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Discussion Starter #1
I am a Florida cyclist (newbie, three months in). It's starting to get brisk here in the mornings. I am seeing LOTS of options for keeping warm while riding, but need advice on what is really the most comfortable and practical.

I hate being cold, hence the reason I choose to live in Florida.

Knickers, long pants (tights), base layers, jackets, arm warmers, leg warmers....it's all confusing to me.

Any advice would be appreciated on what I really need to start with. I am training for my first century and do not want the weather to affect my decision on whether to ride or stay inside!

Jennifer
 

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Two skinny J's
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I think you may have to experiment a bit to see what works best for you as well as what your body is most acclimated to. I have become a big fan of leg and arm warmers down to 50ish degrees. If it warms up on your ride they are easy to remove and carry.Leg warmers. for me, are a must ! I have to keep those muscle nice and warm so I can wear those well into the 60's ! I have made the mistake of over dressing and sweating ( esp feet) which I think is just as bad as being under dressed. Another big must for me, below 45ish, are either toe covers/warmers or full shoe covers. Good wool socks below 40 is a must for me. Northerns are probably laughing at this by now but...

Below 40 or so I LOVE insulated bibs and a good base layer. I prefer Under Armour stuff but my wife would tell you I just like a label :) If it gets colder than that I use it all and throw in a Balaclava, shell gloves and inserts. I'm a wus and won't( very often) ride below 30-35 degrees.

Bicycling Magazine, in their October issue, did a article called "Gear up for Fall" that did a pretty fair job of covering this topic. I can't seem to find right now. Gota run the little ghouls and goblins are here already !

Good luck !
 

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Back in the Saddle
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layers! ones you can take off as your body temperature rises. I love the light jacket I just got that has removable sleeves and the whole thing rolls into the pocket so I can take it off entirely.

on brisk mornings here in IN I will usually live with cold legs knowing I'll warm up, and I use stretching knit gloves over my riding gloves. Those are cheap and i can peel them off and into my pocket.

Rola643 hit the most important thing - you will need to experiment. Good rule of thumb is that you should still be a bit cold as you get on the bike. Otherwise you'll be too hot before you know it.
 

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Grenouille
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Cold? In Florida ??? C'mon up to Boston and ride with me when it's 34 out.

More seriously: layers. A light jacket you can stuff in the back of your cycling jersey when it warms up.

If it ever gets cold enuf for fingered gloves, wool socks, you have my sympathy.
 

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Yesterday tired old man, Today retired old man
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The outher day it was 40* here in the South of Jersey. I had my riding shorts a pair of under sox then a long john bottom then my sox, a long sleve jersey a short sleve jersey on top of that, anouther pair of riding shorts, then my under gloves and my riding jacket with my riding gloves and my shoes. by the time I got home it was 60* I had taken off my jacket & my under gloves, and was comfy on the ride,;)
The sun don't shine down on you much here in the swamp but as soon as the leaves are gone we will have sunshine
 

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I live in Utah, and regularly ride a motorcycle on the freeway where wind chill can bring the temps down to single digits. I've got a couple of items I'll be testing soon, but your circumstances are different than mine. We have very little humidity, which contributes to a warmer feeling in cooler temps. Still, you need to keep your head, hands, and feet warm, as that is where you lose the most heat.
 

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Frankly nothing mentioned even resembles the cold I know. In Fl 40 is cold. I have lived in places where for 2 months or more it doesn't get UP to 32. Cold there was 40 below. I used to think a guy was totally crazy to go flying when it was 0. It was a simple airplane with speeds of about 100, but it was an OPEN cockpit airplane. 0 and a 100mph wind can get a bit chilly.

I would suggest one thing while you are trying to figure out what works for you. Stay close to home, but not necessarily cut your rides shorter. Instead of 5 miles out and 5 miles back, make 5 laps of a two mile loop. That way you can go switch clothes ect and make adjustments till you find something that's comfortable. Then you are good to go, but nothing is more miserable than to realize you don't need this and its in the way, or you need that and its at the house.
 

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I would say start with a pair of full finger gloves, arm/leg warmers and some thicker socks. From there, if you feel like your feet are still cold, you can go with booties which can be insulated or not depending on how much warmth you want. If you add a windbreaker into the mix, you can keep more core body heat in; but that could overheat you in Florida weather. I would say layer up and remove the layers if you feel your too warm. Just be careful you don't go too far and overheat yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the advice. We Floridians usually put on long-sleeves or a light jacket at 69 degrees! Your body adjusts and I hate the cold (unless I'm bundled up on a ski slope for vacation!).
I will try the leg/arm warmers since they are easily removed and look for a light jacket with removable sleeves too. I was worried the elastic on the warmers would be irritating or look completely dorky, but your responses make me think they may be a good first step for the 60's coming this weekend.
Jennifer
 

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Jennifer, if you hold off a few days, I should be able to post a review of Gore's arm and knee warmers. I just ordered some today. I can say for sure that I am not happy with those from Specialized (which I'm replacing with the Gore). The arm warmers don't seem to do much at all, and I don't like the how tight upper grip on the knee warmers is.

By the way, if anyone is interested in size large Specialized arm and knee warmers, PM me. If I do like the Gore a lot better, I'm willing to part with the Specialized at no cost, other than good karma.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I can hold on until Saturday. I have a group ride Sunday morning and it's expected to be chilly by FL standards! ;)
Thnx!
 

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Well it sounds like you better get yours on the way pretty quick, unless you can buy them locally. Do many shops down there stock those? I'm switching to the Gore because of the wind resistance. I find I personally don't need something very warm if I can just keep the wind out.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I am not sure. Of all the brands of shorts, jersey's, and gloves, Pearl Izumi seems to be a good and comfortable fit for me. We have an outlet here so that will be on my Saturday to-do list. Hopefully I can try on some things and get it at a good deal too. I love cycling, but it is an expensive sport compared to some (and cheaper than others- like golf).

I just invested in an Edge 705 to help me train for my first century ride, so I have gone over my budget this month! LOL!
 

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Two skinny J's
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Not that it has anything to do with what you asked, but I thought about this thread when I read this.


 

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layering is the best bet. For instance - I have a couple of nice short sleeve jerseys. Rather than buy a bunch of new long sleeve jerseys I bought some long sleeve base layer shirts (under armour, champion, etc.) and wear those under my jerseys. I am also experimenting with some compression tights (Champion athletic again - $12!) that fit nicely underneath my padded cycling shorts. I have one really nice long sleeve jersey that seems to work well in the 40's and I am going to grab a short sleeve base layer to wear under that as well.

I did treat myself to a very nice lightweight jacket / vest combo:
Specialized Bicycle Components : Deflect Hybrid Jacket

The sleeves zip off....I wear just the vest over long sleeves but stuff the sleeves in my jersey pocket for descents or rest breaks. The zips go under the arms and don't go all the way - so the armpits are vented and the top of the vest in the back is vented as well. So it sheds water and wind but when you unzip the front you get cross ventilation when you want.

It was in the high 40s when I took off yesterday but the clouds and wind moved in once I hit the top of my climb....temperature dropped into the low40s. Zipped on the sleeves for the last 15 miles and used the zips to regulate ventilation. Stayed warm AND did not get that clammy cold feeling. I'm convinced i could add a short sleeve base layer and be good into the 30s with some tights. (face and ears are another story!)

Soon here in PA we'll be BEGGING for 47 degrees.....
 

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47 is bikini weather, but then what guy ever says it isn't bikini weather. I can think of a few racers that it should be required. grin
 

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I use layers effectively here in PA. I rode 8 miles to work this morning, it was 33 degrees when I left the house. An insulated skull cap(make sure it fits under your helmet), Under Armour shirt with 3 sweat shirts. Anything over 25 made my eyes water but I was really quite comfortable. A good base layer and then layers with a back pack so you can remove if you need to, and of course some warm gloves.
 
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