Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tips on Cold Weather Riding: Part 2

Wow. I had a lot of good response to the article I posted last weekend. So much, in fact, that I decided to post a follow-up featuring various tips I've gotten in response to the article, along with any commentary I might have to add. For responses I got from the Total Ruckus forum, I'm going to use the screen name of the submitter. Let's jump right in.

  • "Use Gore-Tex" from Habits1979. Great point. The more windproofing your gear has, the better, and in that same vein...

  • "Use snowboarding or hunting gear" On the Facebook page, Stitches and JB pointed out that hunting gear and snowboarding gear would both be very effective in blocking wind and providing insulation, Stitches went on to point out that snowboarding gear has a certain degree of abrasion resistance in the event of a crash. 

  • "Wear a full face helmet" Total Ruckus member ruckva pointed out that I neglected to mention a full face helmet is almost a requirement for cold weather riding. He also mentioned that there are options for those riding with an open face. But really, just get a full face helmet if you don't already have one.

  • "Get some $60 Wal-Mart coveralls" Pyrogen on Total Ruckus bought this suit and swears by it. Any type of full coverage, such as a motorcycle suit, jumpsuit, coveralls, etc are a great choice, because they trap all of your body heat. I highly recommend this option. I just switched over to an insulated work bib this week and it works great.
While we're on the topic of cold weather riding, I think it's necessary to address a suggestion I keep hearing. I don't know who came up with this originally, but a few people have suggested wearing latex gloves underneath the riding gloves as an added layer of insulation. Don't Do This! The latex will make your hands sweat. This will make frostbite more likely, and will increase tissue damage if frostbite does occur. Here's a good little testimonial from Total Ruckus user ranwanimator.

"I would actually recommend against the latex gloves. They end up trapping the sweat/moisture against your skin which can accelerate frostbite damage if it gets exposed to the cold. I have actual experience with this particular scenario after wearing a pair of nitrile gloves under knit gloves on the recommendation of a co-worker. The daily temp had dropped much farther than I was prepared for and I had to make do to get home. My hands ended up far colder and pretty painful by the time my 30 minute ride was over. Temps were in the high 40's. 

Moisture is your enemy in the cold."

And with that, I'm going to go watch me some football. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and I hope to see you riding out there. Stay tuned for a writeup on Rucksgiving 2012 this weekend, and don't forget to like my page on Facebook!

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