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Cold Weather riding

Old 10-17-19, 07:21 PM
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FrodoBaggins
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Cold Weather riding

I am 67 years and the old circulation isn't what it used to be. I can do fine biking down to 40 degrees but any colder, my fingers and toes get painfully cold. I am looking for suggestions for gloves and shoe covers that will keep me riding into the high 20's. I don't need gloves that allow for texting or phone use, I don't mess with the phone unless there is a mechanical. I have tried toe warmers but they are either too hot or too bulky. Does anyone have the same problem and also have a semi-solution?
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Old 10-17-19, 08:53 PM
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The glove thing has been covered elsewhere, so I won't go into it too much except to say that, for down in the 20s, it seems like a lot of people are just using serious, hard-core winter sports gloves. Like ski gloves. But like I said, there's lots here on the site about that. The other thing that came into my mind for you is the new Fizik Artica winter shoe. Folks seem to be liking it fairly well. It's not outrageously expensive. Might be worth looking into.

As far as sock selection and so forth, I am of no use to you. It very rarely gets into the 20s where we ride. Our problem here is water. Hard to stay dry. Anyhow, good luck to you and kudos for your commitment to riding through the winter. That is something an Oregon boy can respect.
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Old 10-17-19, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by FrodoBaggins View Post
I don't need gloves that allow for texting or phone use, I don't mess with the phone unless there is a mechanical. I have tried toe warmers but they are either too hot or too bulky. Does anyone have the same problem and also have a semi-solution?
Windproop and waterproof insulated mittens. That's what I use and I'm very satisfied.

Dan
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Old 10-18-19, 12:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bpcyclist View Post
Our problem here is water. Hard to stay dry.
October is proving to be a total washout here, it's testing my waterproofs. Have you tried one of those Cape/poncho things? They cover the whole rider and half the bike... They don't look very aerodynamic but I saw someone in one yesterday and wonder if it's an answer for my commute.
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Old 10-18-19, 02:29 AM
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Cycling is about layers and snowboard gear. If you can get that right you will be ok. Gloves snowboarding or skiing gloves. I don't know about toe guards. Good merino wool base layer are good. Cycling jackets are ok, but not thick enough for lower temperature that you're talking about. In the worst case scenario you can get a pair of these https://www.revzilla.com/motorcycle/...-heated-gloves

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Old 10-18-19, 09:22 AM
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Wool socks, I like Smart Wool. I use ski socks that go over the calf.
Use thin liner gloves, under wind proof outer gloves.
Don't try to stuff extra thick layers of socks into your shoes, that just crams your toes and reduces circulation, making your feet cold.
Add wind proof, like neoprene, shoes covers, and if your shoes have vents in the soles, cover them up from the inside.
You might have to experiment a bit to find what works best for you.
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Old 10-18-19, 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by FrodoBaggins View Post
I am 67 years and the old circulation isn't what it used to be. I can do fine biking down to 40 degrees but any colder, my fingers and toes get painfully cold. I am looking for suggestions for gloves and shoe covers that will keep me riding into the high 20's. I don't need gloves that allow for texting or phone use, I don't mess with the phone unless there is a mechanical. I have tried toe warmers but they are either too hot or too bulky. Does anyone have the same problem and also have a semi-solution?
For feet, shoe covers can work but they are limited. I suggest looking into cold weather cycling shoes or boots. I have Lake MXZ303 for very cold rides (below about 30F) and MX145 for cool but not really cold rides. Both are too warm above about 45F. I also buy winter shoes in one to two sizes larger to fit thicker socks without cutting off circulation.

These arent cheap options but they work. On the plus side, a pair (or 2) of boots can last decades.
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Old 10-18-19, 09:32 AM
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Whiskey. It's a vasodilator.
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Old 10-18-19, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Jicafold View Post
Whiskey. It's a vasodilator.
I tried soaking my feet in whiskey to warm them up. Didn't do squat, and ruined the flavor for drinking.
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Old 10-18-19, 09:50 AM
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Start by checking out the Winter Cycling forum.

Hands and feet do require some consideration, but you also have to make sure you're preserving enough body heat to get out to the extremities (without overheating and sweating).

For the extremities, I got some Specialized Element gloves last fall that were great through their first winter. Smartwool socks on my feet, perhaps with plastic grocery bags (I know, the horror!) cut in half and wrapped around the socks for temps below 30F.

Below 40F, I need cycling tights in various weights. Lightweight polypro is fine down to about 35F for me, mid-weight down to 25F, heavy down to 15F, and some lined wind resistant tights below that.

Long sleeve jerseys with a base layer take me down to about 40-45F, below that I need a jacket. The jacket has armpit vents, and I can adjust the zippers on the jacket front, pit vents, and jersey to keep from overheating (or chilling, although that's usually not a problem after I get rolling).

For the head, a polypro ear band is OK down to 35-40F. Cycling cap with ear flaps takes me down to 25-30F, below that I need a polypro balaclava.

This post has one of the highest concentrations of the word "I" I've written. There's a reason for that. While the principles behind graduated clothing choices are pretty much universal, where the break is from one layer to another is highly personal. YMMV.
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Old 10-18-19, 02:48 PM
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what kind of bike/bars & what kind of pedals?
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Old 10-18-19, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by FrodoBaggins View Post
... I have tried toe warmers but they are either too hot or too bulky.
It looks like many of the electric hand and toe warmers are temperature adjustable, and rechargeable. I don't know about bulk.
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Old 10-18-19, 03:52 PM
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For my midwest winter commutes I wear high-quality, mountaineering gear. All Gore-Tex, with merino wool base layers, including socks. I wear lightly insulated and waterproof Merrell boots. On my hands I wear Outdoor Research windproof, insulated, waterproof mountaineering mitts.
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Old 10-18-19, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by MikeyMK View Post
October is proving to be a total washout here, it's testing my waterproofs. Have you tried one of those Cape/poncho things? They cover the whole rider and half the bike... They don't look very aerodynamic but I saw someone in one yesterday and wonder if it's an answer for my commute.
I have not--thanks for pointing the idea out. I will have to see if my shop has one I can check out.
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Old 10-18-19, 04:48 PM
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Temperatures in the 20's I've got a pair of LL Bean Snow Sneakers keeping the dogs warm. I've been using those for 12 years now. They work down to about 5f to 0f. Sometimes I'll use toe covers over them for an extra layer. I use convertible mittens with a cheap glove liner. My glove liners are those cheap brown cotton jersey gloves you see in convenience stores. I get the insulated ones.

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Old 10-18-19, 06:42 PM
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Typically in colder weather the wind chill factor and controlling sweat are bigger deals than heavier gloves or socks. You need to keep the wind off your hands and feet and manage the sweat to keep them warm. To keep the wind off the hands I like Pogies or Bar Mitts for when it starts to get really cold (And that's up to the individual. For me that's below 20degF.) With Pogies on the bars I typically have to go to a lighter glove since they are so warm. To control the sweat I typically wear thin polypro liners to help move the sweat away. And take the bike with the carbon bars/carbon levers - they are warmer than aluminum.

For the feet nothing beats winter boots, but that is a pricey option. Really good thermal windproof shoe covers work well, and there is no shame in using chemical warmers on the top of the shoes under the covers. That's what we do when Nordic skiing in sub-zero weather, and I've done it a couple of times on really cold bike rides as well. Again a thin polypro liner under thin wool socks help manage the sweat, although I've also had warm feet using just a medium weight wool sock.
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Old 10-18-19, 06:53 PM
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I just checked out the Fizik Artica R5s and they look like they will fill the bill! Thank you for the suggestion! My summer shoes with Pearl Izumi neoprene outers are only good for so much. Really aprreciate the help! Thank you
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Old 10-19-19, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by FrodoBaggins View Post
I just checked out the Fizik Artica R5s and they look like they will fill the bill! Thank you for the suggestion! My summer shoes with Pearl Izumi neoprene outers are only good for so much. Really aprreciate the help! Thank you
You might want to consider other winter shoes as well. A shoe that uses SPDs and a mountain bike sole provide a more secure footing if you have to stop on a slick patch or if you have to walk on a slick surface. Pedal changes are relatively simple if you are using a road pedal.
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Old 10-19-19, 05:33 PM
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I wear leather gloves and leather sneakers for the cold, if it helps give anyone ideas.
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Old 10-19-19, 11:37 PM
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I've got some crazy thick high bulk brushed acrylic socks that I wear OVER my summer shoes for when it gets cold. The inside of the sock almost looks like cotton candy, and they are very stretchy. I went with the largest size they had and cut holes for the cleat area and at the heal to turn them into pull over shoe covers. Sometimes I wear my nylon shoe covers over them. They are T-Max Heat which is a brand of a Canadian chain called Marks, no idea who in the US would carry something similar.
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Old 10-19-19, 11:47 PM
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When I was a poor recent grad, I used to wrap the front of my socks with Saran wrap, then put my shoes on. It was great for blocking the wind and my shoes didn't feel tight (which I absolutely cannot stand).

When I had some money, I started using neoprene booties over my shoes but mostly to block the wind.

I haven't ridden down to 20deg, though. That is too cold for me!
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Old 10-21-19, 11:22 AM
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I don't ride in the very cold any more, I Zwift. But when i did, well, dedicated winter cycling shoes, layers, "lobster claw" mitts, and a Giro ski helmet (with a closeable ventilator). But in the end, the cold and dark really limited my riding times, so I just went inside on a trainer. Haven't regretted it at all.
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Old 10-21-19, 01:09 PM
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Keep good circulation

I am almost 70 and have experimented for years with ways to stay warm on winter commutes with temps 0 and above. I can tell you what not to do better than what to use. Each of us are different and it will take a little experimentation. My feet got a lot warmer when I figured out that heavier socks pinched my feet and reduced circulation which led to cold feet. I discovered that thinner smart wool socks, wool insoles with aluminum tape on bottom, chemical warmers (on top of toes) and winter one size larger shoe covers works for me.
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Old 10-21-19, 07:03 PM
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Buy your gear at a mountaineering store. The mittens I purchased there are by far the best I’ve ever had. They cover my wrists and are thick enough to be warm at any temperature.
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Old 10-21-19, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by riverdrifter View Post
For my midwest winter commutes I wear high-quality, mountaineering gear. All Gore-Tex, with merino wool base layers, including socks. I wear lightly insulated and waterproof Merrell boots. On my hands I wear Outdoor Research windproof, insulated, waterproof mountaineering mitts.
I wear pretty similar gear. Platform pedals let you use insulated winter boots. And mountaineering mitts are the way to go for the hands. Get them oversized so you can wear a liner glove.

For outer wear, a wind stopper soft shell works well. I got mine a bit oversized so I can layer underneath. Alternatively ripstop nylon makes a fine outer layer but that's getting harder to find as everyone wants something waterproof. You don't really need that for winter and the waterproofing interferes with sweating.
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