As the temperatures drop and daylight shortens it sometimes gets harder to find the motivation to keep those wheels turning. Nevertheless, if you’re able to work through your winter riding hesitancies, you’ll discover that even the shortest rides through challenging conditions can be the most rewarding adventures of the year. Here are 5 tips to overcome the challenging winter weather and keep those smiles rolling for miles this winter.
Dress in layers
Wearing multiple layers works best to retain body heat and regulate your body temperature in colder weather. Up top, try a wool base layer or two paired with an outer layer that can be zipped up or down for venting. This is a great way to regulate your warmth as your level of exertion changes. Since the lower body is very active in bicycling, consider just a single base layer on your legs with windproof leggings over the top to keep you comfortable and take the bite out of the wind. Be careful not to dress too warmly because generating too much perspiration can quickly bring on a chill.
Protect your hands and feet
The extremities are the hardest parts of your body to keep warm during winter rides. Thickness and wind blocking properties are two key elements when choosing gloves and shoe covers. When temperatures are hovering around 40⁰ F, the half-lobster Aquilo gloves with its wind-proof construction will keep those fingers warm. When temperatures dip near freezing or below, look to the Borealis gloves to keep your hands comfortable. These half lobster gloves are designed to be 3 in 1 glove with a windproof outer shell and a removable fleece liner. Together they are the ultimate cold weather combo.
To keep those feet warm, there are different options for different temperatures. If Jack Frost is just peaking his head out, the Comet Neoprene full shoes covers work great. When the mercury really starts to drop, the windproof Blitzen shoe covers are the way to go. They utilize a windproof fabric and microfleece lining for optimal wind protection and warmth. They even feature a D-ring when you’re riding through the next polar vortex in gators!
Start with shorter rides to acclimate
Before heading out on longer winter adventures, we recommend taking a couple of short test rides to evaluate your clothing choices. Keep your ride time to roughly 45 minutes to make sure you’re staying warm, well vented and comfortable. Also, keep in mind that you should add an extra layer or increase the warmth of your layers for every 10 degrees the mercury drops below 40⁰ F.
During the shorter days of winter, it’s super important to light it up so you’re highly visible to other road and path users and so you have the necessary lumen output to navigate the path ahead of you which may be full of snow and ice. Our favorite headlights start with the 210 lumen Blaze® 210 SL all the way up to an 800 lumen Blaze® 800 SLX. All these headlights include multiple brightness outputs, flash patterns and side lensing for maximum visibility.
Rear lights for winter riding should also be on the brighter side and feature multiple flash patterns so you can fine tune your visibility based on where and when you ride. The legendary POW! Blink, Blink, Blink of the Superflash lights have been keeping cyclist safer and more visible for over a decade. Other popular choices to keep you visible on every ride day or night are the Rojo 100 and Grateful Reds.
Don’t forget about the critical side light category for being seen in urban areas or when riding between paths and streets. The yellow-colored Button Blinky Side Set will made sure you’re seen from 360 degrees. Here is a video to see what a well illuminated bike looks like.
Winter Cycling Caps
Nearly 40% of heat loss is through the head. As a result, it’s critical to finding a warm solution that fits comfortably under your helmet. Let me introduce you to the perfect solution, the winter cycling cap! They are typically thin and made of wool or fleece, so they feel comfy under a helmet. The ear flaps can be flipped up or down to let you manage your warmth. Nothing says winter bike nerd more than one of these stylish caps! Here are some of our favorites: 45 North – Greazy, Walz – Black Wool Flannel Cap, Velocio – Zero Cycling Cap