Thursday, December 28, 2006

Gearing up for Winter!


Although we've had unseasonably warm temps the last few weeks, it appears Winter is now setting in. It was 30F this morning when I left for work at about 0630, yet I was fairly warm during my 45 minute ride in. Even though I have no electric clothing or grip heaters, I can stay safe and warm enough in temps lower than many would believe (my record is 10F), although the miles between coffee stops on longer rides does decrease as the temperature decreases. This is what I typically wear in near-freezing and below temps:
  • Base Layer: wicking-fabric briefs under thick wicking-fabric long-johns (top & bottom) from Aerostich
  • Socks: (very heavy weight) SmartWools
  • Aerostich long-sleeved Windstopper fabric jersey
  • Aerostich Darien fleece pants and jacket liners
  • Rukka Windstopper-fabric neck warmer
  • Aerostich Darien jacket (3/4 length) & Darien pants
  • Gloves: Olympia model 4100 Weatherking Extra II Goretex-lined leather winter gauntlets. If it warms up over about 40F, then I switch to my Lee Parks designs PCI DeerSports.
  • Boots: Rev'It! Fusions (allegedly waterproof)
  • Helmet: Arai Signet GTR, clear shield
  • Aerostich Triple-Digit glove rain covers to help keep the wind off my digits when the temps dip below about 25F
This combination, almost entirely made from modern synthetics, keeps me plenty warm and dry without being excessively bulky. Layering allows me to add or remove items as the temperature swings. In my experience, the keys to staying warm in very cold 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 are on my boots and a little SOLAS tape on the back of my helmet, visor and on the rear of my side cases and top case. This time of year I usually ride both to and from work in the dark, so making myself more conspicuous to the cagers is very important; therefore,
I typically throw on a hi-vis yellow reflective vest (I got mine from RideSafer).

Please share your gear list or recommendations by clicking on "Comment" below.

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