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I need some ideas. I've been thinking about revamping my riding clothes for cold weather.
It's not enough.
I want to ride more in the cold/rain, but can't take more than 1 hour before I'm soaked and chilled to the bone.
I currently use Pearl Izumi long stretch pants (I'm a spandex/tights/behind the seat all the time/don't want to catch any clothing on the seat kinda rider.)
and a Gore Bike Wear top.
If need be, I'll layer up with long johns, extra layers of polypro up top, etc.

I live in an area that gets lots of rain and is usually between 30-50 degrees in the winter.
Napa Valley, Ca.

Doesn't sound that cold, but it's the humidity that gets to you.
I would rather have it be 20 degrees and dry than 40 degrees and wet.
Wind chill is a huge factor.

Gloves, clothes - non-restricting/waterproof etc. I have excellent shells(goretex jackets) to repel the rain, but what do you wear for cold, drizzly dayz to keep you warm?
I wanna go shopping...
 

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2006 Yeti AS-X
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I've ridden in 10 deg with:

3 part upper: From inside to out - T-Shirt, long john top (Rocky brand from Wallie World), and a windbreaker I got for $10 from wallieworld.

2 part lower: Long john bottom (Rocky brand from Wallieworld) and sweatpants.

Hands: Cheap $15 full finger thinsulate gloves.

Feet: Polyester sock liner I use during hunting season and regular sock.

Head: Balaclava from the LBS.

I have had no issue with freezing with these, in fact, after about 5 min of riding, I am pretty darn toasty.
 

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Engineered base layer , wicks the moisture away from your skin . Insulating second layer . Wind blocking , rain proof third layer . Add more insulating layers as needed .
 

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nocturnal oblivion
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Merino wool! Smartwool is my brand of choice, leg/arm warmers and base layers. It doesn't dry quickly but keeps you warm even when damp.
 

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The White Jeff W
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Winter Clothing 101
The science to staying warm on those cold weather rides
By ED SASSLER, coach for the Harvard University Cycling Association

You've probably heard the most common advice - dress in layers. They never really explain the layers, so I try to. I break winter clothing down into three layers, and then deal with the special areas as needed. The three layers are wicking layer, thermal layer, and isolation layer. Each layer has a specific job to do, get them in the wrong order and it can't work (sort of like trying to put the insulation on the outside of the walls).

Wicking layer: You need to keep your body warm, but your body is also trying to regulate itself, so there's moisture. The wicking layer's job is to pass that moisture to the outside, away from your skin. The mountain climbers' saying "cotton kills" comes from the fact that cotton absorbs water and acts like a wall against wicking. The thing that most people don't get about the wicking layer is that it's NOT warm. Wicking doesn't work across a temperature drop, if it's body temp on one side and 20 degrees colder on the other side, it's just not going to work well. The insulation or R factor comes in the next layer - don't let the marketing fool you.

There are lots of winter jackets that say they pass moisture to the outside, have you ever seen salt build-up on a winter jacket on a cold day? The reason I point this out is because your body will keep producing moisture, and at some point the wicking layer becomes saturated. The amount of wicking you need is based on the time you plan on riding. For short rides you can get away with a thin layer; longer rides you're going to need more. This is based on the individual, and everybody has their problem areas - if you understand the wicking layer's job you can make it work.

Thermal layer: This is much like the insulation in your walls, thickness = R value to some extent. Think of this as a dead airspace, if air is warm, trapped and not moving, this layer is doing its job. This is the layer that most people have, the wool sweater or polar fleece top - all good stuff. Where the
wicking layer is based on time, the thermal layer is based on temp. On either of these two layers I like the thin/thick/both method of getting the most for your money. If you have one thin layer and one thick layer you have three temperature ranges, which should cover almost all of your riding needs.

tIsolation layer: If the thermal layer is the dead air space around your body, and you're moving, something has to keep the wind out. The isolation layer's job is just that, keeping the wind out, with the ability to regulate using the zipper. No ability to vent and you'll feel like you're in a steam room, until you cool down and then you'll feel like you're in an ice storm. The cut of the isolation layer counts, I've found very few all-purpose jackets that do what a cycling jacket is asked to do, but some of the new cycling jackets can be worn anywhere.

Hands and head: Hands and feet are always a problem. For hands, I have a bunch of different gloves for different conditions, but they all have one thing in common - room for glove liners.

Glove liners are basically a wicking layer for your hands, but as they add thickness, they also add some R value. Here's a little trick: get two pairs of glove liners, keep the second pair in a back pocket. After you stop, you have two options, you can put the wet gloves back on, or you can switch to the warm dry pair of liners. Everybody else in the group will think you're a genius. For the head I've tried just about everything, and here's what I've found: you can't jam enough inside the helmet to do the job, and you don't have to. There are helmet covers that go over the helmet, forming a little greenhouse around your head. Add a headband that covers your ears and you're good to go!

tFeet: feet are a big issue for many. The common mistake is to try to jam thicker socks into shoes that were fit for thin ones. If you compress insulation you get itchy cardboard, so don't do it. If you're not using cleated shoes, find that set of boots you wear with the thick wool socks. If you are wearing cleated shoes, booties are the answer, and once again there is layering to think about. You could just throw the booties over your shoes and be off, but a lot of people find that falls short. If you buy booties slightly larger and find giant thick wool socks, you can cut a hole for the cleats in the socks, put them over the shoe and then put the bootie over that. You can even fold the end of the sock down to keep the zipper tab from flopping around, and give you Clydesdale look.

Lastly, there is the scarf. Cycling is an activity, it requires effort that requires breathing. The one inlet of cold air you can't eliminate is your breathing, but you can do things to warm both the air and your neck and chest. The scarf is the perfect item for this. It goes around the neck and tucks in right in front of the chest. They're cheap, you may already have one, and if you match the extra wool sock sticking out of your booties, you get extra style points. Note: never let the scarf hang down near the wheels.

Dressing for winter riding is a bit of a science, and it takes a while to get it all so that you're comfortable, but it does work. The up side will become clear, you can ride more of the season, and, understanding how to dress for cycling means there aren't a whole lot of things you can't be ready for.

There's a saying, "there are no bad riding days, just poor clothing decisions."
 

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Wool

Kucharik sells some great marino wool tights and long sleeve jerseys, that with barrier layer would work very well.
 

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for my feet I use Sorel Fairbanks drift (shoe/boot things). waterproof, lined in thick felt. a bit wide to accomodate my merino wool socks. I've got some seirus neoprene socks, but even down to 15 degrees I haven't had to use them yet.

For my hands I use some gloves I found at Sports Authority called "Ice Armor". They look like typical winter gloves, but they are much less restricting and I really like the wrist strap. Inside of these I wear Seirus silk liner gloves.

I honestly don't know what I'd do for my hands in cold rain. The Ice Armor gloves say they are waterproof, but a little melted snow/ice is different than drowning in rain.

I wear a Giro Talon ski helmet with Scott Storm OTG goggles. for the face and neck I wear a Maxit Headgator. Everyone should own one of those headgators.

On my body I wear
1. a duofold sport thermal (basically a wicking layer)
2. a 100% merino wool Kona jersey (mix of insulating and wicking)
3.thin duofold polypro top

over all that I wear whatever cool looking regular jersey I feel like wearing. Not as warm as it sounds, but it keeps me just about right.

for my legs I wear some quarter inch thick polypro that the Air Force issued to me, Its awesome. Probably a little too warm, really. But I've got to keep my patellar ligaments warm as they get cold easily. Over that I wear either some Kona moto style pants or some actual motocoss pants from a brand called Shift.


I bring with me the matching quarter-inch poly pro top just in case things get serious. With that on I'm usually too warm though, so I avoid wearing it if I can.

warm water goes into my camelback mule. the main part is pretty well insulated and water doesn't temp too easily nature, so it stays warm. I've got a lizard skins insulator on the camelback hose, not sure if it helps at all. But with the warm water as long as I drink about every 10 minutes, the hose doesn't freeze solid.

put the lowest weight oil you can get into your suspension fork. If your shock is easily serviceable, do the same.
 

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My really cold weather gear:

All in order from skin

upper: Base layer (long sleeve under armor, or short sleeve under armor with arm PI arm warmers,old school trek wool jersey, rain/wind shell if needed, but always take.

Lowers: Cycling shorts, Nike winter running tights, and not so loose fitting cargo shorts if above freezing and dry, or wind/rain pants (with elastic cuffs and waist) if wet and below freezing. Running tights IMO are far more comfy and warm than cycling tights. They tend to be a little looser fitting, nice for being worn over shorts, but have tighter (non-zippered) cuffs. And my nike brand ones have a nice jersey (t shirt material) lining.

Head: under armor skull cap, behind the head ear muffs if needed, and doo-rag over face if windy.

Feet: nice wool socks and if wet/windy, plastic sandwich baggies over toes.

Hands: Tight cotton winter running gloves, fox long finger gloves


Rain gear was from Dicks, I think store brand, very cheap, but sturdy.

I'm one of those always hot and rarely cold guys, so I like to dress in layers so I don't sweat (backpacking/climbing background.) I'll sometimes get buy with regular jersey and arm warmers and tight fitting fleece vest, and tights (with cargos on top) or my climbing knickers over cycling shorts if its dry and above freezing.

The trails here (south central PA/north central MD) are pretty much wooded, so that helps with the wind.

When its really cold, or snowy/muddy, I wear hiking shoes (low top) and use platform pedals. Little warmer and easier to get around than on cycling shoes.


This morning ride it was 28F, and I wore in order from skin: Long sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey (not wool) and fleece vest up top, and shorts, tights, knickers below. and skull cap under helmet. Wool socks, and hiking shoes. It was not very windy, but cold and some snow left over form Saturday on trails. I started to wish about an hour in I had wore short sleeve base layer and arm warmers, as I was getting a little warm, and would have been nice to remove them.
 

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I run hot and what I have Im usally good to about 15deg.

UnderArmor Metal compression top
Bike Jersey
Champion zippered fleece jacket
windbreaker

Louis Garneau riding tights, light weight
baggy riding shorts

Shoes, I wear my normal shoes, and wool socks

I have a Bell skull cap that covers my head and most of my ears, for gloves I have some Fox winter motocross gloves that are durable and warm.

I like finding peices of gear from other sports that work well, or even better than expensive cycling gear....but sometimes only cycling specific stuff will do!
 

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Yesterday I did a 1 hour snow ride in 12 degree weather. I was comfortable except for my feet - I've got lake mxc300 shoes that are about 5 years old. These are the ones:

http://www.bikeman.com/LAKE-MXZ300-42.html

I'd invest in new winter shoes but I don't know if they'd be any warmer. Lots of people swear by the lakes, but they haven't worked out that well for me. I'm using them with medium weight smartwool socks.

Other than the shoes I was wearing some insulated snow pants that a friend found in the local 'free box', a non-insulated ski shell, long underwear top and tshirt. Also ski gloves and a ski helmet. I had on a fleece jacket at first but I got too hot.

So far my coldest experiences have been on long descents - recently I did a big climb on the road and felt great, but on the way down I had to stop a few times to warm up, the wind really got to me. I guess the trick is to pack some extra layers for that phase.

Egg beaters have been working great for me in the snow (and mud too), this winter I've watched a few friends in shimanos take falls from frozen pedals. I came across one rider who fell in a snowdrift and ended up having to remove her shoe to get out of the pedal!
 

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Maybe some of my tips won't apply to the OP because I don't have humid or wet conditions, but I do ride in temps between 0-20 deg F almost every morning all winter long.

A couple things I'd add to what's already been said:

The Winter Riding 101 by Ed Sassler that jeffw posted is right on.

Upper body: I wear a good polypro or similar base/wicking layer followed by my fleece insulated Castelli long-sleeved jersey down to 25-30 degrees. Below that I add a Pearl Izumi Fleece pull over.These both have tall zip-up necks.

Legs: Sugoi medium weight inuslated tights with my regular Hoss Ponderosa baggies on top.

Feet: Regular thin cycling socks (wicking layer) with medium weight Smart Wool socks (insulating layer) over that. Regular shoes covered with the Performance fleece lined neoprene full booties (insulation and barrier). If it's below 20 I add a pair of chemical toe warmers under my toes... If it's below 10, I add a second pair on top of my toes.

One thing he doesn't mention is that one reason it doesn't work to just layer up thick socks inside your regular shoes if they are too tight is because that cuts off the circulation to the feet. No circulation = No heat. So it's ok to wear regular shoes, just have some that are roomy enough for extra sock layers.

Another thing that helps with the feet is to cut out a piece of neoprene from some old toe booties and place under the insole right over the cleat to help keep the cleat from sucking all the heat out of your feet and to make that hole a bit more water resistant. Or replace the regular insole with a thicker felt insole. Again, make sure there's enough room for circulation.

Head: Head band that covers the ears is suffient down to 20, below that I add a thin polypro balaclava under that to help keep the top of the head and my face warm.

Hands: Ditto the glove liner comment. That rocks. And I love the idea someone posted about a second pair to change into mid-ride when the first pair gets wet!
Knit polypro glove liner followed by Fleece windstopper gloves down to 25 degrees. Below that there is absolutely nothing better than Moose Mitts. Handlebar-mounted insulated pogies. This set up is great. Probably pretty water proof too. I'm good down to zero and below with this set up. Only caveat is that they're too warm for me above 30 degrees.

Oh and just some advice for Lawson Raider: If you ever get into some really cold wet weather or get stranded out in the hills after sweating a bunch in that set up of yours you could be in for some trouble. Cotton long johns and sweat pants/shirts are death if they get wet. They don't say "cotton kills" for nothin'.
 

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Hi guys!
I red the comments, and red several articles in this issue, but no answer for my problem. I understand the point in Ed Sassler's article, but what abaut waist? In chilli weather after 2 hours riding I feel pain in may lower back around the waist. The reason is get could. While riding down the slope, you sit behind the saddle therefore your jacket slips up a little bit. Maddening thing always pull it back :( I need a waist band or something keep my waist warm. I use these handwarmers in my back pocket with a fair mark. But for 2 or 3 hours riding I need 3 or 4 of them, gives extra weight to carry on.
 

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I have Pearl Izumi winter jacket and trousers. But you could be right, I have to look around. Unfortunately here in Hungary, hard to get the newest technology. The shops get it for you, but only if you really wants to buy it. No chance to try it on :( . Buy it from CRC or similar webshop carries a risk, what if something not as you imagine. Takes time, extra money .....
Still looking for some kind of waist warmer solution.
 

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Terrain Sculptor
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I grew up in an area where staying warm in winter was a matter of survival, not just comfort.

In cold weather your most likely source of loss of body heat is the top of your head (look it up). The first place you are likely to feel it is in your feet and then your hands.

In northern Canada there is an axiom, "if your feet are cold, put a hat on"

Wool is a great insulator as mentioned before. It works when wet.
 

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saddlemeat
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KRob said:
Bib insulated tights. No slippy. No gap at the back. Done.
+1 with chamois and wind blocking panels on front.

PI overboots, thick wool socks in roomy shoes.

Mountaineering gloves, or mechanix gloves or fleece gloves. A dry pair for the ride back, usually thicker.

Thick or thin balaclava or fleece headband.

Light or mid or heavyweight polypro top, PI Kodiak jersey, wind vest or shell or rain shell in CB.
 
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