Drive My Bike


The Right Formula For Winter Bike Commuting
October 14, 2008, 5:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Based on yesterday’s ride I think I am getting close to the right mix of clothing for cold weather bike commuting.

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Yesterday the thermometer in my backyard showed 32 degrees (F) as I was getting ready to leave. Once again, I was excited for another cold weather ride so that I could test the latest changes to my bike commuting uniform. I was actually expecting the temperature to be around 27 (F) based on the weather forecast, so things were a bit warmer than I was preparing for.

Based on my previous experiences and research I’ve settled on a basic cold weather outfit that I can modify as needed for temperature variations:

  • Top: Long Sleeve Base Layer (Duofold Varitherm)
  • Bottom: Ankle Length Base Layer (Duofold Varitherm)
  • Jacket: Pullover Windbreaker (Cabelas)
  • Pants: Regular Cargo Shorts (not biker shorts, just plain shorts)
  • Gloves: Long Finger Biking Gloves (Pearl Izumi Cyclone)
  • Head: Lightweight thermal beanie (Novara) , Helmet
  • Eyewear: Sunglasses, unless cold causes fogging
  • Footwear: Cotton athletic socks, Running shoes

With the above outfit I’m comfortable into the upper 40’s. As it gets colder I can add:

  • Top: Long Sleeve T-Shirt
  • Face: Fleece Neck Gaiter pulled up to cover face and ears, but movable as needed for ventilation
  • Gloves: Thin glove liners worn under the above biking gloves

That is what I wore yesterday on a 32 degree day, and I was almost too warm, so I was adjusting my ventilation to avoid overheating. If it gets really cold so that the above is not enough, then I’m planning to add:

  • Top: Fleece pullover, worn under the windbreaker
  • Gloves: Full snow gloves instead of biking gloves
  • Pants: Snowboarding pants as wind/moisture block as well as adding additional thermal layer
  • Footwear: Heavy synthetic socks and possibly snow boots if roads are snowy

I’m feeling pretty confident at this point that the cold weather will not be a problem. I was very comfortable yesterday, and easily could have handled even cooler temperatures. The one thing that I’m intimidated by now is ice on the road. We get so much snow here in Utah that we have great plow crews that keep our roads very clear, so hopefully ice on the roads won’t be much of an issue. If it looks like it will be then I will probably choose not to ride on those days.

I would also mention that it was great to actually see another rider out yesterday in that cold weather! I’ve noticed that the herd has definitely thinned as the temperatures have dropped. I’ve gotten some great “you must be crazy” looks from drivers as well, and that is always fun.

Ride Safe and Stay Warm.

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1 Comment so far
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Speaking of the herd thinning, I find their patterns odd.

The wonderful 70 degree, perfect days of spring saw way fewer people out than the much more miserable heat of late summer.

Comment by Lazy Bike Commuter




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