Preparing For Battle

Written by Boston Biker on Dec 14

In the olden days, knights used to have a trained armor guy who would attach all the little bits of armor to them. This guy had to be well trained because if the armor fell off, or didn’t fit right, well things didn’t go well for that knight.

On mornings like today I feel like I need my own peasant trained in armor attachment. I mean yea, I am not fighting the Gauls or anything, but it does take me a while to get all my layers on.

Generally if its above 30 out, I wear spandex with shorts over, a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, and a hoody. But on days like today I put on the full battle suit and go for it.

From the inside out:

Lower half:
undergarments and wool socks, spandex pants, shorts, a belt.

Upper half:
long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, tight hoody, loose hoody,

Head/Face:
cycling cap, wool cap, helmet, scarf around face

Hands:
Thinsulate gloves, cheap gloves that have the fingers cut out with the little mitten thing that goes over them.

Anything below 10 degrees, I swap out the converse for a pair of hiking boots.

Even with the cold today, the lack of strong wind made it very pleasant to ride to work, I saw dozens of other cyclists out and none of them looked miserable.

You can get more tips for dealing with the cold here and here.

Whats your armor regiment? Do you go high tech, low tech, something in between?


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Posted in bostonbiker | 9 Comments »


9 Responses to “Preparing For Battle”

  1. By Charlie on Dec 14, 2010 | Reply

    My work clothes:
    - Slacks
    - Undershirt
    - Long-sleeve button-down shirt
    - Cotton socks
    - Sneakers (I have shoes at work)
    Plus:
    - Medium-weight jacket
    - Thin hat under my helmet
    - Gloves (thickness depends on temp)
    - Scarf or facemask if it’s below freezing

    So really nothing too special. I enjoy biking in the winter since you don’t really sweat. July and August are much worse than winter IMO.

  2. By JonT on Dec 14, 2010 | Reply

    Today, I just wore my regular street clothes, plus a parka (with hood detached so it doesn’t impede visibility) and gloves. Simple!

    As it gets colder, I could add an extra sweater under my coat, and a balaclava under my helmet, and if it’s really cold, long underwear and an extra pair of socks.

  3. By cycler on Dec 14, 2010 | Reply

    ummmm,
    did I miss something? – It wasn’t THAT cold out there, was it?
    Today I rode in: smartwool tights, light cotton socks, frye boots, cotton dress shirt, wool blend sweater mini-dress, light trench coat, scarf and leather-thinsulate gloves. I should have worn warmer gloves but otherwise I was FINE for 2 hours of Christmas shopping by bike after work, as well as my normal ride. I’d say that I normally wear whatever I’d wear if I were taking the T to work, but actually I have to dress more warmly if I’m taking the T, because there’s so much more standing in the cold.
    This is for a 5 mile e/w commute, plus another 2 miles of running errands on this particular night.

  4. By Kendra on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    Yah, it was totally cold today! (Although not as cold as last week, for sure.)Cycler, I’m afraid you’re not doing much to break the “smug cyclist” stereotype.

    I wore spandex on top and bottom, wool socks and regular old shoes, a base layer, thin hoody, down vest, balaclava, hat and warmish bike gloves.

    I haven’t mastered the art of biking in New England winter (but biking in Seattle winters, I got covered) quite yet, so this “no sweating thing” you’re describing \ is not yet a reality for me.

    I also need heavier gloves for days when it’s under 20. I love cycling at different times of year for different reasons… although, I haven’t’ bought snow tires yet. :)

  5. By erik on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    This is for commuting to school, so the base-dress is street clothes. I have breakpoints around 40 and 20/25F.

    Above 40, the only thing in addition to street clothes is a pair of thin (windproof, uninsulated) gloves. If I’m not wearing a fleece/sweatshirt, I’ll also add my uninsulated raincoat.

    Below 40 or so, I switch to my heavily insulated lobster mitts. I’ll add a windproof headband, and I’ll start using a fleece in combination with the uninsulated jacket, adjusting the zipper as I warm up or as the wind changes. At the lower end of this range I may add a fleece neck gator to keep the wind out of my jacket.

    Below about 25, I’ll add some lightweight long underwear under my jeans or my uninsulated rain pants over them and a windproof balaclava. Sometimes I’ll use clear glasses to keep my eyeballs from freezing, but they tend to get fogged up due to the balaclava. I suppose I could go full ski goggles, but I don’t go far enough to make that worth it. Plus, I don’t like how they cut down on peripheral vision.

    The key is dealing with wind. If you’re windproof, you’ll otherwise generate enough heat that insulation will be counterproductive.

  6. By Tim on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    My winter wear looks a lot like Erik’s: usually no more than fleece and gloves down to about 40, then I’ll add a windbreaker layer. Below 25-30 I’ll usually add another thin layer and maybe long underwear.

    I’m a big fan of the Army Barracks on Mass Ave for inexpensive winter outerwear. I swear by the $11 glo-mitts (like yours) I got from them, and just picked up a $12 neoprene facemask that works perfectly for biking.

    However, army/navy surplus stuff isn’t great for visibility, being as it’s mostly camo, navy or black. I wear a bright reflective yellow vest, but that doesn’t help drivers see e.g. my turn signals. I’d love to know if other Boston bikers have tips for how to visibilify dark clothing: reflective tape? Wrist-mounted LEDs? etc.

  7. By Amber on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    Wool knee socks
    wool 3/4 leggings under jeans.
    converse all stars
    smartwool 3/4 zip under a EMS windproof shell.

    light hat under helmet, and GIANT mittens (my hands are the only thing on me that really gets cold, I actually get an allergic reaction!)

    Yesterday I didn’t ride, but this AM I wore the above as it was “16 feels like 1″ with the wind chill. my nose was chilly, but the rest of me was cozy!

  8. By cycler on Dec 15, 2010 | Reply

    Kendra,
    I’m sorry you find my comments smug-
    I guess I feel that a short urban commute isn’t an extreme sport needing special outfits and equipment. Like Erik and JohnT, I dressed in street clothes, a coat, a hat, gloves.

    If I didn’t ride the bike, I’d wear about the same, except maybe a heavier coat because I’d be standing around waiting more.

  9. By Lovely Bicycle! on Dec 16, 2010 | Reply

    I was dressed similarly to cycler, no smugness intended. Wool tights, wool long-sleeve tee, dress, wool coat, ankle boots, scarf, hat, gloves. I am generally colder when I walk or take public transport than when I cycle, so the other 2 activities pose more of a challenge for me in the winter wardrobe department.

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