With Winter now in full swing, you may be dreading those cold morning rides you plan on squeezing in.
But chances are, if you’re wiling to brave the cold, this isn’t your first rodeo when it comes to Biking during the Winter.
You’ve already heard all the usual tips for staying warm on winter rides, like; dressing in layers and working up a steady body heat.
Since I have confidence that you already know the basics to staying warm on the bike, I offer 3 more suggestions that will help you beat the cold for good.
As a preface, I would like to address the obvious and possibly introduce you to some new concepts.
We all grew up hearing the same things about staying warm when its cold outside; bundle up and make sure you wear a hat!
For many of us, we were taught that most of our body heat escaped through our head when its cold out. While this is definitely true in a sense, it does not tell the full story. Heat escapes through your head, only because the rest of your body is usually clothed.
But that’s not to say that the body doesn’t change when it gets cold out. When we’re cold, the body actually constricts blood flow to the extremities, in an effort to focus more body heat on the vital organs. This is why your hands and feet are typically the first to the feel the effects of cold weather.
As I am sure you have already discovered, your body does a fantastic job of keeping itself warm, especially while your working up a sweat during a bike ride.
Too many times have I started a Winter morning ride with extra layers, only to shed them shortly after I start getting into my ride.
The only things I really find myself struggling to keep warm when its cold, is my hands, face and feet.
Due to the science of thermoregulation, I have a feeling I’m not the only one who has this problem. And so today, I offer a few solutions.
If you’re looking to escape this Winter, make sure you check out these great and underrated Winter MTB destinations.
Starting with the second most popular piece of the “Hat and Gloves” Winter special, winter cycling gloves are definitely worth the investment if you plan on riding your bike during the Winter.
If you think your current cycling gloves are going to protect you all Winter, think again.
With windchills reaching in the negative degrees Fahrenheit, coupled with an average cycling speed of 10-15mph, your fingers can be icicles by the time you get in your daily mileage.
This is why I recommend getting some Winter Specific Cycling gloves. Gloves that can provide the proper protection to keep you motivated to ride.
Trust me, cold fingers and hands can end a bike ride faster than most things.
Make sure the gloves you wear not only protect you from the wind and wet but are also breathable. Winter gloves are actually slightly larger than your hand, which allows the heat from your hand to create a barrier between you and the freezing cold temperatures.
Some of the best Winter Cycling Gloves are from HANDUP Gloves, specifically their “ColdER Weather – Lumberjack”.
These gloves do a great job when it comes to protecting you from the cold, in addition to all your other favorite features like; touch screen compatibility, neoprene cuffs, and one of a kind style.
2. Winter Cycling Shoes or Overshoes
If the conditions outside warrant winter specific cycling gloves, you better believe that your feet are feeling the blues too.
In fact, feet are often the first thing to feel the effects of cold weather.
And if you’ve been speeding by with your FIVETEN sleuth’s or RP1’s, you may find yourself needing something a little warmer sooner than you think.
Winter cycling shoes will provide additional protection from the wind, wet and mud. But there is a tradeoff, they are not as breathable and tend to be a lot more expensive.
Some other options to consider are overshoes, a sleeve type cover for your cycling shoes up to your shin. Cycling overshoes come in many varieties and can be a cheaper way to keep your feet warm during winter rides.
As a final option, you can always opt for a warmer pair of socks. Just make sure you’re not constricting your feet and balance breathability.
3. Balaclava/Face Warmer
When I went out for my early morning ride the other day, I was pretty excited to break in my new gloves. The previous mornings ride proved to be too cold for my current setup and I knew it was time to step up my glove game.
Good timing too, as this particular morning happened to be one of the coldest we’d had over the week.
I am pleased to say that my gloves did their job wonderfully. On the other hand, my face was frozen to the point I couldn’t feel the snot dripping out of my nose.
This is why I recommend a Balaclava for cycling during the Winter.
And I’m not trying to make you look crazy, recommending overshoes and a garment worn by burglars, these things actually keep you super warm in the Winter.
You wouldn’t believe how much warm you maintain after covering your neck and up. I was almost to the point of rocking a scarf during my cold winter rides!
And you don’t even have to commit to a full Balaclava, if you already have a solid hat setup, buy a Face Warmer and call it a day.
In conclusion, there is really not that much to it.
In addition to the usually practice of layering and blocking, the addition of a few key garments can dramatically increase your comfort on cold bike rides.
With that, I wish you safe riding. Keep the pedals moving this Winter and stay safe!