What to wear with winter coming?



noonievut

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Jul 5, 2004
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I'm a newb who living in Toronto, is starting to get ready for riding in cooler, or just plain cold temperatures.

I've heard that layering is key, but I'm wondering what clothing would "generally" be required for the following conditions (I've given my ranges in celcuis):

1) 10-20 - I'd think shorts and a long sleeve jersey
2) 5-10 - I'd think maybe wind pants, maybe a jacket, and a long sleeve J
3) 0-5 - here is where I draw a blank (I'm sure I'll work up a sweat but don't know what to wear)
4) under 10 - 0 - ?

I only have summer clothing and need to buy some stuff for cooler riding. I don't want to waste money buying a thin long sleeve jersey if I should buy a thicker one (purpose of this e-mail is to not waste money and "try" to dress appropriately 1st time and learn from that). I have a wind/water resistant jacket (not lined) and similiar pants (not-lined).
 

dhk

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Sep 1, 2003
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This is pretty much a personal question. Clothing needs seem to vary quite a bit, as well as tolerance for cold. Sun, humidity, and wind are all as important as temps. As you know, a dry, calm sunny day at 10 C feels much warmer than a cloudy damp one.

Trick is to have on enough to warmup, but then not too much so that you sweat under your layers. I tend to stay away from water-resistant stuff (unless it's really wet and cold) since it doesn't breath. Wind jackets and pants are ok for the warmup, or on an easy/slow ride. But if you're working hard and sweating, they trap the moisture inside and you get clammy or overheat.

I'd say dollar for dollar, a good base layer is a great investment. I like tight-fitting and thin underlayer of sweat-conducting synthetic under a thin fleece jersey or sweatshirt or even tightly-knit sweater. On the legs, a good pair of tights does the trick.

Hands and feet: The bike stuff is best here if you want to spend the money. Thin gloves of some kind may be ok as a substitute for winter bike gloves. For your feet, recommend you get some kind of booties to fit over your shoes. I've got the PI Amfibs and they are great, but expensive. People use plastic bags or wool socks as a substitute, or even duct tape bubblewrap insulation over the shoes.
 

Powerful Pete

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May 29, 2004
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It is a balancing act, and of course a lot of depends on the intensity of your riding and how cold it it. Having said that, a few pointers would be:

1. Get a good base layer, as the other poster mentioned, and a nice riding specific jacket, any of the products of the major brands will be excellent.

2. You can always add another middle layer with a sweatshirt or fleecing type thing that you have around the house (does not have to be riding specific and will therefore cost a lot less).

3. Also invest in a good set of tights, if you want to ride in really cold weather some of the nicer pairs also have wind-resistant fronts... will cost more but be a hell of a lot more comfortable when you ride in the real cold.

4. Excellent quality booties and gloves make a world of difference (remember, you lose a lot more heat through your extremities!). A good skullcap to wear under your helmet is also key!

5. A good rule of thumb (at least for me) is to remember that when you leave the house you should be cold - the riding will warm you up. You do not want to be toasty when you are just leaving the garage, this means you are too warm and will overheat on the ride!

Enjoy the riding! :D
 

Matt N

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Aug 10, 2004
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I live in a fairly mountainous part of Victoria, Australia. Here we get temperatures from -5 (celcius) in winter to 40 in summer, so you learn how to dress for the weather. We are just coming out of winter and I have learnt over the last couple of years what to wear and what not to wear during winter (summer is a lot easier - just knicks and a short sleeve jersey, socks are optional).

As a rule, I find it more comfortable in winter to concentrate on warmth, as opposed to dryness. Therefore, I have learnt that cutting out the wind is the key. By this, I do not mean wind resistant, I mean windproof. Also as a general rule, I find that extremities (head, hands, feet) and torso are more sensitive to cold than the legs.

These are my suggestions for the really cold weather, from the top down:

* head: in the really cold weather, you must wear a windproof beanie/scullcap that extends over the ears and the back of the neck, but allows you to hear what's going on around you. It took me numerous attempts to find the right one, but I eventually have. But note, it should also be thin, so it doesn't affect your helmet sizing;

* torso: base layer is important - I use a polypropalene full sleeve top. Ski shops are probably the best for this. Then, I use a windproof full sleave cycling jersey (with a full length zip). Then I might put a light rain jacket over this if necessary. This combination allows me to regulate my temperature by doing the zips on the jersey and outer jacket fully up to stay extra toasty, or lowering the zips to let in some air to cool down;

* hands: this is very important, as to me there is nothing more miserable and uncomfortable than riding along with freezing, numb hands. I have messed around with different gloves. Currently I am using Roeckel windstopper gloves and they work pretty well. They do let in some water in heavy rain, but again, it is more important to cut out the cold wind than to stay completely dry. On really cold days, I also put on some thin skiing undergloves;

* legs: this is not as important, although I have noticed that windstopper long knicks have recently come onto the market. I find that my legs don't really get cold (even in -5 C), so I just use Superroubaix full length knicks;

* feet: bubblewrap sounds a bit sus and potentially dangerous. Get some good windstopper/rainstopper (Goretex or equivalent) full size overboots. Unlike gloves, I find it helps to keep the rain out of the shoes, but this may just be personal.

These recommendations are for the coldest conditions. As the weather fines up, you would obviously adjust these recommendations and start using gear that you can strip off whilst riding (arm/leg warmers, etc). You will soon find what is the best combo of riding gear for any weather conditions.

Finally, I know you said you don't want to waste money, and the above recommendations are certainly not the cheapest option. But I suggest that being warm in winter is really a safety issue and so I have been able to justify spending that little extra for the right gear.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
 

Buddy2004

New Member
Aug 11, 2004
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Why don't you just pop along to Mountain equipment Coop (King Street West) and look at what they have, plus, generally, the guys in the store are really helpful.
 

big Pete

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Jun 17, 2004
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I find turtle necks are very good in the cold. I like it when my chest and neck are warmer then my arms. Also doing indoor spin can be a solution, where I train it gets too hot (30+ degrees C) for me by the end of the session.

Pete
 

gruppo

New Member
Aug 14, 2004
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noonievut said:
I'm a newb who living in Toronto, is starting to get ready for riding in cooler, or just plain cold temperatures.

I've heard that layering is key, but I'm wondering what clothing would "generally" be required for the following conditions (I've given my ranges in celcuis):

1) 10-20 - I'd think shorts and a long sleeve jersey
2) 5-10 - I'd think maybe wind pants, maybe a jacket, and a long sleeve J
3) 0-5 - here is where I draw a blank (I'm sure I'll work up a sweat but don't know what to wear)
4) under 10 - 0 - ?

I only have summer clothing and need to buy some stuff for cooler riding. I don't want to waste money buying a thin long sleeve jersey if I should buy a thicker one (purpose of this e-mail is to not waste money and "try" to dress appropriately 1st time and learn from that). I have a wind/water resistant jacket (not lined) and similiar pants (not-lined).

Have you thought about talking with your LBS. It would seem that they would have a pretty good idea what works for people riding in your area. Who knows, they may even sell some of it to you if you ask them real nice.