As you may have noticed I'm not a fan of winter and cold weather (too hot neither!), but sometimes one have to face it - whether once on the road, during your long distance tour or even now at home .. Well - then what to do? Leave your bike in the garage / on the balcony, or maybe dress accordingly and pedal on? Who's for - who's against?
I believe, that (almost) every day is good for cycling, you need only to dress accordingly. In terms of clothes, which I use to travel I stick to a rule - buy once, but for, good. And winter is the period, when the quality of the clothes and their properties are very important. I would add, that as it comes for summer clothes I am less, or may be picky in a different way – During the summer in hot climate I can tolerate just natural fabrics - thin cotton or linen, and since for some reason in the majority of shops I find mostly cotton "armor", I go to second-hand clothes shops (I missed them lots in China and Muslim countries - they simply do not exist there).
You can say, that my summer clothes comes mostly from "second hand shops", and autumn - winter one is high quality stuff. How, therefore, does my winter bike clothing look like?
I leave the question of underwear for each one to choose. according to his/her preferences. Personally I use a lot of sports bras and pairs of pants, rather “no name”, important thing is that they should be comfortable and breathable (cotton is very welcome). What else?
Shirt with long sleeves / thermal underwear of Under Armour brand. Adjacent to the body, with the zipped collar, Breathing, letting the sweat out without feeling cold. And also pretty, feminine, with some reflective dots on. Sometimes I use it to sleep when the nights are cold.
Merino wool T-shirt of Smartwool (specifically model 150 Baselayer short sleeve, that is the thinnest) – my discovery of last season! I have a fairly universal model, with short sleeves. The manufacturer's name speaks for itself, because wool is simply "smart" and adapts to environmental conditions. Keeps you warm, when it is cold and breathes while not chilling the body. And the feature, in which I hardly could believe, that is you can wear it a few days in a row and does not stink! With my hyperhidrosis is a true miracle. Disadvantages? In my case it does not work in a hot, humid climate - in such conditions it smells a bit, of wool. Exactly the same type of a shirt was recommnded to me by a girl, I met after having completed cycling the Pamir highway, that is high mountains and variable temperature conditions - she claimed it worked perfect for her, so maybe I'm the only one with sligtly different requirements and feelings.
Socks - I carry several pairs usually, but recently I mostly use just two of them, or when it's really cold even both at the same time - tadah! Merino wool socks and Smartwool with their characteristics already described above. Models to be found are a dime a dozen, I have socks short (model U’S PhD Outdoor Light Mini) and longer (model W’S Hike Light Crew). A pair of shorter is usually sufficient, longer ones for snowlike weather. Those socks are adjacent to the feet, they are just super comfortable, feel food on your feet, breathe, zapaszku not catch the feet hardly – if you already, after a few days.
In the case of Merino wool, as indeed at all in the case of wool one should be aware of the necessity of hand washing, preferably in the washing liquid, and if you don"t have it handy use soap instead, and care to leave it to dry, in a shade, not in the sun. Unfortunately, one of my socks were washed in the washing machine and it slightly changed their perfect look, but I do not notice any impact on functionality.
Cycling pants - for over then 10 years I've been using – Shimano leggings, without padding. Just for cycling, suitably shaped and sewn. Trouser leg finished from inside with a special tape bend, that helps it to stay anjancment to the ankle, insulated from the inside. Extremely comfy. For cycling, skating, everyday use to be wear under your outer pants. Over the years I used it to the last piece of fabric, and I simply cannot throw them away, although for 2 years I have almost as good quality leggings (of different brand, not exactly cycling ones) Under Armour quality clothing. With the zipper at the bottom, Warm, but unfortunately not that comfortable (stick to my tights but too loose on my butt), What bothers me a little, but qualitatively also recommendable.
Thin/summer blouse - and here I mean a light summer sweatshirt with a hood. such one, that can be out on in the evening on a warm day, or as an additional layer in othe weather conditions. Twice I had - actually identical, -because the first one I lost - a blouse of one of the top German cycling clothes brand company Gonso (it's the one, which you see on the main image on my facebook - it comes from the Philippines – now it's very hard to buy something of this brand in Poland, although recently I found a wide choice and general and an enormous amount of cycling clothes in an online store Bikester.pl). Light, zipped and of course with a hood – you can wear them 10 years. For last 3 years nearly maniacally I used to wear a Columbia Omniwick blouse - breathable, etc.. (This is blue one, in which you can see me photographed on the pictures most often). I love it truly, but its days came to an end 60 especially after being washed in too hot water (it was not me!). I keep on looking for something similar and I can not find it.. I somehow not lucky to find clothes, I liked.. they no longer produce them :((
Fleece nie rozpinana, with a zipper at the neck and the Polish brand for a change - Kwark. My next good buy. Warm, comfy, Stretch adjusts it to your body. There's a hole on the sleeve, but after so many years wearing (5 intensively, day and night) that's peanuts .
Sport pants - I have only pair, fairly thin, of Salomon brand. In cold weather I wear it together with bicycle pants underneath. They also serve as urban trousers (jeans are too heavy to carry). with stretch, because I like it and with my type of silouhette (quite narrow waist and a fairly thick thighs) it is rather the need.
Summer jacket of Salomon again. Unfortunately, without a hood, but I use it most often with a thin sweatshirt with a hood.
Winter jacket Sherpa brand. snowboarding… jacket. Snowboarding is a sport too, Thus, many of the features work on the bike too. The jacket has a number of cool features, that is::
– removable hood (it is important – feature is a must to me !). the hood, which can be closely matched to the head (latches, drawstring). The wind will not blow into your ears or neck.. you know, what a comfort?
– Detachable antisnow belt at the bottom (hugs your hips , the snow does not fall into your panties). To this inner sleeves - a benefit as above (ie. snow / rain did not fall into the sleeves).
-„Last but not least” – great colour (Have I mentioned the color is important for us women)?
– large waterproof (to 10 000 mm water column). I have to admit, the fact that, to a large extent not leaking. This does not mean, that in a continuous rain remain dry, after the material would probably soaked, but I traveled many times in the falling snow-sleet quite a long time and it was ok.
– cool inside pockets for your stuff. All of these worked well on a bike. Disadvantage - sometimes it seems to me a bit too heavy.
Well, hey! And what. works in pouring rain?
Nothing. Alternatively, the foil :). I have written about this in the entry “Asia by bike - practical info “.
Thus, a little joking, but more seriously - I learned, after spending lots of money on "waterproof" jackets, that does not make any difference, that does not keep us away from getting soaked the pouring rain. A few hours in the rain makes us, my dears, wet through, Such are the laws of nature. Now, therefore, I leave the jacket at home.
But! I've never had to deal with the materials of "softshell" or "goretex". I hereby ask you, who are reading this, who have experience with the above fabrics (Deoas it work or not). Seriously? It is worth to empty your pocket?
So what do I carry as a rain protection rainproof?
– simple foil coat (for 15 PLN - 2 USD), which I can put on my winter jacket or 'set of desperate angler / cyclist ", i.e. long, not zipped foil coat, with a hood with a string and a rubber band at the end of sleeves (I emphasize - sleeve ending with a gum, and pulled the hood cord) and waterproof trousers. Coat acquired in "fishing department" in Chinese Decathlon (very light) and pants from a second hand shop in Poland. In total, pants probably not even had a chance to be used, because yes...! My rule of thumb is - if it's raining I'm not cycling (unless I agreed/booked some accommodation on that day and I want to reach it).
The whole equipment is complemented with waterproof shoe covers, I do not remember the brand, they are used through now (but they were of great help to keep my feet and shoes dry in rain). I now have a second pair, Made of foil and not yet used. In moments of desperation in the pouring rain I also recommend wrapping the leg foil bags.
Well! And what about the feet?
Sport / trekking shoes Keen Saltzman I used them for last three years. I have written also once, in the entry about sandals to travel by bicycle, that during long distance trip your shoes must be pretty universal – food both for cycling and walking. For this reason, I stopped carrying cycling shoes, simply because the hard sole is not suitable for walking. Keen is a producer of great sandals, I set my mind therefore also for trekking shoes.
Saltzman model shoes with membrane, therefore, they are waterproof. Not too heavy, really comfortable, with a sufficiently stiff sole to ride a bike and to this very nice. On cold days, including those with snow those shoes kept my feet warm. Everything would be ok, but it turned out, the shoes of the membrane during sunny days - and so it was even in the Balkans, I was cycling that autumn 2015 or most of the counties – I found it too hot inside - a foot sweats a lot. The interior of the shoe caught a bad small quickly and I could not get rid of it. Well, and in the last year, unfortunately, those shoes surrendered - some tiny pieces of rubber in the sole came off and therefore the shoes started to leak from the bottom, one of the soles unglued too (It had been sewn) well, and on top of one of the shoes also appeared a hole so I had to look around for other shoes. This time I decided to buy new shoes without membrane, so that my feet could breathe. I will describe when some time passes, because it is difficult to find a compromise.
Well, as an important complement to winter clothing – a cap (in my case a "no-name" one) and Buff covering your neck and also insulated ski gloves. Seriously, through your head and hands of the most of the heat escapes!
Well, wrapped in such way , I can go cycling!
And what do your recommend as a winter clothing, what works best for you?