Looking for the Warmest Tights Possible

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by JJakucyk, Mar 22, 2006.

  1. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    It seems that compared to nearly all the other bike riders on the planet, I must be some sort of reptile. I see folks riding around in shorts while I'm bundled up in all sorts of cold weather gear. For example, the temperature at the rides I've been attending lately have generally been in the 40s. Will spring ever come? Anyway, for temperatures in the mid to upper 40s, I wear a long-sleeve skinsuit to get an upper base layer and padded shorts without having an extra waistband or shoulder straps. I'll put on a pair of spandex running tights, then my pair of Assos Airblock bib tights, which are fully fleece lined (not very thick fleece mind you), and with airblock panels on the knees and thighs. On top, I'll wear a light fleece pullover, and then a windblocking cycling jacket. With wool socks, windproof shoe covers, a headband to cover my ears, and fleece lined windblocking gloves, I'm pretty good. However, if the temperature goes down too much, like into the low 40s (which is common here after dark), I'll start to get cold fingers, very cold feet, and cold inner thighs and crotch.

    If the temperature is starting out in the low to mid 40s, or looks like it will drop to the 30s, I'll keep the skinsuit, go with the running tights or the Assos bib tights if it's cooler, then some fleece pants and nylon wind/warm up pants. On top I may still be ok with the light fleece top, but I might also take it up a notch and wear my thicker fleece jersey under my jacket. Glove liners and maybe a light balaclava need to be added as well, and neoprene shoe covers over the windproof shoe covers are a must at this point.

    With temperatures well down into the 30s, I need thicker gloves, more face coverage, and chemical toe warmers. I may also bring out my pair of cheap ski bibs/snow pants instead of the spandex/fleece/wind pant layering. The problem is that while those two solutions to keeping my legs warm work fairly well, they're extremely bulky and not very comfortable. If I can't keep my legs warm, then my feet start to freeze even worse, and I'm not having any more fun at that point. I'm sure a lot of you could wear the Assos bib tights alone in temperatures down into the 20s or teens, but I just don't have the circulation (or whatever it is). I'm still pretty heavy at 250 lbs, and I've actually felt warmer on rides now than when I weighed 270, so I suspect that I just don't have the blood flow to warm up all my "bulk." ;)

    Considering this, I've had a really hard time finding good advice here or anywhere, because nobody else seems to be as cold-blooded as I am, so the advice given to most other people is not nearly sufficient for what I need. I love my Assos bib tights, but even with an extra spandex layer underneath, they just don't cut it for temperatures below 45° for me. What I really need is a pair of tights that has a healthy lining of fleece, as well as air blocking panels across the whole front. Most of the tights I've seen out there do not have fleece where there's wind blocking panels, and that won't cut it. I don't mind using something that's not cycling specific, since I have the chamois and other base layer type stuff taken care of already. Bibs would be much preferred though, especially if I already have another pair of tights with a waistband on underneath. I looked at the tights they have at IceBikes, but they don't seem to have a lot of wind blocking performance. The Pearl Izumi and Performance tights just don't fit me right either, unfortunately. I've looked into some hiking gear, like Mountain Hardwear, etc., but it's all so expensive, and I have no idea how to pick something out. They also seem somewhat big/flappy, which is one reason I don't like using the wind pants. Have any of you found a good pair of very warm winter tights, or some other layering system that isn't too bulky and uncomfortable?

    Thanks for any suggestions, sorry for rambling on so long. :)
     
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  2. parawolf

    parawolf New Member

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    I don't mean to be personal, and I hate to say it, but this is probably the source of your problem. Unless you are a body builder, or 7'6", you are possibly as much as 60lbs overweight.

    You might want to try some things that are more 'natural' in their properties than Lycra/Nylon/Polyester blends.

    Now I haven't ridden in your conditions (eg sub 45F) however the following is what I would be looking at.

    From www.lab-gear.com (an Australian web only company), Merino Wool, Lycra Blend tights
    http://www.lab-gear.com/LabGear_225_Shop/cart.php?target=product&product_id=16146

    Or something from Ground Effect (a New Zealand Company)
    http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/product_detail.php?style=DAD&category=LON

    At those sort of temperatures i'd be favouring more natural products over the synthetics, however that is a personal preference. My only real experience with doing exercise in the environment you are talking about is cross country skiing and this is where natural fabrics in my experience are better than the synth's.

    However, and again i don't want to sound too down on you about this, but losing weight will improve your circulation and blood pressure figures, over a period of time, you really - for your own general health too - look at dropping 50 - 60 lbs.
     
  3. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    Thanks for any suggestions, sorry for rambling on so long. :)[/QUOTE]
    I ride in temps down into the 20's quite frequently here in N.E. (anything under 18, I put on a pot of coffee and ride the trainer later..). For the coldest of days I will wear a pair of heavy fleece lined Pearl Izumi tights (I'm not 100% sure of the model, but I think they are the Therma Fleece model) over wind blocker briefs. I will then wear my bib shorts over them to keep me tucked in plus I like the chamois. My legs usually aren't the problem, but my core get's cold. I wear a silk long sleeve top under an expedition weight long sleeve crew. I then through my Pearl Kodiak Jacket over that. I wear one pair of wool socks and Pearl Am-Fib booties. On my head I wear a headband and a skull cap (the cap always rides up under my helmet, so the headband ensures that my ears stay covered). I have the Lobster gloves, but they just aren't comfy so I usually wear fleece gloves over liners. Stay out of the wind but also stay out of the shade if you can help it. Keep the cadence high to keep the blood flowing and don't feel a need to ride 50 miles. Once the toes start to go numb, I call it a day. A buddy of mine does an hour and a half on the road and then another hour on the trainer. I usually don't follow up road work with trainer work, but I'm not looking to peak until April or May.
     
  4. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    No shit Sherlock. You think I don't know that? I've been riding for 2 1/2 years now, and the weight has finally started to come off. I've dropped nearly 30 lbs so far, but these things take time.
     
  5. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    I'm a big guy too, so I know the feeling. 30 Lbs is excellent. Winter riding is a great way to keep the metabolism up and the weight dropping.
     
  6. parawolf

    parawolf New Member

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    No gee thanks for the recommendation of some products which have a different design to what you currently use, no yes I understand that losing some weight will lead to overall health benefits.

    I tried to say it politely and emphasise that point however you had to get all abusive and defensive about it. I was merely trying to point out that it could be the single best thing you could do (and good on you for commiting to it) to improve your resistance to the cold environment.

    So screw it, if you are going to be like that, why should other people offer useful suggestions from this point on?
     
  7. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    Parawolf, regardless of your disclaimer about trying not to be harsh, you were talking to me as if I had no idea that I was overweight, and that somehow I wasn't doing anything to lose that extra weight, despite the fact that I said I'd already dropped several pounds. Do you honestly think that any serious rider who is overweight doesn't know it, isn't trying to do something about it, and isn't doing their best to deal with it in the meantime? You were very condescending, even though you tried to cover it up.

    Your "advice" to lose 50-60 lbs is useless for this discussion anyway, because that can't be done quickly enough to be a solution to the cold problems. Maybe in another year or two, but how does that help me now? As for your product suggestions, Australia and New Zealand? The US dollar is weak enough as it is, and I can only imagine what shipping costs would be, especially if I had to return something. That's a big risk to take, especially since the recommendation is coming from someone who hasn't ridden in the temperatures I'm talking about.

    Thanks for trying, but seriously, saying "I don't mean to offend" doesn't make hurtful comments ok. You could've just given your clothing recommendations, and then said "on top of that, losing weight will help too, but you probably already know that," instead of focusing half of your reply on something that's peripheral to this discussion.
     
  8. Skull

    Skull New Member

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    Mate loosen up a bit. I am not sure how better Para could of put it. You even suggested the losing weight bit yourself.

    I have ridden in temps as low as -7degrees celcius in my days in Canberra and I was overweight by about 15kg. Was always cold but as soon as the weight came off with regular riding and watched my diet(that was hard) I definately did not feel cold as much.

    As for the greenback...check out the exchange rates and you would probably find you would be miles ahead.

    Skull
     
  9. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    Fair enough, but I'd just prefer not to order internationally.
     
  10. lugger

    lugger New Member

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    On my NOLs wilderness course, we did some early spring cross country skiing and camping high up in the rockies. I also bicycle in New England during the winter. From NOLS, I learned that one or two thin baselayers of good polyester, like good old polypropolene, and a couple of medium wool layers and then fleece and then a nylon wind blocker is very warm and dry in cold temps. However, it is all a bit bulky. I just use reflective leg bands to strap down the bulk at my ankles and the rest is ok with me.

    More recently, I have found that good fleece is much warmer than wool. It has to be good fleece, though. Polartec brand fleece is very warm. So is Eastern Mountain Sports store brand and REI store brand. I'm not sure if the bike gear brands use good quality fleece. You are on the right track looking into Mountain Hardware brand, but you can get stuff that is just as warm, generic brand and less technically designed (fewer zippers and draw cords all over) for much lower cost.

    I suggest a thin polypropolene base layer (look in army surplus stores or Duofold) and medium/heavy weight good quality fleece and a thin wind breaker. I suggest looking at Campmor.com. I bought and recommend polartec 200 fleece with their store brand label for a good price. Also, look online for Eastern Mountain Sports and REI expedition weight fleece tops and bottoms. (I have no "interest" in any companies I mention.) Put some of those layers under your wind breaker top and pants and it will retain almost all of the heat you generate. Fleece breathes and stays warm with perspiration.

    For feet and hands, try polypropolene liners under two thin/medium wool layers, but you might have to buy new bike shoes a size bigger because all the socks have to fit loosely. Then use the neoprene covers and windblocking over-gloves. For your head and face, I highly recommend any balaclava you like made with Goretex Windstopper by Outdoor Research brand.

    All that would make an active "warm blooded" person very hot at 40 F, so it might be comfortable for you. If you can compromise a bit on the bulkiness and find polypropolene baselayers plus high quality fleece layers with generic labels, I bet you will be warm without buying the most expensive gear.
     
  11. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    Being overweight doesn't necessarily cause this sort of thing. You really need to see a doctor to rule out a few other things, such as Reynaud's Syndrome (constriction of peripheral blood vessels ) which is made worse by cold. Also, you may have an underlying endocrine condition (like hypothyroidism). A few blood tests will clear it up.

    If you want to stay away from the pharmaceutical industry, try reading about dosha imbalance and the foods and activities that can resolve it.

    Congratulations on your weight loss!
     
  12. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    The symptoms of hypothyroidism are...well...hmm. Oh boy, now I get to go into hypochondriac mode. :p
     
  13. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    Oh, no! That'as wasn't my intention at all. I'm just saying that you should see if there is an underlying reason that you're so cold. Actually, an ayervedic or Chinese medical practitioner would do the trick nicely. Just go to one who is highly recommended, because just like western doctors, their skill levels vary widely, and those disciplines require a high level of diagnostic talent.
     
  14. JJakucyk

    JJakucyk New Member

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    It's quite all right. I do actually have a lot of the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and there's some family history of thyroid problems as well. There's also a very extensive history of heart problems too, unfortunately.
     
  15. benkoostra

    benkoostra New Member

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    My dad died of a heart attack when I was 19, so I know how you feel about the family legacy, and all that entails.
    But here's the caveat: medical knowledge expands daily, especially about these common killers, and on top of that, there is so much you can do to live a healthy and happy life. Your already doing the truly hard work of losing weight and exercising. There is much that your doctor doesn't know, but that is still available to you, at the library, over the internet, etc. I have an incurable disease, but I've radically altered it's natural course through exercise, suppliments, lots of research, and most importantly, positive thinking. So stay strong, there is always another way.
     
  16. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    Because it's the right thing to do. Don't you take offense to his reply. It's poor form, I grant you, but sometimes we touch somebodie's sore spots inadvertantly. Double whammy, online, when people have differing grammar skills. At any rate the guy deserves credit for being honest and asking for help.
     
  17. Insight Driver

    Insight Driver New Member

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    lugger gave the best and most-comprehensive advice. Thanks, lugger. I hope it helps you JJakucyk. Keep the rubber down and more power to you.
     
  18. PeterF

    PeterF New Member

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    Thanks for trying, but seriously, saying "I don't mean to offend" doesn't make hurtful comments ok. You could've just given your clothing recommendations, and then said "on top of that, losing weight will help too, but you probably already know that," instead of focusing half of your reply on something that's peripheral to this discussion.[/QUOTE]
    I have struggled with my weight pretty much all of my adult life and you're right, we don't need to be told to lose weight. The scale and the mirror can tell us that. If I recall, the title was about finding warm tights. Cycling is an aerobic sport, so often times pure warmth is sacrificed for freedom of movement and circulation. You might also want to try some knee warmers in conjuction with your tights and shorts. They are excellent for adding extra warmth to the knee joint but also the thighs. Keep up the riding. I ride with some very fit cyclist that don't lose the tights until temps hit the 60's.
     
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