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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 3, 2010 at 11:49 am

ts said:

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.
I think you have words of wisdom there.  Today’s ride was 28°F when we started. Again only my legs and toes were cold.  My newly arrived balaclava worked very well.  I could probably use a pair of new glasses too though. My prescription glasses do very little to block the wind.

What sort of leg warmers/knickers would you recommend?  Something like this or this?  I’ve already invested in some winter bike gear, and I’ll be asking for gift cards for xmas… just don’t know if I can get away with dropping a whole boatload more money to scratch the cycling itch over the winter.

#24850

jwsknk, November 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

I’s go with the first there. The glasses are the biggest problem I have, fogging up and freezing making it hard to see.

#24851

KittySlayer, November 3, 2010 at 12:18 pm

ngless said:

My upper/inner thigh area and just a little of my torso …turns red, itchy, burn-y once I’m inside….

T.M.I. – are you sure you did not catch something from some random RAGBRAI hookup?

With regard to chemical warmers – open them up when you first start getting dressed so they have 10-15 minutes of open, free flowing, air to activate before you stuff them inside your nearly airtight shoe and booty. Get the ones they sell for boots as they have some adhesive to keep them from sliding around. I will wear a thin pair of liner socks, stick the warmer on top, above my toes, then wool socks and winter riding shoes. If you put the warmer on the bottom of your foot it will bunch up and become uncomfortable.

#24852

Michrider !!!, November 3, 2010 at 1:33 pm

KittySlayer said:
With regard to chemical warmers – open them up when you first start getting dressed so they have 10-15 minutes of open, free flowing, air to activate before you stuff them inside your nearly airtight shoe and booty. Get the ones they sell for boots as they have some adhesive to keep them from sliding around. I will wear a thin pair of liner socks, stick the warmer on top, above my toes, then wool socks and winter riding shoes. If you put the warmer on the bottom of your foot it will bunch up and become uncomfortable.

Heat Max makes Tosti Toes warmers that are flat, with adhesive on one side.  I use them and they work well.  They do not bunch up and keep my feet warm for hours.

#24853

ngless, November 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm

KittySlayer said:

ngless said:

My upper/inner thigh area and just a little of my torso …turns red, itchy, burn-y once I’m inside….

T.M.I. – are you sure you did not catch something from some random RAGBRAI hookup?

I knew someone would make this comment… but how else do you describe mild frostbite? Not to mention I’m married and faithful, thankyouverymuch.

Thanks for the tips on the chemical warmers, hopefully there is enough room in my shoes for them (with insoles removed).  If they do fit, I’ll try those tomorrow if we ride.

#24854

ts, November 3, 2010 at 4:13 pm

ngless said:

What sort of leg warmers/knickers would you recommend?  Something like this or this?

If you get just one, probably something more like the first.  I have a couple of different weights, one for temps down to freezing and one for temps below that.  Specifically, the lighter one is this one and the heavier one is this.  I have a couple of pairs of the lighter ones because I use them more.  For colder weather, I really like the Descente tight – it’s what I wore earlier this week when it was 24 and they were more than enough.  They’re warm without being too bulky or restrictive.

I would advise you not to get tights with built-in chamois.  Get just the plain tights and wear them under your shorts.  That way you get the padding and an extra layer of fabric in just the right place. Also, you’ll sometimes start a ride when it’s cold enough for tights and end when it’s warm enough for shorts.  Having the non-padded tights allows you to easily un-layer.  If course, if you plan on un-layering mid-ride you’ll want to wear the tights outside your shorts, but in general I find it warmer and more comfortable to wear the tights inside.

#24855

ngless, November 4, 2010 at 9:14 am

Great stuff TS. I appreciate the tips. 

Last night I re-discovered that I had a pair of under-armor running tights. I say ‘re-discovered’ because I had forgotten I had them, and then had to search high and low to find them.  They should help for the short term, but eventually I’ll want something that blocks the wind better.

This mornings ride was much warmer, around 44°.  I left off a layer, but I was still over dressed.  I tried the chemical toe warmers, and they DID seem to help.  The real test will be when I ride again below 30°.  I also tried a new pair of glasses and that didn’t work well at all.  They’re shooting/field glasses that cover more of my face, but they were fogging up like crazy.

 I ride with 5 other guys (all older and faster than me) at 5:45AM, and today I just couldn’t keep up.  Didn’t eat my wheeties or something.

#24856

indianafrank, November 4, 2010 at 9:28 am

ts. where in the world are you that it is 35 below zero? Antarctica?

#24857

indianafrank, November 4, 2010 at 9:32 am

OK, it was ngless who said it was 35 below. Where are you?

#24858

jwsknk, November 4, 2010 at 9:50 am

We had a couple of 30 below days in Ames 2 years ago. Found out the greas that comes in the freewheels wont handle temps that low, it gels and then trying to pull away from a stop it feels like the chain has come off. You can just spin and go nowhere. the LBS put some different grease in for the cold weather, the stuff one of the mechs used for Iditabike.

#24859

knees36, November 4, 2010 at 11:19 am

jwsknk said: We had a couple of 30 below days in Ames 2 years ago. Found out the greas that comes in the freewheels wont handle temps that low, it gels and then trying to pull away from a stop it feels like the chain has come off. You can just spin and go nowhere. the LBS put some different grease in for the cold weather, the stuff one of the mechs used for Iditabike.

jw and other cold weather riders…I’ve been using Phil’s Tenacious Oil for many years now in my freewheel in summer and winter instead of grease  with no problems in either season and seemingly no appreciable wear of the freewheel ~~~yes,  I’m sitll using freewheels.  The freewheel functions flawlessly and quietly.

#24860

ts, November 4, 2010 at 3:05 pm

indianafrank said: ts. where in the world are you that it is 35 below zero? Antarctica?

That would be *way* too cold for me! I typed “~35” (tilde 35) to indicate that it was “about 35” degrees.  Sorry for the confusion.

#24861

ts, November 4, 2010 at 3:20 pm

ngless said: Great stuff TS. I appreciate the tips. 

Last night I re-discovered that I had a pair of under-armor running tights. I say ‘re-discovered’ because I had forgotten I had them, and then had to search high and low to find them.  They should help for the short term, but eventually I’ll want something that blocks the wind better.

This mornings ride was much warmer, around 44°.  I left off a layer, but I was still over dressed.  I tried the chemical toe warmers, and they DID seem to help.  The real test will be when I ride again below 30°.  I also tried a new pair of glasses and that didn’t work well at all.

I started out wearing running tights when I first started riding in the winter and they worked pretty well.  I’d give them a try to see how they work so you’ll have a better idea of what you want when you start looking at cycling tights.  Also, think about getting a pair of simple toe covers like these.  They work well for me down to the mid 30s.  In winter I think glasses with vents in the lenses or frames helps reduce fogging a lot.  Lots of cycling glasses have these – here’s just one example.

#24862

Michrider !!!, November 6, 2010 at 11:24 am

I did my first spinning class of the winter today.  I met a guy who has done RAGBRAI 20 times.  Needless to say, I was impressed!    RAGBRAI is everywhere!!!!

#24863

pHIlo, November 7, 2010 at 11:47 am

Dang, I guess I’ll have to buy new gloves … I can only find one right glove of two indentical pair, can’t find my polypro liners either!

#24864

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