When the temperatures drop and ice and snow start to pave the roads, it’s tempting to put your bike into hibernation mode for the season. But retaining a healthy and exhilarating lifestyle is easier in the winter than you may think. As long as you prepare with the proper gear, and adhere to our advice, biking in the winter can be a peaceful and enjoyable sport that you’ll look forward to during the rest of the year.
Listed below we have the best gear options covered by the experts, as well as tips for staying safe in the elements.
There are endless gadgets, brands, and styles of bike gear to choose from. For winter riding, here are some of the vital devices to have while riding in the cold.
- Fenders - Fenders will prevent rain, snow, and slush from spraying off the tires and onto your body and face. This way you stay warm and dry. Most basic fenders will get the job done.
- Headlights - With additional dark hours in the winter months, a bright light is useful for full visibility. The Exposure Race Mk7 is a 800-lumen light placed right on the handlebars. A light this bright will never let you down. Also keep in mind to have lights for the back of your bike too.
- Tires - Winter brings in a lot of different elements to consider when buying proper bike tires. Added debris on the road will make more durable tires useful, and tires with a good grip surface are just as key too. The Continental Grand Prix 4-Season is great when battling snow and slush. The Vittoria Open Pave EVO CG tire is another good option for wet and snowy conditions, although it will not be as durable as the 4-Season. Other recommendations include having your tire pressure slightly lower than in the summer (around 90-100 psi), and purchasing thinner tires to make sure the bike contacts the pavement even through layers of slush.
It’s important to stay cozy with plenty of warm clothes and layers while biking in the winter. Here is a list of recommended garments to avoid the risk of harming your body in exposed and cold weather.
- Bike Helmet - A helmet is basic bike gear that should never be overlooked. Col ski helmets will keep your head warmer in the winter, and there are plenty of options available online. A bike helmet will also do the trick, but remember to wear a warm hat underneath the shell.
- Waterproof Jacket and Pants - A regular rain jacket will suffice on a short commute, but for long distances a cycling specific coat will ensure optimal dryness. The Castelli Espresso Due is a great lightweight option for bikers. Water-resistant pants with a cinch at the bottom will keep you dry and avoid tearing from the drivetrain. Cycling specific pants and jackets will also include reflective tape.
- Hats - A skullcap or helmet liner will prevent heat loss from the head area, this is extremely essential when biking in a cold climate. Make sure the hat covers your ears too. The Louis Garneau Hat will do just this. A hat with a visor is another nice feature to prevent water dripping near your eyes on a rainy day.
- Gloves - A wool base glove will keep your fingers warm while cycling. Another layer of gloves can be worn over a base for the coldest conditions. The Assos Insulator Glove is an ideal base, while the Castelli Diluvio Gloves provide a thicker outer layer for 39-59 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Booties - Shoe covers are another vital layer since cycling shoes are simply not enough in the winter. Booties range in thickness, make sure to size big either way. Waterproof and windproof features are also useful. The Assos fuguBootie and Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Shoe Cover are both quality shoe covers for the winter.
- Cycling Goggles - Goggles will shield your eyes from precipitation and wind during a bike ride. This is another important item that can easily be overlooked when gear prepping.
We couldn’t end this report without mentioning some safety tips for cycling. Now that you have acceptable bike gear and clothing for your winter riding, here are a few other things to consider before hitting the road.
If you haven’t ridden in a while, make sure to start off slow by working your way into longer bike tours. Begin on safe roads with less debris and potholes. Once you choose to embark on longer rides, make sure you bring essential items in case your bike breaks down or you get lost. This is why it’s important to bring a lot of layers in the winter in case you have to be outside for longer than intended. A map, phone, food, and water are also good items to have on hand.
Hydration can be easily overlooked in the cold months of winter. Make sure you have been taking in a lot of liquids before and while you’re biking. In addition, being hydrated keeps your body warmer and sufficient.
Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to get out and enjoy the winter riding season. See you on the road!