This is the second of a series of winter riding gear that I personally have run through over the last several years. It is a personal take, but to be honest seems to be pretty accurate if I do say so myself. Looking at the long range forecast, we are due for some snow in the coming days, so why not get all psyched up for winter riding. Who is with me!!!
Last time we discussed footwear, well we are slowing working north, and talking pants and bottoms. Legs can be a little tough to figure out, cause with biking, you are using them, and using them a lot in winter biking. One thing you will find out if you are new to fat biking / winter biking, your poor legs never get a break, even on the downhills, you are constantly spinning… But you will have a smile on your face for sure!! But I digress.
Temperature: 2-5 degrees C
Some folks in this temperature range continue to wear their normal riding shorts (Paul!). Others will start the layers. Personally in this range, I will put on a thin base layer of Merino wool. Again I will use MEC as my guide as to what to look for. A lot of the gear you can buy at other shops like Sojourn, or any outdoor shop.
The above photo from MEC, https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5043-956/Merino-T2-Long-Johns is a nice thin layer of Merino wool long johns. The ones I ride with were actually from Costco, and they work great. These are used more to break some of the wind, and they do keep the legs nice and warm.
One note for this, daytime 5C, and nighttime 5C feel much much different. You may want to skimp down a little bit on the daytime 5C, and go with something more like a leg warmer, that in the case you start to overheat, you can pull them off easily, and not do a full strip tease in the middle of the forest.
Something like the above would work perfectly in those situations.
Temperature: 2 – -5 degrees C
In this range I still tend to continue to wear the Merino wool long john’s. I personally have 2 different types of long john, a thinner one from Costco, similar to the above mentioned, and also a thicker set, which if memory serves correctly, they came from a store in Ohio. But regardless, in this temperature range you will start to notice the cold on the legs. The temperature will start to suck some of the energy out of them, making them feel heavy. Hence a thicker pair of long johns will work nicely.
These slightly thicker long johns will provide a little more warmth, as well as blocking more wind.
Another option, if you have leg warmers, and the thinner base layer bottoms, is to double them up. This will give you a nice warmth, and again cut the wind very nicely.
Temperature: -5 degrees C and Colder
Once we dip below the -5 mark, is when I just switch to a thin baselayer, and a pair of cross country ski pants. The nice thing with the cross country ski pants is that they are able to move easily, as well as block the wind and keep your legs toasty warm. Usually at this colder temperature, you are not breaking any land speed records, due to the bitter cold, and the possibility of your eyes freezing open. If you watch National Lampoons Christmas Vacation you will understand that reference for sure.
For pants, you do not want to skimp out on what you get, as the pants do take a good beating over the winter. Another thing to look at with the pants, is the cuff. Ideally you find a pair that have the cuff tight against the leg. The main reason for this is that it could get caught in the chain rings.
A way around getting caught in the chainrings is to put a reflective strap around you leg, similar to the below.
As for the pants themselves, the below from MEC are a nice softshell pant. Look around at other places, see what people have, just make sure you get something that will keep you warm, and allow you to move your legs for pedaling purposes.
With another edition in the books, we get closer and closer to the winter riding season, and you have to start thinking of your legs, not just for strength and conditioning, but for warmth and comfort.
If you have questions or comments please let us know, send an email through the contact us tab.
Get out there and ride your bike!
Tyler in Links, Product, Tech Info
Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be doing some write ups on winter riding gear, and what has worked for us over the last 5 years or so.
Based on waking up this morning to the beautiful snow on the ground, I assumed it was the best time to start this little mini-series if you wish to call it.
As the title of the post says, footwear is the first item, so pretty much starting from the bottom and working up.
I know there are several folks out there who have the same thing I do, which is bad circulation in their extremities. When the weather dips below 5 degrees C, the toes become cold, and you feel the cold come up through the cleat on the pedal (If you are clipped in).
Last nights ride was a good indication of the feet getting cold for sure.
Temperature: 2-5 degrees C
Typically in this temperature range, I continue to use my normal riding shoes, normal Shimano or LG shoes, clipped in.
One addition to the normal shoes would be Shoe Covers, or booties. These little guys go overtop of your shoes, but also have the bottom cutout to allow you to be clipped in. For this temperature, you don’t need anything crazy thick, just something to cut some of the wind out from going through the shoe.
The above cover is from MEC, https://www.mec.ca/en/product/5042-260/Cloudburst-Shoe-Covers
You can get these guys from MEC or your Local Bike Shop. The nice thing about these thin booties is that they are waterproof, and cut the wind. These are great to get you through the transition period for sure.
Temperature: -3 – 2 degrees C
In this range it becomes a little tougher on shoe selection. Usually I will stay in my normal riding shoes, but use a thicker booties, something that will cut wind, but also will keep your feet warmer. In addition to the bootie, I also wear Wool Socks, mainly because they look good, feel good, and are comfortable, but also they keep your feet nice and warm.
The one nice thing again about the thicker covers, is that they will keep snow (I know the dreaded S word) from falling into your shoe, making them wet and colder.
I personally own a pair of these Pearl Izumi shoe covers, and they word amazing in the colder temperatures. Again from MEC you can buy these. I’m using MEC as I know most people have been or go on the regular.
One note on booties is that you want to make sure the sole of them are made of something durable such as kevlar. The booties take some abuse, whether it be from walking, or clipping in or out etc.
Temperature: -20 – -3 degrees C
Well at this point really anything below -3 I change over to full on winter riding boots. I know that the 45NRTH boots that most have are expensive, but at the same token, they are worth every penny for keeping your feet warm. But like I mentioned earlier, I am using MEC as a source for products, and they carry a MAVIC winter cycling shoe, as well as a Shimano version.
With winter riding shoes, one note you want to look at, if you are clipping in, you will get residual temperature rising through the sole of the shoe. Most of the winter riding shoes have a gpecial insulated sole to prevent this from happening, but you want to make sure that there is something. When the weather dips below -10 the feet can get cold fast making the ride much worse!
For the folks who are hesitant on clipping in through the winter, there is another alternative that a lot of folks have been doing.
If you want to use a flat pedal, make sure it is something that will grip the sole of a boot. But you want a nice warm boot, something like a Sorel. The only thing to note, you will lose a little bit of feeling connected to your bike. But at the same token, you are riding in snow and cold weather. You will fall, it will happen, but your feet will be nice and warm!
There is another option for the colder temperatures for your feet. They are heated insoles. I have not tried them personally, but what I have read online say that they work extremely well. Marks Work Warehouse carries a pair, which have rechargeable batteries.
Winter and cold weather riding is tough, not just on the body, but also on how you prepare and dress for it. I would recommend in your car or truck, to keep spare booties, and socks, because you never know how cold it actually is until you are standing in the parking lot getting ready.
Tyler in Product
Well, by the name, you must realize this review is for one thing and one thing only, Chamois Cream. You can get your mind out of the gutter.
I’ve used many different types of chamois cream before, and some worked flawlessly, and others not so great. But overall, doing longer distance events or rides, it is worth while for sure to put something on.
Over the last few weeks, while doing the ride across Newfoundland, I did develop a couple saddle sores, while using another brand of chamois cream. Craig brought an extra bottle of DZ Nuts, and I gave it a try. Within the first few days, there was a huge difference!
Not only did it tingle…. again, get your mind out of the gutter… but it also promoted healing!
I’m not big into knowing the reasoning why it worked, or what is in it to make it work, all I know is that it did work, and worked well.
Over the last 2/3 of the trip I solely used this, and I had no issues at all. I know this one is a male version, but the company also carries one for females.
At the end of the day, I would recommend trying this stuff out.
You can buy it online, and some bike shops may even carry it.
Tyler in Product
A little while back we received an email in the Contact us section of the site, and just wanted to do a small PSA (Public Service Announcement) with regards to the comment.
I know in team van go, about 90% of us do have bells on our bikes. This inexpensive but really a great feature to have gives us as riders a great way to communicate between each other of obstacles, rider down, etc etc. But the other feature and probably the more important one is to communicate with other users of the forest.
When you are coming up behind someone hiking, give the bell a quick ding, preferably a ways back so the person knows you are coming up. This will prevent the hiker from having a heart attack, as well if they have a dog and they need to keep it leashed it gives time for that. Also, when you come across a horseback rider, it is always a great idea to give the bell a ding before you cross a double track, again to ensure that people know you are there.
Bikes are pretty quiet for the most part, and for other users to know we are there, a 10-20$ purchase will go a long way!
If you have any comments, or other PSA’s that you want published, please let us know through the Contact Us email!
Johnny in Everything, Product
So as of May 6th, TVG has an insurance policy in place. Lots of questions regarding this and membership. Folks are wondering why this is all required when things were just fine the way they were. The reality is that the way things were was leaving some of us open for liability issues.
With all the issues to attend to with the trails in Dufferin Forest and the Management Plan, someone had to come to the County meetings for the mountain bike community with insurance and an organized club (equestrians, hunters, snowmobilers, dirt bikers were all represented as insured groups at the meetings). If we wanted permission to maintain the single track of the Dufferin County Forest, we needed insurance.
So those are the main reasons. Our insurance company requires anyone going on an event organized by TVG (ie. one posted on the website) signs a waiver releasing TVG of liability. If anyone is a “member” of TVG, then they only need to fill out the waiver once a year, non-members are required to fill one out at every event they are at.
So, we have decided that anyone who wants to be a member of TVG can do so. We are not setting a membership fee, but instead membership will be based on a donation basis if anyone wants to do so. (The donations will go towards our insurance premiums and IMBA membership dues). This way we are not requiring anyone to pay to join. You can become a member for free if you choose and you will only be required to fill out the waiver once a year.
I hope that is a clear enough explanation of what is going on and why it’s happening. If you have any questions regarding the insurance requirements, liability issues or membership in general, please e-mail us through the “Contact Us” tab. If you choose to donate, please pass your donation on to Bernie, Johnny or Tyler.
Please print and fill out the following waiver an bring it along on your next ride. Go to:
Thank you for understanding and co-operation, see you out there!
Also keep an eye on the Events tab for Wednesday Night ride info, it will likely be at Mono Centre weather dependant.
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