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Essential Winter Gear - the winter beard

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Essential Winter Gear - the winter beard

Old 12-13-21, 08:05 PM
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MinnMan
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Essential Winter Gear - the winter beard

For winter riders who are able, a beard is an excellent aid to keeping the sharp wind off your face. I usually grow one in the winter.

But I didn't last winter and now I'm thinking I won't again this winter. Despite the fashion for "pandemic beards", beards interfere with the hygienic functions of face masks.* I know people are still arguing about face masks in general (please, not here, take it to P&R) and I know a lot of people who seem pretty serious about face masks but don't seem perturbed by potential reduction in efficacy that a beard brings on. But I'm on the cautious side.

But, alas, it seems I'll go another winter without one. It's a pity. I really like my winter beards.

*Regarding how this impacts me personally, I wear only N95 masks. Fig. 2 of the linked paper demonstrates why.
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Old 12-14-21, 09:05 AM
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at the danger of hijacking, sorry, I like the balaclava

Last edited by rumrunn6; 12-15-21 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 12-14-21, 09:35 AM
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No, that's cool. I use a balaclava also, with or without a beard.

One thing that's sort of odd what happens if I don't wear a balaclava, when it's cold and I'm exerting myself, my speech gets a little slurred. I found this alarming when I first encountered it, and consulted medical professionals, who just shrugged. If I wear a balaclava, keeping my jaw warm, it's not a problem.

I haven't run across anybody else who has this problem, but fortunately, I found the solution.
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Old 12-14-21, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
No, that's cool. I use a balaclava also, with or without a beard.

One thing that's sort of odd what happens if I don't wear a balaclava, when it's cold and I'm exerting myself, my speech gets a little slurred. I found this alarming when I first encountered it, and consulted medical professionals, who just shrugged. If I wear a balaclava, keeping my jaw warm, it's not a problem.

I haven't run across anybody else who has this problem, but fortunately, I found the solution.
oh definitely! I do as well! I even notice it in other ppl. sometimes the TV reporters who are forced to go out & cover winter storms or others on early morning assignments but aren't dressed for the cold I can detect a little mispronunciation due to frozen jaw / speech syndrome. (like the name? I just made it up!)

maybe your doctor needs to use google, this took like 10 seconds to find ... "Warning signs of hypothermia include slowed or slurred speech"
https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/hypothe...F%20or%20lower.
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Old 12-14-21, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
oh definitely! I do as well! I even notice it in other ppl. sometimes the TV reporters who are forced to go out & cover winter storms or others on early morning assignments but aren't dressed for the cold I can detect a little mispronunciation due to frozen jaw / speech syndrome. (like the name? I just made it up!)

maybe your doctor needs to use google, this took like 10 seconds to find ... "Warning signs of hypothermia include slowed or slurred speech"
https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/hypothe...F%20or%20lower.
Don't confuse frozen jaw/speech syndrome with hypothermia though. There's a big difference between slurred speech and stiff jaw speech. Am I making myself clear?
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Old 12-14-21, 11:29 AM
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Yeah, it's not hypothermia. I can be cozy warm, well-fueled, generating consistent power, and the speech thing shows up. My toes and fingers can be warm if I've got the tech right, and still...

Whatever it is, it's annoying. Balaclavas ftw.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:44 AM
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this thread sounds like an all-call for winter beards!
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Old 12-16-21, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
No, that's cool. I use a balaclava also, with or without a beard.

One thing that's sort of odd what happens if I don't wear a balaclava, when it's cold and I'm exerting myself, my speech gets a little slurred. I found this alarming when I first encountered it, and consulted medical professionals, who just shrugged. If I wear a balaclava, keeping my jaw warm, it's not a problem.

I haven't run across anybody else who has this problem, but fortunately, I found the solution.
One winter when I was a young radio Disc Jockey back in the 1980s in Iowa I started leaving my water out in the un-heated garage to keep it cold. As winter progressed it started to freeze. And then my speech started to slur as my mouth started getting numb. I cut out the cold drinks because it also kept me from getting into the lower-registers of my voice. Later when I worked at a recording studio, we kept water for the talent at room temperature. I, myself would drink warm water when voicing stuff.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
One winter when I was a young radio Disc Jockey back in the 1980s in Iowa I started leaving my water out in the un-heated garage to keep it cold. As winter progressed it started to freeze. And then my speech started to slur as my mouth started getting numb. I cut out the cold drinks because it also kept me from getting into the lower-registers of my voice. Later when I worked at a recording studio, we kept water for the talent at room temperature. I, myself would drink warm water when voicing stuff.
It's interesting (and comforting) to hear that others experience something similar. It has seemed to me that my riding companions on cold rides don't encounter the issue. But anyway, it seems harmless and as noted, there's a fix.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:22 AM
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I had a full head of hair and a mustache in my 30s, but started rapidly balding in my 30s.

One day my wife looked at me and said, "That's too much white meat...can you grow a beard?" I let my face grow until she said I looked a little too rabbinic.

So for the last 24 years I've worn a smart, a close-cropped beard. Not enough to keep me warm, or keep the wind off my face, so I use a thin bellaclava in the cold.

And now, the gray is creeping in so I'm lightening up once again, although with the beard I'm not as "fleshy" unless viewed from above or behind.

A few winters ago I did let my face grow again to see what would happen . My whiskers are much more coarse now, not soft at all and after not shaving for a week the hair curls back on itself and itches like heck. And after letting it grow even longer, the itching subsided, but my wife wasn't diggin' it, and she's the one that has to look at it. Plus she is far more stylish than me so I tend to give her advice a fair amount of weight.
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Old 12-16-21, 09:33 AM
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Beard collects sweat then turns into icicles making it worse. You're better off without the beard during the winter. You wanna keep the sharp wind off your face you wear a balaclava.
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Old 12-16-21, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I had a full head of hair and a mustache in my 30s, but started rapidly balding in my 30s.

One day my wife looked at me and said, "That's too much white meat...can you grow a beard?" I let my face grow until she said I looked a little too rabbinic.

So for the last 24 years I've worn a smart, a close-cropped beard. Not enough to keep me warm, or keep the wind off my face, so I use a thin bellaclava in the cold.

And now, the gray is creeping in so I'm lightening up once again, although with the beard I'm not as "fleshy" unless viewed from above or behind.

A few winters ago I did let my face grow again to see what would happen . My whiskers are much more coarse now, not soft at all and after not shaving for a week the hair curls back on itself and itches like heck. And after letting it grow even longer, the itching subsided, but my wife wasn't diggin' it, and she's the one that has to look at it. Plus she is far more stylish than me so I tend to give her advice a fair amount of weight.
My wife hates my beard and always has. In fact, I had a beard when we first met and she wasn't interested in me until I happened to shave it off. We joke that being clean shaven was one of my marriage vows. Only recently did I declare facial independence and start growing my winter beard. She tolerates it, but is happy when it leaves in the spring.

Last edited by MinnMan; 12-16-21 at 11:17 AM.
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Old 12-16-21, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by prj71 View Post
Beard collects sweat then turns into icicles making it worse. You're better off without the beard during the winter. You wanna keep the sharp wind off your face you wear a balaclava.
The icicles don't come from sweat, they come from condensed breath. And they collect on the outside of the beard, not against the skin. Which makes the beard less porous and more protective.

That's my experience. YMMV.
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Old 12-16-21, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
The icicles don't come from sweat, they come from condensed breath. And they collect on the outside of the beard, not against the skin. Which makes the beard less porous and more protective.

That's my experience. YMMV.
That's my experience too. A frozen beard is my best wind block. Since 1988. (And yes, my wife would prefer I shave it off. I majorly screwed up once by saying I'd shave it off if she shaved her legs. I'm older and wiser now.)
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Old 12-18-21, 11:08 PM
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I have to wear a beard year-round. My wife won't let me shave it off. Hard no. She has a good reason. I prefer it to a neck gaiter. I can't wear a balaclava - I overheat. I am aware of the mask issue, but there's nothing I can do except wear a good tight mask When I got out of the Army in '69, I took an oath to never shave again. Luckily, I met just the right woman.. I'm a member of a bike club where only the men shave their legs.
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Old 12-19-21, 12:42 AM
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Back when I lived and rode in Indiana, when temps would sometimes dip below 0F, I found the beard wholly inadequate for warmth. We're talking 100% skin coverage with balaclava and even ski goggles or similar. But here in Portland OR, when it's more typically 40F (and raining) in the winter, the beard plus a neck gator gets it done.

fwiw, grey beard hair is just as warm as dark brown beard hair.

As far as spousal approval, I can do whatever I want with the beard, but the moustache shall never be removed.
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