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  1. #1
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    Single digits F..... Cold weather gear test.

    This fall in the high mountain deserts of Eastern Nevada has been spectacularly mild and pleasant for riding. Average morning temps have mostly been between 25-40 F all through October and November. Translation: No special winter gear required. PI fleece pullover on top of long sleeve insulated jersey, fleece windstopper gloves, Sugoi insulated tights, some neoprene toe covers with wool socks for me feet, and a polypro head band that covers the ears. This set up has been very comfy in this temperature range.

    One day a couple weeks ago it dipped down to 18 degrees F and so I decided to test my successful set up to see if it would still do. Ummm. No. My toes and fingers were numb and nearly frost bitten at the end of an hour ride and my face felt like it was going to fall off.

    When I got to work, I immediately got online and ordered some more serious winter gear. Full face insulated polypro balaclava, PI AmFIB gloves, and insulated neoprene full shoe covers.

    This morning the old thermometer was barely registering any degrees at all (8 deg F), so I was excited to try out my new winter gear. (Sick, I know)

    Actually I staid pretty toasty. the tips of my toes and fingers started to get a bit cold by the end of the ride but not numb. The only thing I added besides my new gear was a heavey sweat shirt as a middle layer and thin regular long finger gloves under my ski gloves as a glove liner.

    My bike had more problems than me. I had to always keep pedalling because anytime I coasted, the freehub would freeze and not re-engage the palls.

    Cool. Can't wait for some subzero testing.
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    Last edited by KRob; 11-28-2005 at 02:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Young, Shawn Young
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    Dude! Eight degrees?? Thats just plain silly but it does remind me I should update MY cold weather gear for the next few chilly months. Thats a nice pic by the way.
    "Im just going to explore a little bit..."

    Dont make me be the bad guy...

    Do I need a pass to ride this trail?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redmon
    ...it does remind me I should update MY cold weather gear for the next few chilly months.
    LOL. What? Are you going to have to break down and buy a long sleeve jersey?

  4. #4
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    You are heartier than me

    I ususally don't ride if the temps are below about 20F. I have been beefing up my winter gear since moving to ND 2 yrs ago.

    For your toes, I highly recommend getting some of the chemical boot warmers that are marketed to hunters. They cost about a $1.00 per pair, but really make a difference in comfort.
    "There are those who would say there's something pathological about the need to ride, and they're probably on to something. I'd wager though that most of the society-approved compulsions leave deeper scars in the psyche than a need to go and ride a bicycle on a mountain." Cam McRea

  5. #5
    E !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redmon
    Dude! Eight degrees?? Thats just plain silly but it does remind me I should update MY cold weather gear for the next few chilly months. Thats a nice pic by the way.
    KROB, are you sick?
    When you coming down?
    I need some schooling on the ride!
    the - E - dog

  6. #6
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    Welcome to my world

    Yeah, I commute around campus all year here in Madison, WI. Commuted in days where it got down to the minus teens, not a walk in the park. This is past the point when yur nostrils freeze together and icicles form on yur eye lashes. Things I notice on my bike thats different vs a 30 degree day

    1) So cold my tires turn very noticably rock hard
    2) My freewheel freezes and back pedaling ends up in a horribly slacked chain
    3) The elastomer on my Rockshox Jett fork is frozen solid
    4) Any moisture or water on the bike becomes ice, such has frozen brakes and rim
    5) The lube on my chain becomes terribly viscous

    Why do I keep riding in this, cuz im freakin hardcore.

  7. #7
    Young, Shawn Young
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    LOL. What? Are you going to have to break down and buy a long sleeve jersey?
    ROFL Dont be silly, Im looking for a flask to fit in my camelbak
    "Im just going to explore a little bit..."

    Dont make me be the bad guy...

    Do I need a pass to ride this trail?

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redmon
    ROFL Dont be silly, Im looking for a flask to fit in my camelbak
    Bwaaahaaahaaaa! Classic.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    Quote Originally Posted by E !
    KROB, are you sick?
    Not yet. But I'm working on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by E!
    When you coming down?
    I need some schooling on the ride!
    This weekend. I can't wait to get out of this winter weather. I'm planning a night ride Friday(not sure if I'll do Bootleg or Cottonwood), then Cowboy trails early Saturday. Is it warming back up any down there? Or am I going to have to bring my winter ensemble?

  10. #10
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    How do you handle breathing the cold air? After excercising in the cold my chest hurts from breathing the cold air. I also get congested fo awhile.
    "I've never been better .... nor cared less!"

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by porkchop
    How do you handle breathing the cold air? After excercising in the cold my chest hurts from breathing the cold air. I also get congested fo awhile.
    I tried pulling up the balaclava over my nose and mouth at first but couldn't get enough volume of air to feed my hungry muscles that way, so I pulled it down after a minute. I worried about burning my lungs, but the air coming in felt warm by time it hit my throat and lungs. I didn't over-exert though.

    There probabably is a point at which you should be careful with the cold air coming in.

  12. #12
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    And to think I had it bad on my last road ride...it dipped below 60 for the first time and I had to bust out arm wamers AND a vest!

    D@mn California winter...

    K-Zero
    "It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be"

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozenspokes
    I ususally don't ride if the temps are below about 20F. I have been beefing up my winter gear since moving to ND 2 yrs ago.

    For your toes, I highly recommend getting some of the chemical boot warmers that are marketed to hunters. They cost about a $1.00 per pair, but really make a difference in comfort.
    Yeah... it's just a matter of dressing the part. Lots of good threads here on how to do it. Then you gotta drum up the will to go out there. burrr. The chemical toe warmers I think will be necessary when I do the subzero testing. That's a buck a ride. I'm assuming they're not reusable.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by fanghasyou
    Yeah, I commute around campus all year here in Madison, WI. Commuted in days where it got down to the minus teens, not a walk in the park. This is past the point when yur nostrils freeze together and icicles form on yur eye lashes. Things I notice on my bike thats different vs a 30 degree day

    1) So cold my tires turn very noticably rock hard
    2) My freewheel freezes and back pedaling ends up in a horribly slacked chain
    3) The elastomer on my Rockshox Jett fork is frozen solid
    4) Any moisture or water on the bike becomes ice, such has frozen brakes and rim
    5) The lube on my chain becomes terribly viscous

    Why do I keep riding in this, cuz im freakin hardcore.
    Ummm. Yep. that is freakin hardcore.
    btw, I had a RS IndySL on my previous bike and the elastomers always felt like that. LOL

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by K-Zero
    And to think I had it bad on my last road ride...it dipped below 60 for the first time and I had to bust out arm wamers AND a vest!

    D@mn California winter...

    K-Zero
    Yep, that CA winter is rough. Burrrr. He he. Below 60?? I'm usually jumpin' for joy when it warms up into the 50s so I can start wearing my short sleeve jersey again.

  16. #16
    post-ride specialist
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    Careful ya don't freeze your middle digit.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Redmon
    Dude! Eight degrees?? Thats just plain silly but it does remind me I should update MY cold weather gear for the next few chilly months. Thats a nice pic by the way.
    Pfffftt! It was minus 1 when I pedaled off to the store this morning. Warmed up to the high 40's during the afternoon, in Fruita. Not a bad day.
    Your fear of looking stupid is holding you back.

  18. #18
    Midwest Rider
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    my winter gear

    hi, i just got into biking this september, and I'm not ready to stop for winter. I don't have special biking clothes, and I don't believe I want to. Here's some general purpose stuff that I'm using this winter...

    I rode early this morning (2am) for 4 hrs with reported wind chill factored temp of 13°F, not sure what it was on the bike, but it was gusty and I had to use some crazy body english to stay upright at times. It was also lightly snowing. This is what I wore:

    • 92/8 polyester/spandex underwear briefs from wal-mart
    • Cabelas medium-weight 100% polyester long underwear, pant and crew top - nice and thin, yet fairly warm.
    • Guide Gear heavy-weight 100% polyester long underwear, pant and crew top - fleeced on the inside, quite thick. I had to take off the crew top after 10 minutes of riding.
    • Emerge 100% polyester fleece crew top with vented underarms - kind of like the underarmour brand offering but only $17 on sale at the jones store.
    • Dickies 65/35 polyester/cotton double knee pants - cell phone pocket gets used as snot rag holder, aka shop towel.
    • US GI Issue ECWCS Parka - Surplus, ebay, cheap, effective. though I wish the huge armpit vents actually vented more air.
    • Dickies sock liners and some thick socks from sportsmansguide.com
    • Original S.W.A.T. Classic 9" Leather Waterproof Insulated boots - 400 grams thinsulate, 49 oz/pr for my size 9s. overkill, need to get something lighter duty but still waterproof and insulated. I could pedal ok for the most part, can take a few tries to get pedal placement right.
    • 100% silk balaclava - inner, i breathe through this one.
    • 100% Nomex balaclava - outter.
    • Specialized SubZero winter biking gloves - yes, bicycling specific, bargain bin, padded palms w/liners.
    • Saftey goggles - cheap goggles for wind protection, see below.


    So, I learned that only one layer of underwear is needed for double digits. I took the extra top off but not the bottoms, my legs stayed nice and toasty, tho not sweaty, but i had to make sure not to over-exert myself. I found myself slowing down often and I stopped about once an hour to cool down. My lower-back base-layer did get sweat-soaked, where most of the weight of my backpack sits. I have a Blackhawk HydraStorm Matrix pack with a contoured back panel with air channels. doesn't seem to stop me from sweating back there. uncomfortable in summer but dangerous in winter. I need to figure out how to keep from sweating back there.

    I just ordered some US GI Issue M1944 Sun/Wind/Dust goggles to use instead of those cheap workshop ones. I tried on a lot of skiing goggles at the sports store but none fit over my glasses comfortably. These were $12 new, and supposed to fit over eyeglasses. Keeping the wind out of the eyes definately helps me stay comfortable.

    I have on order some new Cabelas long underwear, Polar Expedition-Weight Polartec Power Dry for when it hits below-zero. I'm hoping to stay at a single layer of long underwear with these.

    I ran through a big puddle and the ice layer on top broke and splashed my legs and bike with water. Within a few minutes it turned to ice. glad i had boots on. I didn't have any problems with the bike freezing up, this time.

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