The Chainlink

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This morning's chilly ride went well, although I'm starting to wonder how I'll keep my face comfortable in January when I'm already wearing a balaclava over my cheeks right now. Gloves kind of failed: I was testing out some Garneau wind-blockers, and my pinky fingers went numb partway through. Looks like I'll be back to the Bar Mitts-and-gloves combo soon, unless I can figure out something else without dropping too much cash.

Also: I'm not sure about anyone else who's doing this for the first time, but I'm gonna have to invest in fleece bike pants. The snow pants shell + heavy capilene tights just aren't doing it for me.

Random winter experience: using my bike like a crowd control device to move a squirrel out of the traffic lane. I think he'd been grazed by a car; no visible injuries, but not interested in moving, either. It was a very gradual procession to the sidewalk. I'm pretty sure I amused/confused more than a few motorists who passed me on Oakbrook by MLK.

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This is also my first bike winter, and today is the coldest day I ever biked! I'm waiting for some wind-proof gloves to come in the mail. Until they arrive, I have some heatpacks that I put between my liner gloves and mittens. That worked fine for today, though my thumbs got a little cold. 

 

I layered smartwool longjohns under my khakis; along with some smartwool socks and my leather boots, my legs and feet were comfortable. Because I'm a sort of sweaty lady, I've only worn my wicking headband so far; when I get to work, I freshen up my hair in one of the hand-dryers. 

 

So far so good!

Hey, good for you guys!  Don't sweat it, keep on with it and you will be rewarded with awesome adventure and good health.  Please see attached picture I took this morning for inspiration!

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Meg - try goggles to keep your face warm.

This will be my first winter to bike through, also, and I'm trying to stock up on gear now. I've been trying to find some kind of warm cycling cap that will cover my ears and that can fit underneath a helmet - any suggestions?

So far I'm just wearing my regular work clothes on my commute and it's still fine, but today my fingertips learned that even with a short 15-minute bike ride, thin Thinsulate gloves are not going to cut it. Might have to work up to wearing my ski gloves as it gets colder, although that may look funny with business clothing.

 

I think I'll make it past my original goal of bike commuting until Thanksgiving!

I got one of these last year on sale at REI.  It's quite warm and fits under a helmet quite well.  But it looks awfully goofy without your helmet.

http://www.rei.com/product/820830/turtle-fur-polartec-windbloc-fros...

Robin Babb said:

This will be my first winter to bike through, also, and I'm trying to stock up on gear now. I've been trying to find some kind of warm cycling cap that will cover my ears and that can fit underneath a helmet - any suggestions?

Michelle, I wish I were as cold-tolerant as you. I handle winter about as well as a reptile...

 

Robin, one of CL's regular posters--Julie?--makes these amazing winter cycling caps. I bought one at Renegade this year. It fits under my bike helmet and is perfect--I think I can actually fit my balaclava under it if needed, but I don't think it will be necessary!

 

Kelvin, I tried exactly that, but then the little area where the goggles met my skin wound up freezing. I probably need bigger goggles.

Robin,

 

You're looking for a beanie.

 

Check sites like altrec, sierra trading post, amazon and type in those terms.  Plenty of options out there.  

 

Good luck. 

Check out the craft hats, it's a bit expensive but they're really nice.  The pro-zero windstopper one is pretty sweet.  You can also get the balaclavas for when it gets colder although the windstopper version might be a bit too warm.

Robin Babb said:

This will be my first winter to bike through, also, and I'm trying to stock up on gear now. I've been trying to find some kind of warm cycling cap that will cover my ears and that can fit underneath a helmet - any suggestions?

I swim in Lake Michigan until mid-October. That helps build up cold tolerance! But if I had a longer ride, I'd definitely have to be more strategic with clothing choices.

 

BTW, that was so nice of you to help out the dazed squirrel. Stories of kindness like that give me hope.

Meg Matthews said:

Michelle, I wish I were as cold-tolerant as you. I handle winter about as well as a reptile...

 ...

Cosign on the Craft gear, used their gloves and balaclava all winter last year and I was only noticeably cold a few days (talking -10 -20 type shit). Also a good Merino wool base layer (tights and shirt) really help insulate, it's really all about wearing the right layers. Other than that just keep at it and watch your body magically adjust.  Oh, also (this prolly goes without saying) a wind resistant jacket is a motherfucking must!

Feet a little cold today(Chuck Taylors)...while my head a little sweaty. still adjusting the gear but I think I'll be fine.

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