oh baby it’s cold outside…

Sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 all this cold weather and [soon] snow, it just feels so festive!

For being end of November, we seem to have plummeted to mid December straight away with temperatures struggling to go above 0°C (32F), but I-LO-VE-IT!!

So cold your cheeks freeze, your nose turns red, your lungs fill with crisp air, underneath a clear blue sky. I, perhaps, am starting to love this weather much more than sticky summers… perhaps…

my 'hood

Using Barolo (my Dawes Tourer) on days like this is quite exilarating for me, I am so used to the weight and mass of Vita, Barolo is so petite and fast in comparison… picking up speed is sooooo much fun!

fast, fast panda!!

And with this weather, I am definitely going to move onto my trusty neck-fleece-band (I have one that I used on the Vespa, it wraps tightly around your neck), plus the scarf and double gloves…

You? How do you keep warm without overheating?

For me the important areas are not only the extremities but even more importantly are the ears and neck/chest area. These two are my weak spots, even more than hands and feet. If I catch a cold or flu is usually down to them!


13 responses to “oh baby it’s cold outside…

    • I enjoy crochet, and I’ve made few pairs of long wrist warmers using some nice wool. They really do work =) I always wear them, a part from summer, all year round… they are my base all through spring, in autumn I pair them with gloves and from now on, on top of my gloves I’ll also wear woolly mittens!

  1. Must agree it is lovely cycling in the cold weather although I couldn’t face it at 09:00hrs today!

    Must correct you on one point. No one ‘catches’ a cold or ‘flu by being exposed to the cold weather. There is some evidence to suggest cold weather may make you more prone to contract such an illness, however the common cold and Influenza are viral illness’s that are more prevalent at this time of year and so you are more likely to contract one from exposure to the pathogen.

    Keep wrapped up though because you don’t want frostbite of those extremities!

    • The general benefits of exercise will probably counteract and surpass any slightly increased vulnerability to catching a rhinovirus/influenza which exposure to the cold may bring. Especially if cycling somewhere is taken as an alternative to a busy bus or train where the probability of being in close proximity to someone who is ill at this time of year is high.


      • you’re both right, mine wasn’t a scientific statement 😉 I am just aware though that my weak spots are those two areas. If I am to get ill for a viral infection this is usually through ear infections plus my upper respiratory system isn’t the strongest, it’s a family thing. What I was simply saying is that if you know your ‘weak’ spots you can dress accordingly and still enjoy cycling in winter.

        No doubt that since cycling daily I have not had a debilitating cold/influenza that I can recall (touch wood!).

  2. Mr Colostomy

    I agree cycling and so avoiding public transport is one sure way to reduce exposure to such pathogens. And while there is some some evidence that exposure to cold temps can lower the immune system response (see ref below) I would argue that cycling is such a healthy activity per se this risk is far outweighed.

    Interestingly though I read recently that a healthy immune system can actually make a cold/flu more pronounced as it this response that causes most of the symptoms, similar to allergic rhinitis/hayfever I suppose.

    ( Mourtzoukou, E.G.Falagas, M.E. “Exposure to cold and respiratory tract infections”. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Volume 11, Number 9, September 2007 , pp. 938-943)

  3. To stay warm without overheating while cycling, or backpacking, I follow the start cold method. People see me starting out wearing what looks like too little, which does feel cold at first. But after ten minutes or so of exertion I hit the comfort zone. I find down to about 32F 0C, wind protection is more important than thick layers of insulation. Where I live it doesn’t get much colder than that, though. Neck fleece band is also part of my wardrobe, though, or a bright colored wool scarf.

  4. I rode yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do however need to get my gear right. Yesterday was quite good. I double packed on socks, wore some windcutting gloves (but need to buy some cycling specific ones), jeans, a long sleeve cycling shirt and jacket and I was not too cold and surprisingly less sweaty at the end, I seem to sweat regardless after a ride of any great length even at -2c.

    Anyone have any suggestions for eye protection? any little bit of cold and my eyes tend to get watery at least to begin with. I’ve been using some clear eye drops and clear cycling glasses which help but still don’t really stop it. I don’t want to have to resort to weird goggles..

    I should expand and say that I’m from Australia and this will be my first Winter here, hence the issues 😉 lol

  5. Hello MrM!

    Double socks is good, I agree on that! =)

    I find that wearing natural materials really makes a different, pure cotton and wool keep you warm and dry, without the sweaty/smell nasty combo!

    I wear glasses anyway, and they help a little with the cold wind. Manchester is more rainy than cold though, so in those few occasions (like today or yesterday) I tend to just put up with it a little ; ) but my A to B cycles are usually about 5miles max. I am sure more experienced and longer distance riders will soon be of help : D

    I am Italian but I’ve been here since I was little, and I am still learning to adjust to the winter every single year lol!

    • my commute is just over 6 miles to UOM. I wear glasses as well but they don’t help at all with my eyes hence the cycling glasses which wrap around a bit more, I can’t also replace the lenses with yellow or tinted too so they were a decent buy.

      I did start off wearing full (though cheap) cycling kit but I don’t find that helps much at all so now I just wear a different top and change when I get to work.

      I wear a bike helmet, but I’m actually wondering whether wearing a beanie underneath would help more. I have heard from some that if you don’t rug up enough your body will compensate by heating you up more and then obviously as an effect take longer to cool down once you finish which mean more sweatiness at the end as an effect.

      • I wear a head/ear band (fleece) underneath my helmet, like the ones they sell for skiing. I wear it mostly to protect my ears from the wind, but it does keep my head warm too!

        I’ll do a post on my winter cycling layers soon 🙂 But perhaps people like Darrell, MrC and Ian will comment soon with other useful ideas!

        Also, Dottie of LGRAB did a great post on winter cycling, albeit Chicago temperatures are muuuuuuch colder than ours, I found her video really useful last year! You can find it here.

  6. My cold weather gear goes like this:

    Head – Bandana around neck and pulled over head under helmet to cover ears. Can also be pulled over most of face if needed. Very thin but warm and worth every penny. Nothing for eyes at moment but considering using my ski goggles when it gets really cold/sleety.

    Torso – 2-4 breathable layers and always including a long sleeve Merino wool top. I always avoid cotton as it just soaks up the sweat and holds it next to the skin – horrible! On top a windproof, vented, hi-viz jacket. I use an Altura Night Vision.

    Hands – SealSkinz winter gloves. Warm but they really soak up the water in heavy rain. Considering trying some neoprene diving gloves to avoid this.

    Legs – Have been using baggy shorts until very recently. Switched to some Ron Hill reflective tracksters last couple of weeks. These are very thin and don’t offer much thermal protection but I don’t need this for my legs when cycling. The benefit of these are they really stand out when caught by headlights. If really cold/wet I have a set of Altura Night Vision overtrousers in my bag. I wear normal underwear for short journeys and some padded, lycra pants for longer rides.

    Feet – Socks are usually SealSkinz waterproof socks. My toes do get really cold and these are the best socks I have ever used – a great comfort purchase. Shoes are either multi-activity or SPD. I have some Altura overshoes for when it is really wet but haven’t needed them yet (the socks don’t stop the shoes getting wet and robbing my pinkies of heat!).

    I find this a good balance for the cycling I do. The great thing about breathable, layered tops is I can adjust the number of layers to suit the cold and even if I sweat, when I stop and and cool down the clothes stay dry. Being wet and cold is just uncomfortable and potentially a killer.

    Interested to hear what others do.

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