I've Got no Clue How to Dress in Colder Temps- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 28 of 28
  1. #1
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569

    I've Got no Clue How to Dress in Colder Temps

    Hey, everyone.

    So, it's starting to get cold here in Western New York. I usually ride around town after work every night, but it was down to 41 degrees by the time I got home. Yikes!

    I'm not a fan of the cold; at all. As such, I've got no idea how to dress for riding in such temperatures, and colder. That's why I'm hoping I can get some help with that here on the forum.

    I've got a long sleeve base layer from Puma; will that suffice? Are my padded cycle shorts and riding shorts over top still enough for my lower half, or do I need some kind of pants? My ears also get cold easily, so I think I may need to look into a pair of earmuffs or whatever they call those things.

    In general, I'm just not sure what to wear. I know that not having enough will make you too cold, but having too much will cause you to sweat, thus making you just as cold. I've got no idea where that balance lies, lol.

    Thanks, everyone!
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    1,918
    Unfortunately, this is something that is very dependent on the individual. All you can really do is see what it takes for you to stay warm. For me:
    • Stick with poly or merino wool if you have the $$$.
    • Cycling jackets really are better than generic or ski wear since it will be cut to fit you in a riding position while also incorporating wind blocking on the front and open panels for breathing elsewhere.
    • Some peoples fingers/toes stay warm when it's cold, mine shrivel up and freeze. I have pogies and a set of winter specific SPD boots to solve that.
    • When it gets really cold though, I wear ski gear and snow shoeing boots on flats.
    • An ear warmer helps for in between temps and I use an old helmet without padding and a hat for colder temps. A full face helmet helps quite a bit too.


    Good luck! I've historically always pushed myself to ride when cold/dark, but old man status is creeping up on me and I just can't get myself to do it this year. I'm trying for the Zwift thing and will see how that pans out.

  3. #3
    Ride More - Suffer Less
    Reputation: TraxFactory's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Posts
    2,296
    layers layers layers....


    You can double or triple up the base to see how you do in certain temps. Adjust as needed. I like the tighter knits on bottom layer and a more vented knit on the outer layers.
    Vests work well for keeping core warm and getting some air through. High collar for fast descents or windy days to keep neck warm.
    Cotton kills once its full of sweat and you stop generating body heat. Hard to restart the furnace.
    Keep your skull and ears warm with caps, headbands that covers ears ok for 40/50's.
    Less vented helmet like an Urge Endur-o-matic.
    Merino socks and shoes with minimal venting or none. Shameless plug > Hot Sockee's
    For temps in 40/50's shorty leg warmers with knee pads usually sufficient. I go full length on lower temps.
    Gloves need to have sufficient wind blockage, I like PEARL IZUMI winter gloves.
    Have a backpack in case you need to shed layers.

    Finally, start just slightly cold unless your a total string bean. If you start warm you'll most likely end up over heating and immediately shed layers.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: RS VR6's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Posts
    5,256
    The coldest I've been out is the low 40's in Vegas over winter. My upper body I use a short sleeve base layer, then a short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, then a mildly insulated jacket. My lower I just wear shorts. Sometimes I'll wear knee warmers, but they usually come off after a few miles. My head..I don't use anything...and my head is shaved (I do keep some Pearl Izumi ear warmers in my pack, but I have yet to use them). Gloves...I use ones that are windproof and mildly insulated. I hate cold fingers. Socks are just my regular thin cycling socks.

    This also.

    Quote Originally Posted by TraxFactory View Post

    Finally, start just slightly cold unless your a total string bean. If you start warm you'll most likely end up over heating and immediately shed layers.

  5. #5
    Snow Dog
    Reputation: str8edgMTBMXer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    3,104
    I ride in Central Ohio and surrounding states. Will ride when the temps are even down to 0 deg. I LOVE the cold.

    For 20-40deg, I run my REI base layer on top, then a regular t shirt, then my Novera bike rain jacket. 99% of the time I just run regular cargo shorts on my legs. If it is windy I will run a base layer on the bottom as well.

    I have some Giro winter gloves that have an inner shell that is more form fitting, and an outer shell that is wind resistant. I usually only need the inner shell.

    Feet have regular cycling socks and then my Salomon trail shoes.

    For me the key is the back of my neck. If that is warm, I can ride in shorts and a t shirt and be 100% comfy. I have a really old gator-type neck warmer that does the trick. I don't even remember what brand cause I have had it forever...probably a North Face. I use a head wrap/liner thing under my regular helmet.

    as many have mentioned, I am sort of cold when I get to the trailhead, but 5 minutes in, and I am pretty comfortable. I don't sweat a lot, and don't like to carry unused layers in my pack so I just "suffer" the initial 5-10 minutes before I get going

    I am in the minority in that I don't get cold very easy. I wear shorts all winter on a day-to-day basis and usually just my old Ohio State Hockey hoody.
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

    15 Surly Krampus - King Amongst Bikes
    LET IT SNOW!

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    198
    Buffalo, NY here. I use UnderArmour cold gear top and bottom and layer it accordingly. I'll wear UA long John's w/bike shorts over for really cold temps. I use Bar Mitts for my hands and, if it's really cold, pair them with FootJoy golf rain gloves. The FJ gloves fit snug, allowing for easy shifting as well as sufficient warmth. For my head & neck I use a fleece neck liner/skull cap like the one BMX above uses. It works perfectly with a bike helmet. My Adidas Terrex work 90% of the time. For fridged temps I have a pair of Oakley insulated special forces boots that are extremely light and warm.

  7. #7
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569
    Thanks for the replies so far, everyone!

    It might help if I link you to what I have already, as some of it might still be sufficient, and I just don't know it yet.

    Base Layer Top


    Cycle Undershorts (they're actually Empire Paintball Slider Shorts, but they work)


    Helmet


    My shorts are just a pair of cargo-style shorts, and my gloves aren't anything special. I ride flats, so I wear my DVS skate shoes, which are leather, so I think they'll be sufficient for the cold, since there's not a lot of venting.

    I don't have any type of windbreaker or rain jacket, so I'll look into investing in an actual cycling jacket, and perhaps a pair of cycling pants as well; the windbreaker kind as suggested. Gloves I will definitely need to look into as well, since my fingers get ridiculously cold. Unless I get some hand-warmers to put in them... Although they'd probably affect my ability to hold onto the bars properly.

    Does anyone have any links to specific products that they recommend? Products such as:

    1) A hat or headband (although I imagine just about anything will work).
    2) Base layers; top, if mine isn't sufficient, and especially bottom (since I don't have a bottom base layer already).
    3) Gloves
    4) Pants (the windbreaker cycle pant things)

    I'd really appreciate it! There's so many products out there, I really don't know what to get, lol.

    Thank you!
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Posts
    198
    Drums,

    1. For your noggin Google "Turtle Fur Balaclava".

    2. Base layers. What you showed should work. I think the most important top layer is a breathable jacket. As mentioned, a bike specific jacket is the way to go.

    3. Google "Bar Mitts".

    4. Pants... I'm fine with UA cold gear longjohns w/ biking shorts over. And that's in Buffalo, NY winters.

    Hope that helps.

  9. #9
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569
    Quote Originally Posted by Branner View Post
    Drums,

    1. For your noggin Google "Turtle Fur Balaclava".

    2. Base layers. What you showed should work. I think the most important top layer is a breathable jacket. As mentioned, a bike specific jacket is the way to go.

    3. Google "Bar Mitts".

    4. Pants... I'm fine with UA cold gear longjohns w/ biking shorts over. And that's in Buffalo, NY winters.

    Hope that helps.
    I live in Buffalo, NY too, so what works for you could very well work for me. Obviously every person is different though.

    I'll look into what you listed out! Thanks.
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  10. #10
    Gigantic Hawk
    Reputation: dubthang's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1,605
    If I'm riding in the snow, I'll wear long johns with carpenter pants on top, a t-shirt, and a hoody. I wear two layers of socks to keep moisture at bay, a pair of boots, and switch over to flats. I also bring several pairs of winter gloves. I find that being able to keep my hands warm (but not sweaty) is key to staying happy when it is cold.

    When it is cold, but not brutally cold, the key is to keep your joints warm. Leg and arm warmers are great. More often than not, simply something to keep the wind from cutting through you is enough. I also like to have something over my mouth when I first start out to allow me to breath in warmer air. Once I'm acclimated, I can take it off.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mattyice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    381
    I rather like the cold out here in MA, especially while cycling running. 40-50 I usually just run my normal riding shorts, saucony socks and either a Nike or champion long sleeve shirt with mechanics gloves.

    Under 40 I go with EMS ascent tights and smart wool sport socks. I throw on a Russell hooded sweatshirt on top of said nike/champion shirt.

    Under 20 I go with an ll bean arctic weight base with same gear, two pairs of smart wool socks, sport then heavies. 2 pairs of gloves, mechanics fast fits, mechanics cold weather.

    Good luck, have fun.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
    Banshee Bikes
    Slaphead Legion
    Wachusett Brewery

  12. #12
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569
    Thanks for the continued responses!

    Something I've still been thinking on is whether or not I'll end up doing a lot of actual riding once the snow starts to fly. I usually ride the pavement after work, since I don't get to do much trail riding due to my work hours; 12PM to 9PM nearly every day, except Wednesdays and Saturdays.

    However, once the snow starts to fly, how safe am I going to be riding the road after work? I imagine even if I spent the money on a nice set of studded tires, there'd still be a huge risk of slipping and falling on the ice. That's not something I'm too fond of.

    I could get a gym membership and ride the stationary bike, or get a cycle trainer and pedal here at home. I've got no idea which I want to do though.
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation: targnik's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    5,039
    Warm socks and warm gloves... otherwise wear 3 lots of what you'd usually wear (I also wear a Merino beenie, quite thin + a wind break)

    Sent from my kltedv using Tapatalk
    "Mountain biking: the under-rated and drug-free antidepressant"

  14. #14
    Snow Dog
    Reputation: str8edgMTBMXer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    3,104
    man. I can't wait for it to snow...to ride in the snow. It is so serine...people are not out, the woods are jut quiet and empty...I see your point as far as commuting in it though. I don't get to commute as much in the winter, but I definitely ride in it when I can. Where I do commute is usually plowed or shoveled, but most of the time that makes it worse.

    I am the same as you though...my work schedule only allows me to ride 1 day a week in the winter...Sundays. I am at work 7:30am-9pm every other day during school
    Go practice. Figure it out. - Fleas

    15 Surly Krampus - King Amongst Bikes
    LET IT SNOW!

  15. #15
    EAT MORE GRIME
    Reputation: 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,933
    just remember this

    50 degrees ? cover the knees

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Arebee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    818
    In CT we ride all winter and sometimes down into the single digits.

    It's all about layers for me. A EMS techwick base layer, a wicking t-shirt over that and then a light warm-up jacket. For legs, I have a pair of REI Novarra tights and then my regular padded bike shorts. I wear full knee/shin guards too that certainly help block the wind.

    For me keeping hands, feet and head warm is a must. I wear a Nike head mask under my helmet and when it does get down past 20 degrees, I'll put the disposable hand warmers and toe warmers inside my gloves and shoes. If my hands and feet are cold, I'm miserable.

    You don't need to get sucked in by bike specific gear. My warm-up jacket is from Old Navy and most of my wicking stuff is either Old Navy or Champion. Once the blood starts pumping and the sweat starts flowing, I stay pretty damn warm.

  17. #17
    Finally!
    Reputation: Terranaut's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    788
    Being Canadian and riding all year I will have to agree with layers and nothing cotton.
    I bought bike specific pants which have a wind breaker front but wicking rear. I wear my chamois underneath but never long johns or anything. I find keeping my feet, hands and head warm is key. Upper body I just layer with a hockey jersey on top. Colder = more layers. I wear good ski gloves , a balaclava under my full face helmet and I wear plastic bags over my thermal socks. I can not wear wool so I have no comment but cotton holds sweat so when you stop riding you will freeze up quick.
    Hope this helps.

    On a side note I have trouble buying over priced bike specific clothing but the long pants were well worth it.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mattyice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    381
    Quote Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
    just remember this

    50 degrees ? cover the knees
    I disavow you as a true New Englander. 50 is heaven riding in shorts and a tech t.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
    Banshee Bikes
    Slaphead Legion
    Wachusett Brewery

  19. #19
    Rollin' a fatty
    Reputation: DiRt DeViL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    5,863
    In CNY layers are needed, use breathable lycra style base layer and work your way out to something water and wind proof but breathable.

    In my case the temp determines what base I use, BJ's sells one called HEAT that is very warm and use it on the coldest days, for the rest any of the lycra type will do. On the outter layer use Louis Garneau windproof pants, a breathable ski jacket, smart wool socks and waterproof winter bike shoes. Use not so bulky ski gloves, ski mask and if is really cold a ski helmet.

    In a nutshell the clothing I mostly use is similar to what I use for snowshoeing.

    For shoes if using flats use waterproof hiking boots.

    Name:  12806188_10153898376715502_8470933362090545649_n.jpg
Views: 578
Size:  55.2 KB

    Got a Cold Avenger mask that will be tested as soon as the temps go low with ski goggles instead of shades to fully protect my face.

    Last but not least, AVOID cotton.

    Finding out what will work for you will take some trial and error but you'll figure things out quickly.
    Last edited by DiRt DeViL; 10-12-2016 at 11:15 AM.

  20. #20
    EAT MORE GRIME
    Reputation: 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4,933
    LLbean sells insanely thin silk undershirts, short and longsleeve

    these friggn things are magic as a base layer

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mattyice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    381
    I have an ll bean arctic weight base and I agree they're awesome. Super thin too. I also have a set of hot chilis' but I prefer the beans.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920A using Tapatalk
    Banshee Bikes
    Slaphead Legion
    Wachusett Brewery

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    8,467
    Wait - 50 is cold now? Seriously?
    You guys from Florida or something?

    Regular riding clothes (baggies and a long or short-sleeve jersey) with the addition of a light breaker and/or light fleece depending on precipitation and wind down to mid 30s. Includes regular full-finger riding gloves (which I wear year round anyway).

    Down around freezing, I'll add a balaclava, some thicker socks, and go from shorts to either knickers/light knee-pads/pull on knee warmerish things. Down into the teens and below and I add some cycling winter-specific gloves and shoes (sometimes with disposable toe-warmers), full-length tights with windblock front, and either add or thicken up my insulation layer.

    If there's precipitation, things sometimes need to change up a bit.

    PS - mattyice - I got no phone today - my house 630 ride; put out the word!
    Don't forget you blanky and snuggy, it's gonna be in the 40s!
    Sinister Bikes
    Wraith Bicycles
    Sunday River Mtn Bike Park
    NEMBA
    Wachusett Brewing Co.

  23. #23
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569
    Damn, you guys are killin' it with the advice here! Thanks!

    I wanna try to tackle the elephant in the room here though... Since my work schedule mostly allows for riding the pavement after work, at night, am I really gonna be able to do a lot of riding this winter? I'll certainly try to hit the trails on my days off; layer up, slap on some studded tires and head out. But during the week, am I screwed?

    I feel like even a set of studded tires won't help me when I come across the many patches of ice I'll find on a street route at night. Hell, I don't imagine that a fat bike would even make a difference... If a car can slide out on that ice, I imagine a bike won't have any trouble; even with studded tires.

    Thoughts? I'm not looking to break bones just to ride after work, lol.
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    8,467
    Fatbikes don't help with ice - only float in softer snow. Studs definitely are nice for ice; make a huge difference.

    Road riding is a lot worse cold-wise than trail riding. You've got more windchill factor to deal with, and you're not as active on the bike so you're usually feel a lot colder than you would riding off road.
    Sinister Bikes
    Wraith Bicycles
    Sunday River Mtn Bike Park
    NEMBA
    Wachusett Brewing Co.

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Posts
    218
    Studded tires really do grip well on ice. You need to ride looser and more carefully than you would on dry pavement, but you should be able to commute on icy or snowy roads/paths after work. Make sure you address visibility too though, you are much harder to see with poor light, dirty windscreens, snowbanks, etc., and drivers are usually not as aware of bikes. A good lighting system is a must. Maybe check the commuting sub-forum for more advice?

    I live in Southern Ontario, here is my general winter apparel for when things get below freezing. The best source for inspiration is Nordic ski apparel, those guys know how to dress for exertion in cold weather. Basically, you want to start out feeling quite chilly, so you don't overheat and sweat. With the below, my face and ears still get cold, but I can't find a way to use a balaclava without fogging my glasses so I grin and bear it. The below can take me to about -10C comfortably.
    • hiking boots
    • polyester under-socks and merino wool over-socks
    • long johns, cycling tights, baggy shorts, knee pads
    • polyester undershirt, merino wool overshirt, light jacket with pit vents and front zipper for thermoregulation
    • insulated leather work gloves
    • poly neck gaiter
    • thin poly beanie
    • helmet & glasses


    Also, consider poly pedals and carbon bars to reduce those heat sinks from your bike.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    8,467
    Hmmmm...poly pedal thing is interesting.
    Sinister Bikes
    Wraith Bicycles
    Sunday River Mtn Bike Park
    NEMBA
    Wachusett Brewing Co.

  27. #27
    Love 2 Ride; Ride 2 Live
    Reputation: DrumsXO's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    569
    Oh, I always ride with a light at night. I've got a NiteRider Lumina 750 mounted to my helmet, and a taillight underneath my seat.

    Riding trails on my days off I'm fine with, so long as the weather permits. I honestly think I will opt for either cycle trainer or a gym membership for workdays though, so I can get my fitness on, safely! Riding the pavement at night, in the winter, just doesn't sound like a good idea. Plus, with how much road salt gets put down around here, I can see it causing issues on my bike; corrosion, etc.

    I'll still need to decide on apparel for when I get some trail riding in though, so I appreciate all the advice!
    Started riding on 05/01/16
    Riding a heavily upgraded Trek Marlin 5 29er

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mattyice's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Posts
    381
    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Don't forget you blanky and snuggy, it's gonna be in the 40s!
    I'm gonna get a set of adult, zip up jammies for Wicked.
    Banshee Bikes
    Slaphead Legion
    Wachusett Brewery

Similar Threads

  1. Bib shorts with leggings or long johns for colder temps
    By PeterMike in forum Apparel and Protection
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 08-23-2016, 10:37 AM
  2. getting colder ... looking for warm tights
    By bikingmat in forum Apparel and Protection
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 10-02-2015, 10:53 PM
  3. Help with clothing for the colder weather.
    By machine4321 in forum Eastern Canada
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 10-15-2014, 08:51 AM
  4. lung issues in colder air
    By NicoleB in forum Rider Down, injuries and recovery
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: 12-26-2011, 03:16 PM
  5. Jacket for colder weather
    By m85476585 in forum Apparel and Protection
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-18-2011, 07:10 AM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.