Gear to stay warm in cold weather- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Gear to stay warm in cold weather

    I like to ride in the mornings, and lately its been in the mid 30's. I'm good for about the first 15 or 20 minutes before I start getting so cold I can hardly move. I tried wearing a jacket but I wind up sweating a lot and it makes it worse.

    What are you guys wearing when its cold? Mostly its my upper body thats suffering. I picked up some gloves today that should help with my hands.

  2. #2
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    Layers with breathable material. Been like that lately for me when I am riding to work and I have found that wearing a workout baselayer (think champion brand stuff from target that is semi thick "power core" type stuff but has the breathable tech) with a lighter jersey over it. That will keep me fairly warm down into the high 30s low 40s. Colder than that I have an old patagonia rain shell that has air vents in the armpits. I zip that all the way up and if I need to I can open the pit vents to let some air out or I can zip the front done. That has kept me warm enough down into the low 30s and high 20s. Past that you should really be wearing cold weather specific stuff.

  3. #3
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    Kinda like the wind breaker material?

  4. #4
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    Synthetics. For jackets i wear goretex with pit zips. Polyester, nylon, merino wool. You will always heat up after a couple miles so that goes into planning.

  5. #5
    since 4/10/2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJman View Post
    Kinda like the wind breaker material?
    You've gotta figure out exactly what works for you. I run warm, and so the fabrics that are effective for me might not be worth crap for you.

    You've gotta look at the generalities people are suggesting and apply them in a way that makes you comfortable. In the temp ranges you're talking about, I layer shirts/jerseys until I'm comfortable. I have some thicker LS stuff that works pretty well. Sometimes I'll pull out a light fleece vest, but a handful of things will work for me depending on specific conditions. I don't pull out a hardshell jacket unless it's raining.

    I do the same basic thing with my lower layers. Pretty much always chamois shorts and baggies. I have some tights of different weights/fabrics I will use depending on the weather. I also have leg warmers if I anticipate it being cold at start, but warming rapidly throughout the day.

    For my feet, this is the primary reason I started using flat pedals. Clipless shoes never fit me well enough to keep my feet warm in cold temps. Flat pedal shoes with good wool socks (again, I have a variety of weights to dial in the exact warmth I need) covers me in a huge range of temps. I switch to hiking boots when the snow flies. Less for warmth, and more for traction in the snow when I have to step off the bike.

    Typically, my individual layers are pretty light when temps are above freezing. I just use more or fewer depending. Softshells come into play once I get below freezing, typically. Sometimes that doesn't happen unless it's WELL below freezing. Some people think I vastly underdress in the winter. Nah. Definitely not once I get my internal furnace going. When I started, I overdressed, much the way I see other people dressing in winter conditions. I also overheated when I dressed that way, so I learned really quickly how to manage my body heat. Like I said, how you do that is going to be specific to you.

    You have to take the general concept of layering and figure out what ranges of conditions each item is most effective, FOR YOU. You're also going to have to build up a decent toolbox of cool/cold weather gear. Tech gear BY FAR occupies more space in my closet(s) than everything else. combined. That's because I have what I need to be able to be comfortable in temps from 100+F to -30F and different levels of activity.

  6. #6
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    Sounds like a plan. Thanks everyone for your input. Hopefully I can get this figured out so I can get better rides in.

  7. #7
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    Yeah there is a lot of subjectivity to what you wear for the ride. This morning as I left for work I found that it was 23* out, nice cold snap from the storm that we got Thursday-Saturday that dumped 16" of snow at 4700'. Since I live in the high desert (northern NV, right up against Lake Tahoe) our winters are cold but for the most part it is a dry cold, not a wet cold that pierces like some places. However, once the wind starts going the couple temp with the wind chill drops drastically.

    My kit this morning was.
    - No balaclav or beanie, naked head under the helmet
    - Heavy compression core baselayer
    - Heavy 3/4 sleeve riding jersey (like a downhillers jersey)
    - Patagonia rain-shell zipped up
    - riding chamois under longer riding shorts
    - thermal socks
    - windblocker gloves

    For the most part I was warm, quads were a bit cold and had a harder time pushing so tomorrow I will probably wear thermal leggings. Other than that the only other cold thing was my ears and face. I can't really wear a balaclav because I wear prescription glasses and with the nose part venting to the glasses they fog up quickly and easily (currently contemplating riding goggles).

  8. #8
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    Vests. I have the same problems. Vests are perfect for releasing heat and regulating body temps. They allow heat and moisture to escape while keeping the torso warm. They can be unzipped partially or completely to deal with warming up. I have a wind breaker type vest for above 40-45 F and a thermal one for under 30 F. If I miscalculate or it gets warmer than expected, I just end up with a sweaty back.

  9. #9
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    I wore some of the thermals I use when hiking, a tee-shirt and a rain jacket I also use while hiking. It was a little better but also a little warmer. I'll try and stick with that. I did sweat more than I wanted but not as bad as wearing a jacket

  10. #10
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    In Alaska, we typically dress like XC skiers, because both sports generally have pretty high output when you are moving and your body needs to be able to breathe. This usually means you start out cold, especially if you stand around first, but within about 20 minutes, you get warm and usually stay that way, unless it's a "stand-around-ride". For those and general planning, I generally carry with me an extra layer and a few other things like extra gloves, handwarmers (bootwarmers actually, because they are adhesive and can be used for both), heavier balaclava to cover my face better, and so on. Not a crazy amount of stuff, it fits in a large frame-bag just fine and it's not heavy really, just a light jacket I can put over my current layer. Back to the temp regulating though, we usually need breathable stuff, windstopper on the front side is good, but hard shells like gore-tex and other "rain proof" stuff is usually a bad idea unless it's like -20 and you are looking to stop crazy wind, they simply don't breath well enough (despite their claims) to work well. There are all kinds of different weight soft-shell jackets and I usually try to pick one up every few months on a sale, to have a good variety. It's more important though to focus on the extremities in my experience, keeping toes and hands warm. Pogies are a god-send in the winter and allow you to still control the bike, unlike goofy thick insulated gloves that make your fingers sweat and give you poor control. I should have bought some Lake 303-type shoes long before I moved to Alaska, just for those colder rides down around freezing or a little below. They are not great as you get much below freezing, but they can make those close-to-freezing rides so much more enjoyable with your feet staying toasty warm.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  11. #11
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    +1 on starting out cold. Especially if you are a sweater.

  12. #12
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    I think the windbreaker thing made the difference I needed. It keeps the air from cutting me down and allows my other close to keep me warmer.

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