5 tips for riding in the cold
Date Posted: December 31st, 1969
Macky Franklin, GI Sponsored Athlete
With my trip to Scotland approaching fast, and the impending damp and cold, I thought it would be timely to share some tips for riding in the cold. Riding in the cold can be fun if you're properly prepared and miserable if you aren't, so here are five tips for enjoying your cold-weather rides:
1. Layer: Obviously, if it's cold, you'll need to wear more. But instead of just throwing on a winter ski jacket, wear multiple layers. This gives you the option of shedding as your warm up so you don't end up overheating. It also gives you more choices as the temperature fluctuates during your ride. Start with a good base layer (I'd recommend some kind of performance wool) then add a mid-weight layer. If it's really cold, add a heavier layer and then top it all off with a windbreaker (or rain jacket if you expect it to be wet). On the bottom, I wear leg warmers until about 40-degrees and then below that put on a pair of insulated, windbreaking cycling pants.
2. Buff: Whenever it's cold, I wear at least one, and sometimes two, buffs. Buffs are basically a tube of fabric that can be used as a neck warmer, hat, chin warmer, ect. They're nice and thin so they fit under a helmet and are small enough to stuff in a pocket if you get too warm.
3. Gloves: If it's below 40 degrees, I bust out my POC Index Wind Breaker gloves. They're warm and block the wind and are still thin enough to provide good bar feel. If it drops below 30, I throw a pair of serious windbreaking gloves over those and I'm good down to about 15. Below that and it's time for ski gloves.
4. Footwear: Nothing ruins a ride faster than cold feet. One of my best investments was a pair of Shimano all-weather shoes. They're water-resistant and insulated and make a huge difference when it's cold. You should also wear wool socks, instead of cotton, a mistake I have to re-learn every year.
5. Stay dry: If you're riding in the cold, even if you're prepared, getting wet can ruin your ride. If you know there's a good chance you'll be riding in the rain or mud, wear a rain jacket, water-resistant shorts or pants, all-weather shoes and install a mud guard (I recommend the Marsh Guard). If you ride in the wet regularly, consider fenders to provide even more protection.
Here's a little video of riding in the snow: