There are two types of cyclists in the world: Those who put their bikes away come the fall and those who keep on trekking throughout the winter. Think you have what it takes to stay on your bike year round, but don’t know where to start? In part one of our three-part series, we give you essential tips for dressing right during the winter season.
Getting yourself properly fitted for the winter is hands down the most critical thing you can do to prepare for a chilly commute. Battling the harsh conditions start with protecting yourself from head to toe with the right gear.
Protect Your Hands
Trust us, you’re going to want to start with a good pair of gloves. Your ride will be downright impossible without them. Ever tried to stick your hand in ice water and leave it there for 30 minutes? Well, that’s what it feels like to ride in the winter without gloves.
Skip grandma’s bulky wool mittens and get something made from a waterproof/breathable fabric like Gore-Tex. The goal is to keep you warm, without letting the elements in and unfortunately gloves made of wool or cotton just won’t do the trick. When you’re shopping around, also consider a glove that isn’t too bulky and that has reinforcement between the thumb and forefinger. You’ll be doing a lot of shifting/braking in those gloves, so you’ll want something that allows you to do this easily.
Save Face… and Head.
Next, you’ll probably want to cover up your face and head.
Depending on how cold it gets in your city, the wind can cause some serious burn when you’re riding, and a good mask can help ease that problem. Consider a neoprene half face mask, which is super breathable and easy to take on and off depending on the conditions.
You’ll also want something to keep your head warm, as a lot of heat can escape through the ol’ noggin. More than anything you’re fighting the wind and not so much insulating. Consider a headband or a thin, breathable fleece beanie that will cover your ears and keep you from overheating once you get going.
Although you may be tempted to keep warm with thick fleece or wool under you jacket, these materials may do more damage than good. Because they’re not breathable, they can make you sweat more than you should, resulting in clamminess and chills. Consider instead a moisture-wicking, breathable fabric like Thermax or Thinsulate as your base layer, and then layer up with other heavier items.
The final piece of advice we can give you is to bring a change of dry clothes wherever you go. Even with the most amazing water and element resistant clothing, there’s still a good chance your ride will get messy. A change of clothes will keep you looking fresh once you arrive at your destination.
Warm Up Your Skylock Too
While you’re thinking about keeping yourself warm, consider warming up your Skylock too. If the temperature commonly dips below 0 C in your city, you may want to remind yourself to charge your Skylock semi-regularly. The reason? Skylock can handle A LOT, but if it dips below 0 C, your lock will stop charging to protect its battery from the deep cold. The awesome part is that one full charge can last up to 6 months, so really you only need to put it outside on a sunny day once or twice and you’re good to go the entire season.