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Cold Weather Gear
 Did member offline
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Lifetime: 103,777 mi
Member No. 987
Member since: Oct 2003
Home: Crozet, VA 
Specialized Roubaix Expert SL4
Road bike
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posted 11/13/2018
at 6:59:09 AM
viewed 581 times
How do you layer up from head to toe in cold weather?

1. Balaclava
2, A thicker helmet with fewer air vents
3. Two pairs of gloves
4. Wool base layer
5. Long-sleeve thick jersey
6. Windbreaker
7. Lined tights over bike shorts
8. Toe covers or full-shoe covers

I know I'm fully warmed up when the tips of my fingers are no longer cold. Then I can ride to my heart's content.

 ptsbike member offline
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8,076 9,000 mi
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Home: Jonesborough, TN 
custom built LTBikes
Road bike
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Tri-Cities Road Club
posted 11/13/2018
at 7:19:50 AM
post #1 viewed 576 times
Toes and fingers. That's what it is all about with me. Heavily padded gloves work on my hands, but even with full shoe covers, my feet still get cold. I can stay out until the sweat soaks through, then it is time to get where it is warm.

 ericrrrm member not displaying online status
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8,842 6,600 mi
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Home: Marietta, GA 
Motobecane Super Mirage
Road bike
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posted 11/13/2018
at 7:33:39 AM
post #2 viewed 575 times
For the very coldest weather ...

  • helmet cover (on a helmet, of course)
  • balaclava
  • skullcap
  • A man's dress sock, with the heel tucked in one side of my balaclava, and the toe tucked in the other. It goes across my face and the heel hangs down below my mouth. I can breathe from under the heel, so I don't have to draw air through the sock, but I don't get any wind against exposed skin.

  • base layer (tight, long-sleeved, thermal jersey)
  • "street clothes" pull-over sweat-shirt
  • loose long-sleeved jersey (it has to be loose to go over the sweat-shirt)

  • knit glove liners
  • vinyl "first aid" gloves (these keep the cold air from drying out my finger tips)
  • lobster claw gloves

Lower body (pretty much everything I own):
  • shorts (of course)
  • knee warmers
  • leg warmers
  • tights

  • tall thin socks
  • tall thermal socks
  • shoes (of course)
  • toe covers

Wow. That probably took longer to type than it does to put on.
post edited on 11/13/2018 at 10:14:52 AM

 GeeWizMan member offline
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Home: S. Lyon, Mi / Floral City, FL 
Bacchetta Carbon Corsa
SWB Recumbent bike
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Secular Cycleism click to learn more about premier membership
posted 11/14/2018
at 6:49:55 AM
post #3 viewed 546 times
Just from observing how other riders up here in Michigan dress to ride in the winter, I'd say most people layer up. However, how they layer up is an individual thing based on personal preferences and how much you're willing to spend. For the most part, you want something next to your skin that wicks sweat away from your skin. Then, you want another layer that has some insulting qualities, and finally you want a layer that blocks the wind. Ideally, the wind proof layer should not only stop wind from getting in, but it should allow sweat vapor to exit.

No matter which way you dress, you should feel slightly cold when you are first starting out, but after traveling anywhere from 3 to 6 miles miles you should get warmed up. Normally, I ride with a trunk bag on my bike with an additional layer in it in case I need one, or where I can stash a layer if I need to remove a layer.

As ptsbike said, fingers and toes are very important and need to be kept warm. When the temps dip down to under 40° I always use chemical hand warmers on my toes. I start by shaking and exposing the chemical hand warmers to air which activates the heat generating process then, I set the pair of chemical hand warmers on a lamp with an incandescent light bulb to really heat them up. While they are heating up I get dressed to ride and the last thing I do is place a piece of double sided sticky tape across the top of my wool socks where my toes are, then, I place the warmed up chemical hand warmers on the sticky tape which serves to keep them in place on my toes. I then gently slip my feet into shoes that are a size larger than normal for me and if the temps are in the 30's I'll put on shoe covers.

A little trick I do after a ride is complete is to take the pair of chemical hand warmers and I put them in a small zip-lock bag and remove all the air which de-activates them and stops them from producing any more heat, then, I put them in another zip-lock bag and remove the air again. I typically get 2 to 3 uses out of a pair of chemical hand warmers before I throw them away. I also carry another unused pair of chemical hand warmers in my trunk bag just in case.

For the really cold days where temps are in the teens or colder I have a pair of gloves with little pockets made just for these chemical hand warmers. However, most of the time I just wear a pair of thin polypropylene glove liners inside of a pair of larger than normal full fingered gloves. Personally, I have never liked mittens or lobster gloves.

On my face I wear a thin light-weight balaclava that I am always pulling down from covering my face when the wind is at my back and pulling up when I am headed into the wind. On top of the balaclava I wear another scull cap and then a lager helmet with a helmet cover over the helmet vents.

For my legs, I typically wear an old pair of bibs with holes in them that are inappropriate to wear any other time of the year. Then leg warmers and then tights over the leg warmers.

 podkey member offline
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Ti Cycles Ren Titanium
Road bike
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posted 11/15/2018
at 7:28:16 AM
post #4 viewed 517 times
Honestly for me gloves don't work that well as they separate the fingers. I prefer to use Austrian boiled wool (felted) mittens with mitten covers. I can shift fine with mittens on. I can use lobster gloves but very limited range for me temp wise.Depending on temps I will add chemical handwarmers inside (also for toes too). And yes you can re-use them by squishing the air out of a zip lock around them. I have one of those portable vacuum units and zip-loc style bags with small vacuum valve spots on them I put warmers back in packaging and seal it all up in the bag. When I stop for a meeting without the portable hand vacuum pump I just squeeze the air out of the bag with my hands and they do fine.
I like the idea of the double sticky tape.

 Zurichman member not displaying online status
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LeMond Victoire
Road bike
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Club Rouge Croix click to learn more about premier membership
posted 11/15/2018
at 9:47:30 AM
post #5 viewed 510 times
Howard gave me a suggest a few years ago. Buy the cheapest mt. bike shokes that you can find at least 2 sizes bigger. That way you can wear wool socks and maybe even 2 pair. I also wear my ski helmet at times which is really warm. I wear what almost everybody else wears. I did find maybe 6-7 years ago over on the ice bike site some suggestions

Woolistic black heavy weight wool base layer. Warmest base layer I have found. I think I also bought my sputnik wool head piece from them

col de Lizzard winter vest to help break the wind.

ski gloves to keep the hands warm

post edited on 11/15/2018 at 9:49:55 AM

 67walkon member offline
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Home: Tequesta, FL 
Lynskey R330
Road bike
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Blue Ridge Bicycle Club - NC
posted 11/15/2018
at 12:43:39 PM
post #6 viewed 499 times
I go to Florida when it gets cold. My knee warmers, arm warmers and long sleeve base shirts come out rarely. I don't even what some of the other stuff is that you poor northerners have to wear.

 Bikeman630 member offline
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Trek 6000 RT Series
26" Comfort bike
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posted 11/15/2018
at 2:14:03 PM
post #7 viewed 494 times
What cold weather gear.???

 rmillay member offline
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Catrike Musashi
SWB Recumbent bike
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posted 11/15/2018
at 2:51:04 PM
post #8 viewed 492 times
Where I am cold is down close to freezing. Today's ride started out at 38 degrees, but with all the sun, it was 60 by the time I finished. Needless to say, some clothes got shed. The biggest help for me was adopting the balaclava (Ibex merino wool). Other things interfered with the helmet and didn't work that well. I used to use Toes-ties toe covers, but since going recumbent, I haven't needed them.

 vkan member not displaying online status
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Home: Morrisville, NC 
Lynskey Cooper
Road bike
'BentRider Recumbent Club
posted 11/15/2018
at 3:12:08 PM
post #9 viewed 490 times
When it is too cold for gloves alone, I install Bar Mitts (aka Poagies, aka Moose Mitts) onto my road bike handlebar. With those installed, I can use my usual fingerless gloves if it's not TOO cold, or thin full finger gloves if it's colder. They feel cold for a few minutes, but get pretty warm quickly.

When it is too cold for leg warmers and my regular bib shorts, I use cycling-specific softshell wind pants with light insulation. I might wear tights or leg warmers underneath if the pants alone are not enough.

My favorite head wear is the Giro Seasonal Wool Cycling Cap with bill that has a fold up lower band that can cover the ears if needed. Great for folks with big heads (or a lot of hair they want to tuck in). To cover the face, I might use a wool Buff or a cotton bandana or a Weatherneck (from Brian Davis of Fixit-Sticks fame). I've also used balaclavas when it will be cold an entire ride and I know I won't need to shed ear and/or neck coverage.

My favorite shoe covers are ancient fleece+neoprene ones from Illuminite that fit well over MTB shoes and use velcro at the back rather than zippers like every other shoe cover these days for some reason. I've tried newer shoe covers bought after my Illuminite pair got worn and hole-y, but I keep going back to those velcro-based covers--they are the only piece of bike gear that I own where I find the velcro closure to be a good feature. My wife repaired the holes for me and I'm sticking to those old reliables.
post edited on 11/15/2018 at 3:16:00 PM

 rdmurp member not displaying online status
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Home: Saint Paul, MN 
Trek Antelope
XC Single Speed Mtn bike
Commuter Cycling Century click to learn more about premier membership
posted 11/15/2018
at 3:49:57 PM
post #10 viewed 485 times
A lot also depends on how far you need to go. On our coldest days I go straight to work, straight home. 20 mins each way. You can get far without getting too too cold in 20 mins. I have bar mitts for the winter bike (usually Dec - Mar, but this year Iíve had it out 3 days due to snow). WIth good gloves and the bar mitts I donít use hand warmers til itís below zero F. (Thatís what we call cold up in Minnesota). Lord only know what you all wear up in the UP of Michigan, like in Houghton, or up in International Falls. Nice merino base layers help as well. Like ericrrm says, it goes on a lot quicker than it takes to describe it.
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