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Desperate kit advice needed please...

Dom McCormackDom McCormack Posts: 22
edited May 2013 in Road beginners
Hi.
Just got in from an aborted loop ride from Settle in the Dales after it all went a bit pear shaped and genuinely I think both of us started to feel the effects of mild hypothermia.

Briefly, started off in mild overcast rain conditions, an hour later we're in the middle of the moors, totally isolated, horizontal rain, soaked to the bone, freezing cold - we had to get an angel to give one of us a lift in the back of a van to fetch our car.

I'm off to Ireland for a 300 mile charity bike ride back to Lancashire on Thursday and want to learn my lesson and invest in some kit in case I experience this again. Today I was wearing overshoes, full length DHB bibs, Under Armour compression base, lowe alpine base, cycling shirt and a Montane featherlight velo windproof. Probably totally inadequately dressed I know and appreciate now as everything was soaked (I've only been cycling since January and have tried to buy the necessaries without breaking the bank).

So, for the all weather people out there, what would you suggest? I've read a lot about warm being more important / achievable than dry. If I must invest in something as expensive as a Gore Phantom jacket to totally change the experience then I may have to but I can't really afford it! The cheapest solutions possible please - but I don't want to go through that again.

I'd really appreciate any suggestions.

Cheers
Dom

Posts

  • nmtnmt Posts: 88
    I can't answer your question but I swear I will be watching this thread for advise also.

    I have never been caught out in any rain yet, but if I had gone out this morning when it was nice and sunny I imagine I would have found myself in your shoes as the sun disappeared and out came the strong winds and rain.
  • Hi Dom

    If your after a cheap option as a safe backup against wind and rain and the charity trip your doing is not a race and you don't give a damn how you look then buy a cycling poncho and pack it away for emergencies. Cost you the grand sum of a tenner! and if you never wear it you can always use it to cover your bike at night if there's no indoor bike storage where you stay. Just 1 suggestion if you don't want to break the bank.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tenn-Waterproof ... m_sbs_sh_5
  • slowsiderslowsider Posts: 197
    You'll be grand, so you will. It rarely rains in Ireland. :mrgreen:
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,678
    change the base layers

    use a mesh as first layer, if it's cold a brynje super thermo is excellent...

    http://www.nordiclifeuk.co.uk/index.php ... ong-sleeve

    a decent mesh provides insulation even when wet, lets water vapour escape, wicks well, and the air gaps prevent contact chilling from the next layer if you really get soaked

    over that, long sleeved roubaix jersey or light jacket, whichever it is make sure it's breathable, you can always unzip if you get too warm, for top take a lightweight waterproof (if you don't have mudguards make sure it's got a long back)

    only use the waterproof if it's really raining or if you're getting chilled, one with pit zips is good as you can wear it a bit longer without the boil in the bag effect setting in

    now that the temperature isn't actually freezing, leg warmers and normal bibs may be better, they're less resistrictive/bulky than tights, and you can pull them off if you get too warm or if you get fed up with wet legs

    waterproof overshoes are good if it's really wet, but eventually water will get in at the top, winter socks that stay warm when wet will keep you toastie

    even soaked to the skin, if you've got some wind protection you'll stay warm if your riding hard enough and don't run out of energy, the biggest risk is getting chilled of you have to stop or do a long descent

    use chamois cream liberally, otherwise all those hours in the saddle could start chafing, especially if you get rain again
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Sungod, many thanks for the sound advice (and thanks everyone else), its much appreciated.

    I was wondering whether you'd had any experience of merino base layers and whether they were as good as some sayy in such adverse conditions? I'm coming round to the idea that todays pretty awful experience would have been greatly lessened if I'd been wearing a waterproof shell than the lightweight packaway windproof I had on.

    I've been using UnderArmour compression tops as a base layer and they've served me well in dry / drizzle conditions but today were totally useless.Surely any base layer (mesh, merino or otherwise) would've been pretty useless once totally soaked through? Or are they so good that they make a huge difference?

    Last question (I promise) is regarding the bottom half. I've read a lot about seasoned cyclists not even considering waterproof trousers, but in the arena of long distance rides over 4 days for example, should the weather be constantly wet, how the hell do you keep your legs and feet warm if the headwind is strong and your going nowhere fast? My training has got me up to 60 miles a day so I'd say I'm used to enjoying a decent distance in semi ok weather, but today after 18 miles I was in all kinds of trouble with the cold and wet, top and bottom half.

    Cheers again
    Dom
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,959
    TBH, I wouldn't worry too much about specific recommendation for specific items of kit. Some stuff is better than others but I think the trick is to have a variety of kit (each individual item of which can be cheap) and layer up accordingly. I was out on Sunday too though in the Calder Valley area and managed to avoid much rain - I'd gone out with just a cheap aldi baselayer, a slightly insulated long sleeved jersey and a thin windproof as backup. Normal shorts, leg warmers and overshoes plus gloves. I was happy enough that the weather would be OK at least til fairly near the end of the ride when I could cope with it getting worse. Had the forecast been worse I would probably have taken a heavier rainjacket and risked boil in the bag syndrome.

    Merino is good - it tends to keep you at a comfortable temperature over a wide range of temperatures though too warm for me for Merino yesterday.

    The key is to accept you get wet so make sure what you wear will dry quickly. As far as getting cold - extremities are the main concern so I had standard winter gloves and thick socks. In particular for rainy days, mudguards make a huge difference. They might not keep your feet dry indefinitely, but they slow the process of getting cold very effectively (particularly if you don't spray them on fast sections).

    And if it does get nasty on the tops, it makes a huge difference just getting back down to low levels. Air temperatures weren't that low yesterday so once out of the wind, even though it might not be pleasant, you should have been OK. There's also the psychological angle - if you were in a mess after only an hour, you should have enough strength left to get yourself back if only you can believe it. It's when you've been on the road for 3 hours and have a high level route back to base that it gets really stressful!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,678
    Sungod, many thanks for the sound advice (and thanks everyone else), its much appreciated.

    I was wondering whether you'd had any experience of merino base layers and whether they were as good as some sayy in such adverse conditions? I'm coming round to the idea that todays pretty awful experience would have been greatly lessened if I'd been wearing a waterproof shell than the lightweight packaway windproof I had on.

    I've been using UnderArmour compression tops as a base layer and they've served me well in dry / drizzle conditions but today were totally useless.Surely any base layer (mesh, merino or otherwise) would've been pretty useless once totally soaked through? Or are they so good that they make a huge difference?

    Last question (I promise) is regarding the bottom half. I've read a lot about seasoned cyclists not even considering waterproof trousers, but in the arena of long distance rides over 4 days for example, should the weather be constantly wet, how the hell do you keep your legs and feet warm if the headwind is strong and your going nowhere fast? My training has got me up to 60 miles a day so I'd say I'm used to enjoying a decent distance in semi ok weather, but today after 18 miles I was in all kinds of trouble with the cold and wet, top and bottom half.

    Cheers again
    Dom

    merino is ok as long as you don't get a soaking, but a mesh still insulates even if it's soaked

    personally i always prefer a mesh layer next to skin, like the brynje if it's cold, or more usually a light one like a castelli core mesh vest

    personally i'd go with leg warmers or tights if it's colder, but i'm usually riding hard so stay warm, however if you're not riding hard waterproofs might help you
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • Focus-riderFocus-rider Posts: 126
    the only piece of kit i can suggest from experience is the Gore Zenon cold system. I used it throughout the winter up in aberdeen and it was superb, infact I still use it now. They are a full length waterproof bib with the best padding i have used in awhile, they are also fully windproof. I also use the zenon softshell, again windproof and waterproof. Keeps me nice and warm and i dont normally need any base layers under it. Not the cheapest kit though but definately worth it. :D
  • Camcycle1974Camcycle1974 Posts: 1,356
    Hi.
    Just got in from an aborted loop ride from Settle in the Dales after it all went a bit pear shaped and genuinely I think both of us started to feel the effects of mild hypothermia.

    Briefly, started off in mild overcast rain conditions, an hour later we're in the middle of the moors, totally isolated, horizontal rain, soaked to the bone, freezing cold - we had to get an angel to give one of us a lift in the back of a van to fetch our car.

    I'm off to Ireland for a 300 mile charity bike ride back to Lancashire on Thursday and want to learn my lesson and invest in some kit in case I experience this again. Today I was wearing overshoes, full length DHB bibs, Under Armour compression base, lowe alpine base, cycling shirt and a Montane featherlight velo windproof. Probably totally inadequately dressed I know and appreciate now as everything was soaked (I've only been cycling since January and have tried to buy the necessaries without breaking the bank).

    So, for the all weather people out there, what would you suggest? I've read a lot about warm being more important / achievable than dry. If I must invest in something as expensive as a Gore Phantom jacket to totally change the experience then I may have to but I can't really afford it! The cheapest solutions possible please - but I don't want to go through that again.

    I'd really appreciate any suggestions.

    Cheers
    Dom

    Nasty story there Dom. Glad to hear you got back to safety relatively unscathed.

    I have go through the cold spell wearing a Merino base layer, long sleeve jersey and an Altura Varium softshell jacket. Never once got cold or wet on my top half at least. Luckily I was never out in heavy rain so remained dry at least but the wind chill would have been sub zero on some of the rides. The bottom half is more of a problem. A degree of water resistance is probably the best you can hope for.
  • laurentianlaurentian Posts: 1,750
    May or may not be of use, but its the Aldi Cycling kit day on Thursday (2nd May) - a range of cheap gear, waterproofs £9.99, base layers £6.99, shorts £7.99, leg warmers £6.99, gloves etc etc. Obviously not Rapha and not got any myself but the Good Lady has got some bits and seems to be happy with hers and quite a few people on here say its good value for money.

    If its anything approaching decent, it doesn't look like you can go wrong for the money but the advice is to get there early!
    Wilier Izoard XP
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 28,799
    I have the Gore Phantom you mentioned and would not be without it.
    I would look for an older model (i.e. the one I have, not the 2013) in a sale.
    It just seems very versatile to me and good value considering the use I get from it.

    I do not really think you can ride in the elements cheaply at list prices. Quality kit in sale bargains is the way to go.
    Protection from wind and breathability should be high up your list IMO.

    If you buy a waterproof jacket for £9.99 I would have thought you would get wetter from sweating in it than from the rain.
  • Primary protection is against windchill - which is worse when you are wet. So- without braking the bank
    1)Mudguards - crud catchers should do. riding for hours if its wet (without necessarily raining) will leave someone without mudguards with a wet backside, dirty, with the cold seeping up to the kidneys. Stomach problems often causing pros to DNS at the front end of the season are often down to racing in these conditions and the spray constantly cooling this part of the anatomy - whilst the rest of the body remains warm. They are not about dry feet so much
    2)effective wind protection - if you look at going completely waterproof - you will generate moisture and end up pretty much just as wet. Protection from the wind combats cold from the wet or dry
    3) - get a skull cap - high percentage of heat lot through the head -and easily removable
    4) tape up (with electrical tape) any holes on the underside of your shoes. (airvents)
    5) would suggest loosing the compression base - restricts bloodflow and change to string vest M&S is fine unless you are fond of a particular logo
    6) upgrade the featherweight montagne thing to something slightly more body fitting -keep billowing to a minimum
    7) dont worry about the legs so much per ce - even in the coldest conditions many ride with shorts (roubaix preferably) as wet legs dry in less than a minute - tights a long time - and never seem to feel to bad if the rest of you is warm
  • NavrigNavrig Posts: 1,352
    Give it time and you will soon have enough of a collection of clothing for all sorts of weather. Accumulation by stealth is how I regard it.

    The well trodden path is as follows:

    1. Buy the basics for getting started when you buy your first bike.
    2. If you bought the bike in winter you have to buy for summer about 6 months later (and vice versa).
    3. Another 6 months on and you are fitter and (hopefully) a bit wiser. You realise that buying something a bit lighter than the winter kit you have but heavier than what you have summer means you can start layering.
    4. Another 3 months and you realise that if you buy the same piece of kit in item 3 but without arms you can start to be flexible with the layering.
    5. Another 3 months later you get caught out in a cold summer shower in th short sleeve thing and so you get some arm warmers and leg warmers.
    6. By this time you have a wardrobe in the garage full of kit, none of which matches either as an outfit or the bike so you go back 3 stages and start to colour co-ordinate.
    7. Another 3 months and you look like a (fat) pro and don't have any money and you have a 2000+ post count on Bike Radar.
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