Cooler weather essentials for the bike commuter- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Cooler weather essentials for the bike commuter

    Hi all,

    Back on the bike after a few weeks off on vacation, and the cooler morning weather left me with a minor ear ache when I arrived at work. What do you all consider essential cool weather gear for the bicycle commuter?

  2. #2
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    I've been using a Descente Coldout Beaning under my helmet in the mornings. It really makes a difference. I think it was well worth the $10 I paid for it. I also like long sleeve jerseys as they seem to keep you dry and warm at the same time, while allowing your skin to breath.

  3. #3
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    The 'Sheldon Brown' packing tape helmet vent sealing system is cheap and works. I have a Cargill light knit cap (not wool: allergic) that sneaks over most of the ears, a larger toque and a full balaclava. Up the ante as the thermometer drops. Multiple gloves hat fit inside each other. Boot options are good as the temp drops. Santa brought me -20 F ones last Christmas, that got two rides before I got sick. The full face guard helmet looks good, but the glasses balalava and taped helmet do OK for me in not quite so cold Southern Indiana. I have a poly fill coat with hood for the <10 F range. A heavy turtle neck silk under layer (ski wear) is nice as I can roll the neck up to cover the back of the neck. I tried Bar Mitts and like them but they are not needed just yet. Other than that, it is layers layers, and layers. If you can't do wool, then use synthetic or silk, NOT cotton, though I have a polyester and low cotton content items that work and don't get soaked. Non-bike items cost a lot less. I got a cheap manmade fibre under layer from Performance, other than that and the Bar Mitts, no bike stuff.

    BrianMc

  4. #4
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    anything with windstopper fabric works wonders for me.

  5. #5
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    Second on the windstopper stuff. I also wear a headband for my ears when it gets chilly along with some lighter Gore gloves with windstopper. I think the chilly mornings but warmer afternoons are the hardest to plan for because I want pants in the morning, but shorts in the afternoon and I'm not going to wear the shorts under the pants, so I just have to carry them.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for all of these suggestions! Really appreciate them.

    What should I be looking for in a cycling pant?

    What about shoe covers? Yea or nay?

  7. #7
    Bedwards Of The West
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    Shoe covers can be a pain... I use neoprene socks (gator brand, got them at pricepoint). I think the shoe covers are more trouble than they're worth. The downside to the neoprene socks is that your shoes get soaked when it's raining/snowing...but your feet are dry and happy. I also have a pair of the pearl izumi toe covers, which I use over the shoes for most of the winter.

    For the legs, I wear shorts/leg warmers, and waterproof pants (because they're also windproof). I've used this combo down to negative temps (F). In the fall/spring, it's a nice combo because you can throw the rain pants or warmers, or both, in your bag and have lots of options for the ride home.

    I have a Mountain Hardwear softshell jacket that gets me through the winter. Totally windproof, snowproof, rainproof. amazingly warm for very little bulk. If you deal with any temps below about 35* F you absolutely must check out a softshell jacket. Pricy, but worth every penny. I wear a riding jersey and the softshell jacket down to negative temps with no other layers.

    I also do a beanie under the helmet...a very thin one. I put a 'clava over the beanie when it starts getting really cold, becuase I can't get a 'clava on without destroying my hair for the day. The beanie holds the hair down. My beanie is a little too short for full ear coverage. I also have a headband style ear cover thingy, that I'll wear in combo with the beanie when it's too warm for the 'clava, but my ears are still cold.

    I have 3 'levels' of gloves, with the upper 2 being windproof. My cold weather gloves are the Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. I have gotten numb fingers in them, but they are good to go down to single digits.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilirubin View Post
    Thanks for all of these suggestions! Really appreciate them.

    What should I be looking for in a cycling pant?

    What about shoe covers? Yea or nay?
    Shoe covers are a pain...

    If you plan to ride in the cold, buy some good winter boots...

    Mine are good from about 10 C down to -35 C...

    I often ride them in the summer if we are doing some river crossings etc, or plan to get high....or it is a cold morning...

  9. #9
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    ^^ He's right. I cannot explain my $200 jacket and my $35 shoes. I would love some winter boots. I just don't want to pay for them.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  10. #10
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    My cold weather riding gear:

    Long shell-type pants and fullfinger gloves all year (just personal preference)

    5C/41F - switch from t-shirt to longsleeve jersey

    0C/32F - add 3-in-1 poly balaclava (similar to this) which covers my head, but lets me leave my face open. I've got a shaved head, so heat retention is kindof important. Also add shell jacket (similar to this)

    -5C/23F - Add flip-top mittens over my fullfinger gloves. Add lightweight tights under shellpants. Switch to cheap, oversized hiking shoes with thick worksocks (I run platform pedals all year anyway).

    -10C/14F - It's probably time to start using the 3-in-1 balaclava as an actual balaclava.

    -15C/5F - Switch from mitten/glove combo to Snowboard gloves.

    -20C/-4F - Add fleece sweater under shell. Switch light tights to fleece tights. Add second layer of worksocks. Add second liner to gloves.

    -25C/-15F - Add neckwarmer over balaclava. Use both the fleece tights and light tights.

    -30C/-22F - Pretty rare so I don't have any specific gear, but I make sure to have some chemical hand/toe warmers easily accessible for emergencies.

    And that keeps me pretty toasty warm. The biggest scare so far was at around -20C/-4F when I stopped for some shopping. My gloves had gotten a little sweaty on the ride there, and they were still damp when I headed for home. That little bit of moisture made the gloves spectacularly useless, and I almost needed to bail to a coffeeshop or gas station to warm up.

    This year I'm going to add some ski goggles for eye protection at really cold temperatures, since I ditch my normal riding glasses below about -5C. I may also convert some old worksocks into arm/leg warmers.

  11. #11
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    Ski helmet and googles with smart wool balaclava

  12. #12
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    The hands and feet usually suffer first, and are harder to re-warm, so make sure to take care of those! This means you too, CB! Your hands and feet will also stay warmr of your legs and core are warmer. So if your feet are cold, another bottom layer (lightweight longjohns or tights) can help without breaking the bank. For pants, I like something windproof, at least on the front.

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