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Advice regarding clothing for winter?

rsatterleyrsatterley Posts: 6
edited November 2008 in Commuting chat
Please be gentle with me. It's my first time! Posting, and cycling in winter in the UK, that is.

I've been looking at different sites (Wiggle, ActiveSportsKit, etc...). At the moment I have an Altura cycling jacket. Is it really better to have a 'base layer', or will a simple t-shirt and fleece suffice? What about windproof trousers and/or tights? Do they make a huge difference over regular jogging bottoms? And will regular long-fingered cycling gloves be enough for a UK winter ride? Or is it worth investing in proper winter ones?

Sorry to post such a long query! But any advice would be helpful. Thanks!

Posts

  • BelvBelv Posts: 866
    First of all i would say it depends on your commute. I survived for years commuting with no bike-specific clothing doing a 10 mile round trip.
  • It's a 10 mile commute (takes me an hour). It's the first time I've cycled such a long distance in London. I lived in Montreal before, so didn't cycle in the winter.
  • In general the more technical clothing the better - you will notice the difference but it is a question of how much you think it is worth. I would say a baselayer is worth it as a tshirt will get sweaty then cold if you stop
    <a>road</a>
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 15,915
    rsatterley wrote:
    Please be gentle with me. It's my first time! Posting, and cycling in winter in the UK, that is.

    I've been looking at different sites (Wiggle, ActiveSportsKit, etc...). At the moment I have an Altura cycling jacket. Is it really better to have a 'base layer', or will a simple t-shirt and fleece suffice? What about windproof trousers and/or tights? Do they make a huge difference over regular jogging bottoms? And will regular long-fingered cycling gloves be enough for a UK winter ride? Or is it worth investing in proper winter ones?

    Sorry to post such a long query! But any advice would be helpful. Thanks!


    Welcome!

    No expert as only new myself but have found Wiggle quick and reliable and would recommend DHB as a brand. Bought a pair of their tights and find them comfortable and v warm. Also don't underestimate the benefits of padding.

    There is another thread on gloves but I had my first really cold commute today and found an old pair of ordinary Thinsulate gloves to be plently warm enough, though a bit clumsy for changing gear.
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  • You could wait for a bike shop to have a sale, then you can get technical clothing cheap!

    Or wait for lidl or aldi to sell there cheap (but good) cycle clothing?
    "If we all had hardtails we'd all go down the hill, just slower"
    Nick Larsen


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  • I would say see how you go!

    Mix and match your existing sportswear and you'll get your layers sorted out, try buying a couple of bits of technical stuff, having bitten the bullet I can recommend merino wool - doesn't smell like synthetic fabrics.

    Windproof bib tights are great - just got myself a pair, and immediately bought 2 more. I think they're water resistant too.

    My hands don't get too cold, so I only really wear gloves when it's sub 8 degrees, then it's long-fingered ones. Last couple of years I've worn the same pair all winter, but could only find one this year!
  • Some great advice so far, thanks! I think I'll buy a couple of pieces (base layer shirt) and see how I go. It would be great to have everything sorted at the beginning of the season, but that's a bit wishful thinking, isn't it? ;)
  • Lots of ickle layers will keep you warm once you get going. I'm currently pootling around london in a base layer, spurs shirt (mwahahahahahaha) and a gilet topping off baggies and padded undershorts

    Leg/arm warmers in the bag just incase if it's particularly nippy

    The dhb stuff is cheap and excellent VFM
    As an internet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or cycling helmets approaches one
  • To each their own! I find that my legs don't feel the cold as much as some but my hands do. As a result, I use a pair of Ron Hill Tracksters over my shorts in the winter (first time out on Monday) but you'll often see me wear full gloves with a short sleeved jersey and a windproof gillet in the autumn and spring. The best thing to do is to start off with what you have and only buy something when you need it.

    However, when I started commuting, the only cycle-specific clothing that I had was a cheap waterproof. Carried it in the summer, wore it over a cotton T-shirt and sweatshirt in the winter. I've progressed, over the 6-7 years that I've been doing it, to wearing proper (though cheap) cycling jerseys, a cycling fleece with windproof front and removable sleeves, winter cycling gloves, padded shorts, ... still got the same waterproof though...

    So, I would suggest buying stuff if you find that you need it or feel that you want it... and when it happens, ask here for recommendations!

    HTH,

    _
  • Hello rsatterley
    Agree with Lit, try out different combinations to see what you are comfortable with. My commute is a similar distance to yours, 9 miles each way. During the last week I've been wearing a merino thermal long sleeve vest (from www.thermalshop.co.uk) under an Altura jacket. I don't bother with a fleece as I get too hot, remember London doesn't usually get that much colder than it is now.
    Also have Ronhill Bikester tights, and long finger gloves from Decathlon.

    If your head and ears gets cold, I'd get something like this to wear under your helmet
    http://www.cyclesuk.com/1011/311-410635 It works a treat.
  • Wrath RobWrath Rob Posts: 2,918
    When its cool I wear 3/4 Endura baggies, padded lycra shorts, a technical t-shirt (i've accunulated several over the years from various sales) and then a light fleece or my Baked Alaska plus full fingered but light gloves.

    In the current cold conditions I ditch the jumper for a windproof jacket (Altura Night Vision, it has to be pretty cold to require another layer under that) and add some dhb tights, swapping the light gloves for some thinsulated Altura ones and then adding some overshoes to try and keep my feet warm.

    It works for me!
    FCN3: Titanium Qoroz.
  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    Best advice I ever got re cold weather training - From a Canadian Ski Instructor - "Dress like an onion, lots of layers!"

    Works for me. I use technical layers for my commute but only cos I cycle at weekends all year round and have invested in decent kit as a result. Winter sees a base layer, long sleeve jersey, windproof jacket, bibtights, overshoes, skullcap, cap, gloves. General rule of thumb is that you should be a bit cold as you set out, if you are already warm then chances are you're going to overheat once you get going.
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  • biondinobiondino Posts: 5,990
    My general rule is that I make sure I'm toasty while still in the house, to get me through the first 5 minutes, after which I may have lost my residual heat but will have warmed up through exertion.

    My clothing is very much like Jash's except I wear a helmet like a good boy :)
  • I currently wear a jacket over a base layer and bib tights and find this warm enough after a few minutes of cycling in the morning. I'm looking for a thermal, not too expensive long sleeved jersey which would replace the jacket on those cold, dry days. The jacket was fairly cheap and is not breathable so I have to peel it off when i get to work.

    Any recommendations? Thanks
    _______________________

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  • il_principeil_principe Posts: 9,146
    2015 Canyon Aeroad CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX
    2020 Canyon Inflite SL 7
    On the Strand
    Crown Stables
  • I've been cycling in jeans for the past four weeks, and am happy with the lack of extra expense. The one time I've wished I had something better was in a hailstorm (with northerly headwind) on Monday, when my jeans were left cold and sodden. I've since bought a pair of tights, but I haven't actually tried them yet. I started as an onion on top, using my existing (mainly cotton) wardrobe, but have slowly been wearing fewer and fewer layers (with emergency stock in my bag), to find what will keep me warm without doing the boil in the bag routine under my hi-vis jacket.

    That's doing 10-12 miles per day, although I can chicken out and cut it to 6 if I go to the closest (and more expensive) train station.
  • Try Rapha stuff in the sale plus Gore (esp the Xenon range). That mix works for me. In general you get what you pay for, but more so for wet weather and winter gear, ie you can either spend a small fortune on loads of cheap stuff that doesn't work or a small fortune on fewer things that do.
  • I have a skull cap that I find works well and it also just about covers my ears which is a bonus.

    But I am thinking of now going for one of those buff things that you can pull over your neck / mouth / nose or I was thinking of going the whole hog and getting a waterproof / wind proof balaclava, the balaclava on wiggle doesn't mention being water or wind proof,I really need this as where I live is very cold in the morning.

    Any ideas or links to a good balaclava?

    Thanks
  • Thanks everyone for some great advice regarding clothing. I ended up going to a great shop called Sports Direct. You probably all know it already! ;) They had tights and base layers at super cheap prices. I bought some wind/rain proof gloves at Tchibo of all places.

    I didn't want to spend a super huge amount simply because I'm trying to lose weight. But these will make some good in-the-meantime layers.
  • For my 14 mile commute ......

    10-12°
    - long sleeved base layer (De Marchi) and short sleeved summer jersey.
    - ¾ Biemme tights
    summer socks
    track mitts but with gloveliners underneath.

    7-9°
    long sleeved base layer (De Marchi) and long sleeved Castelli autumn jersey.
    - ¾ Biemme tights
    summer socks
    track mitts but with gloveliners underneath.


    4-6°
    long sleeved base layer (De Marchi) and long sleeved slightly thicker autumn jersey
    - ¾ Biemme tights
    two pairs summer socks
    Chiba winter gloves without liner

    0-3°
    long sleeved base layer (De Marchi) and long sleeved Castelli autumn jersey
    but with Rudy Project Gilet
    full length Assos bibtights that i got for a reduced £65 a few years back.
    winter socks with over socks
    Chiba winter gloves with liner

    below 0° long sleeved base layer (De Marchi) and long sleeved slightly thicker autumn jersey
    AND Rudy Project Gilet
    full length Assos bobtights that i got for a reduced £65 a few years back.
    sock liners and winter socks with over socks
    Chiba winter gloves with liner

    i always carry a Lusso windstopper and overshoes that both roll up
    small enough to go in the jersey pockets along with cap, smartphone, wallet,
    pager and keys.
    btw , there's no such thing as a breatheable cycling jacket.
    Layers are the key.
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