Friday, February 11, 2011

What I Wore

Yesterday morning it was zero degrees outside when I left for work.

Here's what I wore to stay warm.

From the bottom up!


  • Wool socks from Costco. It feels like every third or fifth trip to Costco, I grab a pack of wool socks. You just can't have too many!
  • These knitted blue socks that my partner's grandmother made me a long time ago. They add a layer of insulation but mostly I wear them because my boots are way too big and I need some extra padding when I wear them.
  • My boots. I've had these things since I was a young teenager. My dad brought them home from work one day because one of his coworker's husband died and so now she had all these big shoes, and what was she going do with them! And my dad was like, hey, my kid has big feet. I'll take 'em and give 'em to him. And he did. But these things are enormous even on my size 13s. But they're the best thing I've ever experienced as far as good winter/snow boots go.


  • Tights
  • Jeans

Torso and arms!

  • Two long sleeved cotton t-shirts
  • Cycling jacket. You probably can't see it in the picture, but this jacket is littered with holes and tears. I've worn it daily, year-round, for over three years. It has survived one significant crash and a dozen minor spills. I'm rough on my gear. (Gear ~ body.)


This is my problem area.
  • Smart Wool glove liners
  • These other gloves
I have yet to find a way to keep my hands warm. I have four or five different pairs of gloves—wool and leather, lined and unlined—that I use in different combinations, all to no avail.

What that means is that I can postpone Hand Freeze by riding with one hand behind my back (and no longer exposed to the wind), but that's not always an option because when it's icy and nasty out, I'm keeping both hands on the bars.

After that, I simply have to stop, get off, and warm my hands in my pits/pants. (Your arm pits and your crotch are two of the warmest parts of your body.)

What I have learned recently, though, is that I can keep my hands approximately 90% warmer by pulling my fingers in and wearing them as mittens. It's so much warmer! And it makes me think that I need to seriously consider some good, actual mittens. Or maybe some of those lobster gloves.


  • Two Buffs: one "Original" and one wool.
My Buff, as I've said before, is my all-time, all-purpose favorite cycling accessory. I wear it in warm and cold weather, and don't leave the house without it.

I got a wool one this Christmas, and I really like it. I was surprised by how much longer it is! It hasn't replaced the old one, but I like to keep it on hand. When it's really cold, I usually wear the red one on top of my head, and wear the wool one as a scarf around my neck that I can pull up over my face if I need it.

On one even colder ride last week, I wore a smart wool balaclava under the two buffs, and was plenty warm.


Mike said...

How long is your commute? I've got 5 miles and unless it's single digits, I just pull a Rule 5. Gore-tex lined Shimano commute shoes, jeans, t-shirt under a light softshell, fleece cap, safety glasses, and 20+ year-old ski gloves that are torn to hell and back. If it's single digits (or worse) I'll add a facemask of some sort. My fingers freeze but then I go back to Rule 5.

chrisman said...

I'm 4 miles half the time and 8 miles the other half.

The longer commute definitely requires stops to warm up.

Do you recommend your ski gloves? It sounds like you still have freezing problems. I'm just desperate for a solution. My hands kill me!

Mike said...

My hands go numb if it's too cold, but I just deal with it since I'll be where I'm going soon enough. I'd look in to some cycling-specific gloves (Hestra is bringing out a cycle-oriented lobster-claw soon) if it's a big problem, which it sounds like it is.