Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Winter Attire

I have been asked many times about what I wear in the winter to stay comfortable.  I know there are better clothing options available, but I have used these for a few years now and it works for me.

 I first put on my standard pair of bike shorts.  I then put on a pair of Ironclad long underwear. I also have a pair of 100% Polyproylene that I switch out with the Ironclad. Someday I would like a pair of smart wool, but these work fine...just don't get too close.  Next goes on the Danner Quarry wool socks up over the long underwear bottom to hold them in place...the light colored socks shown two photos below.

 For the weather from about 10° to 35°F, I wear the above over the long underwear.  The shirt on the left is a thin 100% cotton turtle neck shirt which goes over the underwear.  The pants are a Nike brand thinly lined of combination Poly/Cotton/Nylon which go over the underwear bottoms.  The Jacket for those temperatures is a The North Face Summit Series.

 Over the tan socks, I put on another pair of Danner Pronghorn socks that go over the pants to keep the pants from catching the chain.  On the Fat-Bike I am using Fyxation flat pedals, so I have been using my Merrell Legacy hiking shoes.  These are great shoes and work well so far, but the deep snow would go over the top.  If I knew I would be in deep snow, or was going to ride in the very cold, I have a pair of 8" Danner Pronghorn boots I would wear.  If I ride the fixed gear, I have a pair of Sidi Diablo winter biking shoes I wear.  The bad on those is I have Shimano SPD mounted on them.  IMO they are not the ideal cleat for winter use, but every bike except the 9:ZERO:7  Fat-Bike has SPD.  If I was to do it again, I would switch to Egg Beaters (Potato Mashers).  I have so much SPD now, it's hard to switch...but someday I may.  OK, back to clothes.  I put some cotton in the ears to keep the cold out and then a balaclava.  I have two balaclavas (helmet liner) for different conditions. One is thin and the other a little thicker.  Because the thin one rolls up to very little, I carry it along most of the time and wear the thicker one.  I have a Sugoi helmet cover I usually use.  If I start to get heated up, the helmet cover is the first to go, then if more cooling is needed the helmet liner gets adjusted or changed out to the thinner one.  If I need more cooling I carry a thin pair of gloves and switch those out next.  I find the head and hands can make a huge difference for myself.  I do have goggles, but rarely use them...hard blowing snow or extreme cold are when the goggles go on. 

If the weather is above 35°F, I wear a different outer layer than listed above.  I have a set of The North Face Flight Series that work nicely.  They are wind stopper and breathable.  I almost always ride by myself, but if I was riding with a group where I may get pushed harder, the Flight Series would be my choice in even a little cooler weather.  I also wear the thinner helmet liner here.

Now I know there are areas I could upgrade, but I have been on many long rides (not talking over night here) and had no issues. I do carry chemical hand warmers, matches/lighter, dryer lint, tool kit with a pump, along with food and water just for the simple fact that I am many times in what some would consider in the bush.  I think if a person starts out riding close to home the worst that could happen if you feel chilled is you need to shorten the ride and head for home.  If you carry a cell phone, phone a friend if you are worried.  I find riding anytime it is a great time and being out in the winter enhances that feeling.  The feeling of being alive!!  Also, night time in the winter is great for skiing and biking.

Lets get outdoors and have some FUN!!

Thanks for reading!


  1. Very interesting...thanks for sharing your winter clothing choices with us....