I’m a bit spoiled living in Southern California, so when temperatures dip into the low 50′s, I start complaining – especially when those chilly days last for more than a week. With the wind chill factored in, this morning’s temp was in the low 40′s, perhaps warm for Chicago or Duluth, but darn right cold for Los Angeles. As much as I could probably bare the cold itself, it was the wind that deterred me and swayed me to drive to work instead of bike.
Now, if I were more acclimated to the cold weather, I would probably just put on a few extra layers and power through the cold, but seeing that I’m not, I had to do some homework to motivate me for tomorrow’s ride (which will be very cold as well).
Step 1. Cover your neck and head.
Scarves, they add so much warmth to the upper part of your body. I love my soft, acrylic plaid one I wear it with almost every sweater I own on chilly days. Cable knit, wool, cashmere or acrylic blend are the warmest. They’re also easy to remove if you get too hot while riding your bike. Slip it into a bag and save it for later when you cool down.
Hats are also great, they are just a little trickier to wear under a helmet. Select a less bulky beanie such as a silk/acrylic blend if you must wear a hat.
Step 2. Keep your core warm.
I’m in dire need of a really good coat. I rarely have a need to wear much more than a wind breaker, light-weight sweater, or denim jacket, but on days when it’s less than 55 degrees, I really wish I had a good, winter coat. I personally like the look of a wool pea-coat, but the truth is it wouldn’t get much wear in my region. Colder parts – yes, temperate parts – a waste of money, but they’re still nice to browse.
Instead, a lighter weight option in temperate regions might be a parka.
And not to forget the men, there are some terrific jackets out there, too.
Step 3. Legs and feet.
Let’s not forget the bottom half of our body. Layering ourselves with wool stockings or silk thermals helps retain our body heat. Good, protective footwear is also important. I’m on a bit of a Dansko kick having to stand on my feet most of the day, so looking into winter footwear options, I came across some Dansko boots that would wear well with jeans, khaki’s, or maybe a long denim skirt.
No matter how you brave the cold, make sure you bundle up, layer, and keep warm. And don’t forget the gloves!
You can also read about what to wear on Let’s Go Ride a Bike. Dottie commutes by bike in Chicago and it gets freakin’ cold there!
What’s the lowest temperature you’ve commuted by bike in?