Cold Weather Riding Gear?



NickDavid

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Aug 9, 2006
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Since the temperature is about to drop here in New Jersey, my knees and most of my joints get stiff in the winter.

Can someone point me in the right direction of what to look at in terms of cold weather riding gear? Temp will be around 50 soon, so i need to get some tight pants, long sleeve top, gloves and does anyone wear a face mask or some type of thin hat under their helmet?

Thanks guys
 

carpediemracing

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Jun 15, 2005
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seems no one wants to answer. maybe everyone is hoping it'll stay 75 forever around here :)

some guidelines I follow (good for nj/ny/ct area - people in san diego would think I'm crazy):

<65 - ls jersey (any wicking type is good), wicking baselayer (could be a regular ss jersey). shorts should be okay. short finger gloves. maybe a cycling cap.
<55 - possible knicker or knee warmers, shorts, ls x 2 jerseys. long finger but not "thick" gloves, i.e. summer mtb gloves would work. cap is good or a thin head cover that leaves ears and neck uncovered.
<45 - knickers or tights (if dry), booties (shoe covers, I like the ones I have, forget the brand but it's just a long strip of velcro in the back, no zipper), thin but insulated long gloves, wind vest, 2 x ls jerseys (or ss + windproof jacket), head cover (I use some polypro tubes that fit over your head). taping up your forward helmet vents helps.
<35 - tights, booties, windproof jacket, ls baselayer, insulated gloves, some ear/head/neck covering. deluxe would be insulated/winter shoes or heated insoles, heat pads. tape up your helmet vents or buy a cheapo helmet with less vents.
<25 - I don't ride outside unless I have to. add a pair of shorts or even a second pair of tights (but total one pad to sit on), extra baselayer, warmest neck/head covering.

if it is cold, you should feel cold when you start. you'll feel a lot better once you warm up. if you are riding relatively easy, add 5 degrees to each rating. if riding hard (race), subtract 5 deg. if you're riding off road, subtract 10 degrees. if in san diego, add 15 deg :) (actually I go to SD in Feb to get early season miles as the weather is usually great there so nothing against SD)

since "warm" is so subjective, I jot down in my training diary what I wore, the temp, and how it worked out (too hot, too cold, not enough wind resistance, not enough breathing, etc). I look back to see how I dressed on various days and use previous rides as a guide. in the fall I use more gear for a given temp than in the spring.

rain makes everything pretty heavy and cold - I'll under dress a bit in order to avoid lugging around 5 lbs tights or a 15 lbs jacket. I use some thicker rub (vaseline for example) as a substitute for having tights and wear knickers or shorts instead.

If cooler and using appropriate covering gear, I'll use heat rub (atomic balm, not the weak store stuff) on my achilles and knees and put my socks/booties and tights/kneewarmers respectively. I've been known to put (black) duct tape on my gear to create an outer windproof layer on my gear.

where to buy this stuff? home depot for duct tape :) but seriously... baselayers you can get from any place that sells ski stuff. or a bike shop. Ls and ss (long and short sleeve) jerseys are best bought at a bike shop or some swap meet or, if you have friends who ride, get hand me downs - really serious riders have way more clothes than they know what to do with. if patronizing a local shop, see if they have club gear, maybe from last year, that they need to get rid of. or join a club - many of them give you a jersey in exchange for joining. knee warmers are a shop thing, as are cycling tights and a windproof jacket (get the "winter" kind, not just the windproof shell kind). cycling gear is cut long in the sleeves, the back, and the fronts of legs. they fit great when you ride and not great if you're not riding. a wind vest is invaluable but can be replaced by putting newspaper or plastic bags under your outer layer of clothing.

in order of importance:
1. baselayer top (one that is black, ls, and thick will work on its own and also as a base to another jersey - I'm assuming you have a ss jersey)
2. booties - shoe covers - insulated, not the aero covers time trialists wear
3. effective long finger gloves (specialized makes a thin insulated set usable down to sub 30 degrees)
4. tights (get thinner ones if you will skip the outdoors below 40)
5. wind vest
6. winter jacket

*always* carry an extra layer with you, just in case, and bring energy gel/bar/water/whatever. if you run out of fuel, you'll get really cold really fast.

also I'd recommend head and taillights (blinking LEDs work fine) as it gets dark pretty quickly.

if you need small sized gear, I have tights (thin and thick), wind vests, wind jacket or two, jerseys (ss and thin/thick ls), and I'm sure a few other things I can throw your way. no jackets, booties, knee warmers sorry.
 

li rider

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Oct 11, 2004
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I won't ride below 40.

First, get a scull cap fo runder your helmet. i find it is the single most importantthing to keep me warm.

add arm warmers and/or longer sleeve jerseys as it starts to cool down below 55

then, i add a jacket, then if colder jacket and base layer

switch to long fingered gloves when the wind makes your fingers too cold

switch socks to thicker wool

this year, i'm also trying the booties.

I also switch form shorts to tights when it is below 50.

how much and when you go for the warmer clothes are all a matter of how you stand up to the cold. I can be in shorts when others are in full winter gear, and when i won't even think of riding, I see others on the road.


NickDavid said:
Since the temperature is about to drop here in New Jersey, my knees and most of my joints get stiff in the winter.

Can someone point me in the right direction of what to look at in terms of cold weather riding gear? Temp will be around 50 soon, so i need to get some tight pants, long sleeve top, gloves and does anyone wear a face mask or some type of thin hat under their helmet?

Thanks guys
 

drubie

New Member
Aug 30, 2006
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NickDavid said:
Since the temperature is about to drop here in New Jersey, my knees and most of my joints get stiff in the winter.

Can someone point me in the right direction of what to look at in terms of cold weather riding gear? Temp will be around 50 soon, so i need to get some tight pants, long sleeve top, gloves and does anyone wear a face mask or some type of thin hat under their helmet?

Thanks guys
It doesn't get as cold here (Armidale, NSW, Australi) as New Jersey, (sub 0 degrees celsius in winter, but it seldom snows). I adapted summer gear as follows:

Next to skin: Normal cycling jersey (polyester/wicking type) to keep the sweat away. Normal cycling knicks.

On top of that: A cotton singlet (wife beater), some woolen arm and leg warmers. Two pairs of normal cotton socks. I got my arm/leg warmers from a mob called "Lab-gear" in Canberra but they've closed.

On top of that: A windproof jacket (Netti). Ear warming band (get them from hiking shops, not cycling shops). Full, wind proof gloves (Shimano).

Haven't got overshoes but I'd like to try them next winter.

The overall theory is to keep the wind out, the sweat off and keep as much heat inside your clothes as possible (hence the wool for arm and leg duties).

Yeah, ok, I was cold when I started riding but within 5 minutes I was up to temp, even when the wind was blowing hard and it was -10 adjusted celsius.

cheers,

dave.
 

kleng

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Jan 17, 2006
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+ 1 on the skull cap, a lot of heat loss through the top of head.

to keep my feet warm I use Seal Skinz socks which are waterproof, windproof (but breatheable). I hate the bulkiness of booties and the fact they sometimes make it hard to click into the pedals. I also use a windproof layer under the jersey to keep the cold wind off the chest.