Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gear-Up for Autumn!

(Photo by "Harvey Mushman" from AdvRider.com, used by permission)

I'm commuting to work in the mid 30's F here in northern Delaware this week, with wind chills in the 30 - 32F range. Until the time changes this coming weekend, I'm still riding to work in the dark, which makes it seem colder than the weather experts say it is. There has been a fairly large temperature swing; I've been riding home in late afternoons in low 50F temps. This is my typical kit for riding in these temps:
  • Base Layer: Wicking-fabric briefs under silk long-johns (top & bottom)
  • Socks: (heavy weight) SmartWool
  • Long-sleeve Windstopper fabric jersey from Aerostich
  • Aerostich fleece pants and jacket liner
  • Aerostich Windband or Rukka Windstopper-fabric neck warmer
  • Aerostich Darien jacket (3/4 length) & Darien pants
  • Gloves: Lee Parks designs PCI DeerSports or, for below 40-ish temps my trusty old Olympia Goretex-lined nylon winter gauntlets
  • Boots: Rev'It! Fusions (allegedly waterproof)
  • Helmet: Arai Signet GTR, clear shield
  • Just-in-case: I always carry Aerostich Triple-Digit glove rain covers
This combination, almost entirely made from modern synthetics, keeps me plenty warm and dry without being excessively bulky. Don't dress like the Michelin Man! Layering allows me to add or remove items as the temperature swings. In my experience, the keys to staying warm in cooler temps (which means staying dry, too, both from sweat and rain) are a good wicking base layer, followed by a sufficient insulating layer or layers, covered by a windproof/waterproof outer layer.

Safety: My pants and jacket are armored. The jacket has large reflective fabric patches on the rear, front and both sides. The pants have reflective patches on the legs. Additional reflective bits on my boots and a little SOLAS tape on the back of my helmet and on the visor. If it gets foggy or rainy, I throw on my hi-vis yellow reflective vest (less than $10 from RideSafer).

Please share your gear list or comments below.

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