The Chainlink

Bike Winter "Get Layered" - What layers to buy for winter cycling?

A year ago I went to the "Get Layered" presentation by the Bike Winter guys (you all rock, by the way). Now that it's time to start buying winter gear for this year's season, I've forgotten about what to buy. I'm starting from scratch, and trying to get something more comfortable and effective this year to replace my sweatshirt and down jacket that I've worn in years past.

So, what layers do you wear when you go out cycling in the 10 degree weather? If you have any winter cycling suggestions also, this could turn into a very productive thread.

Tags: cycling, layers, winter

Views: 944

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Check out these discussions:

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/2211490:Topic:4659

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/what-cold-weather-riding

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/winter-bicycle-commuting

http://www.thechainlink.org/forum/topics/cheapish-winter-athletic-gear


There are many more as well, most of these have links to other discussions. Trial and error works really well to get the exact gear necessary to stay comfortable.
Layer 1: Wool base layer (cheap @ Target).
Layer(s) 2.x: Whatever.
Layer 3: Windproof shell (no insulation.)

If you can ride a bike in a down jacket and not get drenched in sweat, you're not riding hard enough.
Also, for very cold weather I invested in some snowboarding mittens. I got them one size up so I can fit another pair of gloves comfortably.
I think Jami's right about the trial and error. sometimes it can help to carry a couple of extra pieces in your pannier if you carry one to add or take off. It's really helpful if you are riding with kids and getting used to winter riding together. I use alot of light wool layers and find they can be found at the thrift shop as well as at a bike store. I find that the slushy intro to snow can be nice to ride under a pair of rainpants!
Yesterday morning it was 18 degrees. I wore; t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, another heavier t-shirt, button down denim shirt, 2 zip up sweatshirt jackets. Bottom half; pajama pants, jeans, 2 pairs of socks, gym shoes. Winter atire; hat, backlava, lobster gloves. My toes got very cold and I am trying to find a solution for cold toes.
I am not a badass I COMMUTE 20 MILES EACH WAY EVERY SINGLE DAY BLIZZARD OR NOT winter warrior, but I do ride consistently throughout the winter.

I don't wear pants. Maybe 2-3 times a year I'll don some knickers, but the vast vast majority of my winter cycling is done in skirts, because I'm fucking crazy and I hate myself.

I just bought a couple pairs of Smartwool tights and they're making me quite happy. My toes were still freezing when I wore them solo to bike home the other day, but they'll make a better layering piece than two pairs of non-wool tights layered like I normally wear.

I'm thinking for this part of the year I'm going to wear the Smartwool tights, over the knee socks, and knee socks layered.

During the holy-shit-why-did-I-move-to-Chicago-again part of the year I'm likely going to wear wee little bike shorts over the tights to keep my butt warm, warm socks over the tights to keep my feet warm, and then cover the whole shebang up with those super long and thick American Apparel thigh high socks that I am sure most people only associate the the AA ad where a naked Sasha Grey was only wearing those socks but holy balls they're pretty ace if you never wear pants.

My advice should be taken with a grain of salt because like I said, I'm crazy and if just not freezing to death was my first concern I'd probably suck it up and start wearing pants.
I agree strongly with this.
Although currently I'm skipping a middle layer (I almost always get too hot when I ride except when it's below zero).
Also agree with trial and error. I feel it should be possible to put your layers together from clothes you already have. If money is to be spent I'd focus it on head, eye, hand, or footwear.



envane x said:
Layer 1: Wool base layer (cheap @ Target).
Layer(s) 2.x: Whatever.
Layer 3: Windproof shell (no insulation.)

If you can ride a bike in a down jacket and not get drenched in sweat, you're not riding hard enough.
Just a word of caution. Cotton is a horrible insulating fabric. If you sweat at all, then it becomes heavy and cold. Wool and silk are great natural fiber insulators, but can be very expensive as a base layer. Polyester and other synthetic or technical fabrics can work great and be cheaper, though sometimes they can retain odors.

When you want to keep your toes warm, make sure that you don't wear too many layers on your feet that your feet are stuffed into your shoes. You need air in there to keep in the heat. You didn't say what kind of fiber your socks were made out of, but I would really recommend wool socks. You can buy expensive smartwool ones (they are very nice) or you can get someone with a costco card and get 4 pairs for $10 there.

With wool socks, you could be able to just wear one pair of socks....or wear one pair or wool socks with a lighter weight other sock underneath. If it's really cold, I find that putting a plastic shopping bag in your shoe can make it very warm, but it makes you look like a hobo.






dav said:
Yesterday morning it was 18 degrees. I wore; t-shirt, long sleeve shirt, another heavier t-shirt, button down denim shirt, 2 zip up sweatshirt jackets. Bottom half; pajama pants, jeans, 2 pairs of socks, gym shoes. Winter atire; hat, backlava, lobster gloves. My toes got very cold and I am trying to find a solution for cold toes.
This is my first winter commuting. I love my windbreaker and windpants but they make ventilation difficult. Moisture buildup has become a big problem. Anyone know of a simple windbreaker shell with pit zips and a back zip (ie cheap)?
Though it isn't necessary, this is my first winter using Patagonia's capilene baselayer. Last winter I just wore a woven thermal style pajama pant (like $7 at Target) underneath of my jeans. It was great for an extra layer of warmth but did nothing against wind. This year I invested in a capilene 3 long john and I can already tell it will work at much better for the long run. They are a very thin synthetic with a slick outer that slides very easily in and out of pants and doesn't seem to snag at all. I have a friend that gets a good discount but these go on sale pretty regularly. I will be adding the long-sleeve shirt layer of the same grade in a couple of weeks.

http://www.patagonia.com/us/shop/capilene-baselayer?k=6x

Aside from that I'll just wear a little cotton long sleeved shirt which shouldn't be a problem since sweat won't sink through the baselayer and then a very thin wind shell jacket. I'm wearing Swix lobster gloves this year instead of snow mitts. I find they provide increased dexterity without losing warmth. I bought them a size up at REI and will have to get a couple of pairs of silk glove liners at the Army Surplus on Lincoln this week for when it starts getting really cold.
I agree with the trial and error and also with the wool/capilene then fleece-or-whatever then windlayer. I like the windlayer to be waterproof too and I carry a really warm down vest to throw under it if I stop to do other things.

Cold toes: I found the answer last year, and it is bread bags. Or similar things - warmlite.com has durable nylon ones. Utterly waterproof socks like this go over your regular socks, then you can either put on insulating socks over them or just put your feet in your shoes. In deep winter, it's snow boots; now, it's sneakers. But try the bread bags - they keep the insulation dry and effective that's over them.

Also, Jamimaria already pointed this out, but I agree that you need lots of wiggle room for toes to stay warm.
By the way, I'm just trying out a snowboard helmet for the first time, and it's a nice alternative to my usual fleece-balaclava-under-a-bike-helmet. Really warm, fewer bumpy folds leaving lines in my forehead. Fits well with goggles, and they aren't always sliding off like they used to.

If you get one for biking some are certified by CPSC for this and ASTM 2040 certified for snow sports, and some aren't. I am not sure after reading lots of stuff I could find on the internet if there's a big difference between the 2040 and CPSC standards, so I think maybe any snowboard helmet is OK, but there are some models certified for both so look for the CPSC if it's important to you.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

© 2008-2013   The Chainlink Community, L.L.C. Julie Hochstadter, Director   Powered by

Disclaimer  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service