Winter doesn’t mean you can’t ride. Biking in cold weather doesn’t mean you have to be uncomfortable. Check out how to gear up at Neutral and enjoy fall and winter biking.
All winter gear at Neutral Cycle is now 10% off! Now you have no excuse to ride cold.
Some summer days make CU feel like the Elysian Fields, but the weather is now reminding us that that portion of the year is over for now. A lot of people balk at the idea of biking in the winter, or even in late fall. As we mentioned in our Guide to Fall, if you have the proper equipment it can even be a pleasant experience. Read below to learn what gear you need to get for winter riding. All items mentioned in this article can be purchased at Neutral Cycle. (Colors may vary from linked pictures.)
1. Hand coverage
If you’re going to invest in one piece of equipment for cold-weather biking, this is the one to get. Nothing’s worse (or potentially dangerous) than trying to bike with cold, stiff hands. Lighter gloves are typically sufficient for fall and early winter, but for January and February biking, you’ll want to invest in some hard-shell or lobster gloves. Since a lot of fall and winter involves precipitation, some sort of gripping material can be useful against the slick water. Here are our suggestions for keeping your fingers warm.
- Giro Pivot – These gloves are fleece-lined and waterproof, making them perfect for use on a wet fall or early winter day.
- Giro 100 Proof – These are Giro’s warmest gloves and what you’ll want to get if you plan to be biking in the depths of the Illinois winter. It’s a lobster glove, meaning that instead of having five separate fingers, it’s broken into three. This allows better control than a mitten, but much more warmth than a glove.
2. Trunk Coverage
Trunk coverage means two things. Insulation and protection. First, you need to ensure that you have enough layers and warm-enough layers to keep from getting cold. Make sure you don’t layer up too much, though. The work from biking will make your body heat up, so you won’t need to wear as much as you would if you were, say, just standing outside. Remember, if you sweat, that’s what’s going to make you cold. Second, you’ll need to make sure that your outermost layer protects against the wind and moisture.
- Craft Leisure Full Zip – This jacket offers comfort and warmth and works well as a layer, or on its own on warmer days.
- Craft Escape Rain Jacket – This wind- and water-resistant jacket is a great top layer. It’s also equipped with reflective prints to ensure visibility, zippered ventilation openings, and pockets on the front and back.
- Craft Siberian Jacket – Also a great option for a top layer. This warm jacket is wind- and water-resistant, with a zippered back pocket, reflective tape, and a silicone-lined hem that keeps your jacket from riding up.
3. Face/head coverage
Tons of heat is expelled through your head, so finding a way to keep that heat in will make it a lot easier to stay warm. Helmets, are of course, both suggested and useful, particularly when insulated. Balaclavas keep in the heat from your head and face and serve as a protective shield from the cold air.
- Giro Shackleton – This helmet is perfect for the cold, with a warm inner lining and ear and neck coverage.
- Craft Balaclava – This snug-fitting balaclava is woven using fabric designed to keep heat in and wick moisture away. The thin, but insulating material easily fits beneath your helmet.
4. Foot coverage
When talking about backpacking gear in the Boy Scouts, our refrain was ‘Cotton kills.’, the idea being that cotton easily absorbs sweat and moisture leading to your eventual demise due to hypothermia. This is equally relevant for biking and particularly important with respect to socks. For winter biking, you’ll probably want something insulating that mixes wool and synthetic materials.
- Ultralight Aero Cycling Shoe Cover – This fits over your shoes and protects them from the elements, allowing you to turn whatever shoe you’re wearing to work or school into a shoe suitable for winter riding.
5. Bike coverage
Your body isn’t the only thing you should be thinking about. Fenders will save your new gear from the dirty water and snow your bike will spew off its back wheel.
- SKS S-blade Fender – This is a simple, lightweight fender that attaches to your seatpost, meaning no complicated installation. Its angle is adjustable, so you can be sure it’ll work with your bike, however it sprays mud and water.
6. Stuff coverage
Just because you’re covered doesn’t mean your stuff is. Neutral Cycle is proud to announce that we’re now carrying Timbuktu bags. These bags will help you to keep your stuff dry, safe, and organized.