It's a whole new year! And guess who is here? WINTER!
I know I know...Winter isn't the most ideal season to ride, but all the bitter updates on social media about the cold won't do you any good either. Winter riding is possible! It doesn't have to be all that bad either, as long as you're well-prepared.
Instead of crossing the days until Spring is here to starting pedaling again, hear out what some of these die-hard all season riders recommend to best battle through the cold on two-wheels. Start the new year warm and biking your city!
(Big D & The Kids Table)
1. If you're changing your footwear drastically based upon the weather, you'll want to adjust your saddle height accordingly (Boots can add a good amount of height). Being cold and wet sucks, being cold and wet with sore knees sucks more.
2. Go to Target and buy some wicking base layers to wear under heavier layers . They're pretty cheap and they make you look like a superhero.
3. I suggest single-speed or fixed gear for quick and easy maintenance (preferably on a craigslist purchased "beater" frame). The last thing I want to do in 6 degree windchill is mess with a derailleur. I ride fixed whenever possible, but my boots don't play well with toeclips and foot retention is crucial. Though, I might break down and buy SPD boots.
1. I recommend the everyday cyclist to invest well in gloves and footwear. Don't ever skimp on it. Waterproof/gortex/sealed/merino are your best friends. Stance socks are awesome for cold weather. Merino base layers are good, but heat tech from Uniqlo or Under Amour cold gear tends to do great as a base layer. Lobster claw gloves trap heat better than regular individual fingeted gloves, combined with lobster claws over regular winter gloves just doubles the insulation.
2. I'm not big on face masks because I wear glasses and hate the fog that magically appears every time I'm at a stop while cycling. Investing in a defogging liquid helps in fixing this issue so you can go ahead and protect your face appropriately.
3. Never use the excuse that your helmet won't accommodate your beanie or head gear so you're gonna ditch the lid. Black ice can be a real pain in the ass. Bern helmets aren't going to break the bank and come with winter liners.
4. Tires aren't a big deal for me, but just be sure to adjust tire pressure according to the weather conditions.
(Wunwun & Transportation Alternatives)
1. Good base layers made of merino wool or Under Armour type material can make all the difference and even keep your options for your jacket/coat light. Layer socks, gloves, shirts, EVERYTHING!
2. Your neck, ankles, and wrists are also very important to be covered and warm, since I work outside I actually put hand warmers in these areas as well as in the back of my neck to keep me feeling a bit warm. INVEST IN THESE! Hot-hands are the better brand and amazon sells them in bulk.
3. Here are some of the things I use:
- Chrome packable storm jacket
- TOD x MSC Hoodie
- Pearl Izumi thermal tights
- Novara pedal pusher pant
- Froggs Toggs rain pant for horrible days
- Leg/knee/arm warmers (usually packed if needed as an extra layer)
- a face mask (NEOPRENE PEOPLE!)
- Bern helmet (the less vents the better - but try and get one with the ear cover attachments or just use a thermal headband)
- Pearl Izumi barrier shoe covers (if wearing clip shoes)
- Under Armour sub gloves (but look at lobster gloves...I hear nothing gets through those!)
- Oakley Snowboarding goggles
- Extra wool socks packed in my Chrome bag
- Gatorskin tires (the best for the city and crap conditions)
(Affinity Cycles / God & Famous)
Here is a quick rundown of what my Winter riding essentials consistently look like.
1. Patagonia Tri (three) Layer Gortex Shell
2. Uniqlo Heat Tech L/S base layer shirt (matching base layer pants on the extremely cold days)
3. I cover my head with a Louis Garneau Winter cap skull worn under cycling cap/helmet
4. Craft Siberian gloves
5. Wool socks!
6. GodandFamous shoes covers to keep the cold wind out.
Thanks for all the tips and recommendations!