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Cold Weather Riding Clothes(13 posts)

Cold Weather Riding ClothesDean
Nov 29, 2001 5:46 PM
What is the best clothing combination for cold weather riding? Bibs w/leg warmers, tights, arm warmers, how many layers, etc? There are so many ways to go, what works best?
Well Dean...Ahimsa
Nov 29, 2001 6:47 PM
...where do you live?

Cold? How cold does it get where you ride?

"Bibs w/leg warmers, tights, arm warmers?"

This would be a fine start where I live, as long as you include waterproof boots, a parka or ski jacket, a decent balaclava, lobster gloves, wool socks, one of those chemical warmer packets down your trousers, and a set of goggles.

That would be a good set up for say late December thru early March. After that you need rain gear and toasty woolies underneath. A travel type coffee thermos is a fine accessory as well.

Try they are the best resource for this.


re: Cold Weather Riding ClothesVelocipedio
Nov 29, 2001 7:00 PM
I only ride down to about -10C. On the coldest days, I wear [from top down]:

Helmet [duh]
Polypropylene balaclava
Sugoi Bpnsui jacket over
Wool or microfleece jersey over
polypropylene long-sleeved undershirt
Lycra tights [one size large] over
Polypropylene tights over
Bib shorts
Wool or microfleece socks
Shoes [MTB shoes in the winter, since I often have to hump the bike over obstacles]
Neoprene booties
Full-finger gloves over
Acrylic knit glove liners

I stay pretty warm and I don't get overly sweaty. Sometimes my feet get a little colder than I like and, worst of all, I can't ride for more than 90 minutes without stripping my lungs in the cold air.
re: Good list!dzrider
Nov 30, 2001 5:48 AM
I use most of these items in various combinations. The one size large shorts is a particularly useful item. I wear mine over thermal underwear. I notice that you arrange your layers quite specifically. I do also, although not the same way. IMHO the willingness to experiment and arrive at specific combinations that work is the best predictor of survival as a winter rider

Here's some other stuff I find useful:

suspenders - I can't stand gaps between tops and bottoms.
tight wool sweaters - available, pre-shrunk at thrift stores!
silk turtleneck - my favorite first layer
gore-tex sox
army surplus glove liners
silk underwear -- you like? I've heard some mixed things aboutbill
Nov 30, 2001 8:00 AM
silk as a first layer for aerobic exercise. Something about how other materials wick away moisture or breathe better or something. I've been thinking about trying it; I use poly-whatever-elene now, which is fine. I suspect that the differences among these are minimal.
silk underwear?guido
Nov 30, 2001 12:54 PM
If it's above 45F, silk layer against the skin traps too much body heat and sweat. Fabric gets wet, doesn't wick moisture away very well. Stick with wool or polypropylene knits. They'll hold body heat from the skin if worn under a shell, and breathe when temps warm up and you have to take off the shell.
re: Cold Weather Riding Clothes...what NOT to wear.bigrb
Nov 30, 2001 11:08 AM
Don't try the skinsuit under the above mentioned clothes. They trap too much heat and you sweat and then you freeze.
Don't use a rainjacket when it's not raining. You might think the warmth would be good, but if you've layered properly, it's not.
re: Cold Weather Riding ClothesBi-Psyclist
Nov 30, 2001 5:18 PM
The big thing is warm feet. Two pair of thin socks of wool or polypropylene are required. Tape the vent holes in your shoes. Cut a piece of MTB inner tube and put it under the insole of each shoe. Then a wind proof shoe cover (Louis Garneau makes one). Then a neoprene bootie. This should be fine down to -5 Celsius for 2.5 hrs.
re: Cold Weather Riding ClothesBi-Psyclist
Nov 30, 2001 7:02 PM
I forgot the anti-perspirent. That's to keep your feet dry so they don't get cold
re: Cold Weather Riding ClothesJohn-d
Nov 30, 2001 7:37 AM
It has been mentioned above, you can wrap up warm but you still have to breathe the icy air.

This can do damage, especially for us older cyclists.

Take care and consider indoor training, you may be thankful come the spring and you are still healthy.

I never ride now when it is below 5 deg C., when I was young it did not seem to matter, still that's life.

Stay healthy.
re: Cold Weather Riding Clothesmorrison
Nov 30, 2001 7:58 AM
Here is a good list for where I live (San Diego):

LOL Me too!cioccman
Nov 30, 2001 8:20 AM
I didn't even have a windbreaker til a short time ago. I've worn it once or twice so far. I do have arm warmers and leg warmers that I've worn quite a bit, under armour or another shirt under the jersey. Cotton in ears or headband.
re: Cold Weather Riding ClothesSimpleGreen
Nov 30, 2001 7:02 PM
I've had luck with this down to about 32F/0C

Craft shortsleeve baselayer (these are A+)
reg jersey + arm warmers or longsleeve jersey
Pearl Amfib Lobster gloves
Skull cap or earband.

Pearl Izumi thermafleece tights over shorts
Toe covers with wool sox.

Not too many layers and I stay dry because of the craft baselayer. The baselayer is skin tight and really is the heart of my system!

If you have knee trouble like I do, then warm tights are super important, even if they feel a bit warm. Gotta keep the muscles warm!

Good luck and stay warm!