Pugsley Fashion

11 02 2009
...the right clothes make for a fun ride

...the right clothes make for a fun ride

I’ve had quite a few requests for some posts about bike clothing so I thought I’d start today with what I was wearing for the weekend Pugsley ride in Canmore. Air temps were around 0 deg C [32 deg F] and we were being “snowed” on while riding the trails as every tree we touched dumped fresh powder on us.

  • Helmet: I generally don’t wear a helmet for casual city riding or touring, but bombing around in the trees is dangerous work so I put on my bike lid with a tight fitting helmet liner that blocks the wind as well as some moisture while still being breatheable.  The liner covers my ears which is critical.
  • Torso: I wore a mid-weight base layer directly against my skin so it can easily wick moisture away keeping me dry and warm.  It was enough to stay warm while biking without over heating or getting too sweaty.  On top I wore a light soft shell which blocks the wind, sheds snow and light rain while allowing lots of moisture to get out – key for hard biking efforts.
  • Legs: wicking boxers under biking tights that are mid-weight with a windproof front and a breathable back.  Over top some climbing capris for a bit of extra warmth, but mostly to cover the tights.
  • Feet: mid-weight wool socks inside some Keen light hikers with mini-gaiters on top to keep the snow out.
  • Hands: mid-weight XC ski gloves – windproof with a very light fleece insulation.
  • Face: I carried a Buff neck gator, but didn’t use it.  Sunglasses for the sun and to keep my eyes safe from snow/ice/branches.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • dress so you are a bit chilly when starting at your car or you’ll over heat in the first 20mins
  • put a good wicking layer right against your skin to get the sweat away
  • consider how that sweat is going to get out of your clothes – pit zips, open main zip, highly breathable shell, etc…
  • carry some extra clothes if you’ll be far from your vehicle and/or out for a long time as conditions change
  • prioritize your face, ears, hands and feet – if they are comfortable you’ll feel better than a warm torso and cold extremities.
  • invest in clothing that’s versatile and buy quality pieces that fit you well – they’ll pay for themselves many times over.



6 responses

11 02 2009

I would add one thing: If you are going to be out a long time (think 6 – 8 hour long winter / early spring rides), carrying a spare pair of socks and a second base layer is a good idea. We typically will stop somewhere for lunch or to warm up on these long winter rides. Being able to swap into a dry base layer makes a huge difference in comfort when heading back out after the break.

Lots of thin layers, preferably with zippers, work much better for heat regulation than fewer thick layers.

12 02 2009

I recently got a piece of merino wool and have started swapping all of my high tech stuff for that now. It seems like my skin temperature is more uniform with the wool; whereas with the poly stuff I would feel cold spots. It’s also nice to be able to look a bit more casual too.

12 02 2009

Doc….I got some wool items lately and they are quite nice…however I really don’t pay much attention to my laundry so it it’s a bit of a pain to have to keep the wool items separate and launder them on cool without drying them.

12 02 2009

Wool is the real deal. I’m adding pieces slowly. I’d like to get a pair of wool shorts to see what they are like. Spendy little things. I wash all of my cycling clothing on cold, and let the washer spin it out good so I don’t generally have too big of an issue just tossing the wool in with everything else

15 02 2009

I do keep my smartwool out of the dryer but my wife and kids do not, and it does not seem to suffer. It is clearly labelled on the tag as tolerating a dryer. Anyway, yeah, could not live without it.

15 02 2009

Oh yeah, but what about footwear? I just double up on socks, thin liner sock and then a regular one. But pedals, I have a hard time w/ spd cleats clogging up full of snow, both on the pedal and on my shoe. Is a big flat platform the way to go after all.

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