Planning: Cold Weather Gear
Bike commuting can be a challenge in the winter months. But if you’re like us, you love a challenge! We also love the serene landscape and quiet, contemplative rides that winter affords. Keep pedaling through the winter with these handy tips.
Wear clothing that allows a little room for your body heat to build up, providing some insulation against the cold.
WICK, WICK, WICK.
Yes, you do sweat even when the temperature is below zero. To stay warm, you need to wick the sweat away, so it doesn’t turn cold and chilly. Fabrics such as wool and fleece are excellent for this. Avoid cotton, particularly right next to your skin.
FIGHT THE WIND.
Use a wind-resistant outer layer to cut the wind-chill factor.
PROTECT YOUR NECK.
For scarves, we like neck gaiters and circle (or “infinity’) scarves because they are less likely to fly out and get stuck in bicycle spokes, and they’re easy to remove as you warm up.
KEEP YOUR EXTREMITIES WARM.
Wear thick wool socks and unventilated shoes. Wear a windproof glove/mitten combination so that your fingers are each covered but also snug together to keep one another warm in the mitten. If you can figure out what it takes to keep your toes, hands, and head warm, chances are the rest of your body will take care of itself.
PUT IT IN A BASKET.
A front basket can be a handy winter accessory. You’ll want to remove layers as you warm up on during your ride, and a basket allows you to store items while pedaling.
A set of fenders (paired with a rain cape, wind and waterproof gloves, and/or a balaclava, depending on the temperature) can transform a wet or winter ride (or worse—a wet winter ride!) from insufferable to super.
Don’t forget lights at night! Cyclists should have lights in all seasons (and it’s the law in NYC!) but it’s especially important in the darker wintertime to add a front white light and rear red light to your bike so that you’re ready when the sun sets early in the day.