The Chainlink

Anyone else ride through winter? Any gear that makes Chicago winter on a bike feel less like the bleak bone-chilling mess it is?

Last year was my first full winter of being on the bike all day long 5 days a week, come hell or wintry mix... so I suited up in what I had available. Consisted of 4 layers of shirts (beater, thermal, cheapo Target long sleeve, t-shirt), a hoodie and my jacket (Pearl Izumi Insulatour) on top and 3 pairs of socks (REI sock liners, WoolSmart socks, AcornSox fleece socks) and old Totes fleece-lined zip up boots (mid calf), thermals, jeans and if it was wet I have a pair of Marmot rain pants. Hands got Pearl Izumi touring gloves, Pearl Izumi fleece gloves and some 12+ jear old wool mittens on top. I'd whip out the occasional bandana tied around and tucked into the top of my jacket for those extra blustery days.

On my budget (next to nil), this setup worked great.

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My 3rd winter riding and I think I've finally found what works for me!

What I wear:

Bottom - two pairs of thermal underwear under winter camos
Feet - a pair of socks, north face gore-tex winter boots (rated to -40 degrees)
Body - a t-shirt and arm warmers (or a long sleeve tech shirt), sometimes a fleece jacket, a gore-tex shell
Hands - gore-tex mittens
Head - balaclava (and sometimes a neck warmer as well), helmet with goggles

Always toasty as long as I'm riding and not standing around! If I wear more then the above, I'm always really sweaty when I reach my destination.
Riding the Bike during winter is more fun for me. I have to be more aware of my surroundings and my overall physical condition at every moment while riding. It's like moving meditation. It's so cleansing that anything other than riding are irrelevant. It gets me to a Zone, trance or whatever you might wanna call it.

My get up is usually consists of a:
A warm beanie
Hands: Gore Tex Mittens
base layer (wool or compression shirts)
A long sleeve cotton shirt or jersey
Arcteryx hardshell jacket (non-insulated)
This allows me greater layering options also it does not feel bulky. I don't want to look like a Michelin man out there : ). Also I'm much lighter and more Aerodynamic.
Wool or synthetic thermal long underwear
Cotton pants, hardshell rain pants when wet & slushy
Socks : a thin wool liner socks, a midweight wool socks
Shoes: Dr. Martens boots or Keen dry hiking shoes
I've ridden up to 4 deg F w/o wind chill factor and I am comfortable.
Being safe and avoiding injuries ( frostbites, hypothermia, etc.) is the most important thing.
I do rinse my bike w/ warm water after every ride especially when the road is full of snow and salt.
It's about creating a new habit. Riding the bike during winter is easier than a lot of people think.
Enjoy every season, every moment. ADAPT= your environment won't Adapt to you.


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