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questions about cold weather riding.(10 posts)

questions about cold weather riding.PeterRider
Dec 9, 2003 11:02 AM
I was planning on a 350-400/2days ride this week-end in France. But looking below on this page at the thread about cold weather riding, rides lasting only 2-3 hours and so on, I'm getting a bit scared... I was planning to ride all day as usual, and temperatures are certainly going to be freezing, I expect 20-30F.

Here is what I was planning to take along, do you have advice as to what's missing ?
- warm socks (I usually use coolmax stuff but I can go get smartwool) and gore-tex oversocks
- mountain bike shoes - need to buy that today...
- leg warmers and gore-tex pants
- how many layers to take ? I have 4-5 medium-weight tops and 2 heavyweight tops.
- full-finger gloves
- jacket
- fleece balaclava
- camelbak
- thinking of taking a scarf...


re: questions about cold weather riding.kfatschor
Dec 9, 2003 11:43 AM
I always enjoy your ridind reps. but I think you want to make your cycling life (as "easy" as it might be if you live in sunny Cal)much harder. I dont know about the others but fot me cycling in below 32 deg is more about surviving the cold than actual workout.
But anyhooo if you got leg warmers and gore-tex pants your legs will be fine ,good windproof and breathable jacket
is helpful (I bought meself Raceface Aquanot)and mtb winter shoes if you got some dough to spread around can't hurt.I also find lobster gloves very warm (even too warm smtimes). But me thinks shoes are the most important !!
Anyway I think no matter you take or wear you will be cold , I wish you luck and looking forward to ride rep
from France.
By the way I heard they having flood over there so I'd think of some kind flotation device too.
Good luk
riding in germanybrad nicholson
Dec 9, 2003 11:56 AM
i'm in heidelberg, germany and i commute daily. the temps have been in the low 20s. i wear the following on my mtn bike (i don't like commuting on my road bike as i sometimes takes unorthodox "short-cuts"):

thinsulate insulated ski cap
gore windstopper gloves
neoprene overshoes
polypro long underwear pants
cyclint tights
polypro long underwear shirt
thick long sleeve jersey
rain jacket (depends, more often than not yes here in germany)
also, when it drops lower i will add a hard foam ski mask with fleece throat cover and rain pants.

don't forget glasses to keep the tears from your eyes! and the chapstick!
re: questions about cold weather riding.bimini
Dec 9, 2003 11:54 AM
Looks like you have it covered.

You do not mention spandex tights. The goretex pants may keep to much moisture in. I like to use basic spandex tights with polyprolene long underwear underneath. Keeps me warm enough and allows the moisture to get out. I also like to use polyproplene under my heavy top (2 layers and a heavy top when it is real cold. Goretex is good if it rains but does not breath enough if you are working hard.

The scarf can be dangerous if it gets caught in the wheel.
re: questions about cold weather
Dec 9, 2003 1:17 PM
1. Have a good layer under your jersey or jacket. I recommend highly Craft's S-3 Long Sleeve WindStop base layer. It has a windbreak on the front, but it allows your back to breathe.

2. Take something like Vaseline or skin lotion to put on the exposed parts of your face. Even with a balaclava and glasses, you will have some parts of your face exposed. Unless you put something on the exposed parts, they will become red and painful after an hour or two of riding in 20-30F temperatures.

Have fun -- I look forward to your pictures.
re: questions about cold weather riding.MShaw
Dec 9, 2003 5:55 PM
The one piece of advice that no one has mentioned yet: if you are warm in the first 10-15min of your ride, you are overdressed.

I've found that you don't need to wear as much as you think you do if you're out exercising in the cold.

Since everyone's different, you'll just have to experiment to find what works for you. (Hey, where'd that chart go that someone posted a while back? Maybe that'd help.)

I don't agree with that.purplepaul
Dec 9, 2003 6:20 PM
When it's freezing or below, I put my layers on and stay indoors for a little while just to build up some heat. Then, when I'm just starting to ride, I'm not cold. However, after the first half hour, I don't get any warmer. Hands and feet are the main problems and they can start to complain after the first hour. After two hours, if it's really cold (20's or below), my feet are in decent pain, and I'm looking to go home. Keep in mind that this has happened plenty of times when I've started out too warm or just warm enough as well as when I was chilly at the start.

When it's simply cool outside, like in the mid-40's, I'd agree with you; you'll overheat if you're comfortable at the start.

But when conserving body heat is important, it's best to start as warm as possible and hope it lasts longer than your ride.
Right, but most people probably don't do it that wayTNSquared
Dec 10, 2003 8:47 AM
I think most folks check to see how cold it is, bundle up in layers and then step outside to see if they are comfortable. And Mike is right on that point, if your are comfortable at the start without having built up any body heat, then you are overdressed. As you exercise and build up the body heat, you will start to sweat alot, get wet, and then you will freeze your arse off.

Your method is probaly best. I have noticed at times that if I get dressed first and then fill my bottles, put on my shoes, etc., I start to get too warm and can tell I'm overdressed. My guess is dressed and not exercising indoors is fairly close to dressed and exercising outdoors, so you are essentially testing the amount of clothing you have on. I just don't think many people take the time to sit around and evaluate the amount of clothing they've chosen, though, so it is a guessing game.

Cycling is a little different because of the added wind chill, but it is a very common rule of thumb for cold weather running that if you are appropriately dressed you will be slightly chilled for the first 10-15 minutes and then comfortable as your body heat increases from the effort.

Of course, the most important factor of all in conserving body heat is covering the head.
I have found that a helmet cover keeps the wind off my head.MikeBiker
Dec 9, 2003 7:22 PM
I also use fleece ear warmer over the balaclava when it is really cold.
perfect world vs/ the boy scout approachsupercorsa
Dec 9, 2003 8:53 PM
the boy scout in me would like to bring up a point to ponder. your gear list pretty much has everything covered, but what if you encounter some sort of mechanical issue (flat, etc...) that takes a while to sort out. you will rapidly go from optimally dressed to woefully underdressed. back when i used to do a lot of ski touring the routine was that as soon as we stopped we'd immedietly throw on another layer for the duration of the stop. nip the heat loss in the bud. for trips as long as you are planning i'd pack a fleece shell along for such contingencies.

fwiw - eric