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naisme 11-14-03 11:49 AM

Wicking? To where?
Here's my problem, and maybe there is a solution that I'm not aware of. I am commuting everyday 23 miles one way. This problem wasn't one when I was commuting 14 miles a day. But at about the 14 mile mark or half way mark I start getting chilled, not the teeth chattering kind, but still chilled, and it's a little unpleasant. What is happening is I'm generating all this heat, and sweat builds up in the wind shirt/rain pullover, and every thing is damp.

I've seen the wind shirts without backs, or a fleece back, I've seen the rain jackets with the zippers in the under arms. I've read the ultra light backpacking sites about fleece and wind shirts. I guess it comes down to spending some bucks for the right equipment. I have the wicking layers, but it doesn't get wicked away to some where. I am able to stay pretty warm for much of the ride, it is just that last 8 or so miles that the damp and the cold mix and I'm getting chilled. And it's that bead of cold sweat that goes across the small of my back and ... shiver

Do those big ticket items work or is there something better I'm not trying? Where is the liquid I generate suppose to get wicked to?

temp1 11-14-03 03:27 PM

Are you using too many layers? I was neither too hot or cold with a Nike dryfit running top and a Gore-tex jacket from Marmot w/pitzips (wonderful for regulating temp) down to about 15F, below that I added an old wool sweater for more insulation. This combo is pretty cheap when you consider I got the Nike top with a gift certificate and the jacket was $80 and I can use it year round with different layers under it. Old wool sweaters are a few bucks at any resale shop. I like pit zips a lot because gore tex does not let frozen sweat (which is what developes on the inside of your jacket in winter) escape, with pit zips I never got hot enough to sweat too much. Also if you get really hot you can unzip the front pockets allowing for even more ventilation.

pinerider 11-14-03 04:17 PM


Originally Posted by naisme

Do those big ticket items work or is there something better I'm not trying?

Yes they do work. Like temp1 says, the pit zips are great for regulating temperature. I rode a 17 mile commute last winter and only had cold feet problems. I have a Louis Garneau Spotlite jacket with pitzips and back venting that cost more than most of my bikes put together, but I was comfortable all winter. The ventilation is the big difference. I have a rain jacket with no vents and I get soaked in my present 7 mile ride just from sweating.


Where is the liquid I generate suppose to get wicked to?
I don't know where it gets wicked to, it just does. I think it gets wicked away from direct skin contact, so you feel dry. It goes to the surface of your shirt and then evaporates if it can, or like temp1 says, can freeze on the inside of your jacket.

Jay H 11-14-03 05:26 PM

The moisture is supposed to wick to the outer layers where it will evaporate. But in winter or below freezing, you aren't going to wick everything before it starts to freeze. But hopefully it is going to freeze on the outer layers of your clothes which is why in winter they say to wear in layers. It is also important not to wear too much in winter. You should start out in winter a little chilly and make sure to open pit zips, pockets, etc as you start to get to normal operating temperature to try not to sweat too much. Don't be afraid to stop and remove a layer because it is important that you're not a wet rag when you get to work.

I enjoy winter hiking, be that snowshoeing, X-C skiing or backpacking and in winter, I dress in lots of layers, sometimes not even using any one large winter item. I'll wear a baselayer of something breathable Coolmax and then a thin cyling jersey above that and finally a waterproof Gore Tex shell when hiking. Are you wearing a baselayer, if not, you should try one, you can get long sleeve or short sleeve coolmax baselayers for around $10 from SierraTradingPost and there are coupons out there, you can check out the "hot deals' forum here for occasional coupons.

At best, you should wick the moisture away from your skin but don't expect all of it to evaporate on the colder days no matter how expensive the clothes are. There is absolutely no reason you cannot buy quality stuff fairly cheap, just look for coupons,, Sierratradingpost, REI-Outlet, Campmor, EMS club days, etc... etc..


TeleJohn 11-14-03 05:49 PM


Originally Posted by Jay H
I enjoy winter hiking, be that snowshoeing, X-C skiing or backpacking and in winter, ...

Being that you are from Jersey, do you head to the 'daks?

MichaelW 11-15-03 06:48 AM

Dont wear a waterproof outer if its not raining. None of them are breathable enough for riding in the dry. You can get effective windproofs which are quite cheap. They are far more breathable than any waterproof, and will allow dampness to evaporate.
Keep a waterproof in yor bag for when it starts raining.
You should start the ride a bit cold, then work up to your operating temp. In cold weather there is no need to dress up so you sweat.
If you do want to wear something extra at the start, check out a sleeveless "gillet". You can get them in fleece, with windproof layers etc. Wear it over your windproof, and take it off when you get warm.

Portis 11-15-03 09:16 AM

I never have beads of sweat except in the Summer. Does anyone else or is there something wrong with me? :D I don't ride 23 miles one way but I do many rides (MTB) where I average 15 miles per hour and I never have a drop of sweat. I may have a little dampness in my gloves, shoes, or earband/balaclava but I have never had a bead of sweat roll down my back.

It seems to me that your body should not sweat at least to the point of having beads of sweat, unless you are really hot, too hot. Your body is trying to cool itself off. It should be very easy to do this is cold weather. I have found that pit zips are also very nice to regulate heat. I have a gore tex cycling jacket with pit zips that I only wear below freezing. Anything above that and it is too hot. I have a cheap LL Bean Nylon Shell which is completely vented in the back that I wear in the 35-45 F range. Above that I am in jersey only.

What I have learned so far is that zippers are the thermostat to the whole deal. I love zippers. Zipping up or down only an inch or two can have major effects. I am still new to this but I don't see how you could wear any heavy mid layer and not sweat unless it had a lot of ventilation, like pit ziips and front zip. The coldest I have ridden in is the 20's and I just had my Gore Tex jacket and cycling jersey on and I still got clammy.

deliriou5 12-10-03 11:41 AM

wicking fabrics use capillary action to "suck up" the moisture off of your skin and spread it over a large area, to maximize the surface area of wet fabric exposed to the air. from there it will evaporate.

base layers should always be form-fitting (tight) to maximize the wicking benefit. You want to layer in the winter because you don't want your wicking layer to be exposed to the wind.... not only do you have cooling by convection (the cold wind), but then you also have evaporative cooling from the sweat evaporating.... needless to say, it will make you VERY cold :)

you DEFINITELY don't want to be wearing waterproof clothing... because all the moisture will stay inside, which will make you hot initially, but as the water starts pooling it will make you wet, your clothes will stick to your skin, and then the outside air will cool down all that wet fabric....

actually what you should do as soon as you start sweating is open up your jacket for a couple seconds... to let all that moisture escape... it will be cold for a couple secs... but that's a small price to pay compared to just letting everyting get cold and clammy.

bottom line is... EVERYTHING you wear has to be breathable... and if it's not, then you have to make opportunities to get rid of excess moisture...

Jay H 12-10-03 02:20 PM


bottom line is... EVERYTHING you wear has to be breathable... and if it's not, then you have to make opportunities to get rid of excess moisture...
But then there is the concept of the Vapor Barrier. The article does and I certainly agree about the waterproof jacket on the outside of bike clothes will be drenched in no time is basically a vapor barrier further from the skin, but the concept of a vapor barrier as close to the skin is contrary to the breathable aspect.

I haven't tried it yet, but there are a bunch of backpackers and hikers who swear by it.

Article on vapor barrier


naisme 12-11-03 12:02 AM

I've played with this clothing thing, and have come apon a nice workable solution, I purchased an perl izumi windshirt with zip off sleeves worn over an old wool sweater, with polypro layers under, really nice! I still get a bit over heated, but I'm not swimming in my own sweat by the end of the ride.

This VB thing looks pauseble. I know one of the recommendations bikers get for keeping feet warm is plastic bags, like bread bags, so that might be a way of going for the feet. I may even try the VB vest on a ride, if the feet work out. Could change cycling altogether.

willic 12-17-03 10:12 AM

While we are on the subject of staying dry and warm in sub zero temps, anyone have the solution to particularly cold hands.
I use a pair of woolen gloves inside a pair of Thermal gloves, but still my fingers are mumbing after a few miles.
I`m toying with the idea of wearing a set of disposable surgical type gloves first as I believe as with body garments my hands are becoming sweaty and unable to evaporate the moisture .

Someone mentioned plastic bags helping for the feet so maybe something similar on the hands would work.

Any suggestions?

Jay H 12-17-03 07:16 PM

Worth a try...

Maybe you should try some Pogies!

Click here

Scroll down and there's a picture of them.

As a LAST resort, they do make chemical hand warmers.. They even make some gloves that have a built in pocket for them.


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