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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 09-07-07, 09:48 AM   #1
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Gearing Up for Winter Cycling

This is my first post here, so before I begin, I just want to thank everyone for all their help!

I want to keep cycling this winter until it gets freezing outside, and if possible, I'd like to make do with what I already have. I'm planning on going out till it gets below 40, if I still enjoy being outside in that weather, I'll consider buying more things. I'd rather first learn how to use what I have to layer up and keep warm before I spend a few hundred dollars on winter cycling gear (I think it might be more practical for me to just buy spinervals and a trainer since I don't plan on going out past freezing).

This is the list of stuff I currently own.

2 Short Sleeve compression shirts.
2 Long Sleeve compression shirts.
2 Pairs of biking shorts.
1 Set of leg warmers.
A few fleece jackets, which are warm but offer no wind resistance.
A tennis warmup jacket which is pretty good at wind resistance but isn't very warm.
A fleece vest (I think it was designed for skiing).
I also have winter jackets that were used for skiing.
Few pairs of track pants that offer decent wind protection.

Would I be alright layering up with a full sleeve compression shirt with the wind resistant jacket on cooler days and adding a layer of fleece in the middle on cold days?

Also would wearing just leg warmers on the cooler days and adding a pair of track pants on colder days be sufficient?

I plan on buying glove liners and using those and wearing my regular trek half finger gloves over them.
I'm probably also going to duct tape the vents on my shoes closed.

My rides are normally in the 25-35 mile range and I'm guessing it's going to be around that if not less during winter. I plan on mixing things up with lifting and intervals/spinervals on a trainer, and I'm hoping that you will lend your experience with winter cycling and help me out.

If it helps, I live in CT.
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Old 09-07-07, 10:42 AM   #2
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See THIS THREAD. Look at temps around 40 and see what people wore. I don't consider it winter cycling until you get below freezing. That is not a jab, that is just my view.

You will need very little if you ride at a brisk pace at temps over 40 F. At 40 F, i would probably wear my helmet, something to cover my ears, normal cycling shorts, leg warmers, mid-weight wool socks and normal cycling shoes. On my hands i would wear my mid-weight gloves. Fleece jackets shouldn't even be on the radar for the temps you mention. WAY too HOT!!!!!!
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Old 09-07-07, 10:30 PM   #3
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You are generally on the right track. The fleece middle layer will likely be too warm until your down to around 30 degrees F. At 40 two long sleeve compression shirts and a windbreaking outer layer should be good. Or if the outer layer has a bit of insulating properties to it you should only need one long sleeve shirt. At 50 one long sleeve shirt and a wind breaking outer layer should be about right.

Bike shorts with leg warmers under track pants should be good at around 25-30 degrees F. In the 40's try the track pants with only the shorts under them and no leg warmers. At around 50 you should be good with only shorts and leg warmers.

Of course all these things vary depending on the rider and the weave of the garment. Gloves and feet will require you to experiment more. By the way winter cycling gear is not necessary as other less expensive things can work well. The only winter cycling things that are nice to have are a good pair of winter weight tights like Sugoi firewalls and a good wind resistant and breathable cycling jacket. Under layers are better served by ski wear or other things. Feet are the hardest thing to keep warm. Tape alone won't be good for rides over 1 hour at 40 degrees for most people unless you have warm feet.

Last edited by Hezz; 09-07-07 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 09-08-07, 12:39 AM   #4
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40 degrees is nice riding weather, just wear a hat that covers all of your ears, a light weight shirt under a wind resistant jacket, mid weight gloves, and midweight tights. One problem I do have at about 40 and below is with clipless pedals. The ventilated shoes, thin soles and solid conection to the pedal suck the heat right out of my toes. 40 down to about 30 I run cage pedals with athletic shoes and normal thickness socks.

<----- me going to work
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Old 09-08-07, 04:00 AM   #5
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Everyone's different, of course, but I don't even bother with long sleeves or full-finger gloves until 45 or so.

The trick is, if you feel cold, just pedal harder. A minute or two later and you're sweating again.

I rode all last winter--down to 4F, the coldest we had--with less clothing than you have on your list for 40. It wasn't until below 15F that I stopped sweating. Our bodies are amazing things. Give yours a chance to acclimate and you'll be amazed at yours too.

And for the record, I have Reynaud's, a circulation disorder where exposure to cold causes spasmodic closing-down of the blood vessels in the extremities. The classic "Cold hands, warm heart" syndrome. Cycling seems to keep it in check. Before I began cycling, I was bundling up like you describe, but for temps in the 60s.
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Old 09-08-07, 07:52 AM   #6
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Wool socks.
Why isn't 11 pronounced onety one?
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Old 09-08-07, 07:04 PM   #7
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What you have already should work fine for 40.
I commute all year and Michigan can have some cold winters. Last year I was riding in -15F temps for a couple weeks wearing very little (1 pair tights, 1 shirt, 1 jacket, socks, gloves, balaclava, goggles).
Give it a shot and see what happens. In the low 40s the only thing that really gets cold is exposed ears and exposed fingertips (for me at least)
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