advice on winter cycling clothing

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by mb123, Sep 11, 2007.

  1. mb123

    mb123 New Member

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    Last winter was my first winter to ride outdoors, and I am positive I can improve on the experience with some better winter clothing and base layers. I am looking for input on what to wear in 25-45 degree F temperatures.

    What I have:
    -Biemme bib tights with 'super roubaix' fabric
    -Cannondale windproof convertible cycling jacket that isn't lined
    -a couple of long sleeve UnderArmour base layers
    -Louis Garneau/Pearl Izumi arm and knee warmers
    -a Castelli windproof headband that fits under my helmet
    -"wool" cycling socks (DeFeet) that aren't much warmer than summer cycling socks
    - Pearl Izumi neoprene shoe covers that don't keep my feet warm
    - Pearl Izumi toe covers
    - Pearl Izumi Cyclone gloves that don't keep my hands warm

    What I am lacking is good hand/foot protection and quality base layers. I am wondering about the Craft Pro Zero shirt and the Craft Gore Windstopper crew. What base layers work well for you? How do you keep your hands and feet warm? Any advice is appreciated!
     
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  2. Sikhandar

    Sikhandar New Member

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    For the feets and the hands: remember that if your torso is warm, also your hands and feets are (because of blood circulation), so do not concetrate too much on them; neoprene covers are ok, and also your gloves are. Instead, put a goretex jacket + shirt of cotton, long sleeves (should be enough). If not, put another cotton shirt (short sleeves).

    I know that goretex jackets are really expensive, but it worth the effort...

    http://linuz.sns.it/~lotti/vendite/2006-12, Allenamento in Emilia.jpg

    this is me last on 26-12-2006, in Emilia (flat zone in north Italy)... see my jacket? Entirely in GoreTex, 120 euros... (though my team - not me - paid it :D)
     
  3. CDAKIAHONDA

    CDAKIAHONDA New Member

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    The Gore advice is good, or Activent works great too, but forget cotton totally. Cotton traps moisture from sweat and will remain wet and cold if you sweat (and you will.) Keep wicking synthetics near the skin like the Craft. Velowear has some good basewear for half the price, or try "Hot Chilis" that you can find at any ski shop, they're thin and warm! Warmth is about trapping some air space between layers of clothing that can be removed or added easily as the temps change during the day. Fleece works well on both counts, I have a pair of Endura tights that are awesome in the temps you're talking about. For hands and feet, try more windstopper type fabrics if rain isn't your problem. The neoprene doesn't breathe as well, again trapping cold inducing moisture from sweat, and often neprene booties are very tight and hamper circulation. Think smooth aero exteriors and fleecy air trapping interiors for your outerwear choices, and in layers.
     
  4. FreeHueco

    FreeHueco New Member

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    25-45? That should still be weather for shorts and a short-sleeve jersey... :)

    I'd go with neoprene shoe covers, windproof gloves, a light fleece hat under the helmet (and perhaps a windproof cover over the helmet), and the lightest long sleeve shirt that keeps you warm (for temps above 40 a l/s jersey should be fine. Below that, there are some nice windstopper jackets out there). I also tend to stick with shorts unless the temperature is below 35, then I switch to knickers. But I'm a warm-blooded freak...
     
  5. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    For the feet , I'd look at Seal Skinz lightweight socks, their waterproof, windproof and breatheable, and about the same thickness of a normal sock.

    http://www.sealskinz.com/cgi-bin/psProdDet.cgi/KE651||[email protected][email protected]|0|user|1,0,0,1|26|
     
  6. FreeHueco

    FreeHueco New Member

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    Those work great as well. Just remember that they are as easy to lose as regular socks... :)
     
  7. Maury Robertson

    Maury Robertson New Member

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    I ride a lot in the cold and rain. Merino wool t-shirts are the absolute best baselayer in my opinion.
     
  8. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    First, layering is the key. The base layer should be snug. A lightweight capilene or summat base layer should be adequate for damned near any bike activity. When winter mountaineering, I could get away with a lightweight capilene base layer with fleece over the top down to below 0 degrees F. Another layer over that, slightly looser fitting, made with a wicking fiber is the way to go. The idea is to move the moisture from the baselayer, though the mid layer to the outer layer. Speaking of which, for dry conditions, I recommend microfiber jackets: they breathe better than goretex; they move moisture a bit better; and they'll shed snow well. A fleece outer will work well, too. Goretex can be good, but remember it doesn't breathe quite as well as the others. Goretex works best in cold dry conditions because a strong thermal gradient across the membrane helps drive the moisture out, and dry conditions mean the moisture is less likely to collect inside.

    Gloves and socks are an entirely different matter. Socks need to be kept to a minimum. If you layer socks and then stuff your foot into a shoe, then the decreased circulation will tend to make your foot colder. One moderately thick sock and a vapor barrier underneath in cold conditions can hardly beat. Better yet is one moderately thick sock and a bootie.

    Gloves are prolly the hardest solution of all. You just gotta try a few and see what works. I have a set of low profile Lowe Alpine gloves that I bought for ice climbing--if you want to know cold, spend a day with your hands right up against a massive chunk of ice--that work great cycling.

    These are just guidelines. Some folks that are cold blooded/have poor circulation might need more.

    Whatever you find that works, one good rule of thumb is that you should start the ride a bit cold.
     
  9. Maury Robertson

    Maury Robertson New Member

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    Hey Alienator,

    I see you know your stuff! I still haven't figured out the best solution for the legs. What's your opinion?
     
  10. kleng

    kleng New Member

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    Descente shelter tights have a windproof layer built into them.
     
  11. OldGoat

    OldGoat New Member

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    Cotton is "death cloth"; use wool (e.g., Ibex or comparable), or synthetics, for reasons stated above. I wear a base layer (if it's real cold), an Ibex short-sleeve jersey with Ibex arm warmers, with an Ibex jacket over the top, a fleece neckwarmer or balaclava and/or a skull cap under my helmet, plus Giordana windproof bib tights and wool socks.

    Gloves are KEY. Must be adequately insulated, but not tight, especially at the fingers. Must allow for adequate control of the shifters. I jsut bought a pair of Louis Garneau Magma lobster-type glove-mittens. Haven't ridden with them yet, but they were more than adequate on today's hike in the woods. I expect they'll be fine down to 10-15 degrees F. or so w/ heat packs. Good, well-insulated but flexible high-quality ski gloves should also work fine. Make sure they're not too tight. They should last a long time; spend what it takes to get a good pair; you'll thank yourself many times over.

    Try slipping chemical heat packs into your gloves. I also put them in between the (exterior) toes of my shoes and my bootie; that way they don't take up room inside my shoes, which would limit circulation. I buy "Hotties" brand heat packs in bulk; got a big box last year @ Costco. Cost 40 cents a pair. If you buy them one or two at a time, they'll run you a buck or two at stores like REI or EMS. There are alos hotties-type full insoles, but I have no experience with them and haven't seen them for sale locally. Toe warmers are just smaller hand warmers to better fit in shoes; they have an adhesive strip to hold them in place inside the shoe. The problem is that there isn't much air circulation inside the toes of most shoes (especially if using booties), and air is what makes the hotties hot.

    By the way, after your ride you can promptly put the Hotties into a tightly sealed plastic bag (Zip-loc type) and squeeze the air out. They work for at least two rides if you do this. Cuts cost in half. Also, don't just open the bag and shove them into your gloves/shoes. Shake them a bit and let them "air out" for about 5 minutes so they get nice and hot. Then insert them.
     
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