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What is the experience of riding in winter

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What is the experience of riding in winter

Old 12-22-20, 12:13 AM
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Jevon
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What is the experience of riding in winter

Winter can be a great time of the year to ride your bike, but for to ensure enjoyment we need to make the right clothing choice.
Which clothes are the best in your mind?
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Old 12-22-20, 12:45 AM
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I prefer Lake 303 shoes. I think 304 or 305 or some such integer is the current model year.

In those shoes, I prefer wool socks.

Outside those shoes, I prefer knee length gaiters. If it's especially cold, neoprene booties. Toe covers are a waste of time IMO. Whole booties are better.

Rain pants or snowboarding pants are a must if active rain is expected. You don't want to be filling up your shoes with water. I wear gaitors under my rain pants as an added layer to prevent water soaking through or running down my leg. (I have commuted a lot of miles in a lot of rain.)

Synthetic long sleeved base layer goes with out saying. Always under one of them super popular (trendy for a while) Northface coats if it is cold outside. You know the trendy one I'm talking about. You can always unzip or doff to temperature regulate.

Over that, a generic fluorescent yellow nylon Performance Bike rain coat...But, I am coming to appreciate the one made from Ventum from Zpacks. It breathes way better & stays way drier than any Gore-tex or Sil-Poly thing I have ever owned. I prefer it to a Showers Pass rain jacket.

Over that, a generic construction worker retro-reflective safety vest.

On my noggin' is a cycling cap & over that is my helmet topped with a spandex/polyester & elastic cover to keep out the wind.

The bike has Bar-mitts, fenders, & studded tires.

Because of the Bar-mitts, I never bother with gloves. But when I did bother with gloves, decent ones like would be found at a ski-lodge worked better than most sold as cycling accessories.

I'd rather ride in frosty frozen snow than ride when it's 37 & raining.


Fun fact! Taping over the vent holes in your summer cycling shoes can help keep you warmer & more comfortable in shoulder seasons until you commit to a winter shoe.

If your gear is nylon, especially if your gear is nylon, don't forget DWR. A periodic wash with durable water repellent will be well worth your time.

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Old 12-22-20, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Jevon View Post
Winter can be a great time of the year to ride your bike, but for to ensure enjoyment we need to make the right clothing choice.
Which clothes are the best in your mind?
Head: thin skull cap that fits under helmet and covers ears, windproof if necessary; helmet cover if very cold (I once tried to use a head band to cover my ears but it didn't work for me, my helmet pushed the head band down my face, my ears are warm enough down into single digits using thin wind proof balaclava plus helmet cover)
Eyes: same as summer - cycling glasses
Face: anything that works for skiing will work for cycling (I have a beard so I'm good down into the lower 20's without a face cover)
Hands: gloves, as thick as necessary (as above, skiing gloves can work), over mitts as wind barrier if needed (I have bar end shifters so mitts work OK)
Feet: toe covers for cool; neoprene booties for cold; chemical hand warmers on top of toes between shoe and bootie for very cold
Lower body: wind front tights; wind barrier if very cold (rain pants for hiking work OK, but you need ankle bands), insulation under wind barrier if necessary
Upper body: wind barrier, insulating layers (IMO wool>polypro, NEVER cotton on the bike, NEVER, NEVER, EVER, not even socks in the summer) under the wind barrier as needed depending on temp., base layer (again, wool>poly pro)
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Old 12-22-20, 03:17 PM
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Rode last night in shorts, 2 base layers and a jersey. Ride ending about 9 PM. Got to love California!
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Old 12-22-20, 03:21 PM
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Sorta dependent on the weather, huh?
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Old 12-22-20, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jevon View Post
Which clothes are the best in your mind?
I prefer to use non-cycling clothes, non-cycling boots and non-cycling gloves. My system of dressing has worked for me for the past 13 winters here in Canada. I can be outside for many hours and never had frostbite or hypothermia yet.
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Old 12-22-20, 04:59 PM
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Depends on the temps, whether there is chance of rain, wind, etc.

Generally, I wear a lot of merino wool: socks, baselayer, jersey, neck gaiter, cap, glove liners.

Warm winter tights are good for colder days (under 45 degrees), and a good jacket is essential for warmth and wink-blocking.
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Old 12-22-20, 05:07 PM
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I do a lot of XC skiing and the clothes for one work well for the other. Fleece-backed lycra with wind-proof fronts/breathable backs are ideal. If it's mild I use just a polypro underlayer with a windproof jacket. If it is cold I just add a fleece sweater underneath. I have a nice pair of warm tights for milder weather and two thicknesses of polypro long underwear.

I use clipless pedals and cycling shoes most of the time in warm weather, but in cold weather I change my pedals to flats and wear winter boots with wool socks, and chemical toe-warmers when it gets very cold.
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Old 12-22-20, 06:31 PM
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This is the usual get-up for me in SoCal since I prefer to ride at first light. It's been low 40's in the morning but warming up to about 70 by mid day. Layering has worked out great in staying comfortable but is certainly a process to get ready at times. Especially when you realize you forgot to put on the HRM after getting completely dressed.

Head: skull cap or cycling cap
Hands: Thermal long fingered gloves
Upper body: Sleeveless baselayer, short sleeve jersey with arm warmers and a wind vest or long sleeve thermal with a wind vest
Lower body: Bib shorts with leg warmers or thermal tights
Feet: Merino socks and toe warmers
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Old 12-22-20, 06:46 PM
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under 32*

thermal waffle underlayer,merino wool,windstopper.
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Old 12-22-20, 07:15 PM
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I prefer to use non-cycling clothes, non-cycling boots and non-cycling gloves. My system of dressing has worked for me for the past 13 winters here in Canada. I can be outside for many hours and never had frostbite or hypothermia yet.
boy that's really helpful
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Old 12-22-20, 09:00 PM
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I have various tights, various long sleeve tops, all synthetic except for smartwool socks. For 40 degree (plus or minus), I use two layers on my legs, three+ on my torso, a head sock on my head, face and neck. I also use a heavier jacket with hood, or sometimes a wind/rain shell, and long finger insulated biking gloves. Granted, I'm 68 and don't like being cold. Also, I ride with a full frame bag and a handlebar bag, so I have room for the layers I take off as I get warmer, putting them back on near the end of the ride as the sun goes down. All of my gear, including my underwear, is "gravel specific".
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Old 12-22-20, 11:40 PM
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My winter riding tends to be utilitarian -- commuting, shopping, getting around town. Maybe wolfchild and I are thinking along similar lines: Clothing that works for other outdoor activities at a given temperature, should also work well enough for cycling, with minor modifications that are easy to figure out. If you've just moved to a cold region, or haven't spent a lot of time outdoors during the winter, then you've got more to figure out. If you're just getting started, don't do anything dangerous. Dress as if you might have to walk a few miles. You can figure out if that's too extreme as you gain experience. You can also stay home if it gets colder than you're comfortable with, or try just taking a long walk and seeing how your gear works for that.

The cycling specific things are:

1. Keeping your head warm while also wearing a helmet. There are lots of windproof cycling hats that fit under a helmet. If it's much below zero F, I switch to a downhill ski helmet and goggles.

2. Operating your brakes and shifters. I have a 3-speed Sturmey Archer trigger shifter that's easy to operate with heavy mittens. Look into bar mitts as well.

3. Your feet. I ride platform pedals, so I just wear thick socks and hiking boots.
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Old 12-23-20, 12:15 AM
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It really depends on the weather
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Old 12-23-20, 07:00 AM
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I wear synthetic everything in layers. Leggings, polyfleece lined leggings, dry-fit shirts and shorts, polyfleece lined turtlenecks, fleece lined windproof jacket, neck gaiter, polyfleece lined cycling pants. I don't ever wear anything on my head but my helmet. Even when it's 20F I don't wear anything. I found that I sweat too much when I do and it gets uncomfortable after a few minutes of riding. For gloves it varies. Standard riding gloves to about 60F then I have polyfleece full finger gloves, then polyfleece convertible mittens for the really cold weather. I'll augment the gloves with arm warmers (spandex sleeves that cover from my wrist to my upper arm) for those early mornings to take the chill off my arms. The only non-synthetic item I have is wool socks for anything below 40F. They're breathable but warm although I have to tie my shoes (regular running shoes) loose to prevent loss of circulation. I do also have a couple of quarter zip pullovers but I found I don't wear them as much now that I have the jacket.

As for how much I layer up, well that I gauge before I leave the house. I check the recorded and estimated temps, then walk outside (usually to take out the trash before work) and if I'm just a little chilly then I'm good. If I'm staying warm walking then I'll be too hot during the ride. And because I ride a cargo bike and carry a backpack everywhere I go, I'll sometimes pack a few extras for possible weather changes. It can be beautiful in the morning and garbage in the afternoon or vice versa.
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Old 12-23-20, 07:27 AM
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Lots of info here https://www.bikeforums.net/winter-cycling/
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Old 12-23-20, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
I prefer Lake 303 shoes. I think 304 or 305 or some such integer is the current model year.

In those shoes, I prefer wool socks.
Good choice. However, buy them 1 to 2 sizes larger than summer shoes. You need room for those wool socks.

The MXZ304 is a good, very cold weather boot. Its not a real good cool weather boot. I find them too hot above about 35F. And they are rather heavy. For cool weather (>32F), I prefer the Lake MX145. Its lighter and not quite as hot when the weather warms up. Again, buy them larger than normal.
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Old 12-23-20, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Good choice. However, buy them 1 to 2 sizes larger than summer shoes. You need room for those wool socks.

The MXZ304 is a good, very cold weather boot. Its not a real good cool weather boot. I find them too hot above about 35F. And they are rather heavy. For cool weather (>32F), I prefer the Lake MX145. Its lighter and not quite as hot when the weather warms up. Again, buy them larger than normal.
Oh, for sure. They are a warm boot, & a bit heavier than a normal cycling shoe. 45 really is about the upper limit, for me. Wolfhammers were a bridge too far & I couldn't see realistically using them outside of the Yukon or some other arctic place I have no business bein' 🤣 So the Lakes were a no brainer for Seattles winter worst. Overnight lows at 4am when I would winter commute frequently get to the mid 20's or lower & would reach winter highs as high as the mid 40's.

For down to the high 30's I have a pair of mountain biking 5-10's that work well enough with neoprene booties, but it's the heat conduction through the insole to the SPD cleat that is the limiting factor for any ride over a certain length. So in the 30-45 range I make my choice accordingly. I suppose a heat reflective insole like the Lakes have wouldn't hurt now that I think about it.

It sounds like in this 30-45 middle range the Lake 145 you mention would be ideal. I'll give them some serious consideration come shoe buyin' time.

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Old 12-23-20, 12:28 PM
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Wool underneath
Goretex on top
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Old 12-23-20, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
Oh, for sure. They are a warm boot, & a bit heavier than a normal cycling shoe. 45 really is about the upper limit, for me. Wolfhammers were a bridge too far & I couldn't see realistically using them outside of the Yukon or some other arctic place I have no business bein' 🤣 So the Lakes were a no brainer for Seattles winter worst. Overnight lows at 4am when I would winter commute frequently get to the mid 20's or lower & would reach winter highs as high as the mid 40's.

For down to the high 30's I have a pair of mountain biking 5-10's that work well enough with neoprene booties, but it's the heat conduction through the insole to the SPD cleat that is the limiting factor for any ride over a certain length. So in the 30-45 range I make my choice accordingly. I suppose a heat reflective insole like the Lakes have wouldn't hurt now that I think about it.

It sounds like in this 30-45 middle range the Lake 145 you mention would be ideal. I'll give them some serious consideration come shoe buyin' time.

Base2
Luckily, I bought a pair of the MX145 in Tucson when Performance was going out of business for a song. That was a couple of years ago and they had about a million pairs of the MX145 and the MX303. I already had the 303s. The MX145s are great for daytime riding most any day of the winter here.

Denver is kind of hard to plan for when it comes to winter riding. We can start out at 15F and end the day at 65F. Alternatively, we can start in the 50F range and end up at 0F. Kind of a silly place to live.
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Old 12-23-20, 08:56 PM
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I only go out for a ride if temperatures are at or above 30F (0 Celsius) and dry roads and limit time on the road to an hour or less. Problem in spring and fall are freezing toes due to tight space in shoes, I shudder at the thought what it would be like in more freezing temperatures. I got myself new roomier cycling shoes that hopefully will solve that problem, have yet to take them out.
As to the rest of body, my bet is on several layers of thinner wearables and try not to overdo it, so I don't end up sweating in it. In cold weather it is not good idea to remove layer(s) on the road, even if you have place to store it away.

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Old 12-26-20, 06:28 PM
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Moved to "Winter" from "General"
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