5 Must-Haves for Winter Biking, So You Don’t Freeze!

Winter bike commuting is not as bad as it sounds… and no, I don’t live in L.A. I’m a Wisconsin girl (transplanted to “not-any-warmer” Boston) and there’s a saying from home that goes, “there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing.”

Biking in the winter can be invigorating and perfectly comfortable with the right gear. That said, when it’s icy, I opt for public transportation. I know some folks are more hardcore than I am, but I just can’t get into studded tires. But, if it’s just cold and a little snowy, no problem here.

Image from DowntownFromBehind


Once you get going, you actually generate quite a bit of heat, so I worry more about my extremities than my core (though, in fairness, that’s usually cloaked in my big down puffer coat–see below). To keep toasty from ears to toes, here are my five must-haves:

  1. Helmet Ear Muffs
    Removable and easy to attach to most helmets, these have made bundling up a bit easier since I can ditch the hat. Combined with my helmet, my head and–more importantly–ears stay toasty without cutting off ambient noise.
  2. Mittens
    I’m a bit of a zealot about sheepskin mittens. I’ve sworn by them ever since I first discovered them while living in the mountains of Poland. Mine are made by shepherds (real ones!) and are basic shearling sheep wool inside and sheepskin outside. Unfortunately, they are not available Stateside, but there are plenty of other options. In general, mittens are the way to go; they just keep your hands much warmer than gloves. If you can get natural fibers (like sheep wool) even better!
  3. Face Mask
    If my hands are warm and the wind is off my face, I won’t even notice the temperature. Once I got over the not-so-desirable outcome of looking like a burglar while biking, my life changed dramatically. I  LOVE my Seirus face mask. Make sure you get one that allows you to breathe (like this). Your skin will thank you and your ride will be perfectly pleasant.
  4. Down Coat
    A nice puffy down coat keeps my body nice and toasty. I like the longer version that goes to my knees so that my upper legs stay nice and warm. Opt for lighter or bright colors (like Jessica’s bright blue option above) so you’re easier to see since it gets dark much earlier in the winter.
  5. Good Boots
    Two years ago, I splurged on a pair of La Canadiennes and they are still going strong. I have the high heeled tall black boot and I wear them almost everyday to work. They are waterproof, warm, have great traction and are stylish to boot (pun intended)! Those Canadians certainly know something about thriving in the cold.Now get out and enjoy the winter!
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