cycling in cold weather



richgfcst

New Member
Dec 2, 2006
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I cycle when the roads are clear of snow/ice and its above 28 degrees farenheit.
Many good suggestions, bike clothing which draws sweat away from body seems to work best. Booties.
When it is below freezing, I put the chemical foot warmers in my booties.
This past winter was with a rider using bar-mitts. They were toasty - I will try that this coming winter. Better then chemical warmers. Only issue he spoke of was high winds.
 

Old Biker

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Sep 24, 2008
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You guys have made me feel like a wimp. Last Sunday I was in a 50km race and I experienced probably the coldest I have been while riding for the last 10 years. The temperature was about 16°C and there was a very slight drizzle of rain. Around the halfway mark my feet were dead from just above the ankle and of course a wet backside from the road spray. Reading some of the advice sent in I may have to look at buying some larger (better fitting) shoes. I have tried over shoes but didn't seem to gain any benefits. I also had leggings and arm sleeves which did a good job, but then it wasn't as cold as some of you guys experience.
 

steve.rogers10

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Jun 3, 2005
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buzzy said:
How do you guys and gals cycle in the cool weather? I find that when I cycling in cool weather, I get a little cold no matter what clothes I wear. How can I stop this. I hate not being able to cycle in the winter.
I cycle the year round, To work and Audax events.The trick is to have a good quality pair of waterproof gloves and socks. Try not to have your shoes too tight as this will give you cold feet.Use layers to trap the air and start with a thermal base layer and a quality winter jacket to finish off.Try not to put too much on to start with and try and feel cold for the first few miles and warm yourself in. Hope this helps.
 

garage sale GT

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Jun 6, 2006
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I went out in 30F wearing cycling shorts, jeans, long sleeve jersey, polypro long underwear top, two pair wool socks, ordinary boots, balaclava, gloves, insulated vest, and vents taped over on my helmet. I was fairly warm.

I went out around 20F and added a polypro thermal baselayer under my jeans and a sweater. I was also quite warm. I was too warm, but taking off the vest cooled my chest a bit too much. I wished I'd had a windproof jersey instead ofthe vest though.

Some of you guys may be too cold due to overdressing or not wearing a somewhat permeable top layer to allow the escape of sweat.

Figure out how to carry a coat with you. Then reduce the amount you actually wear while you ride.
 

alienator

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Jun 10, 2004
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Blue jeans? Really? Cotton is probably the worst fabric for any winter activities.
 

garage sale GT

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Jun 6, 2006
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I use jeans for an outer layer. They act as a windbreaker. They do feel a bit damp when you stop riding sometimes but it's never really been a problem as long as your baselayer is wicking.

I also find letting your arms stay cool seems to keep your gloves from getting saturated with sweat, so I wear a vest instead of a coat.
 

Wlfdg

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Apr 17, 2009
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garage sale GT said:
I use jeans for an outer layer. They act as a windbreaker. They do feel a bit damp when you stop riding sometimes but it's never really been a problem as long as your baselayer is wicking.
You're still trapping moisture against your skin :eek:. You must not live in a very cold place? :confused:
 

garage sale GT

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Jun 6, 2006
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Wlfdg said:
You're still trapping moisture against your skin :eek:. You must not live in a very cold place? :confused:
You trap a bit of moisture away from your skin, and Chicago is plenty cold sometimes.
 

vggcyc

New Member
Nov 3, 2013
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I use the same 3-layer system as done in hiking: Base, Insulation, Wind/Water blocker.

CORE:
-BIW^^^
-Bike pushups throughout the ride as needed.

FEET:
-Nylon socks/those super-thin panty-hose type socks that some shoe-stores have for you to try on shoes.
-Wool socks over that.
-Gorilla tape over the shoe tops made them 3x's warmer. They remained somewhat breathable throughout the rest.
-Exercises to curl and scrunch toes as I ride. Improves circulation/ensures toes are still there and feelable.

HANDS:
-Thin liner gloves inside wool gloves.
-Grippy and Hand opening exercises.

HEAD:
-Custom made beanie as I field-test my materials for warmth, breatheability, drying time. Usually wool, alpaca, includes some nylon, Cotton Is The Enemy :)
-Grew my hair after shaving my head for 20 years. A lot warmer. Girlfriend loves it :)
-Occasional ski-mask (crocheted by me)

HERBS: (unrefined, organic, nonGMO, non irradiated, from bulk sections of stores with quick turn-over for freshness)
-Garlic, Ginger, Cayenne... coconut oil, various other Gear.

PRE-ride:
-Rebounding trampoline and calisthenics
-Sauna
-Some protein as it has a high Thermic Effect of Food rating.. more herbs.. hot and food.

WATER:
-Heated before ride.
-Thermos/insulated water bottle holders crocheted by moi.
-Much of my water is in the form of hot coffee
 

maydog

Well-Known Member
Feb 5, 2010
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Here is my latest ride. Low 20's, icy with a 10mph north wind.

My clothing:

Feet - 2 layers of wool socks, and winter hiking boots.
Legs - Cycling shorts, full length poly baselayer and tights on top
Torso - poly baselayer, thermal undershirt and dry wick long sleeve top
Hands, Mittens with liner gloves
Head - thin poly balaclava, ski goggles and fleece balaclava

I was out just over 2 hours and was quite comfortable thermally.

The ride itself was OK, the roads are pretty dismal. I was able to get most of the ride before the battery froze up.

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MotownBikeBoy

Active Member
Nov 24, 2012
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I'm planning on getting out at least a couple if times over the holiday break. I am taking no chances, I'm breaking out the Columbia heated coat, boots, and gloves.
 
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Mansmind

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Aug 3, 2004
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For the first time in my life, I've been braving the cold weather for cycling. I'm in the SE so it isn't terrible to begin with but I've been in the 30s with rain. I was never able to find any comfort with my normal cycling shoes regardless of the cover I used, but once I got winter shoes it hasn't been bad at all. In fact I've enjoyed it.
 

MotownBikeBoy

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Nov 24, 2012
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Well, I got back half an hour ago. Temp here is about 27-28, moderate snowfall, little wind. For the first time ever on a winter ride, I was hot instead of cold. I tried a little experiment, I wore just a base layer, Under Armour 3.0, and then the heated Columbia coat right over that, and then a thick UA hoodie and my outer jacket, which is a heavy bomber jacket in safety yellow with a lot of reflective material. Plus the heated boots and gloves, a neck warmer, and Giro snowboarding helmet with thermal lining. Rather nice not to freeze to death on a ride.
 

An old Guy

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Feb 12, 2011
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Originally Posted by buzzy

Sorry, I forgot to mention that. :) Well this wenter it has gotten in the low teens and that is pretty cold for this region. But during the day, it ranges between 35-60 degrees. I find that rather cold. I do have a pair of tights, but that just doesn't seem to cut the chill. I guess I could try wearing two or three pair, but then that would be going a little far wouldn't it. I don't really ride it the rain because South Carolina drives have a hard enough time driving in good weather much less poor weather.
Riding produces heat and sweat. I try to keep a nice balance of warm and wet.

40-50 is summer clothes - jersey and shorts, with a rain jacket and my summer arm coolers. I can ride 120 minutes before I sweat enough to get wet..

30-40 add rain pants and long underwear top under my jersey. No arm coolers. Polypro gloves and hat. Again 120 minutes before I sweat enough to get wet.

For 5-6 hour rides it is important to wear enough clothes and work at the proper level that your sweat stays warm. I prefer neoprene boots with plastic bags inside. And long underwear bottoms.
 

urge2kill

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Aug 13, 2013
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I have no problems with sweating, but I'm not one to sweat a lot.
I've always worn a water-resistant rain jacket over a breathable nike jacket.

A note about balaclavas (face masks): shift the ocular opening toward the side so it doesn't hamper your back-glance at all.

My fingers get numb first, then my toes, then my ears.
My need for 4 gloves/mittens could be due to my saddle being too far back (my arms aren't working to support my weight).

If all else fails, getting off to walk may reduce wind-chill enough to reverse numbing.

Originally Posted by vggcyc
-Exercises to curl and scrunch toes as I ride. Improves circulation/ensures toes are still there and feelable.

[..]

-Grippy and Hand opening exercises.
At what temperatures?

I used to do that until I got more layers on my hands and feet. I ride in as low as 10 farenheit.
I'm so glad I can stop thinking about toe/finger numbness and focus on the ride.
 

lectraplayer

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May 11, 2014
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Do they have cycling mittens or those "dirtbike hand guards?" I bet either would help hands. Toasty Toes warmers would be worth considering for your feet. Again, I am far from a cycling expert.
 

henchman21

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May 6, 2015
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Canada
wear a sweater and a wind breaker or some combination of the two and pants. layering helps to if it is really really cold. I have cycled in the winter on black ice once and it was terrifying.
I do not reccoment cycling on ice in the winter unless you are an adrenalnie junkie !