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Please help.... chest issues

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Please help.... chest issues

Old 01-03-13, 03:26 PM
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chefisaac
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Please help.... chest issues

Today was the worst of all my commutes since I started commuting in December of 2011. I would like to ask for your help with suggestions and ideas.

This morning, it was 25 degrees out so for the bottom half, I wore padded cycling bibs and wind breaker pants. On the top half, I wore underarmour base layer, jersey, and bombers jacket.

My chest was sooooo cold that it was very discomforting. I almost turned around several times to go home. As I was rolling along, I wanted to stop and call the wife to come pick me up. It was not good.

On the way home, it was 27 degrees out. I wore the same thing but added a wind breaker between the jersey and bombers jacket but still the same issue. The cold air really got to my chest and it started hurting.

I am not sure where I am going wrong. I commuted in colder last year but I was a lot heavier too weight wise.

I dont want to stop commuting in the winter time but if it is going to be like this, its not fun anymore. The only thing that I cannot deal with is a cold chest.

I wanted to ask you all, since most have more experience riding in the winter time then I do, what am i doing wrong? I had layers on and everything. Any suggestions? Advice? Tips?

Thank you.
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Old 01-03-13, 04:14 PM
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I never had this problem before, and I've ridden in a much colder temps... It almost sounds as if your clothing was not windproof enough, or maybe you were sweating too much ??. Getting soaked with sweat will chill your body very fast. One of my favourite fabrics for winter riding is windproof fleece, it's very warm. Next time try a different combination of layers and see what happens.
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Old 01-03-13, 05:23 PM
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Chef,

You still have the J & G yellowjacket windbreaker, right? (If I remember correctly from a previous thread on big men's windbreakers in the C&A forum).

I use the same jacket as my outer, windbreaker layer.

I use these two under it for really cold days:

base layer - Minus 33 midweight merino wool longsleeve 1/4 zip
http://www.minus33.com/catalog/men-s...t-1-4-zip/714G

midlayer - a cheap polyester running/athletic shirt (any will do) - that is one size larger than normal, so it's a little loose if worn alone, but fits perfectly over the wool shirt.

Yellowjacket on top.

If you do sweat, the merino wool is both good at wicking, and also keeps pretty good insulation value when/if wet.

The Minus 33 shirt is on clearance sale in that gray color, and they have XXXL available. (I use XXL, and my yellowjacket is an XXL). I highly recommend you try the wool shirt as a base layer.

So far, this combination has proved perfect for me in 7 degree F weather with no wind, and actually a little too warm for upper-20's with moderate wind. Give it, or something like it, a try and see if it works for you too.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Today was the worst of all my commutes since I started commuting in December of 2011. I would like to ask for your help with suggestions and ideas.

This morning, it was 25 degrees out so for the bottom half, I wore padded cycling bibs and wind breaker pants. On the top half, I wore underarmour base layer, jersey, and bombers jacket.

My chest was sooooo cold that it was very discomforting. I almost turned around several times to go home. As I was rolling along, I wanted to stop and call the wife to come pick me up. It was not good.

On the way home, it was 27 degrees out. I wore the same thing but added a wind breaker between the jersey and bombers jacket but still the same issue. The cold air really got to my chest and it started hurting.

I am not sure where I am going wrong. I commuted in colder last year but I was a lot heavier too weight wise.

I dont want to stop commuting in the winter time but if it is going to be like this, its not fun anymore. The only thing that I cannot deal with is a cold chest.

I wanted to ask you all, since most have more experience riding in the winter time then I do, what am i doing wrong? I had layers on and everything. Any suggestions? Advice? Tips?

Thank you.
It sounds to me that you are pretty much on the right track with your clothing. A few suggestions.

Keep the three layer top system you are using but substitute polypro or wool open weave long sleeve SKI long john instead of Underarmor. Much warmer, breaths better and less expensive. Swap out the mid layer cycling jersey for a mid weight cheap breathable fleece jacket or merino wool sweater. Old navy sells those cheap fleece pullovers for 20 bucks or so. You can buy a size smaller than usual to get a kind of form fitting insulation layer which works well under and outer layer. This is much warmer than a cycling jersey and pulls sweat out away from the body to outer layer where it can more easily dry out. For outer layer you need a Goretex cycling jacket. Nothing works better for colder temperatures. Goretex blocks cold wind better but still retains some breathability. Bomber jacket is probably too breathable and probably insulation is absorbing too much sweat and acting as an air conditioner. It seems to work better if the outer jacket is un-insulated. Use thicker mid layer if not warm enough.

If you don't have funds for Goretex cycling jacket (they can be expensive). You can use a Columbia fleece lined nylon supplex jacket in a pinch. In this case the jacket lining is the mid layer so just use the jacket over the long john top. These are just those 40-50 dollar jackets with the zip up front and collar. Looser fitting than bike wear but will trap a lot of warm air around the mid section.

Problem with light wind breakers for outer layer is that they are usually too breathable for below freezing temperatures, but can work for riders that run hot and need extra breathability.

Alternate is to use heavier cheap mid and outer layer fleece that is pretty breathable. But you have to use thicker layers to compensate for the lack of wind resistance. And it doesn't work as well in windy conditions. ALso, you will be wetter, but can stay warm if outer jacket is hard surface tight knight type of fleece. Like is popular nowdays for light mountaineering jacket.

Also, you can wear a standard pair of cycling shorts under the bibs to keep the thighs and pelvis warmer. THis will help keep your whole body warmer. And I would suggest this for 25 F temps unless your legs run really hot when riding.

Some guys might get cold with wind breaker pants on the legs over tights because the legs will be too warm and the pants trap excess moisture which can travel through the material up the torso and into the upper layers. I personally think it's better to keep the legs as breathable as possible to keep them dry. I've found that in really cold conditions it's better to layer breathable cycling tights and shorts to get the needed insulation factor. This keeps the legs more breathable than hard materials can. In the end it has always kept me warmer to keep the legs more breathable. The reason this insulation/breathability balance is so crucial is because a little too much trapped moisture in the system will almost always chill you. And you'd be surprised how much capilary action can transport excess moisture around into other garments and make them less functional. I think that's what the main problem is with your present system. It seems your trapping too much moisture because you should have enough insulation on for the temperature.

I would try an inexpensive pair of tights over your bib tights which I assume have a chamois in them and ditch the wind pants. If that still not warm enough on the legs add a pair of cycling shorts underneath.

Last edited by Hezz; 01-04-13 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 01-03-13, 07:41 PM
  #5  
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I would take a test spin with the J&G jacket and Hezz's advice on the heavier mid layer. Keep a clothing log of what works at what temperature. I've got a feeling the J&G jacket is going to solve the cold problem. Go over the Winter Clothing Guide for ideas.
I wear a Showers Pass Elite 2.0 for my outer layer and a Sport Hill Cross Country jacket for my mid layer. This is my main outfit in winter and works from 45f to the sub-zero range. My base layer is just my normal street clothes that I wear to work. I may add a fleece jersey and/or leg warmers to the Sport Hill ESP pants as the temps drop. Good luck and let us know how it goes.
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Old 01-03-13, 11:58 PM
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As a follow-up, I think Scoatw's advice to keep a log is good. Everyone has to find a system that work's for them and the balance between breathability and warmth can take a little time to find. I seem to remember always being cold when I used Underarmor as a base layer, yet other's find it works just fine. My theory is that it doesn't have an open enough weave to be both breathable enough and trap air enough. The secret is to trap warm air next to the skin but to let out as much of the moisture as possible. I've found that when you get the base layer and the outer layer correct a little insulation in the middle layer goes a long way. Some guys would be good down to 20F with just a long sleeve polyester runners shirt like Bluish Green suggests as the insulation layer. Both wool and synthetics have been used with success for the base and middle layer.
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Old 01-04-13, 12:01 AM
  #7  
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Get a fleece vest and wear it under your windbreaker. You might need a heavier base layer as well.
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Old 01-04-13, 07:44 AM
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If your clothing worked well except for your chest, the old school solution is a double sheet of newspaper between your base layer and jersey. This works amazingly well and it's easy to discard when you get warm.
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Old 01-04-13, 10:26 AM
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Great information everyone.

To address a few thing:

Why the bombers Jacket: That just what I had. When I look back at last year and give it some more indepth thought, I realize that I never did invest in a proper cold weather jacket because at the time I could not afford it. So I went with my bombers jacket.

I do think it was a combination of sweating too much and also the wind that came into the jacket. When I got to work, my underarmour base layer was wet and when I got home from work, it was soaked.

The reason for putting on the wind breaker underneath the bombers jacket on the way home was to cut any wind coming in from the bombers jacket.

Last night I called Lou from Foxwear.net. An avid cyclist and a guy who makes clothes for cyclists, we had a good chat. I am having him make me a coat using Neoshell (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#neoshell) and a turtle neck long sleeve from Powerstretch (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#powerstretch) and also a base layer from Powerdry (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#powerdry) I hope this will help.

Thank you all!
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Old 01-04-13, 10:40 AM
  #10  
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I got a Vest years ago, windblock front , regular fleece back..

I got a Carhartt made parka, the tow truck drivers and snow plow drivers wear that stuff.

Neon lime, and wide reflective stripes , bonded into the fabric.. now I does the wind block fine.

[but Im on the PNW coast , freezing to sea-level is rare, usually cold air mass, blown down the Gorge.]
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Old 01-04-13, 11:49 AM
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If you are sweating during the winter while riding...you are killing yourself. Sweat is the eveil enemy,. Any sweat at all will zap the heat away from your body and leave setting in an ugly situation. I always go for one thing first, no sweat. I would rather be chilly than be sweating. What I'm about to say will sound very controversial but it's a fact.

What do I weat down to +15 degrees F when their is little wind:

Feet: Regular cycling shoes with booties with wool socks on the feet. Right now I am wearing an extra pair of Wal-Mart style lightweight thermal socks only to try to keep any seeping from the darn rash I have from getting on the wool socks.

Legs: Cycling shorts with single layer nylon windpants. Never thought I would do something like that last winter but this winter anything more is too much. I learnt this little trick thanks to the rash.

Upper Body: A Duofold Varitherm top, zip up neck(no longer made) and a double layer nylon windjacket..

Hands: Pop top ragged wool mittens.

Head: Cotton sweat band and a fleece ski 'band' for ear protection.

When the temperature gets around 30 I find I will sweat between the shoulder blades on the back, not a good sign, and I'll also sweat down where the elastic is on the cycling shorts. The front of me stays nice and dry because of the wind hitting me from the front and since the heart is right behind the shoulder blades, I think, is the reason why I find myself sweating between the shoulder blades. The rest of body typically stays pretty much dry. The hands and feet in the beginning of a ride may get chilled but they warm and maintain themselves quite nicely after a few miles of riding.

Like I said at the top if your are sweating any at all...your killing yourself. The objective to winter riding isn't to stay warm...it's to stay dry. I'm seeing that more and more with each and every passing day as I continue to ride in colder conditions with less and less clothing.

Last winter I would put on the homemade fleece pullover when the temperature dropped into the mid 20s. I don't know how I wasn't killing myself last winter. That was the stupidest thing I could have ever been doing. Yeah, I was sweating on the upper body. I would get home all nice and sweaty. This winter I'm not getting home sweaty, instead I'm getting home dry and comfortable. Last winter I would put the neoprene face mask on when it got into the mid 20s and lower. This year I'm waiting until it gets down to 10-15 degrees and finding it's not that bad. Last winter I was wearing cycling tights, no insulation in the tights pretty much 40 degrees and below. This winter I'm wearing cycling shorts until it gets to 15 heck on a calm day even down to around 10 degrees. Around 10-12 degrees on New Years night I was riding home...after dark, and my legs were chilled. I found myself saying I'm not sure I would feel comfortable riding any lower than that without having more protection on.

The secret isn't to wear the clothes but to have the clothes available to put on in case you need them. For the first time, on NYD I found myself actually carrying spare clothing with me. I normally don't. I knew the weather conditions were right at the breakpoint thanks to the wind. I wasn't going to press my luck and hope it didn't run out, so I carried the extra clothing with me(fleece pullover, neoprene hood, longjohns). I did end up putting on the fleece and face mask after 14 miles but I took the face mask off on the way home even though the temps were continuing to drop I had a tailwind so I wasn't being effected by the wind like I was on the way out.

Learn to play with what you wear. Don't listen to what everyone tells is the right thing to wear...find out for yourself. Go prepared and don't be afraid to try wearing less while carrying the spare clothing with you. You may very well find out that you don't need half of what you have on to keep you warm.

Again I'll say what I've reiterated several times. It's not about staying warm...it's about staying dry. Sweat kills this time of the year.
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Old 01-04-13, 02:51 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
If you are sweating during the winter while riding...you are killing yourself. Sweat is the eveil enemy,. Any sweat at all will zap the heat away from your body and leave setting in an ugly situation. I always go for one thing first, no sweat. I would rather be chilly than be sweating. What I'm about to say will sound very controversial but it's a fact.

What do I weat down to +15 degrees F when their is little wind:

Feet: Regular cycling shoes with booties with wool socks on the feet. Right now I am wearing an extra pair of Wal-Mart style lightweight thermal socks only to try to keep any seeping from the darn rash I have from getting on the wool socks.

Legs: Cycling shorts with single layer nylon windpants. Never thought I would do something like that last winter but this winter anything more is too much. I learnt this little trick thanks to the rash.

Upper Body: A Duofold Varitherm top, zip up neck(no longer made) and a double layer nylon windjacket..

Hands: Pop top ragged wool mittens.

Head: Cotton sweat band and a fleece ski 'band' for ear protection.

When the temperature gets around 30 I find I will sweat between the shoulder blades on the back, not a good sign, and I'll also sweat down where the elastic is on the cycling shorts. The front of me stays nice and dry because of the wind hitting me from the front and since the heart is right behind the shoulder blades, I think, is the reason why I find myself sweating between the shoulder blades. The rest of body typically stays pretty much dry. The hands and feet in the beginning of a ride may get chilled but they warm and maintain themselves quite nicely after a few miles of riding.

Like I said at the top if your are sweating any at all...your killing yourself. The objective to winter riding isn't to stay warm...it's to stay dry. I'm seeing that more and more with each and every passing day as I continue to ride in colder conditions with less and less clothing.

Last winter I would put on the homemade fleece pullover when the temperature dropped into the mid 20s. I don't know how I wasn't killing myself last winter. That was the stupidest thing I could have ever been doing. Yeah, I was sweating on the upper body. I would get home all nice and sweaty. This winter I'm not getting home sweaty, instead I'm getting home dry and comfortable. Last winter I would put the neoprene face mask on when it got into the mid 20s and lower. This year I'm waiting until it gets down to 10-15 degrees and finding it's not that bad. Last winter I was wearing cycling tights, no insulation in the tights pretty much 40 degrees and below. This winter I'm wearing cycling shorts until it gets to 15 heck on a calm day even down to around 10 degrees. Around 10-12 degrees on New Years night I was riding home...after dark, and my legs were chilled. I found myself saying I'm not sure I would feel comfortable riding any lower than that without having more protection on.

The secret isn't to wear the clothes but to have the clothes available to put on in case you need them. For the first time, on NYD I found myself actually carrying spare clothing with me. I normally don't. I knew the weather conditions were right at the breakpoint thanks to the wind. I wasn't going to press my luck and hope it didn't run out, so I carried the extra clothing with me(fleece pullover, neoprene hood, longjohns). I did end up putting on the fleece and face mask after 14 miles but I took the face mask off on the way home even though the temps were continuing to drop I had a tailwind so I wasn't being effected by the wind like I was on the way out.

Learn to play with what you wear. Don't listen to what everyone tells is the right thing to wear...find out for yourself. Go prepared and don't be afraid to try wearing less while carrying the spare clothing with you. You may very well find out that you don't need half of what you have on to keep you warm.

Again I'll say what I've reiterated several times. It's not about staying warm...it's about staying dry. Sweat kills this time of the year.
Great suggestions.

I do not need to stay warm per say but I do not want my chest to be cold. It hurts. I have everything else spot on but my chest gets cold. Perhaps it is from the outer shell (coat) and maybe it was because I was sweating too since my base layer was sweaty.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:27 PM
  #13  
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So , ran into the same problem as you. I use a thick patagonia base layer, a wool sweater for mid layer and then a new balance windproof front running jacket. Take a 11x14 tyvek shipping bag, rip off the self stick part and put it on your base layer, tuck the non stick part in your waistband. Works great. No cold chest. Cheap too. Sort of the high tech version of the tour de farce riders of newspapers under the jerseys once they crest the tops of the mountains.

Last edited by Leebo; 01-07-13 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 01-04-13, 03:53 PM
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You were wearing what I would consider appropriate clothes in pretty mild temperatures. I wear a polypro undershirt, a lycra jersey and a thin sweater or fleece under a thin jacket in very cold (-15 C or so) weather and I don't get cold... wel, I get a little cold at first but after 5 or 10 minutes I warm up nicely.

The problem sounds like cold air is sneaking in around the collar of your jacket... If I do not zip my jacket all the way up to my chin (even though the zipper snags my neck whiskers) the top of my chest gets cold. Try using a neck tube or Buff to 'seal up' the top of your jacket.
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Old 01-05-13, 09:14 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by LarDasse74 View Post
You were wearing what I would consider appropriate clothes in pretty mild temperatures. I wear a polypro undershirt, a lycra jersey and a thin sweater or fleece under a thin jacket in very cold (-15 C or so) weather and I don't get cold... wel, I get a little cold at first but after 5 or 10 minutes I warm up nicely.

The problem sounds like cold air is sneaking in around the collar of your jacket... If I do not zip my jacket all the way up to my chin (even though the zipper snags my neck whiskers) the top of my chest gets cold. Try using a neck tube or Buff to 'seal up' the top of your jacket.
Actually I'll +! this comment. The reason I haven't went for another thermal top is the simple fact I can't find one with a zipped up neck. All of them are cre cut crap. Hence why I'm seriously looking at making all my own clothing anymore. The store bought crap is just that...CRAP. It's not made for anything but selling to the masses, not selling to the classes.

The one thing I want right now is a nylon jacket with a front...ONLY, fleece lining. Nothing on the back, let the back radiate the heat away, but keep the wind/chill off the front when it gets down below +15F. No one makes anything like this. Either you buy an entire fleece and have the sweaty back or you go without the fleece altogether. I'll make mine so it's sewn right into the wind jacket. Heck, as I think about it as I'm typing this I might make it so it can be zipped in and unzipped when I don't want so I can use the jacket anytime...above 15F or below 15F.

The problem may also be coming from the same scenario as I point out above. You are forced into extra clothing because what you have isn't made for cycling, it's made for selling(consumerism). Watch the back and see how much you are sweating between the shoulder blades. The more you are sweating their the less you need any extra clothing back there. You may be in the same situation I'm in, needing a front only insulation instead of full upper body insulation. You may have to go into making your clothing as well.
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Old 01-05-13, 02:08 PM
  #16  
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I went on a 20 miler today and it was 25 with wind chill. I had the same set up as I did when I rode to work which was on top: Underarmour base layer, jersey, and bombers jacket. For the face, the face mask and I through on a neck gator to keep the cold air from slipping into the coat. I also put a piece of Tyvec envelope under my UA and against my skin. Not sure if this was right or if it should have been between my UA layer and jersey. It worked ok. I also put the UA layer and jersey under the bibs which helped.

I have a 30 miler in the cold tomorrow and am curious if I can use the same set up but wear just the wind breaker. Thoughts?
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Old 01-05-13, 05:50 PM
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Tyvek or newspaper between your baselayer and jersey.
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Old 01-06-13, 12:38 AM
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Originally Posted by chefisaac View Post
Great information everyone.

To address a few thing:

Why the bombers Jacket: That just what I had. When I look back at last year and give it some more indepth thought, I realize that I never did invest in a proper cold weather jacket because at the time I could not afford it. So I went with my bombers jacket.

I do think it was a combination of sweating too much and also the wind that came into the jacket. When I got to work, my underarmour base layer was wet and when I got home from work, it was soaked.

The reason for putting on the wind breaker underneath the bombers jacket on the way home was to cut any wind coming in from the bombers jacket.

Last night I called Lou from Foxwear.net. An avid cyclist and a guy who makes clothes for cyclists, we had a good chat. I am having him make me a coat using Neoshell (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#neoshell) and a turtle neck long sleeve from Powerstretch (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#powerstretch) and also a base layer from Powerdry (http://foxwear.net/fabrics/#powerdry) I hope this will help.

Thank you all!

Sounds like a good combination. The Neoshell should be even better than standard Goretex. I have a Powerstretch long sleeve cycling jersey that works well in cool weather and is pretty warm for it's thickness. At 25F it is not warm enough for me as a mid layer, but it is probably a mid weight thickness. I would suggest the heavier weight here because it would be better to have something that works well in really cold temps as a cheap polyester long sleeve runners zip t-neck is easy to procure at the local running store for warmer temps.

I'm interested to know how that high tec base layer is going to work. Let us know.
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Old 01-06-13, 06:28 PM
  #19  
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Chefisaac,

I am confident that Lou Binik can help you out. But I also support the suggestions that folks have made regarding the thicker mid weight layer. In my experience, there has to be enough thickness between your skin and the outside layer such that the outside layer is not allowed to suck the heat from you.

Also, I discourage too much effort to windproof. You need some air transfer to keep the sweat from building. The last thing you want is to be wet in the cold. If you feel you must go that route, then make it the outer layer and only if it has pit zips. Failing that, at least keep aware of your body temperature (how you feel) and start to unzip before you get too warm. I generally arrive at work with my outer layer at least partially unzipped even below 0F. Hills and headwind can heat you up pretty quickly so be ready to let some air in before you get wet.

Finally, I'd avoid anything that is tight fitting. Ideally, you will have some air between you and your base layer and between each successive layer to aid in insulation. No sense in having loose fitting layers and then putting something over those that compresses everything.

Last edited by scroca; 01-06-13 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-06-13, 10:25 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
Chefisaac,

I am confident that Lou Binik can help you out. But I also support the suggestions that folks have made regarding the thicker mid weight layer. In my experience, there has to be enough thickness between your skin and the outside layer such that the outside layer is not allowed to suck the heat from you.

Also, I discourage too much effort to windproof. You need some air transfer to keep the sweat from building. The last thing you want is to be wet in the cold. If you feel you must go that route, then make it the outer layer and only if it has pit zips. Failing that, at least keep aware of your body temperature (how you feel) and start to unzip before you get too warm. I generally arrive at work with my outer layer at least partially unzipped even below 0F. Hills and headwind can heat you up pretty quickly so be ready to let some air in before you get wet.

Finally, I'd avoid anything that is tight fitting. Ideally, you will have some air between you and your base layer and between each successive layer to aid in insulation. No sense in having loose fitting layers and then putting something over those that compresses everything.
I agree with the windproof principle but i think it is important to be aware that it is theoretical as in real life there are all kind of windproof jacket designs for instance those with only a windproof front panel and all kind of waterproof fabrics and even with a totally windproof jacket there are still ways to make it breathable for instance via bellows effect when it works the airflow going through the collar and waist area when moving. And depending on the weather or your riding position or the number of days you've been wearing it before washing it etc.. the same jacket could act differently.
Regarding the insulation layer based on air again i agree in principle but in real life it depends on how loose your base layer is on you. Too loose and convective air flows will be generated creating a cooling effect like those windy days or when you open doors inside your appartment/house. This will probably happen very often as our body is not flat but curved and generally not static. Furthermore, because we sweat there is usually a thin layer of sweat on our skin which is usually converted into vapor creating the evaporative cooling effect. Because of this a tight base layer can be good at wicking moisture keeping our skin dry but as usual life is complicated and all fabrics are not equal

Last edited by erig007; 01-09-13 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 01-07-13, 12:22 AM
  #21  
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Cycling imposes very different stresses on clothing than most activities because it is so aerobic. That means that we are generating a lot of heat to move the bike along. Our bodies respond to internal heating by sweating so we can get rid of that heat by evaporation of the sweat. We have to get rid of the heat. If we don't, our bodies become much less efficient and become stressed just from the heat.

Therefore, the first commandment of strenuous cold weather activity is to get rid of the sweat. It must evaporate. It also must not be held in our clothes; it must evaporate into the atmosphere. So our objective is to move the sweat from our skin through all our layers to the outside. All our garments must be chosen for that ability. If we can get rid of the sweat, we will stay warm and comfortable.

Next to the skin: a synthetic waffle-weave type garment which does not absorb sweat, becoming wet, but rather moves the sweat away from our skin. This layer must be tight-fitting. It must touch the skin everywhere, or it won't work. Craft crew-neck long sleeve shirts are the best thing I've tried. I use this one:
http://shop.craftsports.us/baselayer...l#.UOpi0W-uR8E

The mid-layer is the insulating layer, however it must be porous. Wind should go right through it. Any open structure poly garment will work. Polartec 100 or 200, something like that. Nothing with a windblock. The job of this layer is to allow the sweat to freely move through it, while keeping a space for insulation. This layer must have a zipper that goes at least midway down. If it's cold enough, you may need two midlayers. Most modern cycling garments aren't thick enough for cold weather riding. The outer layer needs to be windproof, but not excessively so. When you put it to your mouth, you should be able to suck air through it. Again, its job is to move the sweat through to the surrounding atmosphere.

Ideally, you want to be able to ride on the flat with your windblock layer zipped up and at least one of your midlayers unzipped to some extent. That gives you some cushion. Climbing, you may want your outer layer and midlayer unzipped. Descending, all zipped. That level of insulation gives you the best ventilation, and staying warm is all about ventilation, just the opposite of what most people think.

Now, if you had a bunch of money, you could just do what alpinists do. Go with a baselayer and a down layer. Go look at light down parkas, and see how they are made. They're all about moving moisture away from you while holding the heat in. We cyclists, not being so concerned with weight, try to duplicate the effect with less expensive materials.

Again, if you're sweating and your clothes are getting wet, you're both dressed too warmly and your clothes aren't moving the sweat away from your skin. I invite those reading to do a little experiment. Put a wool sweater and a Polartec 200 jacket in the kitchen sink. Saturate them and wring them out. Which one is lighter, eh? That's why I and all alpinists I know haven't worn wool in 3 decades. Your garments cannot hold water, period, full stop. A wet wool sweater has killed others and can kill you. There's no such thing as a wet Polartec or similar garment. I can upzip my outer jacket and my insulating layer will be dry in minutes. Heck, when I take off my gear after a cold weather rain ride, it's almost dry, just a little damp. My body heat keeps drying it as I ride and my windblock layer allows the moisture to escape. That's the ideal you're looking for.

BTW, I was raised in Fairbanks, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about. I just wish I'd had modern gear back then. I can walk for miles at 60 below in just Polartec 300 gear and a windblock layer.
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Old 01-07-13, 02:27 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
Cycling imposes very different stresses on clothing than most activities because it is so aerobic. That means that we are generating a lot of heat to move the bike along. Our bodies respond to internal heating by sweating so we can get rid of that heat by evaporation of the sweat. We have to get rid of the heat. If we don't, our bodies become much less efficient and become stressed just from the heat.

Therefore, the first commandment of strenuous cold weather activity is to get rid of the sweat. It must evaporate. It also must not be held in our clothes; it must evaporate into the atmosphere. So our objective is to move the sweat from our skin through all our layers to the outside. All our garments must be chosen for that ability. If we can get rid of the sweat, we will stay warm and comfortable.
True we usually need to get rid of the excess heat and sweat but it depends among others things on the weather and the kind of activity we are doing.
Around freezing temps i usually like my breathable garments which allow a wider comfortable temperature range but the more the temperature goes down the more I switch to less breathable layers as long as i'm able to protect my insulation layers from moisture. The lower the temperature the closer my system is from a VB or vacuum-bottle like system as it allows my body to be isolated from the outer environment. At around -30F/-40F for instance even the smallest cold wind burst which goes right through the layers can remove too much heat and lead to hypothermia so most if not all the heat generated by the body (latent heat, sensible heat, no conductive and no convective heat transfer etc..) must be kept inside the system.

Last edited by erig007; 01-07-13 at 08:49 AM.
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Old 01-07-13, 09:08 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Hezz View Post
Sounds like a good combination. The Neoshell should be even better than standard Goretex. I have a Powerstretch long sleeve cycling jersey that works well in cool weather and is pretty warm for it's thickness. At 25F it is not warm enough for me as a mid layer, but it is probably a mid weight thickness. I would suggest the heavier weight here because it would be better to have something that works well in really cold temps as a cheap polyester long sleeve runners zip t-neck is easy to procure at the local running store for warmer temps.

I'm interested to know how that high tec base layer is going to work. Let us know.
I tend to avoid all garments with stretch in the name because the added stretch is usually a trade-off with warmth in my mind. But it isn't always the case as a tight fit can help wicking moisture

The MEC T3 hoodie made with powerdry is my essential layer. It is always there from 50F to -40F even if i switch the other layers this one never leave me. Powerdry wick moisture very well and doesn't smell easily but i rarely use it as a base layer as i have other layers more odor resistant.

Last edited by erig007; 01-07-13 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 01-07-13, 11:04 AM
  #24  
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"Bikenh" try some running gear or crosscountry ski gear. Both made for high activity levels. My winter jacket is from new balance running. It has a windproof front only and has a thin mesh weave every where else.
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Old 01-07-13, 11:22 AM
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What causes sweat? That's what you want to eliminate. Sweat can't form unless heat it present. The trick is to get rid of the excess heat before it can make you sweat. You can't do this if you are trapping the heat in. You have to let the heat go. You keep enough of it in to keep you comfortable and get rid of the rest by not having so much clothing on in the first place. Less is more.

I would rather ride with less clothing on and be comfortable, maybe even a bit chilled...especially at the start of a ride, than to be warm and sweating any day of the year.

The key areas to watch out for sweat...head, shoulder blades, waist line, wrists and ankles. Those are the places where I find myself sweating this time of the year. Everywhere else typically stays dry. Granted I only notice the ankles when I go into the library/store/etc. The wrists I notice generally only when I take the ragged wool pop top mittens off. The head I generally only notice when I take off the sweat bands, one for sweat and the the main one for ear protection. The shoulder blades I only notice when the temps get up into the upper 20s and above. The waist line, about the same as the shoulder blades. If the temps are in the teens up to the mid 20s I don't have any kind of trouble with sweat. Then again I don't weat enough to trap the heat.

One thing you want to avoid thinking is something good...tyvek. Tyvek is a breathable fabric as I remember. It is also an insulator. It will keep the wind off you but it will also keep the heat in and make you sweat faster. I wouldn't use it for cycling...other than maybe camping gear while on tour.

It's not the sweat you want to get rid of. You want to get rid of the excess heat before it can make you sweat. Think, experiment differently and you are bound to get different results. Don't keep doing the same thing that isn't working and hope it will work...it won't.
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