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Thread: Cold Weather Riding Tips?

  1. #1
    MoJo Pope Nixon's Avatar
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    Cold Weather Riding Tips?

    What cold weather riding tips can you guys share.

    I'd prefer not to buy and expensive gear since this is only an issue a few times a year.

    i took my 12 year old out to Slaughter Creek Trail yesterday.

    We were both layered up pretty good to the point that the ride would have been great except for the hands and feet.

    I wore my normal specialized spd shoes and some thin full finger gloves that didn't work worth a shit.

    With in ten minutes, i started to to get worried about the loss of feeling in my toes. After the ride ended, it took several hours for the feeling in my toes to return.

    On mtbr, someone mentioned that covering the legs will help the feet. I wore my regular mtb shorts.

    I also saw someone mention the cold metal in the shoe and spd pedal works like a heat sink sucking warmth out of the foot.

  2. #2
    MoJo Mother Superior Desert Nomad's Avatar
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    Putting on in order: medium-weave wool socks (long ski socks work great), square ziplock bags to where your ankles meet your feet, then cycling shoes. You can find thermal shoe covers fairly cheap on nashbar or in a pinch use gorilla tape to cover your shoe vents to keep air from getting in. You can also keep a pair of oversized cycling shoes in the closet for days like that and wear two pair of wool socks with a ziplock in between them as an air barrier. It's a delicate balance though I've found between wearing X number of layers to stay warm enough to function and getting too warm and sweating into your layers with no air flow to wick which leads to really getting chilly.
    Last edited by Desert Nomad; 01-02-2018 at 03:03 PM.

  3. #3
    MoJo Friar Barry's Avatar
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    A few tips from someone who spent hours and hours riding in the snow last year...

    You have layers figured out, so that's good.

    Don't worry about the cleat in your shoe. Wool socks and chemical toe warmers are a huge plus. If it is below 25 degrees, I highly suggest neoprene shoe covers.

    There is no substitute for good gloves. But lobster claw type works well when the temps really drop. Cheap liners help too.

    Also a thin helmet liner works well and they're cheap.

    For the legs I have the 35 degree rule. If the temperature over 35 degrees at any point in the ride, shorts are fine, so long as everything else is warm. If the temperature is never over 35 degrees, pants are required. IF you don't have decent riding pants, borrow a pair yoga pants and wear those under your shorts. You'll look stupid, but you'll stay warmer.


    ...not that this is likely to be an issue again any time soon!
    cramsay3 likes this.

  4. #4
    MoJo Mother Superior notyal's Avatar
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    I have some gloves similar to this:
    P.R.O. Softshell Lite Glove | Pearl Izumi Cycling Gear

    My mother in law got them for me for Christmas several years ago. At first I said "WTF is this. I live in Texas." (but obviously smiling and saying thank you on the outside) I have to say that I love them. They keep my hands plenty warm but aren't bulky or too hot once the blood starts pumping.
    "living today like it is the first day of the rest of my week"

  5. #5
    Mojo Slow-poke Austin Bike's Avatar
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    Go to your local park and grab 2 dog poop bags. Those are your new shoe liners. Hell, get a couple as they will eventually break. Over the socks of course.

    Helmet liner is a must, especially for bald guys like me.

    Gloves? If you have ski gloves, try them. That I why I love a single speed in the winter.

    As for layers I have a sleeveless base, then a long sleeve base. Next I put on a Jersey, looking for the tightest weave (the ones you don't like to wear in summer). Also tight fitting is way better than loose when it comes to clothing - less room for air to get in. On top I wear a windbreaker vest. Mine have mesh backs that are ventilated so I sweat less. Below 40 I will swap the vest for a windbreaker jacket, more sweating but better on the arms than the one layer I normally have.

    I wear shorts down to 40. I have knee warmers but they will fall down. Arm warmers are good as well but usually I am lazy and a jacket is easier than a vest and arm warmers. The key to layers is the ability to remove them as you ride to acclimate your body to the weather.

    Also, below 40 consider a balaclava around your head, it has a huge impact.

    Ski socks also work well in really cold weather.
    "A person can work up a mean, mean thirst after a hard day of nothing much at all" - Paul Westerberg

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  6. #6
    Live Medium Bamwa's Avatar
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    Duofold longjohns. PI cyclone gloves. Ski mask for cheeks and head. Rubber toe warmer things or flats and boots. Clear or amber lens. Windbreaker. Prevent wind chill. No exposed skin.
    Grab life by the timbales.


  7. #7
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    Bula thin beanie liner made to wear under helmet (I have no hair)
    A real cycling jacket or hoodie - I bought the one from performance last year because it looked nice but it is far superior in blocking wind than my other gear.

    Buy pants, wear shorts over them if you need to but buy winter pants or a bib. My first pair was a castelli. They are amazing and I wear them if its below 50 when I start. Technically you should have your legs covered if it is below this. There is a whole science to when you should have arms and legs covered and its a surprisingly high temperature.

    I have winter riding gloves that block all of the wind for riding really cold, or sub 50 on the street. These really are thin and non porous. Put hand warmers on the back of your hands to heat your fingers, not in your palms. For 40+ i'll wear my fox unabombers which have 3do armor that protects my knuckles from splitting with cold wind.

    Wool socks- I am going to only wear my big snowboard wool socks over my pants now when riding in sub zero temps.

    Plastic bags on your feet, (I used aluminum foil wrapped around. It worked great in 15 degree this weekend. The day before, I only used a thin layer of foil on top as a test and the entire half of my foot froze and had no feeling for the last 10 miles. I took 20 inches, folded it in half and wrapped my feet in it and put on my shoes. This is for more extreme colds.

    Air mask/ Gator combo for cold road riding or freezing trail riding.
    https://www.skicountrysports.com/sei...2#.WkzzA2eouUk
    Last edited by FJsnoozer; 01-03-2018 at 09:14 AM.

  8. #8
    Live Medium Bamwa's Avatar
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    I don't get the plastic bag thing personally. Wool socks and some slip on clog style merrels worked fine yesterday for 1.5 hrs. No laces helps with "the mitten effect" I guess.
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    I have in the past had very frozen toes with my reg. cycling shoes. Yes that clip was like standing on ice cubes.
    Grab life by the timbales.


  9. #9
    Sakajahcreepa Ernest Borgniner's Avatar
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    I double up on the Lycra, tape my brake levers to help the fingers and wear good socks. If you're not a little chilly at the start of the ride, you are overdressed. Slaughter Creek is too exposed and windy. Ride trails that provide a little more shelter from the wind.

  10. #10
    Shop Owner/Frame Builder CBaron's Avatar
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    You've already received some quality tips and suggestions, its hard to add to it without just adding more of the same. I'll try to highlight a few of my basics from a guy who rode 4.5 hrs in it yesterday.

    **My biggest tip for riding in the cold is "output". If you are going to be riding in the cold, then you need to be doing work/effort. Climbing makes you comfy; coasting downhill makes you frigid.

    Quality wool athletic socks- Wools socks have been mentioned, but its worth stating it again. And get a pair intended for riding. I L-O-V-E my Swiftwick socks and their wool offering is no different. When I got wool riding socks, I could immediately ride down 5-10* without doing anything extra to my feet.

    Speaking of extra for my feet: In the winter I put duct tape over the vents in my shoes. I also have a pair of zip up shoe covers that are very versatile. The saran wrap over the socks/toes works too....I used all of these for yesterdays ride.

    Hands- I've been riding 20+ yrs and have multiple options here for myself. However, I regularly use a 2 pair of riding glove system. 1st pair is basic fox incline glove; 2nd pair is PI soft glove that will stretch to allow the other glove inside. *Yesterday I was wearing my fancy PI cold weather riding gloves. They are like ski gloves but made for MTB. They are butt ugly purple & blue. I got them on closeout 10 yrs ago at Sun-n-Ski (in the summer).

    General Basics- down to about 43-45* I simply use arm warmers, knee warmers, wind vest, wool socks. When colder than that I begin to incorporate some of the colder item tricks above: shoes covers, double gloves (or more), head cover, etc..

    In summary though, I cannot stress enough about how your 'work output' will best determine your cold weather comfort. If you were simply out doing a chill ride with your daughter, then you could have been best served by being dressed like you were going for a basic hike.

    Later,
    CJB


    www.TrueFabricationBicycles.com
    Custom bicycle frames from deep in the heart of Austin

  11. #11
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    Here's my cold weather riding tip FWIW. Wait until it warms up!
    throet likes this.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheif View Post
    Here's my cold weather riding tip FWIW. Wait until it warms up!
    Mine:



    Cheif, ATX29, FJsnoozer and 2 others like this.

  13. #13
    MoJo Pope Nixon's Avatar
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    i normally have a hard time mentally getting motivated to ride in the cold and riding a trainer sucks. i won't do it.

    i had a good time riding yesterday and had a good kit picked out except for gloves and shoes.

    going to see if any of my old sidi's will allow a wool sock. my feet are really wide and so i buy the thinnest bike socks i can find. the shoes i wore yesterday would not take my foot wearing wool socks.

  14. #14
    dab dab faceplant cramsay3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBaron View Post
    **My biggest tip for riding in the cold is "output". If you are going to be riding in the cold, then you need to be doing work/effort. Climbing makes you comfy; coasting downhill makes you frigid.
    Rode yesterday with the 13 and 15 year old daughters. They wanted to stop every 15 minutes to warm their hands when I preached similar words: "Keep moving!" Turns out I'm a horrible parent. I had the good gloves. They both had mesh, air-breathing mtb gloves. Mine: warm ski gloves. We started rotating the gloves at dusk when the temperatures dropped and I then understood the pain of bare knuckles at ~10 mph after 15 minutes in cheap gloves. I stopped, took off the gloves and to the horror of my daughters, dropped my hands deep into my warm chamois. They no longer wanted to rotate wearing the gloves after that. Winning.
    Last edited by cramsay3; 01-02-2018 at 07:45 PM.

  15. #15
    Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah mack_turtle's Avatar
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    I don't ride very much in winter, but I did Texas Chainring Massacre last year. northern Texas in January. I was OK at the end, but I did not achieve full function of my hands until several hours after the event. warm gloves and something to insulate my toes are most important. next time I ride in the cold, I am shoving some chemical toe warmers in my shoes.

    Dexshell socks are cheaper than Sealskinz, but they do the job. they keep your feet dry in wet conditions (hiked the Gap of Dunloe in Ireland this spring in cold, horizontal rain) but the to NOT keep them warm!

  16. #16
    MoJo Mother Superior Cafeend's Avatar
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    I have a pair of Performance gloves that I have had used for years,,Like 15 plus yrs. They are fleece and leather and windproof. Looking online ,, theirs run about $30
    So break that down over the years. Some seasons I never even wear them. So long term the cost is pretty cheap.
    I ride with thick wool socks and a pair or regular bike socks over that.
    The rest--layer as needed and as it gets toasty peel it off.

    I will say that wearing 5-10s are much warmer then non flat shoes ,, those get real numb on the toes

  17. #17
    Supporting Member
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    I was looking at Academy's website for hand warmers and saw these:


    Who knew? $8.99 for eight. Lasts six hours. I'm going to get some and give them a shot.

  18. #18
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    Something I didn't see mentioned yet: Make sure your wrists are warm because, if they are not, the blood flowing in and out of your hands won't be warm, either. Arm warmers beneath your sleeves can help.

    D
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  19. #19
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    Warmers on top of hands and feet where the blood flows work better.

  20. #20
    Mojo Riposte June Bug's Avatar
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    Warm ears blocked from wind are a must.
    Going to pick up a Specialized brand under-helmet fuzzy liner with wind block over the ears today at the BSS 183 store today.
    Woman Who Drinks 6 Cups Of Coffee and 6 Diet Cokes Per Day Trying To Cut Down On Blue Light At Bedtime
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