Warmology

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NCBT
Participant
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What is your personal choice in warm riding gear? Any nifty diy ideas yous use?


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I think I said this somewhere else but glove liners make a HUGE difference in keeping your fingers warm even in supposedly warm gloves or mittens.

I wear a lot of Craft baselayers. They’re expensive but they keep you warm–esp. the one with windstopper fabric on the front.

One key thing is the ability to ventilate and stay dryer. If you build up a lot of sweat then have to stop for a while, you’ll get cold and it’s very hard to get warm again.


jkoutrouba
Participant
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My favorites are wool base layers. They don’t get stinky as fast as synthetics. On the other hand, I have a whole pile of tops from Costco that add up to one Smartwool. I second the glove liner comment. I use them alone down to the low 30’s, then add a shell. I don’t need more insulation until it gets below 20. Feet are the hardest to deal with in my opinion. My shoes are designed to stay cool in the summer. For winter riding, you have to keep the wind off. I wear wool socks and have neoprene booties.


edmonds59
Participant
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I find vests to be great, I found a cheap fleece vest somewhere that has a nylon layer only on the front to stop the wind, and when you warm up and unzip it it’s like it goes away completely. Maybe it’s just me, but even down into the 40’s I like my arms out in the open, and just a light cover below that.

Below 40 deg. I like to can the cleats, put on some platform pedals, and ride in some light hiking shoes, nothing cozier. And if you lose traction you can get your foot right down.

Hands, I have a pair of hunting gloves with a thin leather palm so I can still feel the controls, and a soft, fleecy back to wipe my nose, disgusting but true.

Oh, and clear safety glasses from Home Depot that are kind of Oakley-ish and not too stoopid looking, keeping that cold wind off the eyes is awesome.

As you may detect, I am loathe to spend money on hype specialized riding gear, it’s mostly a waste of bucks.


brian j
Participant
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It’s been said elsewhere, but a wool top or two is a great investment. Unlike synthetic stuff, you can go a week or two between washing wool without an issue. And it can be worn in a range of temperatures–I use the same long sleeve/short sleeve wool combo basically all year. In the winter, I just add a layer or two on top.


J Z
Participant
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Arm warmers and vests. Beauty in function.


Dave
Participant
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+1 on wool. I wear smartwool boxer briefs nearly year round and they’re awesome. I’ve also switched to wool arm & leg warmers and a variety of wool hats. A few wool layers & a waterproof shell work for pretty low temps.

When it gets real cold the Pearl Izumi lobster mitts are the warmest gloves I’ve ever worn and the Lake winter shoes are amazing (if you ride clipless). I bought both last year after doing some winter mountain biking with the DORCs and they’re worth every penny (and unfortunately it’s quite a few pennies).

For extreme cold I also wear a neoprene face mask and clear/yellow sunglasses. Keeping the wind off of your face/eyes helps a lot.


Lyle
Participant
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– helmet cover. Easy to put on and to remove for quick heat control. Combined with:

– headband with velcro closure. Can take this thing off without stopping to remove a helmet. Putting it back on is harder. Warm sinuses prevent ice-cream headaches.

– tights with nylon fronts. Some things you just don’t want frostbit.

– safety glasses or other clear shields.

– face mask or scarf. There’s nothing like trying to breath and having your bronchi shut down in protest.

Mostly you just need to keep the wind off, and the extremities warm. As long as you’re pedalling you generate enough heat to keep the core warm.


joeframbach
Participant
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Gaiters.


alankhg
Participant
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My essentials for any ride, no matter how short, in cold weather, are my earband (usually a light one to break the wind, rather than a thick insulator) and gloves. If I’m doing any distance I make sure to wear thick socks, too, as well as wool or poly underwear and shirt.


argylepile
Participant
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wool tights, long underwear(thermals), legwarmers, wide cloth/wool headband over the ears, kerchief on the neck to cover neck/mouth/nose, mittens w/ removable coverlets so my fingers can be free, layers&layers&layers. A modgepodge of things I have, really. I need more wool, more things specific to staying warm on the bike in general. Right now my method is a bit of a collage.


Mick
Participant
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Lyle:Mostly you just need to keep the wind off, and the extremities warm. As long as you’re pedalling you generate enough heat to keep the core warm.

Depends some on where you live and where you are going. If you live on Squirrel Hill and are going down to the river level, the time it takes for the warmth from pedalling to kick in against the wind can be excruciating.

Mickl


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Depends some on where you live and where you are going. If you live on Squirrel Hill and are going down to the river level, the time it takes for the warmth from pedalling to kick in against the wind can be excruciating.

And it’s always 10 degrees colder in Junction Hollow!


erok
Keymaster
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when i was learning and figuring out how to ride in the winter, the thing that changed my life was a simple cheap windbreaker from goodwill.


netviln
Participant
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agreed Erok, In a hoodie and a windbreaker, I am good down to like 20 degrees as long as I have good gloves and a hat


myddrin
Participant
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<i>I am good down to like 20 degrees as long as I have good gloves and a hat </i>

So that raises a question that’s I’ve been wondering about. This is my first season cycling in the cold weather, and is there a lower limit for temperature?

Last year I was living on Beechwood Blvd, and I remember seeing a few people out when it was in the teens. But is there some point (single digits, below zero, etc) where it just isn’t advisable to go out?


joeframbach
Participant
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Depends how awesome you are.


sloaps
Participant
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There’s a range between 30 and 50 degrees where if it’s raining then I’m reluctant to travel by bike, but I usually suck it up and go out anyway.

Seeing another rider out in crappy weather makes the decision easier too.

When it’s colder (say less than 40 degrees) I’ll take slower routes because my legs don’t work so well.

I do fine w/out gloves above freezing; below freezing I use ski gloves.

Eliminating moisture is key for any activity in the cold. I can usually get away with a wool base layer, rain pants and a windbreaker. I’ve used those two layers down to the single digits we had in town 3 or 4 years ago. My toes were a little chilly and ice built up on my glasses. Good times.


netviln
Participant
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I think as cold as I rode in last year was like 15.. and I replaced my windbreaker with a stadium jacket. oh and I wore longjohns that day.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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the cold weather, and is there a lower limit for temperature?

I think you’d get quite a range of answers from different people. Everyone’s tolerance for cold is different. I start to feel like it’s not much fun below 25 degrees but others would have different numbers. I used to think 35 was too cold.

Lately I worry more about conditions for the temp. Last year on Thanksgiving day a friend of mine broke his hip on an ice patch at the intersection of Middle and Harts Run roads. That intersection is often wet when it’s been raining or snowing. Sometimes it has been heavily salted but not that morning. It wasn’t much of a fall but he was strictly no-load on the joint at all for six weeks, followed by weeks of rehab. The good news is that it healed up just fine and is back to kicking my A$% up hills.

But it made me start to assess how likely I am to run into ice etc. in addition to the temps. 25 on dry roads? No problem. 29 the day after it rained/sleeted/snowed a lot? Probably not.

Others (see the thread on changing weather) use studded bike tires to beat the ice. It’s all what you are comfortable with. But don’t let the cold alone beat you, with some wind blocking and layers, you can probably ride in much colder temps than you would think.


spakbros
Participant
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Rode every day last winter and really only hurt the couple weeks that it dipped below 10. When it gets that cold I just add a flight jacket over the hoodie/windbreaker combo. I also usually ride home around 1 or 2am and that shit is COLD. Foolishly tried using “cycling” gloves before realizing that ski gloves are the best. Good luck


spakbros
Participant
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forgot to mention a trick I used. If your gloves arent really waterproof or wind proof, put rubber surgical gloves over them. Makes a big difference if you can’t afford good gloves


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Rode every day last winter and really only hurt the couple weeks that it dipped below 10. When it gets that cold I just add a flight jacket over the hoodie/windbreaker combo.

Are you orginally from Green Bay or Duluth by any chance? :-)


spakbros
Participant
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haha, no, but I did commute by cycle for an entire winter in minneapolis. Not fun my friend, not fun


Lyle
Participant
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no real lower limit on temps, though it does get increasingly inconvenient to bundle way up and make sure to cover every stray bit of skin below 10F. Frostbite happens fast down a hill in those temps. But all those layers get in the way of smooth pedalling.

And you’ll find that all those smoothly-operating bits of your racing bike work increasingly poorly the colder things get. Plastic gets brittle and breaks. Your tires ride like rocks. Grease stiffens, and all of a sudden, all your freewheel does is freewheel. Those spiffy brifters don’t work with mountaineering mitts, and besides, the little plastic doohickey in it just broke anyway. Battery lights? Hah. They barely last the whole commute. (but generators hold up!)


brian j
Participant
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Here’s a handy clothing matrix put together by a hardcore MPLS commuter.


Dave
Participant
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Lyle brings up a good point: my #1 accessory for winter commuting is an old single speed mountain bike with full fenders.


netviln
Participant
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Call me a wuss.. but I like gears for getting up boundary road.


erok
Keymaster
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i always think about how there is always a lot more people than me colder in MLPS


erok
Keymaster
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it’s few and far between when you’re this guy:


myddrin
Participant
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Thanks everyone.

Part of the reason I was asking is that I will be visiting my family in *way* upstate NY over Christmas. I keep a bike up there since it is a great area to cycle, but in Dec-Feb it can get very cold. -25 is not uncommon, and I can remember a couple times -60ish… no that is not the wind chill, that is the actual temperature.

Based on what everyone is saying, I’ll probably not pack my cycling gear. :) Although I’m hopeful about being able to cycle the winter through here in PGH!


joeframbach
Participant
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You’re going to ride without your cycling gear? Take pictures, glhf.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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myddrin, where in Upstate NY? Like Ramapo, Ripley or Rouses Point? Being from Buffalo, I hate the term “upstate”. Like saying Valley Forge is in Western Pennsylvania.

Ripley (between Buffalo and Erie) would be only a tad chillier than here, but a lot more snow. R.Pt (think Montréal) gets darn cold. Ramapo (near NYC) would be more sloppy than snowy, and warmer than here.

Anyway, I don’t expect to ride every day this winter, but neither do I expect to park the bike until it’s warm out. Lyle, thanks for the generator suggestion.


Lyle
Participant
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myddrin, we’re probably related. The first time I flew to Florida to visit my grandparents, it was -60F when we left, and +60F when we arrived. Wacky.

My brush with death was biking home 12 miles from a girl’s volleyball game. After dark. Without lights. In February. There was this girl … who probably didn’t even know I existed.

Stu, I’m guessing Plattsburgh, Massena, Lake Placid…


myddrin
Participant
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Town’s name is Burke, nearest “big town” is Malone, between Rouses Point and Potsdam.

I guess with all the news lately I could have just said “Congressional District 23″….


Mick
Participant
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I used to live in Ishpeming, MI, which is about as cold as anywhere in NY state, so I know a little about cold.

Enough to know that -60 in the continental US might be an exaggeration.

So I checked the weather page. The record low for Malone, New York is -31 F and for dannemora the record is -35 F

That’s 5 or 10 degrees colder than I expected, and it is sure cold enough to kill you quick, but it is not -60.

Mick

We need that “Someone on the internet is wrong.” button.


myddrin
Participant
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Strange, I have a very distinct memory from my childhood when the temperature in Fahrenheit was equal to the temperature in Celsius. It may be that my memory is incorrect (although I know others who have the same memory).

Later:

Heh, looks like my memory about a F -> C conversion is what’s faulty. For some reason I thought -60F = -60C, but its really -40F = -40C, which is closer to the numbers you site.


NCBT
Participant
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25$ union suit, beefy socks, us military boots, stanley carpenters gloves (3.50$ @ bloomfield dollar store), 1-5 hoodies depending on temp, and the vest, big difference with a vest, gonna diy some arm warmers,

I also like thermals under cargo shorts, people are like HUHH? shorts and snow?….


Alan
Participant
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I’m pretty intrigued by these:

http://www.trails-edge.com/retail/te_shirts/amfbikemits.htm

Anyone around here used/using them? Thoughts?


Lyle
Participant
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Wayul… I was only 11, so maybe that figure was with the windchill included. One day was -30, and school was canceled because the busses wouldn’t start, so I badgered my parents in driving me to the ski area, only to find that it too was closed. Imagine closing a ski area because of cold. Madness.

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