Beginner Guide to Fall/Winter Riding – What do I need?



plutov

New Member
Jun 2, 2004
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I just started riding this summer (new Treck 1500) and would like to ride as far as I can into the Winter season before the weather gets really bad (ice and snow on road). Please fill me in on the different pieces of equipment and clothing that will make this much more pleasant based on all of your experiences. I am wondering specifically about gloves, pants, shirts, face stuff, as well as any general tips about the cold…

I am just out of college and without any substantial employment so please keep that in mind as far as cost of recommendations. As always thank you for your help.
 

boudreaux

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Oct 16, 2003
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plutov said:
Please fill me in on the different pieces of equipment and clothing that will make this much more pleasant based on all of your experiences. I am wondering specifically about gloves, pants, shirts, face stuff, as well as any general tips about the cold…

I am just out of college and without any substantial employment so please keep that in mind as far as cost of recommendations.
Yes to all of it .Thrift stores are wonderful.
 

lokstah

New Member
Sep 30, 2003
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plutov said:
I just started riding this summer (new Treck 1500) and would like to ride as far as I can into the Winter season before the weather gets really bad (ice and snow on road). Please fill me in on the different pieces of equipment and clothing that will make this much more pleasant based on all of your experiences. I am wondering specifically about gloves, pants, shirts, face stuff, as well as any general tips about the cold…

I am just out of college and without any substantial employment so please keep that in mind as far as cost of recommendations. As always thank you for your help.
Well, riding in truly nasty conditions -- like the ice and snow you've mentioned -- isn't highly recommended; you're not going to find those skinny slicks very stable on truly wintery roads. Use extreme caution if you suspect you might be dealing with ice, and look into a more weather-friendly tire.

Assuming you do go out, a removable rear fender is nearly essential; go out without one, and you'll end up with a dark, wet stripe of mud, grime, and other nonsense running up your back. There are a number of convenient models that clamp onto your seatpost.

There are lots of clothing options; you could easily spend a fortune. All bike apparel manufacturers churn out pricey and slick looking options; the good news is, most of the gear does what it's supposed to. Cold weather cycling gear does more or less what cold weather street gear does, only it's easier to move in. There are full-leg tights which go over your shorts, designed with heat-trapping fuzzy layers; for more modest cold weather, leg-warmers (which pull up to your shorts) and arm warmers (which pull up to your jersey sleeves) are great. There are headbands; under-helmet caps and earwarmers; jackets of all sorts, and even wind and water resisting covers to slide over your shoes. All work; the question is how much you'd like to pay, and how much your local weather requires you to bundle up.

Finally, the best nasty-weather, blizzard-proof piece of gear is an indoor trainer of some sort -- either the rear-wheel variety, or rollers if you feel like training in style. Pop in a DVD, set up your bike, and churn until your numb ass can take no more... or until that storm passes.
 

Peelay

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Sep 19, 2004
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There are soo many things you can buy... but since money doesn't grow on trees here's my top 6.
1. Arm warmers - great for current weather when it's cool in the morning but warms up by noon. My first cool weather investment and definitely get most use!
2. Gloves - I have 3 pairs of varying thickness depending on the temp.
3. Leg warmers - much like the arm warmers, they're great for fall riding (go to full on tights for colder temps).
4. Head band to cover your ears when it starts to get chillier.
5. Bootie covers. They come in varying weights, but since you mention you're not into the heavy snow, look for something that at least keeps the cold wind out. (I've never tried, but I've heard plastic bags inside the shoes can keep the wind out)
6. Shell of some sorts to keep your core body temp up by blocking chilly winds.

Hope that helps some.
Phill
 

SuperBob

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Jun 10, 2004
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This is a great thread, thanks for starting it. This is my first winter with an actual road bike and living on the wet coast, I'll need fenders. The problem is that my front fork doesn't have braze-ons. What have you people done in this situation? Would you change the fork so that you can use fenders, or simply go to clip-on models. Recommendations are appreciated.
Thanks!
 

fix

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Mar 1, 2004
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Although cycling specific clothing does a great job for the specific purpose of cycling, you may find that you already have some items, although not specifically cycling apparel, will do well. The thing to check is the materials of the clothing. Certain fibers are better for certain functions. I've adapted the following equipment as a part of my winter wear.

A nylon shell jacket works great as a wind barrier, cutting out the chill. also, although it is not 100% waterproof, it can keep a light rain from soaking you.

Fleece vests or jackets can add a layer for warmth below the nylon shell and aren't very restrictive for movement.

Thermal underwear can be a good base layer. This stuff is usually designed with the same functionality that cold weather cycling requires. Consider that this clothing is also used in the winter for skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, etc., so why not use it for cycling on a limited budget.

Warm socks that are NOT cotton. Cotton socks will hold the moisture, but not the heat. Cold toes don't warm easily when cycling.Wool or acrylic seem to work. My favorites are Smart Wool brand.

Headband to cover the ears that also fit under my helmet.

Some items you may have to buy, include gloves. As previously noted, there are different types for differnet temperatures. I've got a lined pair of neoprene, that weren't too expensive and served me well through the winter. If you already have other active winter gloves (skiing type), you may want to check them for funcitonality before byuying cycling gloves.

The one item that I couldn't find an equivalent from my non-cycling wardrobe were pants. I got a pair of neoprene pants that I could wear over padded shorts or tights. They cost around $50 dollars and were worth it.

Also, don't forget to wear Chapstik. Lips, nose, cheeks and other exposed skin areas need moisture protection from the cold and wind.

As previously noted, watch for treacherous road conditions that you will see in the winter: ice, potholes, the accumulation of cinders and other deicing materials which like gravel can effect traction.

Save your $$$$ for an indoor trainer and you'll be able to crank when hazardous conditions keep you indoors.

Good luck.
 

ghostpedal

New Member
Jul 26, 2004
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That was great advice. I already have the expensive stuff, but what you posted is great info. I would hate for someone of limited budget to stop riding due to not being able to get the proper cold weather gear. It's easy to suggest to get the best tights for $200, but more useful to suggest cheaper alternatives. Kudos!



fix said:
Although cycling specific clothing does a great job for the specific purpose of cycling, you may find that you already have some items, although not specifically cycling apparel, will do well. The thing to check is the materials of the clothing. Certain fibers are better for certain functions. I've adapted the following equipment as a part of my winter wear.

A nylon shell jacket works great as a wind barrier, cutting out the chill. also, although it is not 100% waterproof, it can keep a light rain from soaking you.

Fleece vests or jackets can add a layer for warmth below the nylon shell and aren't very restrictive for movement.

Thermal underwear can be a good base layer. This stuff is usually designed with the same functionality that cold weather cycling requires. Consider that this clothing is also used in the winter for skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, etc., so why not use it for cycling on a limited budget.

Warm socks that are NOT cotton. Cotton socks will hold the moisture, but not the heat. Cold toes don't warm easily when cycling.Wool or acrylic seem to work. My favorites are Smart Wool brand.

Headband to cover the ears that also fit under my helmet.

Some items you may have to buy, include gloves. As previously noted, there are different types for differnet temperatures. I've got a lined pair of neoprene, that weren't too expensive and served me well through the winter. If you already have other active winter gloves (skiing type), you may want to check them for funcitonality before byuying cycling gloves.

The one item that I couldn't find an equivalent from my non-cycling wardrobe were pants. I got a pair of neoprene pants that I could wear over padded shorts or tights. They cost around $50 dollars and were worth it.

Also, don't forget to wear Chapstik. Lips, nose, cheeks and other exposed skin areas need moisture protection from the cold and wind.

As previously noted, watch for treacherous road conditions that you will see in the winter: ice, potholes, the accumulation of cinders and other deicing materials which like gravel can effect traction.

Save your $$$$ for an indoor trainer and you'll be able to crank when hazardous conditions keep you indoors.

Good luck.
 

jasong

New Member
Nov 24, 2003
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I think I´d add to what others have said by trying to get close or tight fitting clothing. All that wind is horrible on a jacket that has an extra few inches on the sleeves that starts rattling around, especially after it´s lose it´s newness and rags out a bit.

I´ve got a few items that throw windproof stuff on the front faces but leave the back in normal material. That´s nice but can be really expensive if you don´t shop well.

Buy in layers and test your outfit cooler and cooler to see what´s necessary. You may have great circulation and not need what others tell you. I still wear open finger gloves in the high thirties and only throw on over that a **** $1 WalMart glove liner when it feels really cold.

DeFeet slipsteam has a fairly cheap ($15) over the shoe sock, which might inspire one to just try going with a huge sock and maybe a patch of nylon in front of the foot with some elastic over the vent areas to do the same thing.

Learn from the wasted money lessons of us and don´t do it. It´s surprising that there are still a lot of gaps in good cycling wear. A ton of these nice jackets, for a given size for someone, still have a huge pooch in front when in a normal road bike position.