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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 12-03-05, 12:02 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Satyr
I am fairly warm most of the time, but not to your extent. However I have a rather high tolerance for cold. This winter the temperatures have not been much below -8C, yet. This is my commuting gear, that often leaves ready to sweat if I ride aggresively.

Shoes: Sandals and thick fleece hiking socks.
Shorts: Generic hiking shorts because my commute right now is not long enough to warrant my biking shorts. Knees do seem to suffer a bit though so have been thinking about knee warmers.
Base Shirt: A medium to lightweight Patagonia longsleeved thermal shirt. I use this hiking, too. Fairly thin.
Another shirt: Usually a T shirt.
Sweatshirt: Some form of synthetic fleece or sweatshirt. While touring I use a windproof jacket over a jersey.
On Head: Aside from helmet, occasionally a synthetic fleece neck warmer for the neck or ears. This is for about -4C or below, though not strictly necessary.
Hands: Thick snow gloves. I play classical guitar and do not like cold induced stiffness.
Riding glasses: My eyes get tremendously watery if I do not ride with my glasses and when it snows it is hard to see without the glasses. Makes riding in cold more enjoyable.

My current route is straight. If I was riding more aggressively I would surely get rid of the extra T shirt, or use a light windproof jacket.

I layer because I do not have a fancy jacket. However down to about 5C I am usually fine in just a flannel shirt. I have found that relying on one larger jacket makes me too warm. I think you have the right idea though with a light windproof shell and just a basic base layer. Wind is what gets me cold more than anything.

Usually staying warm is about keeping in total heat rather than specific areas. I learned this quick after a few barefoot backpacking sessions. Try thick synthetic fleece socks. You should notice a considerable difference, and it will keep you generally a bit warmer.

Here is a general guideline I try to go by. Dress so that standing around you are slightly cold. After a few minutes of aggressive riding you will warm right up. If you are comfortable standing around in what you are wearing, you probably will be too warm on the bike.

Finally, another observation. I find that covering my entire torso, most of my neck, and arms with at least SOMETHING makes a ride in freezing temperatures possible without discomfort. Check into a longsleeved shirt as a baselayer and see if you notice a difference.

HOLY COW!!! -8 celcius is 17.6 degrees F, and you are in shorts and sandals! WOW, I thought I was hot natured. I am assuming that since you live in Sweden you are just used to cold. That really gives me some perspective. Thanks for the tips!
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Old 12-09-05, 02:09 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Redhed
HOLY COW!!! -8 celcius is 17.6 degrees F, and you are in shorts and sandals! WOW, I thought I was hot natured. I am assuming that since you live in Sweden you are just used to cold. That really gives me some perspective. Thanks for the tips!
From descriptions you sound more hot natured than I. As I have commented on, the key to dealing with moderate cold is expectations.

I post now the link to an interesting article about Tibetan monks raising their body temperatures.

Fairly interesting reading, actually. Amazing thing, the mind, and the body is not so frail an entity either.
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Old 12-09-05, 04:11 PM   #28
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Hi there. based on my limited opinion this is what I can think of.

to stay warm and comfortable in cold weather i usually create a system that is waterproof, breathable, wicks efficiently. For fast wicking and drying I stay away from ANY cotton and use more polyester than wool. now here is the system i use. from bottom up.

Shoe: I use a Vasque trail running Shoe with moderately stiff sole. its Gore-tex and ankle high. it works perfectly for me. Garmont and Montrail also has some good trail/approach shoes with Gore-tex that can be used effectively for this purpose.

Socks: i use a liner socks and a mariho wool (by Smartwool) socks combination. I have three different types of wool socks, light, medium, and heavy weight. I use the medium weight wool socks for late fall and early winter biking. For the coldest part of the winter I use the heavy weight socks. these socks keep my feet dry and worm in almost any condition.

Pants and Base Layer: mid-weight polyester underware and a wind and waterproof pants. I preffer ski pants because of its trim cut and breathability. I also tried mid-weight tights with shi pants and found it comfortable. the tights tend to trap more moisture than the wicking polyester base layer.

Upper body System: 3-layer RULE.

layer ONE: A mid weight polyester or wool base layer (i sometime wear light weight base layer when I go for a long or challenging ride, cause if I ware a mid-weight I feel hot after sometime). I have also used IBEX's marino wool base layer, with great effect. to me Wool takes longer to dry than Fleece or polyester.

Layer TWO: a fleece. a breathable fleece. Wind resistant fleeces are great but they are not effective if you use them under a wind braker or shell jacket. So I just wear a 100 or 200gm fleece (when cold 100gm, when colder 200gm) over the base layer. the breathability of the fleece transfer the moisture from the body and base layer to the outside and keeps the body dry and prevents from over heating. I got great reasult with Polertec fleeces.

Outer Shell: its not the shell that important, its the function that it provides. the features to look for - waterproof, wind proofe, breathable, and effecient in moisture and temperature management. what makes a shell good at water management - pit zips, two way front zips, draw cords etc. pit zips (zips under your arms) help you get rid of extra wormth if you are over heating. Simply open one or both zips and the temperature will pass through it. Two way zips, I sometime over hit even with my pit zips in uphill rides, I undo the fron zip from the lower part and let wind pass through.

Hat: I use a Gore-tex winter hat with neck gaiter. it works perfectly. neck gaiters are great for managing temperature.

this system works perfectly for me in PA, MA and Upstate NY winter. keep in mind that I commute every day all through the winter and when possible (if there is not a ft of snow on the ground) ride in the trails during the weekend.

hope I was of some help to you
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Old 12-13-05, 11:03 AM   #29
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I rode 14 miles to work this morning in nine degree F darkness.

I wear a thin poly long sleeve undershirt made of the same material as my summer tights.
Over that I wear bib tights with wind and water proof fronts and breathable backs.
I wear arm warmers over the undershirt.
I put a loose long sleeve, lightweight shirt over the undershirt and the armwarmers.
I then wear a sleeveless vest with a high collar.
This leaves my shoulders and armpits exposed to the wind.
This combination gives me the greatest comfortable temperature range, from about zero F to 32F.
Above freezing, I take off the outer shirt and just use the undershirt, arm warmers, and vest; and, I switch to lighter weight tights.
At 40F I take off the vest.
At 50F I switch to a short sleeve shirt and arm warmers and very light weight tights.
At 60F I do knickers and no armwarmers.

I have found that if I can keep my shoulders and armpits exposed to the wind, my body can better manage its own temperature.
I only put sleeves on my vest in freezing rain.
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