My workmates look at me like I’m psycho when they find out I’ve been cycling to work all winter. Snow, wind, rain. It doesn’t matter – I ride anyway. The secret to my winter-riding success is awesome gear. As long as I’m warm and dry, there’s little stopping me. As a bonus, cycling is a great way to beat the flu season, whose main perpetrators are busses and tubes packed full of sniffly, feverish Londoners, paving a trail of mucus on their morning commute.
Matt Haughey’s got a great article on winter gear for cycling. He’s tried and tested the gamut of warm-weather gear and outlines the results according to the body parts were warmth is more needed: head, torso, legs, hands and feet.
- Head: Matt likes Gore’s skullcap and helmet cover; I’ve been getting away with a simple fleece headband
- Torso: Gotta be wind-proof and waterproof. Matt recommends a jacket by Gore, though I swear by my Endura Phoenix Jacket (plus a fleece base layer)
- Legs: Warm tights, like these Pearl Izumi Thermafleece tights
- Hands: Pearl Izumi Thermafleece Gloves
- Feet: I just wear Gore-Tex trailing running shoes and wool socks, but I see lots of people following Matt’s advice and wearing shoe covers.
Matt’s honest about the price: winter gear isn’t cheap, but good stuff will last for years and in the long run, you’ll save money on public transportation and cold medicine.
This winter, I’ve ridden several hundred miles in weather a lot of people don’t like to drive a car in. I’m fitter, healthier, and happier and when I have a couple hours set aside for a ride, with all this gear the weather really doesn’t matter anymore. It is expensive stuff and I’d guess it’ll cost you $500 and up to get fully outfitted but the difference is dramatic and these gear choices are the only thing making comfort possible in the freezing rain.
Image courtesy of bunello