Appropriate Dress

By | October 15, 2010

It’s getting chilly out there. And I don’t have anything to wear.

Well, that’s not strictly true. Like any good Canuck I have my share of gloves and coats and earwarmers. Though it seems that none of them are terribly appropriate for biking. This seems to be an ongoing problem for me. Most of the summer I struggled with getting dressed in the morning – my love of skirts turned out to be problematic with a straight top-tube bike. Even now that I’m back into pants my wardrobe is failing me – I’m not very fond of these black streaks on my right pant leg.

But winter… sigh. I have car coats. Driving gloves. Ankle height books. And absolutely nothing to cover my face with. So it seems it’s time to start knitting.

I’m going to need some mittens. Probably several pairs, as I’m prone to losing stuff. And something to keep my nose and cheeks cozy. And legwarmers. The list goes on.

At least I’ve got the kids covered for now. The seat for the little one accommodates her ‘cozy-toes’, which is a waterproof, fleece lined foot muff. Her helmet is big enough so that the hood from her coat goes underneath. Big sister, who is also riding up front, is just wearing her winter coat for now, a couple more degrees cooler and she may have to start wearing her snowpants early. Mr. T is riding his own bike to school every day – so he’s keeping warm by pedaling. Coaster brakes mean regular snow mitts are just fine for him, but he may want his own helmet liner to match mine.

It still remains to be seen how long I’ll manage to keep the bike on the road this winter. I know I’ll be fine until the snow starts flying – but what about after that? Will I be able to ride in the snow with two kids in the front? What if the novelty of riding his own bike wears off and the big guy wants to ride with me again? Can I handle all three and wet conditions?

Well, one thing is for sure, I’m going to find out soon enough.

A question for you four-season cyclists: what’s the best piece of winter gear you own?


7 Comments

duncan on October 15, 2010 at 7:22 pm.

I pretty much can’t imagine cycling in the winter without a merino wool base layer. I found a Sugoi firewall longsleeve on sale and it’s been the best $50 I’ve spent. I wear it under everything in the winter, it washes really well and I’m always warm. Merino wool socks, $12.50 a pair (yikes, but they’ve lasted a year + with no signs of giving up yet) have been great as well.

Dottie of Let’s Go Ride A Bike demonstrated her winter wardrobe layering last year. She’s in Chicago so her advice is pretty relevant here, here’s the video: http://bikingtoronto.com/duncan/dottie-demonstrates-dressing-for-winter-cycling/

The Clog on October 16, 2010 at 7:42 am.

As a devote of woolen bloomers, I recently tried woolen mittens on a morning ride. I had STIs and found my finger tips slipping from the brake levers when I applied them. To compensate, I had to give my brake levers the ol’reach around for more leverage.

Unfortunately, as with all forms of reach around, the hand will tire and cramp quickly. I think I’d add some leather to improve the reach around experience with woolen mits. It’d give your finger tips more friction for, umm, ‘pulling the lever’.

jnyyz on October 16, 2010 at 7:43 am.

top to bottom:

wool balaclava. All power to you if you knit your own. If it is stretchy enough so that you can stretch the opening below your chin, you have more options.

earflaps
http://jnyyz.wordpress.com/2010/02/20/in-praise-of-earflaps/
these are good enough for about 50% of the winter.

wool jersey

pants: you can wear rain pants over tights. I
m a big fan of these:
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442627266&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302888492

but as you can see, not cheap

hands: I’m going to try pogies this winter, but most don’t work with drop bars.
Look at the captions in these photos for info on two local vendors.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/56062272@N00/sets/72157623190035213

Ryan on October 24, 2010 at 8:44 am.

My biggest issue are my hands…I have a million pairs of gloves and they are all useless.

Last year I spent $20 on a heavy pair of gloves which are super warm, however you can only wear them once per week because so much sweat builds in them they are wet the rest of the week.

I recently switched handlebars, so they are no receiving direct wind (they go to the side sort of). Hopefully that will help.

Other than that my jeans are warm (though on really cold days will wear something else underneath), I have extremely warm winter jackets, and all of my toques are all warm.

planbike.com on October 24, 2010 at 1:40 pm.

My favorites are Cannondale Morphis Jacket for the torso, Sugoi Firewall Pants for the legs.

Lately, iam most excited about some cool ASICS running mittens withquick release fingers. Very cool for commuting.

Forgive the plug but i outline it all here planbike.com/2010/07/bike-gear-wind-and-rain-protection.html

Joe T. on October 29, 2010 at 7:35 am.

When it’s cold (but not TOO cold), I love leather driving gloves worn over thin wool gloves.

The wool keeps my fingers warm, while the leather blocks the wind really really well.

Over on the main blog post promoting this post, a couple people have posted comments about ski goggles… and that’s something I’ve been meaning to explore.

On the really snowy days with lots of blowing snow I’ve often wished for a warm balaclava (if I’ve spelled that correctly) and ski goggles. :)

Joe T. on October 29, 2010 at 7:36 am.

Oops – here are the comments talking about ski goggles.

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