog/m.../mens-elite-20

f. Long fingered gloves.
g. In even colder weather, I poopcan the shorts/leg warmers and go with tights with brushed interior.

Rain is another story. I generally forego riding in the rain, but I ride along the coast where the fog is unpredictable, and never know when I might encounter fog so thick as to be essentially the same as rain. The waterproof/windproof jacket helps there.
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Old 09-19-12, 01:45 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. I realize winter is not really a winter here but it certainly is colder and brings new challenges. I can't just slap shorts and a shirt on to go ride. I knew I had read the Winter 101 article somewhere before but could not find it. Certainly some good info and thank you for sharing it.

After all the suggestions I think I am going to go for an UA brand type of setup. At least a top. I can always push harder when pedaling if my legs get a little cold. I may get some windbreaker pants too just in case. I realized I have some very grippy desk boots that I could probably use for rainy mornings, I run platform pedals. I have only worn the boots once and it was in the snow and my feet were toasty and I would grip the ice and show like a champ so I am guessing I should have little slippage issues with the boots. I may take them for a test ride sometime just to make sure.

Again, thanks for the help/input.
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Old 09-21-12, 07:42 PM
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For most of my 'cold' Southern California rides, such as an early morning commute, I wear arm warmers, leg warmers, thin glove liners under my fingerless gloves, and a cycling windbreaker. A base layer and long sleeve jersey also helps.
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