Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter; Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Do you ride every day in the summer and then hang it up at the sign of the first cold front? If you do, it's safe to say that you're not the only one. For many cyclists, riding is a three season sport leaving a few of us to brave the winter months alone. Truth be told, you can easily ride year round in Huntsville with a little bit of gear. Truth be told, that gear can also be pricey. It doesn't have to be. Just buy smart and choose your winter-wear wisely. Buy pieces that you can build on and that are versatile. One of the big problems with helping people choose the right gear is knowing what conditions they plan to ride in and how warm they expect to be. Remember, if you leave the house already warm, youre overdressed and youre going to be too hot. Be realistic about when you're going to ride. Dont buy lobster-mitts if you never get out past January. In fact, we live in Alabama, never buy lobster-mitts anytime. When you say it's cold, are we talking in the 50's or in the 30's? Realistically, it rarely gets colder than that here. Probably the most important layer is the base layer. On longer rides, A technical fabric that manages moisture is extremely important. Being cold is one thing but being cold and wet is another. Obviously if you're just riding three miles to work or the store, you're not going to have time to work up a sauna in your jacket so this is a little less crucial. My old winter standby for a "ride" is a short sleeve bike jersey with arm warmers and a Windstopper jacket. I love anything that has Windstopper! It is thin and easy to move in yet it works like a mofo. A lined longsleeve jersey alone is usually good if its above 50. Pulling the arm warmers up or down has been a good way to regulate temperature as i warm up or cool off. If I'm just jetting home for lunch, a hoodie and jacket will usually suffice. The point is, there are dozens if not hundreds of ways to layer up and I'm always interested in seeing how others do it. Here are a couple of good articles by much more capable authors, Elly Blue and Jonathan Maus over at Bike Portland

Did you fight the cold today? If so, who won? by Jonathan Maus

"This morning’s commute was one of the coldest (mid-20s without windchill) and windiest I can remember in the five years I’ve lived in Portland. I was curious how many people would set out on their bikes this morning (I know several friends who opted to bus or drive) and I thought it’d be fun to capture those that did on camera.

Did you ride today? If so, share your experiences/tips. If not, perhaps the photos below will inspire you to try tomorrow…"
All pictures are by J.Maus. For more pics and larger sizes, check out the original article at Bike Portland

Also check out the excellent article by Elly Blue, Winter riding: Staying warm and dry on a budget


alan b said...

probably the best winter riding jacket i have found is a $30 champion jacket from target. windproof, hooded, and water resistant. however, the fleece lining becomes problematic after a while or when you get to your destination.

that coupled with some thermafleece tights from pearl izumi under the jeans and some pearl izumi cyclone gloves have kept me nice and warm.

clintpatty said...

the shiny button jackets that were popular in the 90s but now are mostly worn by homeless people are cheap at the thrift store, warm, and windproof except for between the buttons, but you can fix that

Anonymous said...

Good warm gloves and goggles ( I sometimes use Chemical Safety goggles) are essential for Below 35 F weather for me (especially if raining or snowing). The rest is an undershirt, long sleeves, and a jacket. Colder and I put on a sweater as well under the jacket. The key is to have layers so you can take them off and put them on as needed.

clintpatty said...

I wore a warm base layer with extra arm warmers and that was it for the top this morning, and it felt good. But it was already nice and sunny when I rode. I also wore warm windproof gloves.