Staying warm on long winter rides is not all that difficult if you have the right clothing. Pearl Izumi AmFIB Cycling Tights will keep you comfortable until the drops down to zero (Fahrenheit), but below that you are going to need something else. Last year fellow blogger Joboo (The Adventures of Joboo And His Trusty Pugsley) suggested I try a pair of Craft PXC Storm Tights the next time the Siberian Express visited my area of the country, and his advice was right on the mark.
Craft PXC Storm Tights are primarily designed for Nordic skiing, but any winter cyclist or runner would benefit from them as well. These windproof tights are very breathable, and the articulated knees make them very easy to cycle in. The seams on both the front and back of these tights have reflective piping to help motorists (or snowmobiles) see you at night.
These tights have a looser fit than most cycling tights (they are really more like pants). However, this looser fit allows you to layer other clothing under the tights when needed. Since a chamois is not available on these tights you will need to wear at least a pair of your summer cycling shorts under them. The waist on these tights close with a draw cord and there is also a credit card pouch attached to the inside of the pants. I was very pleased with the generous (long) ankle zippers on these tights.
Joboo said he wore these tights in temperatures down to -50F with “no base layer and was toasty warm.” It never gets that cold in the Chicago area, so I can’t vouch for that myself, but I can tell you that they are the warmest tights I’ve ever worn, and if you do get cold you can always add a layer under them.
Craft PXC Storm Tights are available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL), and seem to be true to size, but they do stretch a bit when needed. They retail for $130, but numerous places online sell them for around $85.