The Chainlink

Anyone else ride through winter? Any gear that makes Chicago winter on a bike feel less like the bleak bone-chilling mess it is?

Last year was my first full winter of being on the bike all day long 5 days a week, come hell or wintry mix... so I suited up in what I had available. Consisted of 4 layers of shirts (beater, thermal, cheapo Target long sleeve, t-shirt), a hoodie and my jacket (Pearl Izumi Insulatour) on top and 3 pairs of socks (REI sock liners, WoolSmart socks, AcornSox fleece socks) and old Totes fleece-lined zip up boots (mid calf), thermals, jeans and if it was wet I have a pair of Marmot rain pants. Hands got Pearl Izumi touring gloves, Pearl Izumi fleece gloves and some 12+ jear old wool mittens on top. I'd whip out the occasional bandana tied around and tucked into the top of my jacket for those extra blustery days.

On my budget (next to nil), this setup worked great.

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Throughout that last Devil Winter, I got by with a wool undershirt, maybe a flannel/t-shirt above, and a fleece jacket. Also, I have some pretty savage ski gloves that keep my hands well-kept. And if need be, I'll throw on some long johns underneath my pants. All this and a balaclava too!

And I guess it goes without saying, but I ride pretty sloooow and methodically when ice/snow abounds.

Here's a pic of the end of first snow ride I ever took in Chicago.

Last year sucked for me because I didn't have the right gear and I wasn't taking the best care of my bike (I was greasing everything, but somehow I still got the seatpost seized. Not to mention, someone stole my saddle and post!). This year, bmx gloves underneath mittens, I got an awesome hat, a swrve extra small milwaukee hoodie, and I'm getting some waterproof pants. I'll be riding fixed so I'll have better control of speed and whatnot.
This will be my first winter riding, and I am planning to attend Stay the Course to learn all about how to dress...

...maybe a refresher course for those who have ridden before.

I'm really just going for the promised cycle strip tease.
That picture is really scary and makes me want to change my mind about biking in the winter. Seems really time consuming to have to clean the bike after every ride and to put on a million layers. I have a 7 mile commute and i could probably just take the El in half the time. We'll see i suppose...
I love riding in the winter. The bike lanes are relatively empty and I can get to work without sweating. It rules. Maybe I'm strange but I really like feeling the chilly air on my face as I ride. I would much rather ride on the coldest day of the year than the hottest!

For the very coldest days I wear nylons under my pants, thermal socks, and thick winter boots. On the recommendation of the boys at Boulevard, I wandered over to Viking Ski Shop on Kimball and Fullerton and got some kick-ass ski gloves which are good until about 20 degrees, which is the point I put on a second pair of gloves beneath them. I also got a fleece balaclava from Willow at one winter mass... that thing is amazing. Needless to say I also have a fleece-lined "wind-proof" squall jacket. Best money I ever spent.
i have an eye on that asylum jacket from nau, but theres no way i'd spend that much money (450).

For a day like today (under 20s) i got some sport leggings under my pants, a t shirt then button down then a wool sweater then my hoodie with a soft shell on top. if i had a better jacket i'd minus that hoodie. the wool sweater seems to be pretty key. top it off with a good scarf and hat (https://www.exitrealworld.com/Shop/Snowboarding/Beanies-Bandanas/Ai...) and im set.

i usually put jewel bags on my feet, before i put some sneakers, and that seems to help keep my feet warm.

just ordered some full fenders, and i think my bike will be thankful
This is my fourth winter commuting by bike.

On top, I do a synthetic "wicking" base layer, a Chrome merino wool zip hoodie, a Sierra Designs fleece zip jacket and then an Arc'teryx softshell jacket. I'm happy with this setup because it's warm without being too bulky.

I always wear a base layer under my jeans, and when it's below 30, I wear a ski mask under my hat.

I wear glove liners under a fairly stout pair of ski gloves, and wool socks under my Specialized "Defroster" MTB winter riding shoes, but I still struggle with cold toes and fingers. I've even tried those heat packs in my shoes and gloves with no success.

The only sure fire way I've found to stay warm is to ride fast (like I'm on a training ride). If I take a leisurely ride, I pay for it with painful digits. Riding on the Lakefront (instead of in traffic) helps me keep my speed and body heat up.

Regarding my winter bike, I switch to my single speed mountain bike the first time it snows and ride it until the spring. I've found I can safely ride my mountain bike in deep snow and on ice, whereas I don't feel particularly safe in snow on a road bike. Since bike maintenance is a bitch during the winter, I avoid riding my other bikes...especially my geared road bike. I don't try hard to keep my winter bike bike clean, but I'm trying to clean and lube the drivetrain at least once per week.

Currently I'm looking for a way to protect my eyes when riding during a snowstorm. Glasses fog up. But with no glasses, snow feels like needles. Also, my eyelashes freeze together, welding my eyelids shut. Will ski goggles do the trick? Any other suggestions?
I'm a newbie but goggles have been amazing so far.

Brett Ratner said:
This is my fourth winter commuting by bike.

On top, I do a synthetic "wicking" base layer, a Chrome merino wool zip hoodie, a Sierra Designs fleece zip jacket and then an Arc'teryx softshell jacket. I'm happy with this setup because it's warm without being too bulky.

I always wear a base layer under my jeans, and when it's below 30, I wear a ski mask under my hat.

I wear glove liners under a fairly stout pair of ski gloves, and wool socks under my Specialized "Defroster" MTB winter riding shoes, but I still struggle with cold toes and fingers. I've even tried those heat packs in my shoes and gloves with no success.

The only sure fire way I've found to stay warm is to ride fast (like I'm on a training ride). If I take a leisurely ride, I pay for it with painful digits. Riding on the Lakefront (instead of in traffic) helps me keep my speed and body heat up.

Regarding my winter bike, I switch to my single speed mountain bike the first time it snows and ride it until the spring. I've found I can safely ride my mountain bike in deep snow and on ice, whereas I don't feel particularly safe in snow on a road bike. Since bike maintenance is a bitch during the winter, I avoid riding my other bikes...especially my geared road bike. I don't try hard to keep my winter bike bike clean, but I'm trying to clean and lube the drivetrain at least once per week.

Currently I'm looking for a way to protect my eyes when riding during a snowstorm. Glasses fog up. But with no glasses, snow feels like needles. Also, my eyelashes freeze together, welding my eyelids shut. Will ski goggles do the trick? Any other suggestions?
I have surprisingly riding my cruiser through this. She weighs 45 lbs and has REALLY fat tires.
I wear two winter coats, three hats, one or two layers of socks and two scarves. Mainly that is for 20 and below, then I go for less.

My bike is bloody filthy.
i've been rocking the sock, bag, sock, bag, shoe, shoe cover since winter came and its pretty much done the trick. when i get home and take them off, however, my apartment smells like cheese. (gross). i just got a pair of pearl izumi barrier gtx mtb boots and i'm totally stoked to be ridding myself of the plastic bags.
as far as my bike set up is concerned, i haven't changed a damn thing since it was nice out. mostly because all my money has gone into keeping warm clothes on my body. i find that just knowing your bicycle, and your capabilities on your bicycle make more of a difference than slapping a pair of knobby tires on... not that i wouldn't mind having some sweet knobby tires.

if you are gonna use plastic bags, don't use grocery bags. they come with tiny holes in them so kids don't suffocate themselves. a lot of office buildings have umbrella bags for their tenants, and if you ask for some they will usually hook it up. they are tough to puncture and will fit your feet like tube socks. your feet just don't breathe that well and will smell like cheese at the end of the day. (gross).

p.s.
ski goggles rock like fuck.
I don't ride all day, just when I need to get some where (usually no more then 15miles a day). Fir the most part I stick to a
Top - Athletic moisture wicking t-shirt, wool sweeter, hoodie an either a red fleece vest or for really cold or windy days an old Columbia fleece jacket.
Bottom - Pjs, Jeans, Wool socks an my boots, though this year im going to add some gators I made due to being sick of walking around with wet pant legs.
Head & Hands- Wool hat or balaclava, bandana(for the face) and a hood for the head. For the hands usually cheap thin gloves, thermolight ski gloves and for really cold days I'd usually throw in a pair of thick socks as mitts :D

My feet always froze though :(
i'm surprised no one mentions scotch or whiskey in their arsenal. mid-commute "scotch" stop gets me thru the winter commute.

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