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View Full Version : Pants for fall/winter exercise rides



Joe Chapline
10-26-2011, 09:30 PM
I now have plenty of padded bike shorts, purchased this year as I started riding a road bike for recreation. (I usually ride a hybrid for transportation, and wear the clothes I want to be wearing when I get to my destination.)

Now that it's getting cool for shorts alone, I can pull sweatpants on over them. This is the way I learned to dress for winter gym class in the 1960s. But, old-school sweatpants aren't water-resistant at all, and not very wind-resistant. I've started looking for something similar, but a little better, for keeping warm during exercise rides through the fall and winter. I'm averse to tight-fitting clothes, and I don't mind using ankle straps, I'm used to that. Any suggestions?

mwander
10-26-2011, 10:43 PM
I'm doing the same shopping planning now - before the weather changes.

I'm curious whether folks tend to purchase wind or water resistant or both (wind and water resistant). I'd like to buy something that's useful for as many different weather conditions as possible. What tends to be most useful for... cold? wind? rain? snow?

What brands are popular?

Thanks.

Justin Antos
10-26-2011, 10:57 PM
I'm wondering the same thing. Have been pondering a pair of Pearlizumi pants but they're not cheap. Looking forward to the forum's advice...!

5555624
10-27-2011, 03:14 AM
When the temperature drops into the mid-50s, I add a pair of Lycra running tights over my bike shorts. When the temperature drops down into the low-40s, I switch to a pair of Polartec tights. I really don't find the wind to be a problem with either option. In single digits I might layer, which means tights and rain pants.

If it's raining/snowing? Rain pants from a rain suit. (Over the years, I've replaced the jacket, but since the rain pants don't usually get worn when it's warm, they're still fine in the rain/snow.) If there is no precipitation, though, I just go with the tights.

It never gets too cold -- at least since I have lived here -- to ride.

JimF22003
10-27-2011, 03:30 AM
I have a pair of cheap Performance brand tights that I wear over regular bike shorts when it's down to about 35-40 degrees or so, and a pair of heavier tights with zippers at the ankles that I use when it's anything below that. The Performance tights aren't very thick -- about the thickness of standard arm warmers. The other tights are way too thick unless it's very, very cold.

CCrew
10-27-2011, 05:18 AM
I wear cheap Starter brand running pants bought at WallyWorld for less than $10 a pair tucked at the ankle with my RoadID ankle strap

Wear short bibs or the chamois inner linings from the various Zoic MTB shorts I own underneath

vvill
10-27-2011, 07:00 AM
I have a few pairs of MTB shorts - by nature they are 2 layered. I have cheap leg warmers from Nashbar that I pull up to cover the inner padding layer of the MTB shorts. The outer shell layer of the shorts then keeps out a good amount of wind/water.

DismalScientist
10-27-2011, 08:54 AM
Khakis, with a rolled up cuff down to about 30 degrees. :p
I don't do rain.

americancyclo
10-27-2011, 09:27 AM
I'm averse to tight-fitting clothes, and I don't mind using ankle straps, I'm used to that. Any suggestions?

My first reaction was, 'No, all my winter stuff is form fitting' and I like my Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/apparel/0.-productCode-11111034.html) but then I remembered I have a pair of Royal Mail waterproof overpants (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/size-large-xl-royal-mail-waterproof-pants-navy.aspx?a=70036) that I used to wear when I had to bike commute in the rain more often. I'm sure you could find them or an equivalent at any military surplus store.

They are loose, waterproof, and keep out the wind very well. That being said, they are not breathable, and the pair I have requires ankle straps to keep out of your gears.

Is the Barrier WXB Pant (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/apparel/0.-productCode-11111136.html) too form fitting for your taste?

Joe Chapline
10-27-2011, 07:14 PM
Thanks for all of the suggestions, I will research these.


I have a few pairs of MTB shorts - by nature they are 2 layered. I have cheap leg warmers from Nashbar that I pull up to cover the inner padding layer of the MTB shorts. The outer shell layer of the shorts then keeps out a good amount of wind/water.

All the shorts I have are the 2-layered kind, so this could work. Now that I think about it, that's how we did it back in phys ed -- uniform shorts over the sweatpants. I could possibly maybe even consider tights in this scenario.

The Novara Headwind (http://www.rei.com/product/815145/novara-headwind-bike-pants-mens) pants from REI seem like a good concept -- water- and wind-resistant in the front, wicking in the back. I don't intend to go out in the pouring rain to exercise, but on days when the weather is unsettled, it would be good to know that if there's a little drizzle I'll be fine.

Joe Chapline
10-27-2011, 07:24 PM
My first reaction was, 'No, all my winter stuff is form fitting' and I like my Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Cycling Tights (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/apparel/0.-productCode-11111034.html) but then I remembered I have a pair of Royal Mail waterproof overpants (http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/size-large-xl-royal-mail-waterproof-pants-navy.aspx?a=70036) that I used to wear when I had to bike commute in the rain more often. I'm sure you could find them or an equivalent at any military surplus store.

They are loose, waterproof, and keep out the wind very well. That being said, they are not breathable, and the pair I have requires ankle straps to keep out of your gears.

Is the Barrier WXB Pant (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/apparel/0.-productCode-11111136.html) too form fitting for your taste?

No, that could work. I don't really need waterproof, though, I'm just looking for a step up from sweatpants, which soak up water like a sponge. With waterproof gear, breathability is a problem, as you said. I have a rain suit I wear to commute, I wore it today. This was actually a nice rainy day -- cool enough to wear the rain suit. Thanks for the suggestions; I'll check out the tights, too.

Arlingtonrider
10-27-2011, 08:19 PM
REI is well stocked with all those things right now, in both men's and women's, but they're selling pretty fast. My favorite purchase this season is the $19.99 clear plastic vented rain jacket I bought from Performance bikes. It has a really long apron in back, vents along the sleeves and sides, a high collar, and a Velcro closing. Worked like a charm today, and you can just wipe it off to clean it. Some reviewers said that the Velcro eventually comes unstitched, but I would think that you could just glue it back on. It wouldn't be good for serious riding, but I think it will be fine for my commutes. Joe, I just noticed your earlier post about the Novarra Headwinds pants. Those are the ones I bought tonight. I think I'll like them a lot.

PotomacCyclist
10-27-2011, 09:50 PM
I have a nice pair of Under Armour running pants that can work for winter riding. They are not form-fitting but they aren't baggy either. They taper at the ankles with a zip-up bottom. The pants are black with a reflective strip down the side of both legs. There are two pockets with zippers. I don't have to worry about my keys falling out while I'm riding or running. I bought them at City Sports a couple years ago.

I rotate those pants with Under Armour tights. I usually wear triathlon shorts under the running pants or tights.

I've tried leg warmers with mixed results. They tend to slip down on me. They are fairly tight, but they still slip. They don't work when I run, but they might work better on the bike. I don't remember if I've ever tried them while riding.

The pants and tights will help a bit with rain, but you'll still get wet. At least the fabric doesn't soak up water the way that cotton does.

If I layer up, my legs generally are OK on cold days. I have more issues with my hands and feet getting too cold on those days, even with glove liners, thick winter gloves, mtn bike shoes, socks and neoprene shoe covers. I'll have to try the chemical hand and foot warmers this winter.

Joe Chapline
10-27-2011, 10:03 PM
I have a nice pair of Under Armour running pants that can work for winter riding. They are not form-fitting but they aren't baggy either. They taper at the ankles with a zip-up bottom. The pants are black with a reflective strip down the side of both legs. There are two pockets with zippers. I don't have to worry about my keys falling out while I'm riding or running. I bought them at City Sports a couple years ago.

I rotate those pants with Under Armour tights. I usually wear triathlon shorts under the running pants or tights.

I've tried leg warmers with mixed results. They tend to slip down on me. They are fairly tight, but they still slip. They don't work when I run, but they might work better on the bike. I don't remember if I've ever tried them while riding.

The pants and tights will help a bit with rain, but you'll still get wet. At least the fabric doesn't soak up water the way that cotton does.

If I layer up, my legs generally are OK on cold days. I have more issues with my hands and feet getting too cold on those days, even with glove liners, thick winter gloves, mtn bike shoes, socks and neoprene shoe covers. I'll have to try the chemical hand and foot warmers this winter.

I will check out the Under Armour products. Love them, go Baltimore!

americancyclo
10-28-2011, 07:13 AM
I have more issues with my hands and feet getting too cold on those days, even with glove liners, thick winter gloves, mtn bike shoes, socks and neoprene shoe covers. I'll have to try the chemical hand and foot warmers this winter.

Have you looked in to getting moose mitts, or similar? I've heard good things from forum members about them, and I see that you were thinking about getting them (or heated winter gloves) last fall, from reading this post (http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?973-Order-your-Moose-Mitts&p=6267#post6267)

PrintError
10-28-2011, 10:17 AM
I'm still just wearing shorts, your legs generate a lot of heat when pedaling! :)

Joe Chapline
11-04-2011, 01:03 PM
I did get the Novara Headwind (http://www.rei.com/product/815145/novara-headwind-bike-pants-mens) pants, and I'm happy with them. Like the other products mentioned here, these have no padding; I'm wearing them over the padded liners from my bike shorts. I ordered my usual size, and they're not as form-fitting as they appear in the photo. When it gets colder, I can layer long underwear under them. This was a breakthrough thought for me -- I had a problem with the idea of wearing "tights," but not "long underwear." I ordered a new pair, and the product I ordered is called "Base Layer," which is also acceptable to me.:)

Something other shoppers should look out for: before I got the new fancy-pants, I was riding in old gray sweatpants, and found that they can snag on the bike saddle, especially when dismounting. I had the same problem with the first pair of bike shorts I bought. Those were ridiculously baggy, and I once ended up with the entire saddle inside one leg of the shorts. So look for pants that aren't TOO baggy.

FFX_Hinterlands
11-04-2011, 01:41 PM
Khakis, with a rolled up cuff down to about 30 degrees. :p
I don't do rain.

Ha, Ha. I'm with you. My work Khakis are fine between 55 degrees and 30. Colder than that I might wear long underwear under the pants. Or maybe I'll just wear thicker pants.

mstone
11-04-2011, 07:25 PM
I've also been happy with the headwinds so far.

Side note: every time I see this thread title I think, OF COURSE you should wear pants when it's cold.

Joe Chapline
11-04-2011, 07:37 PM
Ha, Ha. I'm with you. My work Khakis are fine between 55 degrees and 30. Colder than that I might wear long underwear under the pants. Or maybe I'll just wear thicker pants.

I agree about just wearing work clothes to work. I commute through the winter, although not every day -- I work at home most days. When I commute, I dress for the weather and wear my work clothes. The bike part of my commute is short (2-3 miles), I'm sitting up on a hybrid, and I'm not going very fast. I'm outdoors at other times during the day, including a lot of walking. So there's nothing about the bike part of my commute that requires special gear, other than a helmet and ankle straps. I do have a special hat to keep my head warm under the bike helmet, but I don't think I've ever used it yet. Earmuffs that go around the back of my neck have always been warm enough.

What's different now is that I decided not to renew my gym membership. Part of my new workout plan is that I will be biking and running outdoors. I was fine walking to the gym in sweats (and a coat) and running on the treadmill, but now that I'm exercising outdoors I found I needed some wardrobe adjustment.

Dirt
11-04-2011, 08:43 PM
If it is rainy or wet, I always choose knickers though. I can keep my lower legs warm in other ways. All my rain "pants" get cut off and hemmed.

PrintError
11-07-2011, 01:11 PM
Today was the new cold-tolerance limit for me, 34 degrees when I headed out (probably colder by the time I hit the trail). Brrrrrr! Did it in full summer gear, shorts, short jersey, etc.