walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Layering: It's What's for Winter

I think everyone who reads my blog rides more often than I do, in all kinds of crazy weather, and already knows how to dress for it ... but I figured I'd write a bit about how I, personally, handle personal temperature management when it's colder than the backside of a yeti.

Here's the run-down:

  • Small wicking socks
  • Tall socks (knee-high, in fact); wool if possible
  • Another pair of small wicking socks (my feet get cold really easily)
  • Bike shoes or my winter mocs, depending which bike I'm riding
  • Cycling shorts
  • Thin, silky thermals, or even honest-to-goodness 'thermasilk'
  • Tights, or FHPs, or farking hipster jeans (stretchy)
  • A couple of times, I have wished I owned knee warmers, but it was like -13C (8F) with a windchill of forking ridonculous at those moments.
Upper Body
  • Merino wool sweater, slightly felted and shrunk to fit closely
  • T-shirt
  • Grey hoodie (it's warmer than my orange hoodie)
  • Mountain Hard Wear rain jacket
  • If sufficiently cold, Junior Terrorist Society 'Ninja Hat' (AKA 'balaclava,' AKA 'baklava', AKA 'your Danish hat' — yes, that joke goes on for days)
  • Else, fleece helmet liner that covers my ears
  • And, as always, a helmet
  • Cheap little stretch-knit gloves
  • Crafstman work gloves with terrycloth thumbs, indistinguishable from proper full-fingered cycling glovers except for the 'Crafstman' logo ... hmmmmmm

Yesterday it was pretty darned chilly, though not as chilly as Tuesday. I rode a good forty or fifty miles or so without more than a minute or so inside at a time doing a round of somewhat ridiculously long runs, and I was quite comfortable (except when I briefly swapped my 'baklava' for my helmet liner, and soon learned that it was still too cold for that).

I'm still not sure what the cutoff is for the balaclava. It's annoying to wear when running deliveries around because I have to remove it every time I step inside a business establishment so nobody will think I'm trying to rob the place. This is especially true for banks, and we do lots of bank runs for different businesses (no, these do not generally involve carrying cash).

Swift's drive train is all hosed up, so I'm riding Quicksilver today (my poor baby! :::sob:::). It's actually really amazing how much faster a really good road bike with a working drive train is than a pretty-decent-but-not-great hybrid with a semi-broken drive train.

Anyway, I need to get back to the shop, so I'm going to close here.

Happy winter, y'all! I hope everyone has come through it safe and sound, and if you're out there riding, enjoy the snow!


  1. It sounds like you've got things figured out pretty well. That's great!

    A lot of people seem to use a baklava, but I find them too warm in *any* conditions. I go with a neck gaiter, and warm headband thing to keep the ears warm. Whatever works, though!

  2. I do think a neck gaiter is a better plan -- especially since neck gaiters can generally just be pulled down so you don't have to also remove your glasses, etc., then struggle back into the whole mess.

    I think I might go find one this weekend!