How to Dress for Cold Weather Bicycle Riding

By Brett Ratner, Lauren Conroy, Andy Moss, and Christine Tejada Leppanen

Photo by Gene Tenner

With temperatures routinely hovering in the single digits, winter is definitely upon us.

One of the most challenging obstacles for cyclists in the Midwest is how to keep riding through the coldest months. For some, that simply means hitting the spin class at the local gym, breaking out the stationary trainer, or (for racers and triathletes) getting in on some of the computrainer sessions popping up around the city and suburbs.

But for those who rely on their bike for transportation, and/or those who can’t bear the thought of riding indoors, gearing up for extreme temperatures is the only option.

Fortunately, there’s a ton of great gear out there that allows us to pedal comfortably down to zero degrees and below. This includes using stuff that’s biking specific, picking and choosing other gear that’s general purpose, and even repurposing items designed for snowsports.

Provided you arrive at your destination warm, toasty, and not sweaty, there’s no “right” or “wrong” way to dress for winter riding. A lot of it will come down to trial and error, familiarizing yourself with the idiosyncrasies of your body (e.g. poor circulation in your feet) and figuring out what works best for you.

In an effort to give you some ideas, we’ve rounded up a few seasoned winter cyclists for their take on dressing for frigid conditions. As you can see, these different riders have developed vastly different systems for keeping warm, but all of them work. We hope this helps inspire you to gear up and get out there.

Cold Weather Commuter: Andy Moss>>


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