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Note: After posting this blog I received several e-mails with both useful suggestions for additional cold-weather clothing and a hark back to someone else’s cold weather clothing experience. I’ve added that information at the end of my original blog below.

February 10th, 2016, wasn’t a very inviting day to bicycle to the Whistle Stop in downtown Ferguson, which I often frequent for brunch during weekdays, but I decided to make the trip anyway, since it’s only a little over a mile away down Florissant Rd. However, if there’s one thing I hate it’s getting cold so I dressed warmly, starting with thermal underwear and extra-long wool socks. When I finally arrived at my destination the only thing that was cold were my fingers, having worn lined gloves over my glove liners instead of the mittens I’d taken in reserve, which are more bulky.

Pion bike 25F day return sh P2100163

Return home with light snow falling.
Photo: Joyce Pion

Pion -60F windchill Feb 81b

“February 1981. -60F windchill!”
Photo: Joyce Pion

It started to snow on my return trip home with the air temperature still hovering around 25F. The windchill temperature when cycling was estimated as ~15F. My wife, Joyce, was good enough to shoot some photos of me in my cycling gear, the one I’ve posted above probably being the best.

Afterwards I decided to photograph and identify everything I was wearing, something that would have been useful to do in the past when I was still tricycling to work daily at McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co., roughly 4 miles away. That’s something I never did, and the only record I have is another photo taken by my wife on a bitterly cold day when my fingers and toes were getting cold even before I’d covered the 1/4 mile out of our subdivision. That photo is shown above right with my wife’s shadow visible on the snow in the foreground. By the time I arrived at work both my fingers and toes were numb and I thought I’d gotten frostbite. I’ve never cycled in such extreme temperatures since.


underwear slsh P2100165

Thermal underwear and underpants

1. (At left) Duofold “Two-layer fabric” thermal underwear.   USA

UndershiDuofold_inner_layer_0501sharpenrt and long johns bought many years ago. With perforated inner layer to wick moisture, as shown in the close-up below left.

2. (Above bottom left) Travel Smith underpants 100% Coolmax polyester.  USAneck warmer_5373

3. (Right) Neck warmer 100% acrylic (no brand name).  Japan

4. (Below left) Extra-long socks. (No ID but believed to be wool or wool blend.)

socks & pants sm slsh P2100166

5. Performance Technical Wear cycling pants.

45% Polyester/35% nylon/12% Lycra/8% polyurethane. Back 39% nylon/46% polyester/15% Lycra.  USA

6. (Below right) LL Bean shirt 100% cotton.  Chinashirt slsh P2100167



sweater sm slsh P2100168




7. (At left) LL Bean sweater 90% wool/10% nylon. USA


outwear inc boots red P2100169

8. (Top left) Bell Image Pro helmet with plastic visor.  USA?

Third Eye mirror attached to visor.  USA

9. (Top right) Performance bicycling cap 20% acrylic/80% wool.  Italy

10. (2nd row) Performance ski mask.
Shell 70% chloroprene/30% styrene butadiene rubber. Lining 100% polyester.  China

11. (3rd row left) Polartec glove liners 64% polyester/24% nylon/12% Spandex (Unknown)

12. (3rd row right) Nashbar gloves – Saucony Thinsulate. Leather palm. Shell leather 100% nylon. Lining 100% polyester.  Sri Lanka

13. (Above bottom row) Bates Floaters leather boots. Pure wool pile inner.  USA

outer jacket and mittens slsh red P2100170

14. Lands’ End outer jacket with attached hood. Shell and taffeta lining both 100% nylon/mesh 100% polyester.  China


15. Spare mittens. Very warm but no material or country of manufacture ID.


Harold Karabell, who’s a cold weather bicyclist living in St. Louis’s Central West End, responded: “Indispensable to my own cold weather commute are BarMitts, which provide warmth for my gloved hands that no combination of gloves/mittens/underliners can offer.     Plus inexpensive Uvex safety googles to protect my face and glasses from the wind.” Adding later: “The safety goggles work surprisingly well.
Without them, I’d be a teary-eyed, frozen mess after only c. one mile of riding into a cold, strong headwind.  … My glasses stay reasonably fog-free, perhaps because I don’t cover my mouth and nose completely.”

Jason M. wrote: “BarMitts are available for drop bars, and I can attest to their functionality.  A good buy!”

I’ve added screen shots captured from the above linked pages below:


UVEX goggles 

Former committed St. Louis area bicyclist, Bob Soetebier, (until sustaining major injuries in a solo bike crash) responded: “The coldest temp I ever rode my bicycle in was 0 degrees F…with sun and no wind.  Wore 6 layers of clothes; glove liners, three-fingered gloves and similar over mitts; gaiters and shoe covers with pedal toe covers…even put plastic bags over socks in between; full face mask over a balaclava.  Added some sheets of newspaper between the chest layers, too.”

Bob later clarified that the six layers of clothes were on his torso with 3 layers on his legs to allow for relative freedom of movement. He also wore vented snow-goggles which, unfortunately, I never discovered during the time I was tricycling daily to work.

Bob added a link to this post on his own website at the end of his Bicycling section:

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