Home of the Winter Cyclist

And Other Crazy People.

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ICEBIKE Tights!!
- Gotta Have 'em!

Strategies

Footwear

Base Layers

The Lower Half

Winter Rain Pants

The Upper Half

Head Gear

For the Hands
Icebike Mitts!!

Icebike Eye Wear

Figuring Fabrics

Winter Wear -
Tested On Ice

 

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Clothing Options

Each climate requires different clothes. Being somewhat more stubborn than others, it took me two years to figure out combinations that worked well in all conditions. With an aim toward shortening the learning curve we present the following discussions on clothing options.

Now, just because you don't see it here doesn't mean it won't work. The contributors to this site can only go by their own conditions and needs. Even under the same conditions, different riders have different needs. So be sure you apply a little independent thought before you blindly take advice written here.

Climates

There are several different climate types into which we will divide the world for the purposes of ICEBIKE clothing. Your area will be predominantly one of the other of these, but it is likely to fall into each type for parts of the year.

Cold Wet

Maritime areas, Oregon, Washington, Scotland, Maine, etc. Lots of rain, potential for lots of heavy snow, periods of quickly forming Ice.

Cool Dry

Not really ICEBIKING areas, but occasional Ice, Snow, and not a lot of rain. Mostly interior areas, Deserts and prairie areas. Can have wind as a constant companion. Texas, New Mexico, other high planes areas.

Cold Dry

Very Cold areas, dry powder snow, windy. Canadian prairies, Interior Alaska, Greenland, Interior Norway, Finland.

Warm

Sorry, we don't cover that at this web site.

Each of these areas require a different approach to dressing. Each review or recommendation on this site will indicate one of these areas, in which the writer has experience. When you are looking for recommendations check areas of similar climate.

Also check out the strategies page. How you dress depends on what you plan to do. The commuter may employ different strategies than someone going out to ride for several hours on a Saturday.

Knowing How Much Is Enough

Given the differences in personal perceptions of cold, I am reluctant to make specific recommendations as to what combinations to wear at various temperatures. In fall, I find I can wear shorts into colder temperatures than I would in the spring. Hanging on to summer, I guess. But I have found a couple of hints along the way that keep me from making big clothing mistakes.

First, if you step outside and are cold, right away, (not on the face, but on the torso, under your shirt), you are dressed too light and you will probably never warm up. Go back in and add a layer.

If you are mildly chilly as you finally get moving, you will warm up soon. Don't push too hard at first. Warm up for the first mile or two before you really start cranking. If you warm up too fast in the first mile, you can plan on being way too warm a couple of miles down the road.  Not to mention drenched in sweat.  

If you are warm standing around getting ready, you will be drenched after even a short ride.

If you are on a day-long outing, or going in a wilderness area be careful about just how sweaty you allow you yourself to get. If you are wringing wet and you break a chain, or get a flat, you could be in serious trouble and unpleasant chills by the time you get it fixed or walk back. Hypothermia can sneak up on you. If you find yourself starting to shiver soon after you get off the bike, you had better rethink your plans. It may be time to turn back. If you have the energy to continue riding, then do so immediately. Don't work so hard you start sweating heavily again, just raise your temperature and keep it at a comfortable level. If it appears that you can't go on, stop and build some sort of shelter or dig a hole in the snow before you run totally out of gas.

snowtrail3.jpg (19367 bytes)Lastly, but most importantly, don't take anything you've seen here on the ICEBIKE site as a recommendation to go roaring off into some vast frozen wilderness on your bicycle unless you know what you are doing, or you are going with someone who does.

If something breaks:

  • You can be in trouble even in Upstate New York.
  • You can be in serious trouble in Northern Minnesota.
  • You can be seriously dead in Central Alaska.

It seldom happens to Icebikers, because they are too smart, but every year several snowmobilers and skiers are lost in Alaska, the Yukon and other frosty places. The North does not suffer fools gladly.

For your first winter of cycling, in the back country, go with cycling buddies.  If commuting, you will probably  not have any problems as most commuting routes are well traveled, but avoid very rural routes till you are sure of the weather and your ability to handle it.

 

Last Updated 12/08/01 08:56:01 PM