A Quick Lesson In The Art Of The Two-Wheeled Winter Commute

What do I need for Winter Biking?

It’s an annual question.

The truth is, I’ve never really thought it through; I’m no expert.  Usually, roads are scraped down to the asphalt and, besides the cold, there isn’t too much of a difference from any other time of the year. There are two basics to winter bicycle commuting: 1) layer (it’s easy to over-heat) and 2) don’t be dumb (winter is not the best time to challenge the worst designed streets in the city).

The rest will take care of itself, but here are some other specifics:

For the ride:

  1. Fender(s): Key for me. I hate that wet stripe up the backside.
  2. Tires: I’ve gone my entire life without studded tires–most riders do. This year I’m going to give them a try. December has been slippery. There are lots of choices…MyWHaT underwriter McClain’s on 8th will help. (They helped last year…but not always required)
  3. Lights: Less to see by and more To BE SEEN in these shortened days. My new favorites are the Reelights–always there, charged by the ride. (You’ll need more though).

For the Body:

  1. Good food: Internal fuel. Junk gets you nowhere fast.
  2. Base layer: Anything but cotton. Wool/Synthetic.
  3. Wind/Water Proof Shell: Anything with vent zippers under the pits is very nice.
  4. Head, Neck & Face: Key! Warm thin hat (under helmet),  scarf (not too long) or balaclava. My arms and legs are usually fine, but if the head isn’t covered I freeze.
  5. Gloves: Wind and water proof preferred.