When I read about what other people wear for cold weather riding, they always seem to be much more heavily dressed than I am. This morning it was -8C on my ride in. I was running late and did not layer up properly and wore what I consider the minimum amount of clothing for such weather. I found that I was pleasantly cool but not cold the whole way in. The thing is, I wasn't wearing that much really:
Body: 1) Cheap old MEC Bike Shorts under 2) MEC Cold Weather pants (neoprene fronts, Lycra backs), 3) a light wicking T-shirt under 4) a scarf to plug the neck hole of 5) an O2 Rainwear cycling jacket with pit zips wide open.
Head: Lightweight balaclava (pulled under chin, face exposed), MX goggles, helmet
Hands: Light Gloves (best used above -10C)
Feet: Regular cotton socks (tsk, tsk) under Exustar E-SM450 Cold Weather Cycling Shoes (not sure if these are available any more).
Do As I Say Not As I Do Disclaimer: I would strongly recommend wearing more stuff than this just for safety. You can remove layers when you're too hot, but you can't add layers you didn't bring in the first place if you are cold. This outfit was perfect because I was able to keep moving. If I had had to stop for any reason along the way or crashed or something, I would have become very cold very fast.
So anyway, I've been thinking about the differences I see between how much stuff I wear compared to others and have four possible reasons for how little I wear:
1) Noggin/Eyes Covered: Once your head is covered, staying warm is simply quite easy. Or maybe humans lose a whole ton of heat from their eyes, which my goggles retain for me. Anyone? Anyone?
2) Blubber: At 5'11" and about 210 pounds, I carry a built in insulating layer.
3) Distance: My winter commute is only 7km (4.3 miles) one way. If I rode much further most of me would be fine, but I know that my feet and hands could begin to suffer past that distance in these clothes.
4) Lateness: I am almost always late. That means riding hard, which means loads of heat generation. If I tried a leisurely commute in this outfit, I would very likely feel chilled.
Any other theories or guesses or insults? Bring 'em on! I like it.
R A N T W I C K