How to Dress for Cold Weather Bike Commuting

By Blog admin

Written By Chris Marcinek

Living in the Grand Valley doesn’t make us lucky, it makes us smart. One of the upsides to living here is the mild climate. Grand Junction enjoyed 282 sunny days last year while Chicago had just 57, according to National Weather Service records. Those same records also show that Grand Junction received about one-fifth the amount of precipitation that Portland got last year. Aside from the mental and physical benefits of the abundant sunshine in Colorado, it also makes bike commuting highly practical. But when the temperature drops, don’t put your bike in storage until next summer. Dress right and you can comfortably bike commute year round.

The Joy of Layers

Learn to layer better and that scary-cold forecast you check in the morning won’t seem as bad.

Gloves

Photo Credit: Chris Marcinek

Start with a comfortable pair of gloves as a base, then double-up with mittens that are rated for ski/ snowboarding to keep your fingertips warm and cozy.

Socks

Merino wool socks keep your feet warm when it’s colder while maintaining breathability when it warms up.

Footwear

I typically wear Chuck Taylors when I ride. While not offering much for insulation, they do not have a lot of ventilation, which keeps the cold air from getting to my feet. Choose footwear with little ventilation to prevent frozen toes-cicles.

Headwear

Balaclava is a fun word to say, and they also work really well at being a barrier to the cold wind when riding a bike. Couple that balaclava with a beanie and a helmet to keep your neck, ears, and face warm. Wear sunglasses to keep the wind from drying your eyes out.
    

Photo credit: Chris Marcinek

Jackets

Photo credit: Chris Marcinek

Start with a base layer. I usually wear a form-fitting fleece base layer to contain my body heat and keep the wind out. For an exterior jacket, rain jackets make great windshells. Pick a bright color to make yourself as visible as possible to motorists.

The cold winter months can seem intimidating to bike commuters. But if you wear the right clothes, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the physical activity of cycling will warm you up, even during those cold winter months. Starting your day with a bike ride can prime your mind and body for the day. Layer up and bike commuting can be a year-round habit for you.

Photo credit: Ryne Dutcher