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Mick 12-11-02 02:15 PM

Advice on Winter Clothing needed

I'm getting the impression that its going to be a tad cold when I go to Labrador next April, as part of a Trans Canadian cycle. Has anyone any advice or tips on winter cycling clothing/ equipment, as I'm relatively new to the 'Touring Cycling Scene'.

I understand the basics of venting clothing when working/cycling & adding extra layers when stopped. Also the need to change out of wet clothing that's next to the skin.

Other problems I'll encounter are lack of shelter..... other than my trusty tent, so drying items out will not be to easy (No radiator to hang them on overnight !)

Any ideas !


Michel Gagnon 12-11-02 02:46 PM


Originally posted by Mick

I'm getting the impression that its going to be a tad cold when I go to Labrador next April.....

That's an understatement. Happy-Valley-Goose-Bay should be comfortable, but expect -15 to -20 C inland even in early April.

I'll suggest you use the same tricks as you do when cold-weather walking, with a few differences.

1. You get more wind, especially via your wrists. Make sure your garnments close at the wrists and that your gloves go under or over them so seal the entry point, if you need to. Make sure your sleeves are long enough for the semi-bent position you have on your bike.

2. Ventilated armpits are a must. I think we perspire more on bike than on foot (closer to jogging), but that the self-creating wind evaporates it much faster when cycling.

3. My best gloves are a little too wide ski gloves rated -10 or -15 C only. They feel much warmer than a pair of gloves rated -25 C, because the latter are too tight and too slippery. I need to grab the handlebars too tightly and freeze.
WIth my large gloves, I would recommend adding a pair of thin wool gloves (synthetic wool?) as liners and for jobs such as opening locks, doing repairs, etc.
Pogies might be an overkill.

4. Long johns with trousers, etc... all is good down to the ankles. I have worn my rainpants once or twice when it was -25 C or very windy.

5. I don't have any perfect solution to suggest to keep your feet warm. Full fenders with mudflaps are great to keep your body clear of road spray, and I find them more useful in cold weather. They might be a problem on muddy roads (when the thaw occurs, for gravel roads), but should be a bonus if you ride before the thaw.
Apart from that, I would suggest you bring good walking boots or winter boots for the first stretch of your trip, and ship them home when you reach Baie-Comeau or Tadoussac. Or get some cheap rubber boots (the ones that slide over regular shoes) and use them further down the road when you'll have to camp in thawing grounds... then ditch them.

As for drying items, there is no perfect solution. Once you expulse the water from clothing, you should be able to dry clothes on your bike rack, even at -10 or -20 C. Freeze-dried clothes are stiff, but once you break them (litterally), they are soft.
Worst conditions are cold rain and icing rain at near-freezing temperature. Nothing dries...


Gojohnnygo. 12-11-02 02:51 PM

:) Pay attention to your hands,head and feet.They get cold fast.

Gojohnnygo. 12-11-02 02:58 PM

:) Michel Gagnon has very good advice.Sorry Michel must have posted at the same time.

Mick 12-11-02 02:59 PM

Thanks yet again Michel for taking the time to reply. Always constructive info.
I'm definatly going the northerly route, heard that a Japanese lad did it in Feb 2001, it was -50 ish the week he traversed the Trans Lab Hwy. !!! (The locals said it was 'Cold' that week)

Once again ' Tar very much'


velo 12-11-02 03:53 PM

Michel Gagnon 12-11-02 07:41 PM

Thanks, Velo, for that technical link of yours.

Two other items I forgot:

1. Safety glasses. Almost essential in a snow storm or ice storm. They also protect eyes against rock pebbles on gravel roads and against bugs during the warmer season.

2. A scarf. I prefer a scarf in polar or in another soft material. I find the scarf more convenient than a backlava, because I can change the amount of coverage during the ride.


MichaelW 12-12-02 07:03 AM

Check out
I wrote a review of Buffalo pile/pertex jackets there, and they are perfect for riding in very cold/wet conditions; drying out is not a problem with this system. Ive had a horible time with cold, wet gortex, and when it gets dirty , it sucks.

Footwear is always a problem, see what the locals use.

tchazzard 12-12-02 01:03 PM

I have used several jackets over the past few winters. One problem I have is finding a good wind stopping/water repellant jacket with zippers under the pits. I am currently using an LL Bean Ridge Runner jacket with chest zippers. A lot of condensation is accumlating on the inside of this jacket when the temps drop down below 15 F, even when I have the front unzipped and the vents wide open.

Anyone know of such a good jacket with armpit vents? Northface and companies LL Bean purchases products from have all gone to chest zippers. A friend who manages the Northface outlet store here in Maine said Northface will start using pit zippers in some of their jackets again this coming spring...but he did not have anything at the current moment. TIA

velocipedio 12-12-02 04:53 PM

You might want to check out Mountain Equipment Co-op. They might just have what you're looking for. Their jackets, parkas an anoraks are very well made.

Prices are in Canadian dollars.

pinerider 12-12-02 06:52 PM


Originally posted by tchazzard
Anyone know of such a good jacket with armpit vents?
I've had my Louis Garneau Spotlite jacket for 2 weeks now, haven't been disappointed with it yet. has them on sale for $98 Am. Long pit zips with velcro overtop gives lots of options for ventilation.

nathank 12-13-02 04:17 AM

MEC does make some great stuff and with the Canadian dollar the prices are nice. can be hard for Americans to get thought b/c buying a jacket out of a catalog is not so cool. hmm.. you're in Maine, so the closes MEC is probably in Montreal...

i have a Burley rain jacket made in Oregon - costs a little over $100 so not cheap, but it is about the best cycling jacket for rain and snow. it has FULL pit zips that are way longer than most general outdoor jackets that you can unzip while riding (zipping up can be done but is harder), plus other vents, plus a rain collar, plus a long back.

for snow sports, i have a Solstice shell jacket (also made in Oregon) that has great zips. it's a little bulky for most cycling but i wear it is it's really cold or major snowstorm.

Michel Gagnon 12-13-02 08:54 PM

YOu are not too far off. The closest stores from Maine are Ottawa and Halifax.

We will have a store in Montréal sometime in Spring 2003.


temp1 12-13-02 10:18 PM

For great jackets with pit zips check out Marmot (, I have one, fantastic

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