Author Topic: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter  (Read 5283 times)

wing117

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Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« on: August 14, 2013, 09:56:04 AM »
With the first 'high of only 70 degrees' day coming up in the next week, I wanted to start proactively looking for advice on how to mustachianly purchase appropriate layers for cycling in the fall/winter. As a hiker, I have a lot layering options from that hobby, but I'd like to see what everyone else is doing for this and any bike specific tips.

So, Mustchains how layer up for the cooler weather?

mpbaker22

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2013, 10:04:58 AM »
With the first 'high of only 70 degrees' day coming up in the next week, I wanted to start proactively looking for advice on how to mustachianly purchase appropriate layers for cycling in the fall/winter. As a hiker, I have a lot layering options from that hobby, but I'd like to see what everyone else is doing for this and any bike specific tips.

So, Mustchains how layer up for the cooler weather?

Depends on how fast your going ... If you're going to be going 12-16+ mph, you're going to want to block the wind.  I have some under-armor that I still wear from high school.  I just put that under a cycling jersey for down to 40 degrees or so.  I have some legging tight things that are the equivalent for legs.  A light jacket will help you in colder weather, but I mean light.  It might be worth buying helmet and shoe covers.  These are technically for the rain, but I find they help on wind.  If you don't want to buy new clothes, look for things closest to the materials in under armor and the like.

Don't wear wool, cotton, or the type of material in thermal underwear.  I generally find my body heats up enough, that I'm good with a t-shirt and a VERY light jacket even in the low 30's maybe even 20s.  Mine's about like this - http://bikereviews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/2012-adidas-cycling-jacket.jpg

YMMV

One last thing - You don't want to have loose pants even if they're warm.  They'll get caught in your chain every time.  This is why I have tights.  I haven't bought new clothes in a few years, but TJ Maxx and Marshalls used to be decent places to get this technical gear fairly cheap.

GuitarStv

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2013, 10:08:41 AM »
Most of the fall (0 - 20 degrees C) around here I'll use some thin full length gloves and a wind breaker.  If it's really windy, wool socks and a hat too.

Most of the winter around here (0 to -10 C):
- ski gloves
- face mask
- warm toque under my helmet
- short top insulated hiking boots with wool socks
- Windbreaker with a light to medium weight sweater underneath

When it dips below -20 I'll wear ski pants too.


Some key things I've discovered . . . if you can keep your face, hands, ears, and feet warm you'll be fine.  If you are comfortable when you start your bike trip, you are wearing too much clothing . . . you want to start cold, and after 10 minutes or so be toasty warm (otherwise you'll be drenched in sweat).  Rather than buy tights to wear, I have a couple reflective velcro straps that I tie around the ankles of my pants to keep them from flopping into the chain/chainrings.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 10:11:56 AM by GuitarStv »

NinetyFour

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2013, 11:51:08 AM »
My morning ride can be cold (0 - 10 F), but it's also mostly uphill, so I do get warmed up during the ride.  I don't mind getting all sweaty, since I have access to a shower (and clean clothes) once I reach campus.

I do wear tights over my bike shorts.  And they have a sizeable hole near my right calf where they have got caught in my chain numerous times!

I wear gloves (or mittens on the really cold days).  I wear a thin balaclava (I got it from REI for $10, but it seems that they don't carry this particular kind anymore--if they did, I would probably buy 3 more of them) plus a merino buff for extra coverage for my neck, mouth, and nose.  (I have the kind of asthma that is exacerbated in cold, dry air.  As long as my nose and mouth are covered, I'm good.  If I fail to do that, I will be coughing up stuff for several hours afterwards. Sorry if that is TMI!)

wing117

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2013, 12:05:07 PM »
Alright, so it sounds like what I have for hiking will work perfectly. I just need to make sure I have tighter fitting pants or ensure they wont get caught in the chain and ensure I don't over layer and burn up!

I have some base layers that are like the underarmor for my chest/legs, lightweight gloves, and two buffs for head/neck covering if needed.

And for the -40 blizzard days, I have a winter quilted carhart jumpsuit and snow boots rated to -40. ;)

infogoon

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2013, 12:11:17 PM »
Cycling tights under mountain bike baggy shorts, a thick hooded sweatshirt, a fleece headband that covers my ears and fits below my helmet, and warm gloves.

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2013, 12:35:12 PM »
I'll second the above comment about keeping your hands and ears warm.  I've only been bike commuting since March, but I'm in Seattle where it's cold-ish and rainy that time of year.  When it was cold and wet, and I wanted to keep my ears warm but didn't want a full skull cap, I wore a headband that I bought years ago for running in the cold.  It fits easily under my bike helmet, and keeps my ears warm while not over-heating my head. 

infogoon

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2013, 01:00:43 PM »
There are also a couple of models of bike helmet from Bern that have swappable liners -- there's a combination bill/sweatband for the summertime, and a fleecy liner with earflaps for the winter. If you're already shopping for a helmet, that might be something to consider.

Use it up, wear it out...

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2013, 01:30:10 PM »
When it gets truly cold, these guys make great winter cycling caps - mine keeps me way too warm to use it when the weather's above 20 degrees F.

They don't have any online right now, but here's an example.

jfer_rose

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2013, 01:44:35 PM »
Piping in because I'm someone who prefers to bike in normal clothes as much as possible and so my preferences are very different from others stated here.

Now I have a bike with an internal hub/chainguard, so I don't have to worry about my pants getting caught in the chain. I can bike to work in whatever I'll be wearing that day. But before I had this bike, I used to tuck my pants into my socks or use one of those pants straps that you can often get for free. I haven't been caught in cycling tights in YEARS.

I LOVE wool for biking. I much prefer it over synthetic fabrics. Wool doesn't get smelly, wicks sweat and is otherwise amazing. I wear wool underwear, wool jacket (just a normal one), sometimes wool pants. Normal pants, not cycling tights.

But as others have said, with a longish commute (more than a mile or two), keeping cool is key because your body generates a lot of heat while biking even in cold weather. When I first leave the house on a winter ride, I'm quite cold. But I soon warm up. Winter is one of my favorite times to bike! For 40 degrees and warmer, I just wear a cotton bandana over my hair and under my helmet. I can easily adjust it to cover my ears or not as needed that moment. Colder than that I wear a thin wool cycling cap with ear flaps under my helmet. Depending on how your bike shifts, you may be able to get away with mittens instead of gloves too.

I'm a BIG believer of not needing cycling-specific clothes. I think 99% of people can figure out biking in all seasons with stuff they already have in their closet.
« Last Edit: August 14, 2013, 01:48:14 PM by jfer_rose »

Spudd

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2013, 01:51:57 PM »
I only bike about 2 miles (3km) to work. Until about -5 C (28F I guess) I just wear a breathable raincoat over my normal clothes as a windbreaker, light gloves, and a headband to keep my ears warm. Below -5 I'll move to a full toque and windproof gloves. I'd say colder than -10 or so I start layering up under the jacket with a fleece vest or wool sweater, and if it gets really cold I have a balaclava and serious winter jacket that I'll wear, along with longjohns under my pants. Since my ride is so short, I rarely resort to the longjohns - if my legs are a bit chilled when I arrive at work they'll warm up soon enough. But hands/face/ears I can't stand to be cold so I take care of those.

GuitarStv

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2013, 02:00:54 PM »
One very important factor about wool  . . .  unlike most of the wicking synthetics, if you sweat in wool and then leave it hanging around your desk it doesn't smell.  Trust me, your office mates will be much happier!

NinetyFour

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Re: Planning Ahead - bike clothing for fall/winter
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2013, 02:03:46 PM »
I agree with jfer_rose that you can mostly just use clothing/gear that you already own.  The only clothing that I bought specifically for biking are cycling shorts and a bright yellow vest so that students driving (too) fast to get to their first class in the morning don't run me over!  All of the other clothing (tights, balaclava, buff, gloves, etc.) I also use when I commute on foot instead of 2 wheels.