Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Cold weather stuff review

1) Moose Mitts

These things have been pretty amazing so far. Hardest part was actually getting them due to the handmadeness of them. I ordered them around mid November and got them one week ago after a USPS slip up. Trails Edge in Michigan makes these all by hand and it shows, high quality stuff.

Cost was $60-about the same as some piece of shit Gore "Windstopper" gloves I bought last year. Quotes mean they did not work well. But yeah, Moose Mitts. I am able to wear them from 35-40 degrees with no gloves. Add a thin XC glove down to 25 or 30. Rode this morning in 14 degrees with a very thin fleece running glove and was fine. Get some.

2) RBH Designs VaprThrm socks

I have only ridden in these twice but they do what they say. The whole vapor barrier idea is to contain sweat to keep insulation dry. The socks were 35 or 40 bucks and made with three layers laminated together to eliminate the plastic bag in the shoe feeling. One thing with them is they take up some extra room in cycling shoes so they would NOT work in a tight fitting pair. I have used them in my Shimano winter boots and my summer mesh shoes (this morning, super cold) and they work great. Feet are sweaty and warm. I'll take that over cold any day. I think with some Grabber toe warmers I have will have the cold feet deal pretty much managed. Available direct here.

In other news, I have been looking at SS cross bikes way too much. I want one for next year. Something about 16 pounds would be sweet. I am going to just patiently wait and watch ebay for 9 months or so. Maybe something will fall in my lap (besides a beagle with static) soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

OMG...what to wear???!!!

Sorry. Could not help myself. It's just cold. That's it and it sucks.

This is the time of year I tend to try and convince myself that other activities will help me get in shape for riding next season.

I'm jealous of runners for about four months of the year. They stay warm. They get to run on sidewalks and tracks. They don't have to wear lights. It is over with quickly. Makes my knees go.
Weight lifting for the winter is also an option. It seems intuitive-legs get stronger and stronger legs make bikes go fast. Seems is the key there, the year I lifted I was still small and weak but also slow come March. I can do without all the Bros and Cougs at the gyms anyway.
This is actually pretty fun but Melissa's entry into grad school has curtailed four hour hikes this year. Fun and I miss doing it. Dog walking is a good substitute.
Cold. Traffic. Dark. Traffic. Really cold. Time consuming. Perfecto.

Have been perfecting the winter clothing system for road bikes for years and still don't have it down (mountain biking is easier to dress for-less wind). Here is what I have found to work. I want to get this written down somewhere I won't lose it.
Helmet only til it drops below 40 then add a scarf. Hat or earband thing below 30.

Arm warmers at 55. Make it a long sleeve wool jersey at 50. Add another wool jersey below 40. See a theme here? Below 30 add a vest. Easy.

Knee warmers below 60. Thin tights and baggies below 45. Thick fleece tights below 35 with the baggies.

Hands and feet
This part really sucks. Have not found a good cycling specific cold weather glove and refuse to buy more this year. Got Moose Mitts instead. They came today and are warm and should keep the sweat from building up. Stoked. Feet are the toughest part. While the rest of your body works hard the feet dangle like icicles ready to sweat then freeze as soon as they can. I have some Shimano MW80 winter SPD boots which are good BUT once they are sweaty get cold. This can be solved with a vapor barrier system. The goal of a VBL is to keep your insulation dry so it, er, insulates. I did a ghetto version yesterday with a thin sock, grocery bag, wool sock, then shoes on. Warm feet at 35 degrees on a road bike. Awesome. Went ahead and sprung for an actual VBL sock from RBH Designs last night. High hopes and all.

Important points:
Sweat is the enemy, start out cold the first 20 minutes and the rest will be better.
I don't like Windstopper stuff, it just makes me trap sweat. Wool rules.
Layer, layer, layer. Champion sells good baselayers at Target. Skip the fancy shit.
Chemical heat packs do well.
Get off and walk to unfreeze feet.
Bring extra gloves. They will get wet at some point.