Just because the weather’s turning, doesn’t mean you want to ride any less. In fact, the cooler temps often make riding even easier as you can spin away without breaking a sweat (plus you get to boost your rep as the guy or gal who braves it in anything)! There’s an old Scandinavian saying, “There’s no bad weather, just bad clothing”. In today’s post, we’ll look how to dress for a ride in the cold.
Staying warm is important, but the last thing you want to do on a cold commute is overheat. That’s why layers are key! Your better off with lots of thin layers that you can peel off (and on) as needed, instead of a huge coat that may warm you too much but will leave you exposed if you take it off. For a frigid winter commute, it’s not unusual for me to thrown on a pair of tights over bike shorts, maybe a pair of jeans over those, and a long-sleeved tee with a thin tee or two on top, then a windbreaker or coat as the weather requires. If you ever feel yourself over-heating, just start peeling layers until you’re back in the green and keep going!
Speaking of overheating, the best way to avoid it is to start cold. The temptation to bundle up until you look like a toddler in a snow-storm is real but, once you’re riding, your body will heat up from the activity and effort and you can quickly find yourself sweating up a storm. The key to avoiding a necessary mid-ride strip is to start off a little uncomfortable. Layer up, but leave yourself just a bit shivery when you hit the road. After a mile, you’ll be comfortable, and a couple miles in you’ll be positively toasty. If you're already warm before you get on the bike, you’ll be boiling after a mile or two.
The last thing to do is make sure you’re prepared for whatever your local weather can throw your way. Leave a spare set of clothes and shoes at the office so if you get caught in the rain or snow you have some dry duds to slip into once you arrive. Keep a light jacket and cycling cap on your bike or in your backpack so if the weather turns while you’re out, you can always re-attire. The worst feeling is being wet and chilly all day because you weren’t prepped. Take a page from the boy scouts and do the legwork before you have to – a bit of preparation is all it takes to make a potentially miserable situation into an occasion for celebrating your foresight!
And that’s it. Layer up, start cold, and be prepared for the worst – all that’s left to do is ride. So get out there! Show the weather you’re ready and bask in the warming glow of jealous glares from those stuck behind windshields, windows, and missing out on everything the chilly season has to offer!