Cycling gear for cold weather

By English standards it is quite cold today (-3 C and 2cm of snow) so I took advantage of a trip to some shops to get a bit better prepared to continue my daily cycling habit (27 days in a row at the moment, cycled every day but 4 since September 1st).

I don’t have any intention of changing my habit of cycling in normal clothes for everyday usage (part of my 10 tips to making riding your bike normal. although see Breaking your own rules), but I did need some changes for this colder weather (with the assumption that we will get some more wet weather as well).

The only cycle specific clothing I normally wear in cold or wet weather is gloves. I have fingerless gloves for warm weather, I have some waterproof ones but they are not very warm. I have some nice (actually not cycle specific) thinsulate ones but while they are very warm they are not at all waterproof and are horribly cold when wet. So I got some cycle specific warm & waterproof gloves. They have good grip and are made slightly curved so gripping is easy. They have a superbly grippy palm.

In other clothing I got a North Face hat (I won’t tell you how horrible the old woollen hat I had was). Nothing cycle specific about it and no need for there to be.

I also got some nice Craghopper cargo style trousers, water resistant, smarter than jeans and with a warm lining. I can buy 6 of these for the price of one pair of the new Rapha cycling trousers. See Are these Raphas the ultimate city cycling trousers?

Finally I bought a Peter Storm thermal T-Shirt (wish I had been wearing at the time I was shopping as it was so cold). Hopefully means less bulky layers are needed. But there is nothing cycling special about it.

Besides the clothing I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present, a metal thermos flash by Berghaus that I’ll be able to fit in a water bottle holder. Should save a few trips to Starbucks 🙂

So a while after we got home I decided I have better try this stuff with today’s ride. I went out just after 5pm in -3C with snow on the ground (mostly hard packed sometimes into sheet ice).

I was really comfy in my North Face fleece (made with windblocker) and two very lightweight fleeces on top of the thermal t-shirt, in fact a bit warm, could have done with one less layer and so had the North Face jacket mostly zipped open.

The trousers were lovely, very cosy, easy movement. The gloves and hat also did a good job.

I did stop twice to have some coffee from my flask (really just to test the flask as in 11 gentle miles it really was not needed). It worked well, in fact I finished off the coffee at home and after 90 minutes it was still too hot to just drink.

I had my waterproof jacket in the Bullitt box but did not need it.

So cycling comfortably in snow wearing clothes suitable for most meetings (other than those where I need a clerical collar) and only the gloves were cycling specific.

None of this will be any news to people who ride bikes in Europe, but here so many cyclists I see commuting look like they are in the middle of a road race. I don’t think it is normally needed.

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  1. Bullitt cargobike in English snow « 42 Bikes - pingback on November 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

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