Did you know that you can ride in winter comfortably? While most of the rest of the country puts their bikes away, a very high percentage of New Englanders ride all year long.
We have a few suggestions that will improve any all-year cyclist’s ride.
Wool Cycling Cap
Technically, you can wear any hat under a helmet. However, in reality, most helmets are made to fit over a summer cycling cap, not a thick winter hat. We recommend a heavy wool cycling cap with a brim. The brim helps keep snow from blowing into your eyes, and protects your eyes from the lower sun of winter, too. We offer a custom cycling cap in Ride Studio colors. The cap is handmade in Canada by RedDots Cycling and has full ear coverage with ribbed cotton. This is designed so the cold air won’t sneak in and give you an earache. The brim flips up easily and if the weather turns warm or you want to wear it inside, the ear covers fold up. This versatile accessory keeps you warm year after year and comes in two sizes Small/Medium and Medium/Large.
On cold rides, and cold rides made colder by wind, exposed skin is uncomfortable at best, at risk of frostbite at worst. It’s easy to have your spirits dampened when your face and neck are not protected. For colder weather, we love wool neck gaiters. You want something stout, with a tighter weave. That’s why we had some custom made. These are longer than your typical neck warmer, allowing you to wear it over most of your head and still have plenty to tuck into your jacket. They are a perfect pairing with the wool caps, ensuring no air gaps.
We are big fans the 45NRTH Sturmfist series of gloves. Like everything, when we talk about cold weather, it’s all relative. Some people’s fingers go cold on a warm day and others are fine with light-weight gloves in the dead of winter. It’s rare your hands will overheat to the point of discomfort, so we suggest going with the warmest gloves for the kind of riding you do. The Sturmfist keeps you warm from 0 to 15 degrees Farenheight. You can choose 2 versions the Sturmfist gloves. The Sturmfist 4 has four finger slots, which is similar to a lobster split-finger design but allows more dexterity. The Sturmfist 5 is a warmer-weather 5-finger glove. 45NRTH also offers the RISØR merino liner for additional warmth (you’d want to size up to use the liner with the Sturmfist gloves), or wear them on their own for driving or other non-cycling activities.
People who have an exceptionally hard time keeping their hands warm should consider the CobraFist mountain bike pogies or Bar Mitt pogies for drop-bar bikes.
A good pair of insulated boots is hard to find, but 45NRTH again proves to have the best footwear for winter cycling. Through snow, rain and slush their boots hold in heat and keep out wet.
For milder temperatures, the Ragnarok remains warm in 25 degree weather. This boot will suffice for most winter riders with a good pair of wool socks, maybe a toe warmer. You will be laughing while your friends suffer. They are slim and light weight, allowing for more nimbleness when riding. 45NRTH has supple treads on the bottom of their shoes. Unlike most companies that use hard plastic, 45NRTH realized that a pliable tread, much like winter tires for your car, sticks better to wet, cold or icy terrain.
The other boots we highly recommend for all-winter riding, longer winter rides extending beyond 1.5 hours in length, and snowy mixed terrain riding are Wolvhammers. These are built for snow trudging and slower rides in the woods. These are very warm and have stable lacing above your ankle. We recommend sizing up in order to accommodate larger, thicker socks. Warmth comes from room for air as a barrier to the cold.
No surprise 45NRTH makes light, fun, “grabby” studded tires too. We have the Xerxes 30mm studded tires here which are ideal tires for our Brutiful Triple Roads winter ride series as these fit on medium-reach brake road bikes and are light enough for fun, longer winter road rides.
Wrathchild fat bike studded tires utilize XL studs and a deep tread pattern for really digging in and keeping you upright. They are supple and light. They make the winter worth riding.
We’ve got many years of winter riding experience and have many other tips to share! Want to know more?
Join us and the Charles River Wheelers on Sunday, January 6 from 3-5pm at Ride Headquarters to learn much more about winter riding, our tips, tricks, and secrets to not just tolerating, but loving winter riding! The clinic is free, CRW is providing drinks and snacks. RSVPs are required.