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January 27, 2005

Dressing to pedal

John Aeby, writing for the The Register-Guard in Eugene, Or., wrote a great column on appropriate attire to wear while cycling, especially in Winter.

What brought this on was remembering an encounter he, and his son, had with a fog bank while cycling.

They thought they would soon pass beyond it:

As it turned out, "soon" wasn't soon enough. Within seconds we were drenched to the core and the chilling wind generated by our speed was turning that moisture icy cold and driving us toward hypothermia. A half-mile into the fog we did a 180 and headed back toward sunlight.

Riding a bike in Western Oregon in winter can be a dicey experience. Regardless of how good the weather looks in one place or time, it's best to be prepared for something worse down the road.

The resulting article brings up several good bits of information.

Discussions with various people in the field brought to light the following:

1. "The typical advice that gets us through our variable weather is layering. Wearing several layers of clothing allows you to put on or take off clothing as needed to stay comfortable."

2. Being highly exposed to the weather, cyclists need to cover up a lot, especially the extremities. My usual wintertime outfit includes: full gloves (I prefer the rather inexpensive rag wool kind that stay warm even when wet); a skull cap or headband (that fits under a helmet and still keeps my ears warm); leg warmers (that also provide important protection against the cold for the knee joints); and shoe covers (I prefer a neoprene toe cover because it's usually not cold enough for fully insulated cycling booties that completely enclose the shoe and ankles).

3. For core warmth and protection from wet weather, there's nothing like a good jacket. 

"That's the paradox for wet-weather cycling clothes. Cyclists need clothes that will allow moisture to escape and still keep the rain out."

4. Because a cyclist's front surfaces take most of the wind and wet, that portion has to be well-designed to repel water, and the seams must be well-sealed. The back, however, can function well with more ventilation, and, as most cyclists know, a longer tail to protect your backside from the road spray.

The full piece is here: 12/23/04-- Proper attire can take the edge off winter cycling.

January 27, 2005 in Cycling News Network | Permalink


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proper attire is vital....
no one wants to show up at a black tie affair in a duck costume
no one wants to go out into the cold wind and snow wearing shorts, fingerless gloves, and a t-shirt

two major gear advances of the past many years
Gortex and polypropylene
and if you are "old school" remember.... cottons kills! wool for warmth

good gear last years....

you may not wear that balaclava everyday... but you will be happy to have it on the days when you need it
I have several balaclavas of different thickness

also a variety of gloves


overdressing can be as deadly as under dressing....

dress for the occasion
no need for that black tie at a backyard barbeque
no need for artic gear if it is only 40 degrees outside

for longer rides it is often wise to have the right gear in your pack "just in case!"

during my short stints in the Bay area and in Colorado I learned that the temperatures can change in a second....
in the Bay area the afternoon fog rolls in like clockwork
and the temperature drops fast
full finger gloves and a shell may be all you need to keep things pleasurable
now Colorado can be a little more extreme, but the same basic principle

just my thoughts on this....
should I set up some links for gear?

maybe I will cut and paste this to my BLOG and set the links up there
that is what I will do

Posted by: gwadzilla | Jan 27, 2005 5:16:54 PM

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