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Thread: winter clothes

  1. #1
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    winter clothes

    Hey guys I live in chicago and I dont want the cold to stop my commute. what do you recommend for winter commuting. I have no clue where to start. I was looking at some wool base layer clothing but dont want to pull the trigger until im sure

  2. #2
    Wierdo
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    First, get a good shell, something breathable,water and wind resistant. Do a search as there have been plenty of threads on shell rescommendations here.

    A lightweight wool base layer is good. You'll want to get something to layer over the top of it. Any of the mositure wicking fabrics will work. They key is to layer up/down based on temp and conditions.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigE610 View Post
    Hey guys I live in chicago and I dont want the cold to stop my commute. what do you recommend for winter commuting. I have no clue where to start. I was looking at some wool base layer clothing but dont want to pull the trigger until im sure
    Layers can be wool, tech, or even cotton...

    What is important is the layering...

    -27 C long sleeve tech shirt, then a breathable jacket size med...then a large jacket.


    That is it...
    Last edited by jeffscott; 01-16-2012 at 11:44 AM.

  4. #4
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    95% of the time I don't use a baselayer on he bottom, just bike shorts + bike or wintersport pants (wind/water resistant, not just tights) . On top I highly recommend a light softshell jacket, cycling specific or not. Under that a longsleeve wool layer over a undershirt & wool T or longsleeve lightweight underlayer, depending on temps. Ibex (wool stuff) has a 50% off sale right now, I have a pair of their pants & T's I love. Ibex Outdoor Clothing : Mens Outlet, Mens Sale

  5. #5
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    I commute in Milwaukee...6 miles each way. My bright yellow windbreaker is my key layer from about the 50s down. I just got a wool jersey and that with the windbreaker keeps me too warm in the upper 30s, but perfect in the lower 30s, 20s and upper teens. In the low teens or on very windy days I add a Nike compression shirt under the wool jersey and that keeps me comfy.

    My smartwool balaclava is awesome. Having a cold neck is the worst. I add a skull cap under it if its really cold.

    I wear bike shorts with leg warmers and baggies over if its in the 20s. Under Armour tights under baggies also work. I just got some Voler Artico tights for the really cold days (low teens and single digits.)

    Bar Mitts are nice to have. I can wear a thin glove down into the upper 20s. Great wind and snow/rain protection.

    My shoes are Shimano MW80s (Gore tex and insulated). A thin Merino sock if fine with these down into the upper 20s; lower than that and I use a thicker sock.

    Overall I struggle with overheating rather than keeping warm. It takes a bit of experimentation to learn the layering and clothing components you need, but then it becomes second nature. This year I discovered the amazingness of wool; I would suggest trying it out.

    Hope this helps - good luck.

  6. #6
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    Icebike Home Page

    Lots of good insights here ^

  7. #7
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    Yeh I really need to get something for my lower half. I think I have everything else based on your guy's reply's thanks

  8. #8
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    I saved my list from last time this came up:

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

    5C/41F - switch from shortsleeve to longsleeve tech jersey

    0C/32F - Add shell jacket (similar to this although I think mine was cheaper). 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.

    -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 - 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. Use some old wool socks with the toes cut off as arm/leg warmers.

    -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.

    This year I also have some cheap ski goggles for days below -25C/-13F. I've only used them twice so far (yesterday and today), but they start icing up once I get sweaty. I may need to cut some extra vents or coats the lenses with something.

  9. #9
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    Lots of great responses here already!

    I will add my .02 cents on few things.

    Wool baselayers are the bomb. I use SWRVE stuff, but the IBEX stuff looks very nice. Google "SWRVE Clothing" if you are interested in buying their stuff. So here are a few items starting from head to foot that I find required during cold winter comuting. For reference I live in Nebraska where bitter cold during the winter is normal. This winter has been unusually mild.

    Head: Insulated poly or wool cycling cap with ear flaps.

    Face: I don't like balaclavas, but some swear by them. I use a wrap around face mask when the temps are in the single digits.

    Torso: Personally I do not like full jackets unless they have pit zips. I prefer a winter cycling vest. My reasons are that a vest can easily be used with multiple layers underneath. When the temps really drop I will use 4 layers under my vest (thin wool baselayer/wool SWOBO jersey/Polartec winter grade 1/4 zipp top). I will also wear PI arm warmers at times under the full sleeve base layers. I have also worn two SWOBO wool jerseys under my vest. I have a Voller brand vest FYI.

    Legs: I wear knee warmers in mild weather with Chrome knickers. But in cold weather I have a pair of Fox Wear "Power Shield Pants". Super warm pants, and the material on the back of the pants is very breathable.

    Hands: I have a set of the PI Lobster gloves....LOVE them!

    Feet: I currently use shoe covers. They work ok. My next winter clothing purchase for cycling is going to be winter specific cycling shoes. If you don't mind using flat pedals in the winter, then a pair of good gortex lined hiking shoes with some wool socks will keep your feet very warm. Honestly, if you have a short commute. IMHO you would be better off spending your money on a nice set of grippy flat pedals and some Keens or other hiking shoe than buying a new set of winter riding shoes. I also feel that shoe covers suck because even an XXL is really tight on my size 12 summer MTB shoes.

    Hope some or all of that information helps.

  10. #10
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    Sorry...I guess I was not very clear about my reasons for not using a cycling jacket. Basically I don't think breathable cycling jackets are all that breathable once you start working hard. The exception to this rule IMHO is jackets with pit zips. So, if you are riding a jacket that claims to be water/wind proof, and breathable....my mileage is that more than likely you will turn yourself into a hot mess when you really start working hard and overcome the breathable membrane's capabilities. So, I prefer a vest that leaves the arm pits open to the atmosphere around you.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris V. View Post
    Sorry...I guess I was not very clear about my reasons for not using a cycling jacket. Basically I don't think breathable cycling jackets are all that breathable once you start working hard. The exception to this rule IMHO is jackets with pit zips. So, if you are riding a jacket that claims to be water/wind proof, and breathable....my mileage is that more than likely you will turn yourself into a hot mess when you really start working hard and overcome the breathable membrane's capabilities. So, I prefer a vest that leaves the arm pits open to the atmosphere around you.
    I'm with Chris on the [Hard Shell Jacket] to a point.

    The only time I use a Shell Jacket is very rainy or Snowy Days. This year I've only wore a Hard Shell Jacket 4 times this Winter Season. 2 because it rained like a Mother and 2 snow days. I picked up a
    Bontrager RL Thermal Softshell Jacket. Bontrager: RL Thermal Softshell Jacket (Model #08579)
    Layering with two Base layers a thin wool and the Bontrager RL Thermal Softshell Jacket. Accually what I wore today.

    A good Windproof water resistant pant will do the job.

    Gloves Sugoi Firewall Z Glove, the best maybe to warm gloves

    I don't wear a Baklava It feels like I'm being smothered

    BigE610 I live 40 miles Northwest of you.

    Last 6 years I have commuted 30,000 miles. mostly on a fixed gear.

    Man up

  12. #12
    Bedwards Of The West
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    I ride down to zero-ish F with just a wicking t-shirt/jersey under my Mountain Hardwear Syncro softshell jacket up top. Just did -4 the other day and the upper half was toasty. Softshell is absolutely where it's at. I'd have softshell pants, but I don't want to pay for them. On the legs I wear either Sugoi Sub-zero tights, or mountain bike shorts (with liners) and Pearl Izumi leg warmers under bellweather rain pants (rain pants are windproof, and that's the key). I use neoprene socks with mountain bike shoes because I don't like shoe covers and I'm too cheap to buy good winter riding shoes (but I want some. My toes get cold). I also use toe covers on the shoes. I use a THIN 'clava. I tried a thicker one and hated it. It doesn't take much to keep the neck and cheeks happy. My Pearl Izumi 'lobster' gloves keep me happy down to about 8*F, then I start getting tingly fingertips and consider the snowboard gloves.
    You have no excuse for driving to work
    (unless you don't have studded tires)
    (no excuse for that either)

  13. #13
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    thanks guys. I dropped my bike off at work so I can start commuting again. I need my car at work because some nights I have to drive to school which is an hour away. I cant wait to be done. Ive already talked to the wife about selling my car and making the commitment to riding. I cant stand how many hidden taxes are involved with driving anymore. that and riding really helps with my mental health issues.

    Normbilt im in fox lake where are you located? and thanks for the push I will man up. I just worry about my legs getting frozen.

    Dont have a ton of cash so i just ordered some long underwear to hold me over. I like these as well any thoughts M's Swift Polartec® Powerstretch® 100 Tights | Col d'Lizard

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigE610 View Post
    that and riding really helps with my mental health issues.

    I just worry about my legs getting frozen.
    Riding helps with mental health (hope it isn't a serious problem).

    Legs won't freeze......cold legs mean frozen feet though.

  16. #16
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    I own the -33 base layer and the matching top. I can't say enough good things about 100% Merino. If it were possible I'd buy all my clothes made out of it. It absolutely does not smell. I was in a hurry this Monday and used my high tech polyester thermal top and my office stunk. For the rest of the week I wore the -33 base layer (every day, without washing) and it is fine.
    Last edited by bedwards1000; 01-23-2012 at 10:56 AM.

  17. #17
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    Cold Lizard

    M's Swift Polartec® Powerstretch® 100 Tights | Col d'Lizard

    I have 2 pair. I swear by them. If you call them they will customize for another $5 or $10 too. I'm tall, they made them a little longer. Very warm. I do add some rain pants when riding on the road to deal with the windchill factor. But, I have ridden in the woods in the 10s and 20s with these only.

  18. #18
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    guys (sorry ladies),

    I'm a clydesdale, 5'10, 240 (put some weight back on after the wedding) and am looking for comfortable clothes for a waist size 40/42. I generally wear athletic shorts and find they are too slippery with my riding shorts underneath. I want something breathable/comfortable for a heavier guy who's trying to get motivated to lose some weight.

  19. #19
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    Go find a ski place that carries Craft clothing, and check out their 'light full pant'. They have a soft(ish) nylon face, and stretch back. Cut the wind nicely, but don't have you overheating.

    I'm assuming since you are posting in the winter clothes thread, you're looking for something heavier than shorts. If that's not the case...sorry.

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