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Dirt
11-09-2010, 07:34 PM
This may be a bit basic for folks, but I see tons of people getting it wrong, so I thought I’d write this up.

Layers are the key to keeping warm and dry. When we talk about layers, quality and type are MUCH more important than quantity of layers. More clothes is never the right answer unless you’re wearing the right KIND of clothes.

There are three kinds of layers: wicking, loft (insulation) and wind breaking.

Wicking layers transfer moisture away from your skin. They’re responsible for keeping you dry. They offer a bit of insulation too, but that is not their primary purpose. These are the first layers that you put on.

They can be as simple as an inexpensive base layer or synthetic long-underwear or as complex as high tech base layer where different zones of your body are covered with different thicknesses and textures of fabric to maximize warmth and moisture transfer. Wicking layers can be as cheap as a $8 technical t-shirt from Walmart or as expensive as $150 base layer.

Wicking layers can be used anywhere on your body. They exist for gloves, shirts, tights, socks and even hats.

For my core, I’ve had very good luck with inexpensive base layers made by a company called Verge. They can be found for as little as $12 for sleeveless tops. Like anything synthetic, they tend to trap odors after a while. At $12 each, it doesn’t hurt to recycle them after a year.

My favorite for this time of year are made of merino wool. They’re soft, warm and have a very wide temperature range. They cost $40-80 each and are made by a variety of manufacturers.

Loft layers provide insulation. They create dead air space between your outer layers and wicking layers. Moisture must transmit through, but their primary source is to hold your body heat in. Winter jerseys often have a little fleece on the inside to provide loft. Microfleece can work well for this. Some jackets (soft shells) have fleece in them too to add loft.

Wind Breaking layers are meant to keep wind and wet out while allowing perspiration to leave. Seems simple, eh? It isn’t. If they don’t breathe well enough, it is very easy to overheat, sweat and soak yourself… thus causing a serious danger of freezing. Most simply, vents are holes in high temp areas under your arms or on your back to let sweat and some heat out. More complex venting can be done using fancy laminated fabrics that keep moisture out, but let your skin breathe. Gore-Tex is the one that comes to mind most readily, but there are many other fabrics on the market that do this. The best jackets, vests, pants, gloves use a combination of high tech fabrics and simple venting to balance keeping warmth in and getting/keeping moisture out.

Wind breaking layers can be as inexpensive as a simple nylon windbreaker or can cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. Same with tights, pants and gloves.

You’ll notice I have been talking most about keeping my core (torso) warm. While the layers really apply to most places on the body, the key part that I concentrate on is keeping my core at the right temperature.

Combination Layers: There are wicking layers that have loft. There are insulating layers with wind/water breaking panels. There are wicking layers with wind breaking layers. I use them from time to time… particularly wind breaking layers with a bit of loft.

The Tricky Part: What to wear when?

This is personal preference. I know you hate that answer. We’re all different in the way we ride, the amount of heat we give off and how quickly we chill. Personally I sweat more than normal humans. Venting is critical. Most of my jackets/vests/tights for cold weather have a mesh back to let the excess heat out. The wind protection on the front holds enough warmth to keep me from freezing and all that venting in the back keeps me from boiling.

My friend Barbara FREAKS when I talk like that because she’s very different. She needs more insulation everywhere because she neither generates heat like I do, nor does she retain it like I do. (That’s NOT a social statement by any means. ) ;) I guess it is physiological. In my 35+ years of winter riding, I’ve known women and men that are at both extremes of the heat generation/retention continuum.

On the 40 degree mornings we’ve had lately, I’ve been wearing summer cycling shorts, knee warmers with a wind protective patch over the fronts of my knees, a pair of baggy mountain bike knickers over the top to keep wind out. Up top I’ll wear a light base layer with a winter jersey for loft and a wind-front vest to keep my core warm. Below 40 and I’ll go to a long sleeve jacket… still mesh backed.

All of us are going to be different in the combinations that we use. I stated that above as an example.

I promised that this would be brief and to the point. I’ve obviously wandered.

Next topic: Specific layers that I’ve used that work well for me.

What works for you?

Dirt
11-09-2010, 07:48 PM
Of all the wicking layers I've known before....

The thing you'll noticed that I've never suggested or mentioned is cotton. NEVER EVER EVER use cotton as a layer in the winter. I never use it in the summer either. Cotton absorbs sweat and doesn't release it. It loses all ability to retain heat when it is wet. Cotton in any layer of any garment will make that part of your body freeze. Did I mention that cotton is bad? Okay. I'll let that rest. ;)

I mentioned the Verge base layer. I love that stuff. I use it for commuting in all 4 seasons and for long rides when temps are above 55. Its temp range is great. It is cheap. It is disposable. It is 100% synthetic and can be put out with the recycling.

For long, cold rides, my personal favorite is merino wool base layer. Hincapie sportswear makes fabulous wool base layer. It costs $45-55 per depending on your sleeve preference. For me it is worth every penny.

When it is DANG cold.... I'm talking "freeze all exposed skin" cold, I run for Craft's sub zero stuff. It is stupidly expensive, but you don't have to own a lot of it since those rides are not as frequent. They make tops and tights. It feels weird when walking around the house because it is designed to fit your body when you're in a riding position.

I don't do well with combination wicking/wind breaking layers. I have tried a few from Nalini and Craft and I perspire too much for any of them to wick effectively. I get wet then freeze. If I'm riding casually in very cold weather that works. I tend to ride as fast as possible when it is that cold to keep my core temp high.

Liner gloves are wonderful. I have some from Giordana, Pearl Izumi, Sugoi, Adidas and Nalini. They're great these days because I wear an outer glove when it is 40 degrees out in the morning and just wear the liners when it is 60 degrees on the way home.

How 'bout y'all???

Hope some of this is helpful. Help me out with your input and what works for you? Thanks!

Joe Chapline
11-10-2010, 08:50 AM
Great post, Dirt, this is really good information for anyone getting ready for a long commute or recreational ride. My short (3-mile) commute doesn't require a lot of special gear. I wear my work clothes and choose a jacket for the temperature. It's November now; a bit on the warm side for the season, but chilly enough that I carry earmuffs and an old pair of knit wool gloves from an army surplus store. That's all it takes to keep me comfortable on my 20-30 minute rides. I'm throwing this out for people browsing the forum, who might be thinking about using a bike for short trips in the colder months.

Dirt
11-10-2010, 06:59 PM
Perfect contribution, sir. Practical, reasonable and effective. :D

Dirt
11-10-2010, 07:26 PM
Joe's post brings out some very good information about me. I'm probably insane. I have this pathological dislike of driving. What's worse, is that I love cars. If you can figure that out, please enlighten me because I don't get it.

The bottom line is this: I will go to amazing lengths to not drive my lovely, wonderful, and very warm, cozy car. I was forced to for almost 6 weeks last winter because of a dislocated shoulder. I spent $3000 on a recumbent trike so that I could get back to commuting under human power 5 weeks earlier.

Back on topic: One of my all-time favorite articles of insulating layers are Roubaix shorts. Roubaix cloth is a kind of lycra that is lined with fleece. Lots of winter tights and jerseys are made from it. I have found that Hincapie, Rapha, Giordana, Special-ed (aka Specialized), Nalini and many more companies make shorts from the stuff. They're brilliant. Add knee warmers and you've got knickers. Add leg warmers and you've got tights. Wear them under tights and you have an awesome extra bit of warmth for your gentleman vegetables.

If you ride a lot in the fall or early spring, you'll love these things. Truly amazing.

skreaminquadz
11-16-2010, 11:40 AM
Another excellent write-up Pete!

I actually like riding this time of year, which has not always been the case. Now that I have found the right "gear" for it, it's a lot of fun!

I almost exclusively use Merino wool for socks, jersey, and skull cap. I'll sometimes double up on the merino wool if it's ridiculously cold. As for bottoms I use the PI Thermafleece Amfib stuff - works quite well. I have a pair of Edura Lobster gloves that I use if temps drop down real low and sometimes add a merino wool liner.

Shoes - I use my standard MTB shoes with toe covers and Sugoi Resistor booties. They work quite well but I noticed that they don't last long so I'm getting a new pair about every season.

OneEighth
12-06-2010, 07:58 PM
For what it's worth, I use coolmax technical rowing shirts from JL Racing pretty much year-round anymore. The short sleeve jerseys are comfy between low-60's and whatever the Summer brings. The longsleeve tech shirts are good (once warmed-up) from the upper 40's without a jacket. The drawback is that these are rowing shirts and do not have pockets (unless JL has taken my suggestion to heart). But, if you are commuting, the lack of pockets shouldn't matter because you are probably humping some gawd-awful backpack anyway (like me). Can't beat the price either.

Craft makes a nice split-finger glove, though I am much happier now that I've replace the stock synthetic liner with a Smartwool liner.

Defeet. What can I say?

Tom

Dirt
12-20-2011, 09:34 AM
Thought I'd bump this:

Some people have asked about clothes that are not so tight. Honestly, I'm sure there's a technique for keeping warm on rides of an hour or longer, but I don't know it. Base layer needs to be snug against your skin for it to really work. When I dress more casually... in looser, but still high tech clothes, I end up sweathing then freezing. I imagine if I just adjusted my speed down to lower my heat put-out, it might work better for me.

americancyclo
12-20-2011, 09:56 AM
This thread is great, and needs more forum members to contribute, so here goes:

keep in mind that this is what has been working for me over the past three years bike commuting just under an hour from VA to DC in temps down to about 20 degrees. It's by no means the best available, it just what I've accumulated through gifts, giveaways, and appropriation from other sports.

Head
50 or lower - REI balaclava (http://www.rei.com/search?query=balaclava) to keep the wind off my ears and neck. retains a pretty good amount of heat without changing the fit of my helmet.
30 or lower - I add on a neoprene lower face mask (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000WKAZZ8). this covers my nose, mouth, and also stretches up to give me another layer over my ears. I usually pull this down around my neck after the first 30 min of the ride.

Torso
Regular cycling jersey
Wool Arm warmers (http://www.sockguy.com/category/122_1/Arm.20_Warmers.aspx) - i used to scoff at arm warmers, but this season, I LOVE them!
Windproof Cycling Jacket (http://www.canari.com/content/inline/collection_pages/inline_collection_template.php?inline_collection_v alue=inline_collection/men/3_fall_2011/jackets/1789&inline_collection_style=1789&inline_collection_season=3_fall_2011&inline_collection_type=jackets&inline_collection_class=men)

I used to layer a waffle thermal and a fleece vest over the jersey and under the jacket, but this year, even when it's been 25 when I've left the house, I've never needed more than the arm warmers, jersey, and jacket.

I bought my brother in law an Endura Flyte Jacket (http://www.endurasport.com/Product.aspx?dept_id=122&prod_id=257) and FS260 Pro Jetstream Jersey (http://www.endurasport.com/Product.aspx?dept_id=126&prod_id=233) that he loves, and frankly, I think I need one of each now. That jersey is pretty badass, it's got windproof panels in the front, but more breathable ones in the rear.

Legs
50 to 40 - all season cycling shorts and some knee high wicking snowboarding socks I've owned for years.
40 and below - Pearl Izumi Winter Cycling Tights (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/product_series/ride/men/elite_series/tights.-productCode-11111034.html)
40 and below - Endura Luminite Shoe Covers (https://www.google.com/search?q=Endura+Luminite+Shoe+Covers&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#q=Endura+Luminite+Shoe+Covers&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=tv2&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&source=univ&tbm=shop&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=dK3wTvzXKcbL0QHZ5uS-Ag&ved=0CFkQrQQ&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=2de55b0a1ffbc1be&biw=1280&bih=880)

Add in smartwool socks, thickness varies depending on temperature, or what is clean.

Gloves
down to 40 - had LG gloves (http://www.amazon.com/Louis-Garneau-Tex-Eco-Cycling-Gloves/dp/B000MMVL68) for about 4 years, just threw them out and started wearing Manzella Silkweight Gloves (https://www.google.com/search?q=manuerra+glvoes&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a#sclient=psy-ab&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=WKi&rls=org.mozilla:en-US%3Aofficial&tbm=shop&source=hp&q=manzella+gloves+silkweight&pbx=1&oq=manzella+gloves+silkweight&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&gs_sm=e&gs_upl=1129l1632l4l1773l6l4l0l0l0l0l222l537l1.2.1l 4l0&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.,cf.osb&fp=2de55b0a1ffbc1be&biw=1280&bih=880)
40 and below I've been using snowboard gloves, but I think I'm getting a pair of lobster gloves (http://www.pearlizumi.com/publish/content/pi_2010/us/en/index/products/men/ride/accessories/0.-productCode-14341104.html) or glacier gloves (http://glacieroutdoor.com/store/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&product_ID=54&ParentCat=14) or moose mitts (http://www.trails-edge.com/retail/te_shirts/amfbikemits.htm) for xmas!

txgoonie
12-20-2011, 10:12 AM
Ladies generally have a bit of a conundrum in that we need a support layer first and foremost. So the question becomes do you try to multitask base and support with your first layer or accept that you'll need two different pieces?

I'm a super cold-natured person. I feel chilly when it's 70 degrees out. So for those poor souls like me, I'll reiterate the part about fit - base layer has to be tight against your skin. I feel like if I have that part taken care of, the other layers matter a lot less and you need less bulk that you might think. If it's still in the 40s, I'll wear a shimmel, which is basically a long sports bra, with arm warmers as the base. Then I'll cover with a long sleeve jersey and whatever outer piece the conditions demand (wind, rain, etc.). If it's super cold, I'll start with a standard sports bra and put a base layer over it: either a long-sleeve fleece-lined mock turtle tech shirt (the one I have is Nike) or a light wool half-zip (either Patagonia or Smartwool). Then layer as necessary.

So far this season I've been able to get away with PI lobster gloves, but I have a feeling when the temperatures really start to dip, I'll want a liner in the mix, too.

My feet just stay cold. They just do. This past Sunday, I wore double wool socks, chemical toe warmers and neoprene booties, and at the end of a 3-hour ride, my toes were still frozen. Not sure what else I could possibly do besides get winter cycling shoes, and those aren't in the budget this year.

This is more geared toward training rides than commuting, but I'm still experimenting with embro. That subject could probably support its own thread, though;)

Arlingtonrider
12-20-2011, 12:45 PM
For an 8-12 mile commute in 25 -30 degree F weather, which I do, as always, in regular running shoes -- this works very well for me. Even though I generally get cold easily, I stay toasty warm, despite not having special shoes or anything but my own hair on my head under my helmet. It might not be right for longer/colder rides though.

Torso etc: Normal womens' "first layer"; a polypro or merino blend long-sleeve undershirt; a fleece turtleneck shirt with neck zip; and a shell type commuting jacket (screaming yellow Pearl Izumi barrier elite for high viz).

Legs: Novarra Headwinds pants.

Face and neck: I have two face shields for skin protection from cold and wind and choose which to wear depending on how cold it is. One is a very light, soft Gore windproof one (just bought it at REI recently for days when its not cold enough for the warmer one) and the other, for when it is really cold, is fleece and includes neck protection. Both have good nose coverage and venting (open under the nose), good breathing holes for the mouth, and velcro in the rear. (With my cycling glasses and helmet, almost my entire face is protected, except for around my glasses where I need air anyway.) Then I add "wrap around the back" earmuffs before putting on my helmet. I've found that I like to use the face shield with a polartec neckscarf rather than a balaclava so that I easily take them off (or loosen the scarf) if I get too warm without having to stop and remove my helmet.

Hands: A variety of gloves to choose from depending on temps. I tried my (awesome!) new Moose Mitts when it was 28 degrees out, and found that, with those, my very lightest full fingered gloves kept me toasty. I think I could have even worn fingerless gloves and been fine. Most cold mornings, I'm just fine with my regular warmest biking gloves. No special liners or anything.

Feet: Thin nylon socks with warm wool blend or ski socks over them, then my regular running shoes. That combination keeps me warm enough for at least for an hour or so ride when it's 25-30 degrees out. (I once tried cutting off the ends of newspaper bags and putting them over my toes for windproofing, but found it counterproductive.) The two pairs of socks alone work just fine, although they might not for a longer/much colder ride.

eminva
12-20-2011, 01:46 PM
My extremities have always gotten cold easily and I dress accordingly as follows:

Cold:

Lightweight wool ski sweater (Icebreaker or Ibex)
Ibex Shak Vest (http://shop.ibex.com/Apparel/Womens-Vests-Jackets/Shak-Vest) (the first thing to come off if I get overheated, or if it's warmer on the other end of my commute)
Wind breaker or Bspoke Angel jacket (http://www.startfitness.co.uk/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=44877&strPageHistory=search&numSearchStartRecord=31)
Tights of any variety (biking, running, etc.)
Wool socks (Smartwool or similar)
Bike shoes
Full fingered gloves
Lightweight wool cap
fleece headband worn around my neck or over my cap

Colder

Heavyweight wool ski sweater (http://icebreaker.com/Womens-Glider/IBG468,en,pd.html?dwvar_IBG468_color=E84&start=7&cgid=womens-skiing-snowboarding-tops)
Ibex Shak Vest (http://shop.ibex.com/Apparel/Womens-Vests-Jackets/Shak-Vest)
Bspoke Angel jacket (http://www.startfitness.co.uk/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=44877&strPageHistory=search&numSearchStartRecord=31)
Tights of any variety (biking, running, etc.)
Wool socks (Smartwool or similar)
Fleece Lined Timberland Boots (on flat pedals)
Lobster claw gloves
Fleece balaclava

Coldest (I'll ride down to air temps of 15 F or Wind Chill of high single digits)

Heavyweight wool ski sweater (http://icebreaker.com/Womens-Glider/IBG468,en,pd.html?dwvar_IBG468_color=E84&start=7&cgid=womens-skiing-snowboarding-tops)
Non-technical parka
Windstopper cycling pants
Wool socks (Smartwool or similar)
Chemical toe warmers
Fleece Lined Timberland Boots (on flat pedals)
Lobster claw gloves
Fleece balaclava

I wear a wicking sports bra year round.

My commute is anywhere from 55 minutes to 1 hour, 20 minutes. I do find I get warm and then cold if I start to sweat. I just stop and take off layers/add layers as needed. Some of you may have seen me along the trail. Yes, this is time consuming, and I do feel like I have half my closet in my bag at times, but it seems to work comfort-wise.

Some of this stuff is expensive, but I built the collection over years, got it on sale, etc.

Liz

GuyContinental
12-21-2011, 08:19 AM
Don't forget wind chill when you are thinking of your layers! Dress for Wind Chill at your expected sustained high speed not average- This is particularly important for those of us with longer commutes (1 hr +) but shouldn't be neglected. A 25 degree day quickly becomes 11 degrees at 20 mph. That's fine for a few minutes but a big deal over 10+...
NOAA Wind Chill Index (http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/windchill/)

My kit when super cold (for a 25+ mile 1-way commute) is

Head
Balaclava

Torso
Patagonia SS base T
LS layer
PI windproof convertible Jacket

Legs
PI Tights
Summer riding shorts

Hands
Liners
PI Windproof Gloves

Feet
Smartwool socks
MTB shoes
PI windproof covers (not durable...)

I still suffer in the "man-bits" and belly region and will occasionally use some extra smartwool socks (not kidding)- would like a AmFib bib set or at the very least some wind-proof briefs but Mrs Santa has already been generous with bike parts this season so I'll probably have to wait until the spring sales.

Dirt
12-21-2011, 08:58 AM
Great additions, y'all! Thank you!!!

I seem to be the opposite of many of you. I am, by nature, very warm and tend to generate and give off a lot of heat. One thing that I haven't talked about is adjusting my riding based upon the weather. If it is very cold out, I may start the ride a little faster than normal to get my blood flowing and warm myself up a bit. A little bit before I reach a comfortable temperature, I back off the effort a little and let my temperature level off a bit. If I get cold, I up the tempo a little.

Arlingtonrider brings up another favorite topic... Cycling shoes, by nature, tend to be cold in the winter... even some of the fancy ones designed for winter. It can be MUCH cheaper and ultimately warmer to switch to flat pedals and some kind of winter boots for walking. You probably already have the boots, and a decent pair of spiky flat pedals costs around $20-30.

Thanks again y'all. You rock!

culimerc
12-21-2011, 09:50 AM
My wife uses platform pedals only and another friend has a townie with platform pedals. Both swear by MKS Lambda pedals (http://www.amazon.com/MKS-Lambda-Platform-Pedal/dp/B001GSQVEE)

Dirt
01-01-2012, 06:31 PM
Found a great riding product for cool winter rides. Doesn't work so well when it is really cold, but it worked great for my ride today in temps ranging between 40 and 55 degrees.

http://youtu.be/XbRSRL8V31s

eminva
01-01-2012, 07:40 PM
Found a great riding product for cool winter rides. Doesn't work so well when it is really cold, but it worked great for my ride today in temps ranging between 40 and 55 degrees.

http://youtu.be/XbRSRL8V31s

I dare you to wear it on your commute!

Liz

dbb
01-01-2012, 08:05 PM
We have a great performance artist in our midst in the form of Dirt. Bravo, sir, bravo!

Greenbelt
01-01-2012, 09:55 PM
I have a leopard print Snuggie that my staff at work got me because they were tired of my complaining about being cold all the time in our office. I'd gladly donate it to Pete if he needs more mountain biking (or commuting) gear. It's completely open at the back, though...

mstone
01-03-2012, 06:24 AM
It's completely open at the back, though...

If you call it "venting" you can charge more for it...

americancyclo
01-03-2012, 08:55 AM
I still suffer in the "man-bits" and belly region

I just got a pair of the 2011 Elite Thermal Cycling Tights, and they held up much better than my older PI thermal cycling tights. The wind proofing does wonders in the front.

Dirt
01-03-2012, 09:38 AM
It's completely open at the back, though...
Thanks for the offer. The part that I didn't mention in my review was stopping to get gas and use the rest room at a truck stop in rural Maryland. I walked into the gas station to ask where the rest room was and get a key if needed and was greeted by a man my height, but built so that he would likely stretch a Forever Lazy to its limit, with the words, "What the *#*& are you?" I simply asked if there was a restroom. His female co-worker said it was out back and that I didn't need a key. The best part was her roar of laughter when I turned around to walk out and she noticed that I had the butt flap already open. Mr. Man wasn't amused.


I dare you to wear it on your commute!
The commuting portion of the review is already in the works. I'm waiting for just the right weather conditions for it though. Today would have been good, but I had an early morning meeting that precluded me from taking time to shoot video.

Happy New Year, y'all. :D

KLizotte
01-03-2012, 03:17 PM
Thanks for the offer. The part that I didn't mention in my review was stopping to get gas and use the rest room at a truck stop in rural Maryland. I walked into the gas station to ask where the rest room was and get a key if needed and was greeted by a man my height, but built so that he would likely stretch a Forever Lazy to its limit, with the words, "What the *#*& are you?" I simply asked if there was a restroom. His female co-worker said it was out back and that I didn't need a key. The best part was her roar of laughter when I turned around to walk out and she noticed that I had the butt flap already open. Mr. Man wasn't amused.


This had me laughing out loud at work so much that I was getting strange looks from my coworkers.

Didn't your mama tell you never to wear dirty underwear because you never know if you're gonna get hit by a truck? Good thing you didn't hurt yourself on your bike; would have been a strange scene at the ER: "Big man in a snuggie coming in with a broken leg...."

Arlingtonrider
01-03-2012, 06:32 PM
Does anyone ride in a ski/snowboard helmet in this kind of weather? I thought it might be too warm, but I'm considering it for tomorrow.

I have to admit that I wimped out today after seeing the afternoon wind forecast.

5555624
01-04-2012, 06:50 AM
Although it probably only applies to a handful of people here -- if that many -- remember that your commute might add special requirements that would not apply on a weekend ride. (I know, that's an awkward sentence.) For example, if your commute involves riding onto/into a secure facility (military base, parking garage, etc.) where you have to show an ID, you may not be able to wear a balaclava or anything else covering your face. A face shield or scarf, that you can pull down is probably easier than taking off your helmet and balaclava. (Getting an ID out while wearing lobster gloves is a pain in the butt, too.)

americancyclo
01-04-2012, 07:07 AM
If you're a regular bike commuter, as I know a good handful of us are, the folks at the security gate get to know you, particularly when they see you consistently on the hottest and coldest days of the year on your bike. I only had my eyes peeking out today, and the folks recognize my bike and my bike gear. I've also taken to the habit of clipping my ID badge to my shoulderstrap, so I don't have to fish around for it. I may seem a little dorky on the trails wearing my ID badge, but then again, I'm bundled up, on a bike trail when it's 16 degrees outside, nevermind.

5555624
01-04-2012, 09:35 AM
If you're a regular bike commuter, as I know a good handful of us are, the folks at the security gate get to know you, particularly when they see you consistently on the hottest and coldest days of the year on your bike.

As long as it's the same guards. I had a new one a few weeks ago, who wanted to inspect my ID, front and back -- the first time that's happened in more than ten years.

It also depends on how lax they are, too. One guard I see every week is my neighbor -- two doors down, on the same floor of my building -- so he knows me and my bikes, but he always checks my ID.

dasgeh
01-04-2012, 09:38 AM
A face shield or scarf, that you can pull down is probably easier than taking off your helmet and balaclava. (Getting an ID out while wearing lobster gloves is a pain in the butt, too.)

I'm confused. I can pull my balaclava down far enough that the guards can see my face (well eyes-mouth). Even though there's a constant rotation of mostly-unfriendly (to bikes) guards at Fort Myer, I've never had a problem while bundled.

Getting the ID out and especially back in again is a pain in the butt, but I'm clumsy-fingered without gloves, so that doesn't change with the weather.

Dirt
01-04-2012, 09:44 AM
I haven't looked like my ID photo for a while, so I always get the third degree from guards that I don't know well.

culimerc
01-04-2012, 10:30 AM
Any thoughts on Moosemitts vs Barmitts??

dbb
01-04-2012, 10:36 AM
Any thoughts on Moosemitts vs Barmitts??

Moose Mitts are a product delivered from heaven! I wore fingerless gloves this morning with mine.

There is a fairly comprehensive thread on this. The tread, in summary, sings the praises of Moose Mitts and the firm that produces them.

http://bikearlingtonforum.com/showthread.php?973-Order-your-Moose-Mitts&highlight=moose+mitts

americancyclo
01-04-2012, 01:34 PM
... and the firm that produces them.

hahah. from the website:


Hand made by 3 sets of hands in our store for over 8 years.

ShawnoftheDread
11-02-2012, 01:42 PM
Found a great riding product for cool winter rides. Doesn't work so well when it is really cold, but it worked great for my ride today in temps ranging between 40 and 55 degrees.

http://youtu.be/XbRSRL8V31s

This might be the sweatiest film since Barton Fink.

Dirt
11-02-2012, 02:43 PM
This might be the sweatiest film since Barton Fink.
Hahaha. I still haven't published the sequel yet.... staring our own americancyclo.

My huge problem is how the hell do I top that on our January 1, 2013 ride???? I'm stumped.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 01:51 PM
It is getting to be Layers 101 time of year again. Might be a good opportunity to bump this thread for some fall reading.

ShawnoftheDread
09-29-2013, 02:14 PM
I just got some Icebreaker 100% merino thermals. I can't wait till it's cold enough to try them out.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 06:01 PM
I just got some Icebreaker 100% merino thermals. I can't wait till it's cold enough to try them out.
I just picked up two sets of Giro New Road Merino base layer.

jrenaut
09-29-2013, 06:16 PM
I just picked up two sets of Giro New Road Merino base layer.
Let us know how you like them. That's a really nice looking line of clothes, but they seemed a bit pricey.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 06:50 PM
Let us know how you like them. That's a really nice looking line of clothes, but they seemed a bit pricey.
I'm picking up more stuff this week. I'm doing some product testing so that I can talk to it more.

One of the reasons the clothes are more pricey is that it is all made in the US. I have heard lots of people over the years complain about the lack of US-made cycling clothing. It is interesting and kind-of cool that Giro has responded. The quality is amazing. The styles are pretty neat!

The Merino base layer is flawless. It is better than the Hincapie that I purchased two years ago and on-par with the Ibex that I purchased last year. We've got the sleeveless and short sleeve versions in stock.

jrenaut
09-29-2013, 07:00 PM
I'm okay spending a bit more on something well made, and something made in the US.

Bilsko
09-29-2013, 07:22 PM
Layer-related: gloves.

The Assos Factory outlet has their glove system for sale for $137. NOT CHEAP, and the % discount isn't great either, but its worth considering. 3 pairs, from light (liner style), to med, to mitt.

Tempting, as I do need to find a good option for this winter.

Mavic's semi-cold weather gloves are on sale at Competitive, i think. Not sure if they have a layer option

TwoWheelsDC
09-29-2013, 07:52 PM
My next purchase is winter shoes... Looking specifically at the Sidi Diablo, which is not only warm, but waterproof (according to the reviews). Shoe covers are a sub-optimal solution for daily riding... At least for me.

hozn
09-29-2013, 08:30 PM
I picked up some Northwave Celsius boots a couple years ago on GearTrade. They work well and claim to be waterproof, but the low profile of the boot is inferior to shoe covers when it is actually raining. (My Gore rain pants are not exceptionally long.) The shoes aren't also much warmer (if any) than good covers. And of course the commute home is often much warmer than the commute in, so there aren't that many weeks when it's comfortable to wear boots both ways. So I didn't use to think boots made that much sense, but I wore them a lot last winter thanks to freezing saddles, so I am happy to have them.

vvill
09-29-2013, 09:24 PM
Layer-related: gloves.

I just wear Large sized gloves over Mediums, and I also have Moose Mitts. That said, my hands can still get cold (and feet too). I hope to solve the extremities dilemma this winter.

Amalitza
09-29-2013, 09:39 PM
They work well and claim to be waterproof.

I also have the northwave celsius boots and while I have limited shoe cover experience so can’t much compare, I did find the boots to be reasonably warm and fully waterproof-- even in heavy rains when some of my other waterproof clothing wasn’t so much. My only real problem is that I could probably use a half size bigger on the coldest days to accommodate thicker socks and as nearly as I can tell, they don’t make half sizes in my size range. But the fact that they make *any* sizes in my size range-- and enough of them that I could find some-- is a point (if a grudgingly made one) in their favor (though likely not one that twowheels cares much about unless he is shopping for his wife).

‘course, I am on the short-limbed side of things so “My Gore rain pants are not exceptionally long” is not really an issue for me...

Dirt
09-29-2013, 10:49 PM
I'm okay spending a bit more on something well made, and something made in the US.
Not to senselessly plug my employer, but I think Freshbikes Mosaic is the only place in town that carries much of the stuff. We've got most of the entire line. We don't have the wind shirt and a couple of the crews.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 10:55 PM
The Assos Factory outlet has their glove system for sale for $137. NOT CHEAP, and the % discount isn't great either, but its worth considering. 3 pairs, from light (liner style), to med, to mitt.

Sizing was weird for me on those. I wear a medium in the liner, large in the early-winter (the middle one) and an I think the XL on the overmitt wasn't quite big enough. I bought the first two without ever buying the third. Assos didn't make the over mitt last year. They have a new one coming out this year. I don't know if it is different.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 10:58 PM
I also have the northwave celsius boots and while I have limited shoe cover experience so can’t much compare, I did find the boots to be reasonably warm and fully waterproof-- even in heavy rains when some of my other waterproof clothing wasn’t so much. ..
My buddy Sean loves his. He's got Lake Boots too and he says the NorthWaves kick butt. Much lighter and virtually as warm.

hozn
09-29-2013, 11:08 PM
Good to hear about the waterproofness of the Northwaves. If I can get some longer rain pants then I will put that to the test! The one time I tried them in rain, I just got water funneled down into the shoe. That was unpleasant.

Covers are very versatile, but it's also nice just being able to put on a pair of shoes and head out the door.

Dirt
09-29-2013, 11:23 PM
Good to hear about the waterproofness of the Northwaves. If I can get some longer rain pants then I will put that to the test!
I use mountaineering gaters to add the height that I need for waterproofing my Lake Boots. Sizing is weird since most gaters are designed to go over doubleboots. I took my winter shoes to REI and tried different ones until I got some that fit tight. I'm able to do creek crossings up almost to my knees and keep my feet dry. They're not perfect. I usually get about 4 creek crossings per ride before they start to leak.

hozn
09-30-2013, 05:50 AM
Ah, that is a great tip, thanks!

TwoWheelsDC
09-30-2013, 08:12 AM
I also have the northwave celsius boots and while I have limited shoe cover experience so can’t much compare, I did find the boots to be reasonably warm and fully waterproof-- even in heavy rains when some of my other waterproof clothing wasn’t so much. My only real problem is that I could probably use a half size bigger on the coldest days to accommodate thicker socks and as nearly as I can tell, they don’t make half sizes in my size range. But the fact that they make *any* sizes in my size range-- and enough of them that I could find some-- is a point (if a grudgingly made one) in their favor (though likely not one that twowheels cares much about unless he is shopping for his wife).

‘course, I am on the short-limbed side of things so “My Gore rain pants are not exceptionally long” is not really an issue for me...

Good info...my main concern is waterproof-ness, so your post allays my concerns...and honestly, I can get the road version and the MTB for the same price as the Sidis I'm considering.

eminva
09-30-2013, 08:31 AM
What cleat system do these Northwave Celcius boots work with?

In years past, I alternated between shoe covers and flat pedals/winter boots, but my old boots are giving up the ghost and the shoe covers are so tedious twice a day, so I'm considering my options. Thanks.

Liz

Dirt
09-30-2013, 09:14 AM
What cleat system do these Northwave Celcius boots work with?
They are SPD compatible, so they work with mountain bike pedals.

hozn
09-30-2013, 09:46 AM
Yeah, I believe the Fahrenheit is the equivalent model for 3-bolt road cleats.

FFX_Hinterlands
09-30-2013, 12:15 PM
Ibex is having a sale right now. I picked up an merino base layer (Woolies 1/4 zip) for $35. It's orange. Really orange. http://shop.ibex.com/Outlet/Mens

NicDiesel
09-30-2013, 12:59 PM
So, I have no intention of not riding from January through March outside in the Twin Cities so I need your help. Who makes good windproof jackets and gear (layers over long sleeved jerseys) for someone that wears a 3XL top?

eminva
10-11-2013, 10:41 AM
Hello --

Does anyone have any familiarity with the Northwave Arctic Commuter (http://www.cyclesportsuk.co.uk/shoes-cycle-northwave-northwave-arctic-commuter-boots-2014-p-13522.html?currency=USD&country_for_tax=223#scroll_to_here)? It looks like it is a commuter version of the Celsius boots -- distinguished mainly by a lower temperature rating and the addition of hi-viz yellow (http://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/northwave-introduce-extreme-tech-plus-as-part-of-revamped-shoe-range.html).

They are a bit more spendy than the Celsius, but it is just degrees of difference at that price, I suppose.

Should I be the guinea pig?

Liz

TwoWheelsDC
10-11-2013, 10:59 AM
Hello --

Does anyone have any familiarity with the Northwave Arctic Commuter (http://www.cyclesportsuk.co.uk/shoes-cycle-northwave-northwave-arctic-commuter-boots-2014-p-13522.html?currency=USD&country_for_tax=223#scroll_to_here)? It looks like it is a commuter version of the Celsius boots -- distinguished mainly by a lower temperature rating and the addition of hi-viz yellow (http://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/northwave-introduce-extreme-tech-plus-as-part-of-revamped-shoe-range.html).

They are a bit more spendy than the Celsius, but it is just degrees of difference at that price, I suppose.

Should I be the guinea pig?

Liz

I just noticed those this morning...from what I can tell, the Arctics are probably a bit warmer than I'd need on a day-to-day basis, as I'd prefer to have shoes that work in slightly warmer, wet weather too. And the yellow seems like a bit of a gimmick. If I go with the NWs, I'll probably just get the normal Celsius.

consularrider
10-11-2013, 11:03 AM
Hello --

Does anyone have any familiarity with the Northwave Arctic Commuter (http://www.cyclesportsuk.co.uk/shoes-cycle-northwave-northwave-arctic-commuter-boots-2014-p-13522.html?currency=USD&country_for_tax=223#scroll_to_here)? It looks like it is a commuter version of the Celsius boots -- distinguished mainly by a lower temperature rating and the addition of hi-viz yellow (http://roadcyclinguk.com/gear/northwave-introduce-extreme-tech-plus-as-part-of-revamped-shoe-range.html).

They are a bit more spendy than the Celsius, but it is just degrees of difference at that price, I suppose.

Should I be the guinea pig?

Liz
Love the hi-viz version! Rating at -25°C - 5°C (-13°F - 41°F) would work great all winter here!

tuba_transport
10-11-2013, 06:53 PM
My buddy Sean loves his. He's got Lake Boots too and he says the NorthWaves kick butt. Much lighter and virtually as warm.

The Northwave Celsius Arctic GTX. The Arctic version is supposed to be warmer than the non-Arctic. I don't know, never tried the non-Arctic.

I have Lake boots from a few years ago. They are still useful in deep snow or if the temps go below 20 degrees. Both of those have been rare the past couple years though.

I bought the Northwave boots because I tried their summer shoes and they were a great fit for my wide feet. I wanted a lighter boot. The boots also have a spacious toebox, which is essential for thick socks. If your winter boots are not loose then they are not warm no matter what you are wearing. Circulation is key. I wear the same sized Northwave boot as Northwave summer shoe because the toe box is so big.

I RARELY wear my Lake boots anymore. The Northwave's are way way way waaaaaay lighter. Nearly summer shoe light, especially compared to the Lakes. They claim to have a water resistant lining, but when it rains your feet will get wet due mostly to the short tops on them. If it is rain an in the 30s I will pull out the Lakes.

With all that said, the Northwaves rock. I can wear my Arctics comfortably up to 45F. Too hot above that temp. But then again 40F is about the transition temp for me to wear wool socks and toe covers on summer shoes anyway. The weight of the Northwave shoes cannot be understated. They are so much more efficient than the heavier Lake boots.

I have worn mine very comfortably from about 25-45 degrees. I did race Snotcycle this year in them when the temp was 19F. For that I added a toe chem warmer and my feet were very happy.

For anyone entertaining the idea of purchasing the 3-bolt road cleat version of any boot, DON'T. Road cleats are USELESS in snow and ice. Step off the bike one time and the cleat fills with ice and you don't get clipped back in. Invest in MTB pedals for winter if you have not already. Road soles are also USELESS to walk on in perfect summer conditions. Now try walking on them on ice and snow. Get the MTB pedals for winter.

This winter will be my third season on my Northwave boots. I will wear them every day the temp stays below 45F just like the past 2 seasons. The boot is essentially as good as new, unlike Lakes which fall apart every season.

One of the best pieces of kit I own.

BTW, I wrote down what works for me at different temps and edit it year after year to adjust to new insights and my evolving needs for winter clothing. Here is my personal FAQ I refer to for myself each Autumn so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every year when I try to remember what worked 6 months ago.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ynG_e-u1JNPF8pudUURLVRF0PPXxkBghoICRsfva2CI/edit?usp=sharing

Dirt
10-11-2013, 07:00 PM
BTW, I wrote down what works for me at different temps and edit it year after year to adjust to new insights and my evolving needs for winter clothing. Here is my personal FAQ I refer to for myself each Autumn so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every year when I try to remember what worked 6 months ago.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ynG_e-u1JNPF8pudUURLVRF0PPXxkBghoICRsfva2CI/edit?usp=sharing

You rock, sir! Thank you!

pfunkallstar
10-21-2013, 03:07 PM
The Northwave Celsius Arctic GTX. The Arctic version is supposed to be warmer than the non-Arctic. I don't know, never tried the non-Arctic.

I have Lake boots from a few years ago. They are still useful in deep snow or if the temps go below 20 degrees. Both of those have been rare the past couple years though.

I bought the Northwave boots because I tried their summer shoes and they were a great fit for my wide feet. I wanted a lighter boot. The boots also have a spacious toebox, which is essential for thick socks. If your winter boots are not loose then they are not warm no matter what you are wearing. Circulation is key. I wear the same sized Northwave boot as Northwave summer shoe because the toe box is so big.

I RARELY wear my Lake boots anymore. The Northwave's are way way way waaaaaay lighter. Nearly summer shoe light, especially compared to the Lakes. They claim to have a water resistant lining, but when it rains your feet will get wet due mostly to the short tops on them. If it is rain an in the 30s I will pull out the Lakes.

With all that said, the Northwaves rock. I can wear my Arctics comfortably up to 45F. Too hot above that temp. But then again 40F is about the transition temp for me to wear wool socks and toe covers on summer shoes anyway. The weight of the Northwave shoes cannot be understated. They are so much more efficient than the heavier Lake boots.

I have worn mine very comfortably from about 25-45 degrees. I did race Snotcycle this year in them when the temp was 19F. For that I added a toe chem warmer and my feet were very happy.

For anyone entertaining the idea of purchasing the 3-bolt road cleat version of any boot, DON'T. Road cleats are USELESS in snow and ice. Step off the bike one time and the cleat fills with ice and you don't get clipped back in. Invest in MTB pedals for winter if you have not already. Road soles are also USELESS to walk on in perfect summer conditions. Now try walking on them on ice and snow. Get the MTB pedals for winter.

This winter will be my third season on my Northwave boots. I will wear them every day the temp stays below 45F just like the past 2 seasons. The boot is essentially as good as new, unlike Lakes which fall apart every season.

One of the best pieces of kit I own.

BTW, I wrote down what works for me at different temps and edit it year after year to adjust to new insights and my evolving needs for winter clothing. Here is my personal FAQ I refer to for myself each Autumn so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every year when I try to remember what worked 6 months ago.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ynG_e-u1JNPF8pudUURLVRF0PPXxkBghoICRsfva2CI/edit?usp=sharing

Just stumbled across this, COMPREHENSIVE! Also, bike clothing need not be expensive. Seasonal comfort buying is always inversely proportional to price, so wait for the first 90 degree day then go web bargain hunting for those neoprene booties.

OneEighth
10-21-2013, 07:38 PM
For anyone entertaining the idea of purchasing the 3-bolt road cleat version of any boot, DON'T. Road cleats are USELESS in snow and ice. Step off the bike one time and the cleat fills with ice and you don't get clipped back in. Invest in MTB pedals for winter if you have not already. Road soles are also USELESS to walk on in perfect summer conditions. Now try walking on them on ice and snow. Get the MTB pedals for winter.

True. I made this mistake when buying winter boots and am too stubborn (or cheap/afraid of my wife) to buy MTB boots. I usually end up having to carry some sort of pig-sticker on my pack to dig out any ice that jams up my cleats as a result. Not ideal.

Dirt
10-21-2013, 09:12 PM
True. I made this mistake when buying winter boots and am too stubborn (or cheap/afraid of my wife) to buy MTB boots. I usually end up having to carry some sort of pig-sticker on my pack to dig out any ice that jams up my cleats as a result. Not ideal.
Never click out. Problem solved. ;)

TwoWheelsDC
10-23-2013, 09:18 PM
Just in time for the cold snap! Sidi Diablos... A bit more expensive than the Northwaves, but I feel like Sidis are a long-term investment that are worth the extra up front cost...Looking forward to testing them tomorrow!

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3769/10448673415_c3bb2cecee.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5512/10448827953_a6fb42de84.jpg

bluerider
10-24-2013, 08:17 AM
I have recently discovered the ibex Woolies 150 sleeveless. I have started using it as a baselayer under short and long sleeved jerseys. Super comfort, well temp regulated, massive temperature range. As long as you can deal with knowing you wearing sleeveless clothing while not in Alabama, I highly recommend them as a first line of defense against the cold.

And some of them are on sale right now.

http://shop.ibex.com/Apparel/Mens-Short-Sleeve/M-Woolies-Sleeveless#outlet

americancyclo
10-24-2013, 10:42 AM
...Looking forward to testing them tomorrow!
Well!??!?!

consularrider
10-24-2013, 11:03 AM
Come on, it was only 42°f this morning. Friday (or Saturday) morning at close to freezing will be a much better test. I think I'm gonna be cold for the first couple of hours of the Great Pumpkin Ride (http://www.fauquiertrails.com/the-great-pumpkin-ride.html) out in Warrenton on Saturday. ;)

TwoWheelsDC
10-24-2013, 11:18 AM
Well!??!?!

37 degrees (according to wunderground.com) when I rode in at 7am...decided to do a real test, so I just wore thin summer cycling socks. My feet were cold the moment I got out of bed and they didn't really get "warm", but they didn't get truly cold either.... Basically, my feet stayed normal, with a slight bent toward cold due to my wood floors. Also, I strapped them up a bit too tight, which I think helped keep my feet from warming up, but I was too lazy to stop and fix it. Tomorrow I'll repeat the experiment, but loosening the straps. I tried the shoes with my thickest wool socks last night and it was like slipping my foot into a bath of warm chocolate, but I think that'd be too warm for the current temps.

Side note...to go along with the new boots, I bought a set of cheap SPD pedals (Shimano M520L) to put on my Cannondale, so I could commute on a road bike without having to either buy a set of winter road shoes or use booties. Although I've been riding clipless for a few years now, this new set is my first ever that's double-sided and it's kinda nice not having to take that half-beat to make sure your foot is in the right position to get the cleat connected.

Bilsko
11-09-2013, 01:20 PM
The Giro New Road High Neck Zip (http://www.giro.com/us_en/products/men/apparel/ls-high-neck-zip-up.html) up is absolutely superb. I just got mine in the mail a couple days ago and pretty much haven't stopped wearing it since. On Friday's commute with a light SaS wind shell, the Giro zip up was just the right temperature.
The cloth-feel is soft with just the right amount of roughness - I'm not really fond of super soft merino.

I'm 5'10/5'11 and about 145lbs and the small fits me very well.

If I had one gripe its about the rear zipper - Giro has designed the New Road line so that you're supposed to use the pieces together. To that effect, the zipper on the back of this shirt doesn't open to a pocket, rather it gives you access to the rear pocket on the base layer jersey you're supposed to be wearing below. I don't think I'll be wearing this with anything underneath very often, so it won't be very useful.

I like this one enough that I just went ahead and ordered a second.

TwoWheelsDC
11-20-2013, 07:51 AM
REI is having a big sale, which includes Smartwool, so last night I picked up a medium-weight base layer. In the store, I thought it felt about the same as my Endura BaaBaas, but comparing them at home the difference was readily apparent. The Smartwool is a decent bit heavier and I was amazed at how noticeable the difference was between a lightweight layer and a medium-weight layer while riding. Also, it may have been my imagination, but even though I was warmer than I would've liked thanks to the thicker base layer, I didn't start cooking and get all sweaty, which would've been the case had I just been wearing one of my heavier jerseys. Wool is magic!

Greenbelt
11-20-2013, 02:36 PM
FYI on Winter layering -- Laurie's doing a workshop tomorrow night at Proteus.

https://fbcdn-vthumb-a.akamaihd.net/hvthumb-ak-prn1/p235x350/1096725_10202049188127476_10202049182527336_21084_ 2391_b.jpg

Dirt
11-20-2013, 03:59 PM
The Giro New Road High Neck Zip (http://www.giro.com/us_en/products/men/apparel/ls-high-neck-zip-up.html) up is absolutely superb. .
Freshbikes Mosaic has them in stock if you want to try them on too. :D

guga31bb
11-20-2013, 05:00 PM
Freshbikes Mosaic has them in stock if you want to try them on too. :D

Is it bad form to try on stuff for sizing in a store with the intention of ordering online? I go to Freshbikes in Arlington to try things on a lot because they have decent selection but eventually feel guilty and start buying things there...

Greenbelt
11-20-2013, 05:33 PM
Is it bad form to try on stuff for sizing in a store with the intention of ordering online? I go to Freshbikes in Arlington to try things on a lot because they have decent selection but eventually feel guilty and start buying things there...

Sensitive topic. At Interbike this year, it was the biggest issue among retailers. They call it theft of service. I'm not so bothered, though, because sometimes people can only afford so much, and sometimes it is more convenient to order online. And some shops can be a little intimidating to newbies, which is a real problem, because the best place for newbies to learn is hanging out at a local bike shop! It was for me.

I think it's always good form to visit your community bike shops and check stuff out first hand, even if you can't afford. That's why we're there! But it's even better form to support them by buying what you want on the spot if you can! If you think their stuff is overpriced, let them know. However, most shops, at least out where we live, are pretty reasonable on prices -- people couldn't afford it if they weren't. And chances are, their service will help you chose wisely, not need to make returns, get the right fit etc. Not always, but usually.

Remember, folks at most independent LBSs and even the big REIs and chains of the world are helping local bike advocacy and teaching your neighbors, supporting local rides and infra, helping others upgrade or fix up their beaters to get back on the roads and trails. Internet bulk sellers, not so much. Nashbar won't be there to help you when you break a spoke on the commute and need to be back on the road in the morning! And buying online to avoid sales taxes is just lame. At the very least, if you buy something online that you can't get conveniently locally, donate to charity the 5 percent sales tax you should have paid.

And for heaven's sake, don't buy a bike on the Internet unless you really, really, really know what you're doing! So many people come into my wife's shop lamenting that they bought the wrong bike or got the wrong fit, just because they followed a bargain hunt instead of test riding.

Dirt
11-20-2013, 09:52 PM
Is it bad form to try on stuff for sizing in a store with the intention of ordering online? I go to Freshbikes in Arlington to try things on a lot because they have decent selection but eventually feel guilty and start buying things there...
You're talking to a Freshbikes employee, so I'm probably not someone who is going to give you an unbiased answer. Even before I worked there, I personally had a very strong "buy local" ethic.

Realistically we know that it happens all the time. We shake our head and shrug and work that much harder to earn your business.

I know a bunch of local bike shops that work very hard to have the cool stuff in stock or get it to you very quickly to make shopping locally a positive experience for you, the customer. One of the things that I always liked about Freshbikes as a customer was that they had all the cool stuff in stock so that I could touch it, feel it, try it on, take it for a ride, etc. before buying it. That is worth a hell of a lot to me. The other thing that the local shops do in this area is support your local bike community. We support your charity rides. We lead training rides, tourist rides and other special events that support the community. Proteus is doing a Winter Cycling Class this week. I did one at Freshbikes a few weeks ago. I'm introducing people to gravel road riding this weekend. Tri360 does mechanics clinics, leads rides and runs and has been a big supporter of the Two Wheeled Tuesday series that Bike Arlington does. Bikenetic is basically ground zero for giving to the community. I can't count the number of times that I've gone to Jan and asked for help with some hair-brained benefit ride thing I'm doing or promoting. He's always there for me. All of those things make this area a much better place to ride a bicycle. I'm not saying that you're paying for those things when you shop locally. I'm saying that those are things that make me want to support my local shop... especially when they have the stuff I want in stock for me to try out.

If you're feeling guilty about it, then you're probably answering your own question. Here's what I do... If it is something I really want, and it is a little more expensive locally, I save up a little longer and buy it locally. That insures that I'll have a local source for stuff the next time I want to try something on.

Sorry that I can't let you off the hook for that one. You're messing what puts food on my table. That's why I'm a little sensitive about it. :D

Rock on! :D

mstone
11-21-2013, 06:42 AM
I don't think it's necessarily better to buy at a local shop; some are just simply too expensive for value provided. I do think that trying something at a shop then buying online is a sleaze move--part of the cost is paying for that shop where you're trying stuff on. If you need to touch something before you buy it, then spend the money at a place that provides the opportunity to touch. If you don't, then buy online without guilt.

pfunkallstar
11-21-2013, 08:00 AM
FYI on Winter layering -- Laurie's doing a workshop tomorrow night at Proteus.

https://fbcdn-vthumb-a.akamaihd.net/hvthumb-ak-prn1/p235x350/1096725_10202049188127476_10202049182527336_21084_ 2391_b.jpg

Holy Layering Batman! What is going on with her feet though - do I count three layers of socks?

Greenbelt
11-21-2013, 08:09 AM
Holy Layering Batman! What is going on with her feet though - do I count three layers of socks?

sock liner, wool sock, road shoe, shoe cover. Four layers!

Full slide show (https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10202049182527336&set=vb.307014479365276&type=2&theater)

jabberwocky
11-21-2013, 08:18 AM
Is it bad form to try on stuff for sizing in a store with the intention of ordering online? I go to Freshbikes in Arlington to try things on a lot because they have decent selection but eventually feel guilty and start buying things there...I'm an almost exclusively online shopper, but I would not personally do this. If I need to go to the shop to try things on and determine fit, I'd buy it there. If I'm buying online, I know I'm not gonna get to check fit ahead of time.

vvill
11-21-2013, 08:26 AM
I'm an almost exclusively online shopper, but I would not personally do this. If I need to go to the shop to try things on and determine fit, I'd buy it there. If I'm buying online, I know I'm not gonna get to check fit ahead of time.

Same here. Most bike stuff I buy online is really just "supplies" - new brake pads, tubes, tires, chains, etc. For stuff that must fit, like shoes, helmet, certain clothing, etc. I'll often buy from stores although I've bought those online successfully too. But I can't imagine going into a shop to try something on only to buy it elsewhere.

guga31bb
11-21-2013, 08:28 AM
One of the things that I always liked about Freshbikes as a customer was that they had all the cool stuff in stock so that I could touch it, feel it, try it on, take it for a ride, etc. before buying it.

Yes, I definitely agree, and this is why I sometimes find myself "accidentally" stopping by there on the way home from work. And because of their selection, I end up buying things there that I wasn't planning to, but that I really like (like a thin base layer and a balaclava, both of which I've worn pretty much every day since...).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

jabberwocky
11-21-2013, 08:33 AM
Same here. Most bike stuff I buy online is really just "supplies" - new brake pads, tubes, tires, chains, etc. For stuff that must fit, like shoes, helmet, certain clothing, etc. I'll often buy from stores although I've bought those online successfully too. But I can't imagine going into a shop to try something on only to buy it elsewhere.Right. I've bought a lot of clothing online and always been successful. If you're worried, buy from a place with a good return policy like Amazon. But if you really want to touch and feel it and try it on, go to the shop and buy it there. I wouldn't go so far as to call it theft to try stuff on in a store and then buy it online, but I think its a bit sleazy.

culimerc
11-21-2013, 08:35 AM
Is it bad form to try on stuff for sizing in a store with the intention of ordering online? I go to Freshbikes in Arlington to try things on a lot because they have decent selection but eventually feel guilty and start buying things there...
I try to buy all my stuff locally. Just ask Jan at Bikenetic, it seems like I always have something on special order there. But I also keep an eye on the deep discount stuff on line. If there's something that I've been looking for that pops up, I will pull the trigger on that. but its far and away an impulse buy or serendipitous situation. 98% of the time, I'm going local. I also "cross source" my purchases. Breathable base layers, I will pick up at REI or costco, where they are not cycling specific but work great and are 1/2-1/3 the price of cycling specific gear, glove liners, and wool sox are other examples.

dasgeh
11-21-2013, 08:40 AM
I love buying local. My biggest issue is time: work days are basically: get kids up, bike to work, work, bike home, put kids to bed. By that point, shops are closed (or I'm exhausted, or both). Weekend time is precious. We all love going to the bike shop, and when we can work in a visit, we do. But if I need something now, internet is just easier.

I fully expect this to be a temporary problem. Once kids are bigger, I intend to spend much more time at bike shops. Hopefully with kids.

Greenbelt
11-21-2013, 08:52 AM
Right. I've bought a lot of clothing online and always been successful. If you're worried, buy from a place with a good return policy like Amazon. But if you really want to touch and feel it and try it on, go to the shop and buy it there. I wouldn't go so far as to call it theft to try stuff on in a store and then buy it online, but I think its a bit sleazy.

I don't think they mean it like the consumer is stealing, I think they mean it like the online retailers are free riding on brick and mortar stores' service and inventory display.

But I think the problem may be a little overblown, and might be self-correcting. Once online sellers have to pay sales taxes, it will even things out a bit. And a lot of online retailers are still not making profits (Amazon!) and that probably can't continue forever. On the other hand, I'm a little worried that Amazon uses under-cost retail to drive out local business, but then raises prices after the locals give up. Sort of like the Walmart effect killing off small towns. You can argue that Walmart or Amazon are good because you can get lower prices, but there are some negative externalities to their methods!

The key thing for the long term success of local bike shops is better infrastructure and getting more people riding. If we could get our bike mode share up to 5 and then 10 and then 15 percent for transport trips, there'd be plenty of business for everybody!

TwoWheelsDC
11-21-2013, 09:06 AM
I try to buy all my stuff locally. Just ask Jan at Bikenetic, it seems like I always have something on special order there. But I also keep an eye on the deep discount stuff on line. If there's something that I've been looking for that pops up, I will pull the trigger on that. but its far and away an impulse buy or serendipitous situation. 98% of the time, I'm going local. I also "cross source" my purchases. Breathable base layers, I will pick up at REI or costco, where they are not cycling specific but work great and are 1/2-1/3 the price of cycling specific gear, glove liners, and wool sox are other examples.

This exactly for me.

americancyclo
11-21-2013, 09:47 AM
I'm not a fan of folks that 'Showroom' clothing or bags, but I will buy tires/chains online if i find a deal. I usually need parts or service in a pretty immediate fashion though, and Bikenetic has been great about helping me out with small parts when I need them.

My daughter did try out some balance bikes there once, and we ended up buying online for 60% off MSRP, but I've made it a point to go back there for all sorts of things and service since then. Plus I bring them beer once in a while, so I feel like I'm even.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm willing to pay a premium for local bike shops, but only up until a point.
If the difference is 15% or less, I'll buy local.
If what I'm buying requires advice or service beyond what I'm capable of, I'll buy local.

KLizotte
11-21-2013, 09:52 AM
I've bought a fair amount of stuff off the internet but a lot of it comes from brick and mortar bike shops who also sell things online either through their own websites or Amazon. I hope this helps their bottomline!

eminva
11-21-2013, 10:01 AM
In addition to all the good things Dirt pointed out, when we were planning the scout C&O trip last summer, we arranged with our LBS to offer discounts to scouts needing to buy bikes, gear and get service. They also offered to teach a basic bike maintenance course to the scouts. So when you support a LBS, you are also supporting this give-back to the community.

Thanks in no small part to Greenbelt, Laurie and Dirt, things are getting better, but it used to be difficult to find a reasonable variety of women's cycling apparel in LBSs. So I bought a lot online. There is still room for improvement.

A quick question: if you know of a clothing item you want and the LBS doesn't stock it, can they special order it? Anything? Or just manufacturers they already carry? Can you return it if it doesn't fit? This might be the next step for me to encourage the LBS to carry more womens' stuff, but I just need to know how it works. Thanks.

Liz

PeteD
11-21-2013, 10:23 AM
When I buy online, it's usually because they don't have the specific thing/size in stock. I'll go to a couple places looking for something, but at some point in time the riding around going to 3-4 shops is wasting time.

And any bike stores that are looking for an online shop presence, I happen to know a company that can help you do that.

--Pete

jrenaut
11-21-2013, 10:31 AM
A quick question: if you know of a clothing item you want and the LBS doesn't stock it, can they special order it? Anything? Or just manufacturers they already carry? Can you return it if it doesn't fit? This might be the next step for me to encourage the LBS to carry more womens' stuff, but I just need to know how it works. Thanks.
In general, yes - if they deal directly with that company or a distributor of that company. It helps to get to know the shop's delivery schedule. For example, I know that The Bike Rack gets deliveries on Wednesdays, and if I stop in Monday or maybe even Tuesday and order something, I can pick it up on my way home Wednesday. I haven't tried this with other shops, and there certainly will be things they can't get, but it's likely your LBS can order most of what you want.

Greenbelt
11-21-2013, 11:36 AM
In addition to all the good things Dirt pointed out, when we were planning the scout C&O trip last summer, we arranged with our LBS to offer discounts to scouts needing to buy bikes, gear and get service. They also offered to teach a basic bike maintenance course to the scouts. So when you support a LBS, you are also supporting this give-back to the community.

Thanks in no small part to Greenbelt, Laurie and Dirt, things are getting better, but it used to be difficult to find a reasonable variety of women's cycling apparel in LBSs. So I bought a lot online. There is still room for improvement.

A quick question: if you know of a clothing item you want and the LBS doesn't stock it, can they special order it? Anything? Or just manufacturers they already carry? Can you return it if it doesn't fit? This might be the next step for me to encourage the LBS to carry more womens' stuff, but I just need to know how it works. Thanks.

Liz

Parts orders go out on Monday and come back on Tuesday. Not sure about clothes, though -- most are preordered in advance and not sure if they have the same just in time inventory. Will check tonight.

Greenbelt
11-23-2013, 08:40 AM
Parts orders go out on Monday and come back on Tuesday. Not sure about clothes, though -- most are preordered in advance and not sure if they have the same just in time inventory. Will check tonight.

Clothes orders usually take a few days it sounds like, depending on whether they're shipping from the east coast or midwest (faster) or west coast (can be a week).

Greenbelt
11-23-2013, 08:42 AM
I took some tips from Dirt and whittled it down to a short outline for winter commute layering:

Jeff's Winter Commuting Tips

Basic Layering:
Wicking layer -- wool or synthetic (wool smells better)
Loft layer -- wool or fleece etc.
Wind layer-- vest or jacket will resist wind in front, vent heat in back
Legs -- stretchy stuff good, jeans not so much

Ears, Fingers, Toes, Mouth
Shoe covers -- toe warmers between shoe and cover?
Wicking glove liners -- pull out and rinse/dry on window sill or heat vent
Scull cap, buff, balaclava
Neck gator (swivel if one side gets crusty with frozen snot and drool)
Pull gator over mouth as needed to moisten air

Snow:
Lower tire pressure, wider tires, knobbies
Test brakes periodically -- disk brakes helpful for me
Good sunglasses
Flat pedals, winter hiking boots
Check your saddle height/position if your boots are thicker
Ice sucks -- studded tires only practical solution?
Rinse road salt off bike if possible

Rain:
Fenders are fabulous!
Water resistant panniers or wrap your stuff in plastic bags
Heater at work to dry your stuff
Stuffits for drying shoes (or newspaper)
Chamois Butt'r for heavy rain days

Bring:
More food and water than you think you'll need!
Remind yourself to drink, even if you're cold!
Warm cozy clothes for immediate post ride
Don't "chill out" in wet stuff!
Extra chamois shorts to switch on or double up for the ride home

https://scontent-a-iad.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1465196_572668239466564_1815126410_n.jpg

Dirt
11-27-2013, 09:07 AM
Hey y'all. I had a bunch of questions on Facebook about how I managed to stay warm and dry all day on the bike yesterday. I wrote a blog entry about it. Hope that helps.

http://lovemycommute.blogspot.com/2013/11/baby-its-cold-outside-and-wet.html

Pete

Dirt
11-27-2013, 09:32 AM
Proteus is an Endura dealer.

Freshbikes has a pretty good stock of Assos stuff. I got my Pearl Izumi WXB gloves and lobsters at Freshbikes, but I think the glove version is a special order item.

Bikenetic is a Pearl Izumi dealer and can also get their stuff pretty quickly if they don't have it in stock.

One thing that you'll notice is missing in the photo and also the text is what I wore around my neck and over my ears. There is a reason for that. Any kind of neck or ear warmer would have gotten wet and dumped water down into my base layer. I have learned that one the hard way. I tough it out and depend on the neck warmth I get from the jacket collar. Small cross country ski ear muffs (that I got from Bikenetic last year) would probably have worked well yesterday.

Greenbelt
11-27-2013, 09:32 AM
Hey y'all. I had a bunch of questions on Facebook about how I managed to stay warm and dry all day on the bike yesterday. I wrote a blog entry about it. Hope that helps.

http://lovemycommute.blogspot.com/2013/11/baby-its-cold-outside-and-wet.html

Pete

Hey Pete -- how do you handle eye protection? Especially at night in rain -- last night's rain was sufficiently hard and blowing that going without glasses was uncomfortable, but it was also misty enough that mine got misted over really quick. So it was either be comfortable and not be able to see much or be uncomfortable and see that dang 6 point deer that was bedded down right by the trail and sprang up right in front of me.... Luckily I had chosen option B (no glasses) and avoided him!

Dirt
11-27-2013, 09:37 AM
Hey Pete -- how do you handle eye protection? Especially at night in rain -- last night's rain was sufficiently hard and blowing that going without glasses was uncomfortable, but it was also misty enough that mine got misted over really quick. So it was either be comfortable and not be able to see much or be uncomfortable and see that dang 6 point deer that was bedded down right by the trail and sprang up right in front of me.... Luckily I had chosen option B (no glasses) and avoided him!
The Assos rain cap is what I use for eye protection. It isn't perfect, but it works very well. Any cycling cap will help. The Assos keeps my head warm and dry when others don't. The brim of the cap keeps rain and wind out of my eyes for the most part and also blocks headlights while letting me see ahead of me a bit. The biggest deal is to slow way down so you have extra reaction time.

I know folks who wear ski goggles. I have them. It has to be MUCH colder than it was yesterday for me to be able to use them. Mine just fog right up... even the fancy, expensive ones.

Corrective lenses are difficult. Human saliva is a pretty good fog inhibitor. When I have to wear glasses, I lick the inside of the lenses. They're sort of blurry for the first 20 feet, then generally clear out pretty quickly. It isn't perfect, but it is better than nothing.

Hope that helps a little.

jopamora
11-27-2013, 09:41 AM
Hey Pete -- how do you handle eye protection? Especially at night in rain -- last night's rain was sufficiently hard and blowing that going without glasses was uncomfortable, but it was also misty enough that mine got misted over really quick. So it was either be comfortable and not be able to see much or be uncomfortable and see that dang 6 point deer that was bedded down right by the trail and sprang up right in front of me.... Luckily I had chosen option B (no glasses) and avoided him!

I had to ditch the glasses last night too. Had to stop and pull out my cap which really helped block most of the rain from entering my eyeballs.

This morning I was really glad I had glasses on when I went through all the seagulls at Gravelly Point, ewwww!

NicDiesel
12-03-2013, 09:31 AM
I know this isn't relevant to most here, but if you're a cyclist of size I've found that the Cabela's Guidewear Gore-Tex gear, while pricey, is the most effective way to stay dry and warm when the temperature drops below 10 degrees and the wind starts blowing hard. I considered going the layers route that many have laid out here and in other winter riding places, but when you're my size it's difficult enough to find a jacket that fits, much less technical gear that you can layer.

Here's my current setup that I'm going to test out this week now that the thermometer is dropping in to the single digits and negatives:

Base layer top1: long sleeve jersey
Base layer top2: long sleeve cotton shirt
Base layer bottom: padded shorts liner
Outer torso: Gore-tex Guidewear parka
Outer legs: Gore-tex rain pants
Socks: Smart wool
Shoes: Shimano MTB with Windstopper covers
Gloves: Gore Windstopper gloves inside of Wool lobster mitts or Outdoor Research Lobster mitts
Head1: Craft headband
Head2: Gore balaclava

Right now this set up keeps me dry and comfortable but winter hasn't started yet and it hasn't started snowing either. Before the real cold weather shows up and the snow falls and sticks I'm going to get a set of Dogwood Pogies and a pair of Wolvhammers SPD boots along with studded tires. With those added to my current setup I should be good to go riding in any weather that's not dangerous to be in (read: blizzard). Whether my bike survives is a different story...

consularrider
12-03-2013, 09:49 AM
NicDiesel: I'd recommend changing that base layer top2 from cotton to merino wool, maybe wear it under the long sleeve jersey in base layer top1 if it's lighter weight. There are at least three quality garment makers, Ibex (http://shop.ibex.com/CS/Size-Charts), Smart wool (http://www.smartwool.com/sizing) and Icebreaker (http://us.icebreaker.com/New-Fit-and-Size-Guide-%7C-Icebreaker/Fit_Update,en,pg.html) that make some larger sizes (up to XXL) and there were a few hits for XXXL on my google search.

NicDiesel
12-03-2013, 10:06 AM
NicDiesel: I'd recommend changing that base layer top2 from cotton to merino wool, maybe wear it under the long sleeve jersey in base layer top1 if it's lighter weight. There are at least three quality garment makers, Ibex (http://shop.ibex.com/CS/Size-Charts), Smart wool (http://www.smartwool.com/sizing) and Icebreaker (http://us.icebreaker.com/New-Fit-and-Size-Guide-%7C-Icebreaker/Fit_Update,en,pg.html) that make some larger sizes (up to XXL) and there were a few hits for XXXL on my google search.

Excellent, I'll check those out and see if any of them will be long enough (always the issue with being really fat AND have a super long torso and arms). The cotton long sleeve is really just to keep the jersey from bunching up, but it hasn't gotten seriously cold here yet.

mstone
12-03-2013, 10:38 AM
Head1: Craft headband
Head2: Gore balaclava

umm...

jopamora
12-03-2013, 10:53 AM
umm...

He's in Minnesota now.

bluerider
12-03-2013, 11:59 AM
This year I have been successful with this winter lineup:

Baselayer: ibex Woolies 150 sleeveless
Jersey: ibex Indie long sleeve jersey
Insulator: ibex Shak vest
Outerlayer: Gore Gore-tex Fusion 2.0 jacket
Bottoms: PI fleece lined tights with PI short liners
Socks: ibex wool
Hat: ibex Coppi or Meru

Still deciding my optimum gloves and shoe covers but this setup works well for me down to below freezing. I want some ibex tights to complete my need to warmth.

Bilsko
12-09-2013, 08:38 PM
I am WAAAAY late to the online-showrooming question that came up around the Giro grear at Freshbikes...but my $0.02...in the case of the Giro gear it makes almost no difference. The prices that stores are getting are the same as what you're getting from the Giro site online - or very very close. FWIW.

Phatboing
12-20-2013, 10:11 PM
My cheapskate-ish layers, which I'm rather happy with, if it helps anyone:

Top:
Base: Light wool+acrylic blend sweater (free, mooched from my mum)
Heat-trapping device: The shell layer from an LL Bean Storm Chaser jacket ($80 when I got it on sale)

Bottom:
Base: Army surplus polypropylene pants ($17 or so)
Outer: REI Outdoor pants ($30 during a member sale)

Hands:
Pearl Izumi lobster gloves (got em at closeout for $30)

Feet:
Hiking shoes that are a bit big + 3 layers of socks (wool liners from REI + wool blend hiking socks from Costco. COSTCO! + LL Bean neoprene socks)

Head:
LL Bean balaclava

Tricked out thus, I'm almost too warm some days, but if I unzip my shell, I can get enough air circulation going to keep me cool (I generate a LOT of heat).

For my outer layer, I'm going to replace the jacket with one of these: http://www.froggtoggs.com/mens/mens-jackets-all-weather/frogg-toggsr-ultra-lite-rain-jacket.html. The Internet tells me they work as advertised, so should be interesting.

Dirt
01-04-2014, 05:39 AM
It's cold and it is getting colder.

Keep safety in mind early next week. The fall and early winter riding is practice for when it gets colder. It helps you get your mind, body, commuting route and wardrobe ready for colder days to come. If you didn't get a lot of that practice in, Tuesday morning (5 degrees Fahrenheit) is NOT the day to try it out. If you haven't done your homework yet, please keep Tuesday's ride short and sweet. Make it a lesson that doesn't leave a mark.

Y'all inspire me and make me happy to see so much riding and excitement about Freezing Saddles. Keep it up!

Pete

Greenbelt
01-04-2014, 10:01 AM
Pedal hard and bring lots of water and food to keep your energy and hydration up! Keep the food on an inside pocket to keep it from becoming brick hard. And use insulated water bottles or you'll have a slurpee by mile 5.