Wet n Wild cycling in Canberra winter

Vonbare 8 April 2009 42

Now that the days are shortening, and the winds are chilling, I’m preparing for my first cycling commutes in a Canberra autumn/winter. 

I don’t have any specialist cycling gear and am wondering if any local cyclists (and given previous posts, I know there are a few) could give advice on what sort of jacket to buy. 

Something that would suffice me for the 3 chilly seasons would be great.

muchos gracias


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42 Responses to Wet n Wild cycling in Canberra winter
BeardBoy BeardBoy 1:31 pm 29 Apr 09

Damart do still exist (it’d be Prime Time for them, I expect, with this brass monkey weather). The are on the Boulevard strip of shops (towards the eastern end of City Walk), basically midway between the good olde Electric Shadows & The Transit Bar (possibly elsewhere as well). I’m under the impression that they still do an insert of their catalogue/latest offerings in the CT.

& whadyaknow- google ads can deliver. These gloves seem to tick all the boxes-
& yes I was drawn to them because their name is “Ninja”! Hai!

peterh peterh 12:24 pm 29 Apr 09

I have a set of Thermolactyl gloves, they go under normal gloves for skiing, or can be used as outer gloves whilst cycling, I also have the singlet and the shorts, and picked them up from damart. don’t know if damart is there anymore, but they are by far the lightest fabric I have ever worn and are really great when bushwalking, under my thick wool pants, and my goretex jacket. I find that in winter, i can be soaked and still maintain a decent temperature.

BeardBoy BeardBoy 11:31 am 29 Apr 09

(this is so likely to be useless that I think I must be doing it for target practice, ie to practise being a target!)

Pedal Power hostED an info night on Wed15Apr09. The details (below) may be useful for some sort of solo follow up. Or you could let PP know what a great idea it was & maybe they could find a better way of LETTING PEOPLE KNOW about such events in future. (I came across it, just hours before it started, on a PP events flyer (A3 yellow) on the noticeboard, opposite the concierge/info desk @ The Plarz, Woden (Plaza).)

BTW- I’m not even (yet) a member of Pedal Power, much less a shill for them (great word that, thanks JB). Rather I am just informationally promiscuous by nature.

see: http://www.pedalpower.org.au/events/details.asp?IntContId=3211 or

Information & Social night- Lights and winter clothing
Southern Cross Club, Corinna St, Woden, Wednesday 15 April

Come along and learn all about what you need for the coming winter – explanations of what works and what is not so good, practical demonstrations and some items for sale. Presented by Trevor and Janie from Lonsdale Cyclery. (ie Lonsdale Street Cyclery, http://www.lonsdalestcyclery.com.au, 5 Lonsdale St, Braddon, ACT (at the City Centre end of the street))

vg vg 3:55 pm 25 Apr 09

Ground Effect’s new winter catalogue out this week. Some new gear in amongst it

kiddus kiddus 1:29 pm 25 Apr 09

How much do you want to spend ? Best quality for autumn/winter/spring would have to come from Ground Effect in NZ, I’ve recently picked up gloves(3 season waterproof/windproof), under helmet cap,Waterproof jacket and Jersey (winter style) from Wiggle UK for $210 Australian.That may sound a lot but one jacket here in OZ costs that and more.Check your local bike shops and compare prices.As it is spring in UK some online stores have great prices for good quality gear.

rmh rmh 12:55 pm 17 Apr 09

Reading these posts it sounds like half of these people are preparing for a ride up Alpe D’Huez in winter.

The thing I want to know is how do these cycling clothes companies get away with such exorbitant prices for what are essentially pretty cheap items of clothes. I’m sure the average cycling jersey or knicks are manufactured in China for about $5 then sold to all the Lance Armstrong wannabe’s for about $100. Some one is making a sh**load of money out of this.

Back to the subject. Unless you’re riding in the Tour de France, a footy jersey, t-shirt, ski gloves, beanie and a cheap pair of leg warmers and bike shorts (try Cell Bikes web site) is all you need for cycling into work on a Canberra winters morning. In my case, any fancy cycling gear is just a waste of money.

Vonbare Vonbare 3:54 pm 10 Apr 09

Thanks heaps for the loads of comments….now to filter through them all. 🙂

Aeek Aeek 1:17 pm 10 Apr 09

Ride Shop in Braddon carry Roekkl winter gloves, warm and you still have fingers.

Deckard Deckard 12:56 pm 10 Apr 09

Lenient said :

My skivvy and trakky daks ‘paid off’ in 1.5 days.

Yeah, but it’s not too stylin’

Lenient Lenient 12:10 pm 10 Apr 09

My skivvy and trakky daks ‘paid off’ in 1.5 days. When it’s really cold I need something for ears, but that’s about it. Even in winter Canberra isn’t that cold and the rain is never torrential.

s-s-a s-s-a 12:09 pm 10 Apr 09

I love my Pearl Izumi winter gloves.

vg vg 11:52 am 10 Apr 09

All I can add is don’t skimp on winter cycling clothing. Quality costs, but ultimately will work better for longer. Ground Effect stuff is brilliant. Stick to cycling name brands. It may cost you more but, as per the above, well worth it.

Looking to replace my winter cycling gloves. Happy to pay up to say $80 or more for them. I ride instead of drive to work and they’re ‘paid off’ in 2 weeks, I get healthier and I can do my bit for the environment

s-s-a s-s-a 10:46 am 10 Apr 09

IMO regular all-season cycling in Canberra is most comfortable if you have a range of layers in many different weights and lengths.

Even before the current dry spell, cold was always a bigger consideration than rain. The difference between clothing required for -5 and 3 degrees is massive! So, if you are cycling to work at 8am in July and coming home at 5pm the temperature will be pretty different.

To a jersey and knicks add/subtract as required…

– Leg/knee warmers (from memory it’s recommended to have your knees covered if temp is below 14deg)
– Arm warmers
– Polypropylene long-sleeve thermals
– Light weight polar fleece
– Activent vest and/or jacket
– Thermal skull cap and/or windstopper ear band
– Super-dooper warm and wind-proof gloves
– Shoe/boot covers

Don’t buy a long-sleeved shell jacket unless it has armpit zips because you will cook.

Groundeffect’s windstopper socks are worth every cent!

aronde aronde 10:07 am 10 Apr 09

An interesting take and discussion on cycling clothing here – http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/2008/08/cycle-chic-guide-to-bike-commuting-2.html

Danman Danman 9:49 am 10 Apr 09

Jeez some of you guys sound soft – If I went into that much preparation and cost, it would double my expenditure and time getting ready for riding then getting ready for work at the work end.

Mind you though – I only ride 16km in the mornings when its that cold, maybe some of you guys ride in excess of that just for your to work commute.

But then I worked in commercial kitchens for almost a decade so I embrace the cold, evenwhen its in the form of frost on my goatee.

I laugh when i see people arrive at work who have ridden 5km in and are fully kitted out with the whole kit’n’kaboodle. Very amusing.

astrojax astrojax 9:15 am 10 Apr 09

a car, with a heater? 😉

Aeek Aeek 10:13 pm 08 Apr 09

Still in fingerless gloves and short knicks, but I have switched to long sleeve thicker jerseys.

Best rain gear ever was a cycling poncho, haven’t seen them locally for years.
Totally waterproof and not at all clammy.

Warm socks, and a spare pair for the trip home.

Rode through a couple of winters in sandals, the secret was layers of socks, Ground Effect windstopper Lucifers on the outside. Sandals don’t get soaked like shoes, just change the socks.

ant ant 10:03 pm 08 Apr 09

Qbn Gal said :

Having a quiet chuckle over PURSUTE’s comment about rain! Are we expecting any?

Yep! Finally. looks like something GOOD is headed this way, maybe starting Sunday (it keeps shifting around), could be earlier, might be later. But we are at this stage looking at the first really good rain in ages.

Felix the Cat Felix the Cat 9:55 pm 08 Apr 09

I’ve got an excellent Netti brand jacket that is yellow and black with a reflective piping that is great for wearing in the cold (or rain). It is the standard plastic (?) outside with a mesh inner liner to help stop sweating. Has velcro tab things on the arms to help stop the wind getting up there and a combination of a zipup front with velcro as well. I can wear just a t-shirt underneath when down to about zero, it is only when it gets to the minus deg temps that I need to supplement with a sloppy joe.

I have a couple of pairs (different brands) of cycling specific tights. One is the Daddy Long Legs version by Ground Effect. they have a ‘patch on the front of the legs that makes them warmer against the cold wind. However I reckon the quality of the rest of the lycra is not a good (not as thick or warm) as my other pair of Cannondale tights that I bought from Londsdale St Cyclery about 5 years ago. Neither of these tights have a chamois (padded crotch area) so you are supposed to wear ‘normal’ padded lycra bike shorts underneath. You can get long tights with a chamois.

I wear a thermal long sleeve polypropolene ‘base layer’ top under my top. You can get these at ‘adventure/wilderness/camping’ stores such as Paddy Pallin or workwear shops such as Workin Gear, cost is about $30-40. Short sleeve versions and long johns are available too. Some people swear by wool but the equivalent wool product is two or sometimes three times more expensive, I haven’t worn any so I can’t comment on their quality but I doubt if they are twice as warm as PP clothing.

I have a good set of shoe covers made by Louis Garneau, not cheap, about $70 but worth every cent in winter. They are zip up and you wear them over your (cycling) shoes and they are made of what looks like to be wetsuit material. Ridden in minus 6deg with thin office type socks and not felt the cold. I bought these from Ride Shop in Braddon. Some of the other brands I’ve looked at in other shops look a bit cheap and I don’t think they would be as good.

For gloves I wear layers depending on how cold it is. This morning I just wore a pair of Netti long finger gloves that were actually only just good enough. For colder mornings I just use ski gloves (look for specials at outdoor clothing shop at Brand Depot – if you pay more than $15 you are being ripped off!). For real cold mornings (minus 6deg) I wear polypropolene glove liners (available from motorbike shops for about $15) then the Netti gloves and then the ski gloves.

For my head I have a Netti skull cap that is made of fleecy lined lycra (should be available from most bike shops) that I don’t wear until it gets to about zero degrees and then I have a polyprop balaclava for the real cold mornings. Obviously a helmet is worn over these. The balaclava comes in handy for those bank robberies on cool mornings too…just kidding! I also have a neckwarmer (not sure what it is made of, polyprop too maybe?) that I bought from a ski shop and goes around the neck and on the chin (will go over the mouth too but hard to breath and it gets all damp from breath).

Clothing (and bike parts and accessories in general) can be purchased a lot cheaper from overseas shops online (UK is best, USA is too dear for freight/post) but it’s hard to workout sizing as it varies from brand to brand and you will need to pay the postage/freight if you want to send stuff back so you may be better off to pay more and get to try the clothing on at a local shop.

ant ant 9:54 pm 08 Apr 09

As the first poster said, you’ll want blockage (rain and wind), not thermal warmth. I’m a skiier, and for rain blockage with sweat venting, it’s got to be Goretex. And for superior sweat ventage, pay the extra and get Goretex XCR.

Get a thin shell, and look after it! Wash in stuff for Goretex NOT detergeant which’ll wreck it. Washing’s essential, but correct washing is even more-so.

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