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Cold weather riding

Need to start this topic up again, because the temperatures aren’t getting warmer, and I’m sure I’m not the only one looking for new ways to stay warm while riding this winter.

66 Replies

ngless, November 1, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Ok, I’ll start… 

How do ya’ll go about hydrating during the winter?   I’ve got insulated water bottles that do a great job of keeping water cold in the summer, and so far it hasn’t been cold enough to cause a freeze, but the problem I’m having is being able to grab the bottle with the winter gloves.  Do camelbaks work in the winter?  Are they better than an insulated bottle?  I’d imagine the water won’t freeze, and you could even put hot water in there to keep you warm during the start of your ride.

#24835

Satman, November 1, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Climbing Kilimanjaro ~ I used a Camelback in my backpack ~ just don’t forget to get the insulated hose and mouthpiece.  You can wear it under your jacket and look like a hunchback (but well hydrated) biker!

#24836

ts, November 1, 2010 at 4:11 pm

I use a Camelback water bottle and I don’t seem to have a problem grabbing it with gloves.  I don’t tend to drink as much during the winter so one bottle is enough for most of my rides.  For some reason I find myself stopping in coffee shops a lot more in the winter!

#24837

KittySlayer, November 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Cut and paste from the guidelines for the winter rides I lead:

Clothing and Gear

The key to winter weather is to dress in layers and absolutely NO COTTON. The shops in town have plenty of cold weather gear and as it gets colder each weekend you can buy one more layer. Ask other riders about what works well and other hints on staying warm. We usually shed a layer at the half way point. It is also good to have a warm hat and extra layer tucked in a pocket in case someone has a flat. If you are cold the first five minutes you are probably dressed just right. There is a clothing chart you can use as a guide on the website.

Speaking of flats be sure to have one or two good tubes in your bag as patches are hard to apply with cold fingers. Also have your bike in excellent mechanical condition as roadside stops are no fun in the snow. A blinky light on your bike can be nice too as shadows are longer and drivers are not expecting to see cyclist.

Pack your food close to your body so Gu packs do not become popsicles and you don’t break your teeth on an energy bar.

#24838

ts, November 1, 2010 at 4:35 pm

KittySlayer said:

There is a clothing chart you can use as a guide on the website.

I like the chart.  Why different temps on the first two rows?  Also, what’s with “Cotton Balls” under the Head wear category?  Seems like that should be under the Legs category with the knickers and tights.

#24839

KittySlayer, November 2, 2010 at 8:05 am

The different temps are ranges… the green column would be for temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees. If I anticipate temperatures rising I start in that column and look to the left. If temps might drop I add some extra stuff looking towards the right side. That is how I also deal with the overlapping layers, for instance if it is 40-45 at the start I will wear winter gloves if that is the high, but if things might warm up I wear knit gloves with thin liners I can remove later.

Ha Ha on the Cotton Balls! A couple of my hats will let some wind into my ears so adding cotton balls under my hat helps keep the cold air out of my inner ear.

#24840

ts, November 2, 2010 at 8:40 am

KittySlayer said: The different temps are ranges… the green column would be for temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees.

I get that, but why are there two rows of temperature ranges?  Good idea on the cotton balls – I was kind of stumped by that.  I have a friend who cuts out little pieces of styrofoam to plug up the vents in his helmet on really cold days so I was wondering if it was something like that.

#24841

jwsknk, November 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

I would have to shift some of those for myself anyway. Unless their definition of winter hat is a lot different. I have a skull cap I’ll use 40-20 or less with ear covers when it gets below freezing. Stocking cap will probably come out around 20, the real winter hat with the fur (or fake fur) around 0.
In the summer 50 fells like time to add leg warmers, but now, 50 dosen’t fell that bad. Also have cool weather and winter tights. When it gets really cold, 0 or less, to get to work it’s the leg warmers, jeans and rain/wind pants.
Have 5 pairs of gloves, fingerless for summer, with fingers for cool days, winter gloves, lobster claws, and mittens, Can add the cool weather gloves under the claws or mittens.

#24842

KittySlayer, November 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

ts said:

KittySlayer said: The different temps are ranges… the green column would be for temperatures ranging from 45 to 50 degrees.

I get that, but why are there two rows of temperature ranges?

I print out the chart, fold it in half and laminate it and put it in my gear bag. Then when I am at a ride start no agonizing about what to wear, look at the temp, look at the chart and pull out what I need. So two rows for the two sided chart when printed and folded.

The original chart is in an Excel file so if someone wants a copy so they can modify the ranges to suit their particular experience then send me a PM once they are working.

#24843

ngless, November 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

jwsknk said: …Have 5 pairs of gloves, fingerless for summer, with fingers for cool days, winter gloves, lobster claws…

How do you like the lobster claws?  I’ve been using the good ol’ polar-fleece winter gloves, and they’ve been warm enough but they probably don’t have enough padding (like normal bike gloves do).  Also, they don’t have any grip… which probably explains why I’m having trouble grabbing a water bottle out of it’s cage.

This morning it was ~35 deg F here, and we did 18.5 miles at around a 17mph clip.  Only my toes were cold during the ride (more on that later).  My upper/inner thigh area and just a little of my torso was frostbit though.  Not badly, but it turns red, itchy, burn-y once I’m inside.  I wear normal bike shorts, regular workout shorts on top, and then work-out sweatpants, and apparently that’s just not quite enough.  Eventually I hope to invest in some tights.

As far as the feet go: today I wore 1 pair of wool socks covered partially by plastic, then a second pair of wool socks, then the shoes, then shoe covers.  They were still cold!  Next time I ride, I’m planning on trying 2 things differently.  1- I’ll try removing the insole to give my feet a little more room (the shoes are tight, but not super tight), and 2- I’ll try to tuck the workout pants into the shoe covers.  Currently I use a velcro strap to keep the pants out of the chain.  Both changes should help circulation… we’ll see if it helps.  The only other thing I can think of doing is to put some “hot-hands” warmers in the shoe covers.  It appears that my feet will be my limiting factor as to how cold of weather I can ride in.

#24844

jwsknk, November 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

28 this morning and went with the winter gloves and added ear warmers. The claws are easier shifting/ breaking than mittens, a little warmer than gloves. Think they might have been warmer if the fingers were not separated inside.
 
Probably the coldest ride this fall do far, when we were up at Root River, SE Minnesota, it was around 35-40, Smartwool socks with sandals, leg warmers, long sleeve technical fabric shirt, shortsleeve jersey and jacket, loghtest full finger gloves. Probably should of had the tights instead of leg warmers, was a little cool between the knees and waist, two layers there would have helped..

Done BRR with the sandals, easier to adjust for added thickness of socks. Coldest time did the smartwool, up to about the arch with the ends of newspaper plastic bags to block the wind, then a pair of lighter socks.

#24845

Michrider !!!, November 2, 2010 at 1:31 pm

I did a short ride today (it was short because I got cold).  Guess I’ll have to start dressing in my winter mode.  Today I wore no-head ear covering (just helmet), short finger gloves and sandals with wool socks.  I have all the winter stuff, just have not started wearing it yet.  The temp was 50 with a NNE wind and I was cold!  I hate winter!  How many days!

#24846

ts, November 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

ngless said:

This morning it was ~35 deg F here, and we did 18.5 miles at around a 17mph clip.  Only my toes were cold during the ride (more on that later).  My upper/inner thigh area and just a little of my torso was frostbit though.  Not badly, but it turns red, itchy, burn-y once I’m inside.  I wear normal bike shorts, regular workout shorts on top, and then work-out sweatpants, and apparently that’s just not quite enough.

You really need something more windproof on your legs in the winter.  It was 24 here this morning and I wore just a pair of mid-weight tights that have a windproof layer on the front and my legs were toasty.  My limiting factor during the winter is my feet.  I use toe covers down to about 35 and neoprene shoe covers when it’s colder than that.  After an hour this morning my feet were cold, but not freezing with the covers.  I saw a nice pair of winter shoes in the LBS last weekend that are starting to call my name.

#24847

Michrider !!!, November 2, 2010 at 4:31 pm

A few years back I bought a cheap pair of cycling boots 2 sizes larger than normal.  I can wear up to 3 pairs of wool socks but usually wear 2.  When it gets below 30 I usually wear chemical foot warmers (love them).  Time to start looking for all my winter stuff!

#24848

ts, November 2, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I’m going to give the chemical warmers a try before springing for the shoes.  The ones in the LBS aren’t cheap!

#24849

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