Balaclava warm face mask for bicycling

FitzChivalry

Active Member
Because I knew I'd be riding in sub-freezing temperatures (even in the South Carolina Lowcountry), one of my first investments was in a $10 balaclava. I bought this one despite some cycling-specific ones being available because its reviews made it sound so good.

I've used it twice so far, and it's the best investment I've made as far as keeping me warm. It's basically like a ski mask, but has a bigger hole in it so your nose can stick out of it if you don't need your nose covered. I used it on windless 31- and 33-degree mornings, and hit speeds of 22 mph.

One interesting and unexpected benefit: it cuts down on the significant wind noise that comes with traveling at 22 mph. I was unable to listen to an audiobook with an earbud (on the non-traffic-facing ear) without the balaclava on my ride home on the second day, when I didn't need the warmth. The wind noise was so loud that I'd have had to crank the sound up to an eardrum-harmful volume.

I highly recommend this accessory for those who travel by e-bike in the winter.
 

Ravi Kempaiah

Well-Known Member
This is a very helpful accessory for all those living in North East and want to use their ebikes before mid-March.
I have used this Fitz, very useful. Do you have any recommendation for winter gloves that can also act as biking gloves?
Listening to Audible while riding an ebike..!! that's way too much multi-tasking. Be safe David. Especially till the snow melts away.
 

James

Well-Known Member
It's true. I use an "airhole" to take care of my cold face. It's a really nice piece if kit!!

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Court

Administrator
Staff member
Good call Fitz and I like the style of the one you shared James. The great thing about these face masks is that they keep you warm and make robbing banks just that much easier! Kidding aside, the wind noise thing is a great point... Not only do ears get cold but road noise is a bummer. Just be careful riding with music so you don't completely miss the sounds of traffic and put yourself at risk!

I use to surf all the time in Northern California and the water is SOOO cold there (and shark infested) in the winter, you need a 3/4" wetsuit called a "steamer" and booties and a hoodie or you'll get an "ice cream headache" just from duck diving on your way out... The really cool thing about the hoods were that they cut down on noise and the slap of water hitting your hear. Good stuff all around.

We used to surf before commuting in to work (in my case riding a bus then the BART and walking to a building downtown) and then again after work until it got dark... or until we broke our boards :p

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The blue board was named Plastic Fantastic (epoxy board) and the other one was by Dan Taylor, wonderful board... very sad day when she snapped in half. I really got worked that day!

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FitzChivalry

Active Member
I only put in one headphone, on the non-traffic-facing side. Also, an audiobook has more "gaps" in its noise than music, so I find it less of a hindrance to hearing what's going on around me than if I was listening to music. I have large spans (probably 8-9 miles of my 21-mile commute) in which I am on long roads with little traffic. It helps with not getting bored. :)

@Ravi Kempaiah, I bought the Pearl Izumi Men's Cyclone Gel Glove for my ride. I'll probably do a review of them after I've ridden with them a bit more. But my first impression is that they definitely help, but not quite as much as I had hoped. I rode in 31- and 33-degree weather with little to no wind, and my hands definitely got cold, but not painful cold. They'd have definitely been hurting if I hadn't had any gloves at all. For the price paid, I wish they had electro-conductive fingertip coating so that I could use my phone (while stopped and out of traffic, of course) without having to take a glove off.