City & Commuting

Commuting: Getting ready for the cold

12 Comments 06 September 2010

The summer this year had surprisingly little snow

As you have probably realized, we are writing this blog from one of the most Northern countries in our planet, Finland. Thanks to that, the average annual temperature in our country is 4.8 degrees Celsius, which is a bit over 40 degrees Fahrenheit to our American readers. Our winter usually lasts about four months, from December to March (and this is in the South, in the North it lasts 7 months from late October to May).

This means that we have well-insulated houses and we have learned to dress accordingly from a young age. It’s actually traditional to have your baby sleep outside in a stroller even during the winter, when the temperature might go down to minus 20 degrees Celsius. Sure, it sounds like some kind of Viking initiation ceremony, but when you’re well-equipped for the weather, it’s not a problem (or child abuse).

I’ve never cycled this long distances all year around. When I was a kid, I cycled with the usual school attire of baggy jeans, a jacket and a beanie – with a proper base layer of course. Those trips didn’t last more than 10 minutes usually, so getting really prepared was a bit pointless. I’ve already noticed the temperature getting really cold in the mornings as the mercury dropped below 10 degrees Celsius.

So, as a result, I had to do quite a bit of shopping to get prepared for the cold autumn and winter. Naturally I have closets full of winter clothing, but they are not suitable for cycling, so I got just that. Enough breathable and technical layers to keep me warm and comfy, without feeling clammy. You can go really far with three layers of clothing.

More reviews coming when the package arrives, and it’s going to be a big one!

Related Posts:

- who has written 201 posts on Coming thru!.

Markus is a bike commuter gadget freak who is learning the ropes of the bike world, you can find him all around the web - but you can start with his twitter at @banton.

Contact the author

  • Hugo

    Last winter, I found that cycling keeps you quite warm, and you only need two or three thin layers. Fingers and toes were the tricky thing. But you’re right about breathable things. I’ve been hearing lots of good things about Merino wool lately.

    PS Please can you turn off the share menu bar at the top? The ^^ link at the top left doesn’t work in Opera (10.61 / XP).

  • I agree that you don’t need too much, thin layers are usually enough assuming you actually go fast enough :)

    Merino wool is good, but can be quite expensive, some synthetic materials are very good as well, I’ve been a happy camper with Helly Hansen’s tech base layers.

    Ps. The bar is off, thanks for the feedback!

  • Merino is fantastic because it doesn’t smell even after days of use, but it doesn’t wick as well as good synthetic baselayers. I use merino undies for ice climbing, ski mountaineering and winter hiking/camping etc. but still for cycling in cool to cold weather I use synthetic tops. I agree that Helly Hansen Lifa is really great and good value for money here. You just need to take it off and shower pretty quick once getting to work – they are not called “smelly Hellys” for nothing by the British climbing community!

  • Merino is fantastic because it doesn’t smell even after days of use, but it doesn’t wick as well as good synthetic baselayers. I use merino undies for ice climbing, ski mountaineering and winter hiking/camping etc. but still for cycling in cool to cold weather I use synthetic tops. I agree that Helly Hansen Lifa is really great and good value for money here. You just need to take it off and shower pretty quick once getting to work – they are not called “smelly Hellys” for nothing by the British climbing community!

  • “they are not called “smelly Hellys” for nothing by the British climbing community!”

    .. and pretty much everyone who’s ever worn one and speaks English :)

  • It sure is starting to get cold in the mornings. So far, I’m doing fine with my current cycling gear… but I’m looking forward to the clothing reviews.

  • I’m looking even more forward to actually receiving the clothing, since like you said, it’s getting cold. Except today of course, when it was warm and I was sweating my arse off.

  • Jim

    biking in the winter is possibly the best. the snow, the ice, the snow… can’t wait to see your posts/pics in a few months.

  • Oh, they’ll be coming :)

  • KS

    I bought long-sleeved baselayer shirt by Smartwool and it’s absolutely the best thing I’ve worn commuting. It doesn’t smell even after a week! It gets damp easier than synthetic materials, but unlike synthetics, it keeps you warm even when it’s not completely dry. And it dries fast which is really good since I have to leave my commuting clothes in a locker that doesn’t have any air circulation.

  • That sounds nice. Is it made of wool or does it have any synthetics in it? Also, what do you wear on top of it and do you normally sweat a lot?

  • KS

    It’s not pure wool and it has two different fabrics in it. One with 87% merino wool and 13% nylon and one with 80% merino wool and 20% polyester. It has bits that are more “breathable” in the middle of your back, on the sides and under arms.

    I tried different top-layers but I’ve found that for me just having thin long-sleeved cotton shirt as a mid-layer and then running jacket as a windstopper works best in this weather (around +5 celcius in the mornings). I also like hemp as mid-layer material. It keeps it’s shape better than cotton and is more durable.

    I usually sweat quite a bit even in cold weather. (And being oversensitive to a lot of chemicals I can’t really wear any other deodorants than those eco-friendly ones that are not really that effective.)

@Facebook



Read our manifesto

About Comingthru

Coming Thru (or Coming Through - as that URL was taken) is a daily updated bike magazine - a collection of writings and links that relate to biking in its every form. The idea started from when Maarten met Markus decided to finally start collecting the things we like about bikes and talk about our everyday adventures in dodging moving objects at high speeds.The site is run by a collage of cyclists, most notably by Canadian Johanna MacDonald, Belgian Maarten Patteeuw and Finnish Markus Sandelin.

It all started in the spring of 2010, after a record breaking snowy winter when Markus bought a house 25 kilometers from the office and decided to handle the commuting with a bicycle. It turned out the bike wasn’t up to standards for that kind of stress and the first weeks were more tragicomic than glorious. Thus the idea began to brew to actually document this journey.

© 2018 Coming thru!. Powered by WordPress.

Daily Edition Theme by WooThemes - Premium WordPress Themes