Sunday, January 25, 2009

A few hints for cycling in the winter, part 2: you

In the first part I talked about practical equipment for your bicycle. Now it's all about you - the cyclist. Actually, it is quite easy to dress for winter cycling. You should just dress like you would as a pedestrian. There are only two different things you might think about - you move, thus you will be warm anyway -> better remove a warming layer or you will sweat. You are faster then walking, so there might be some wind -> use a windproof layer. Don't worry about waterproofness cause snow isn't wet. Plus, a windproof jacket is hydrophobic anyway and usually you don't need much more than that.
There are only 3 areas where you can get cold: head (and neck), hands and feet. Cover them and you'll be fine.
Here is what I mostly wear:
  • a warm cap and a scarf or
  • a balaclava if I use my helmet (but wear it tight and don't block your view)
  • different gloves depending on the temperature (fingers are the most sensitive part and get cold first): I have 3 pairs - a woolen one, a fleece one and skiing gloves. If the temperature is above +5 °C I just wear the fleece gloves, if it has -5 to +5 °C I wear the woolen and the fleece gloves together, if it is below that I wear my skiing gloves. I hardly ever wear the woolen gloves alone.
  • since I lean forward on the bicycle I wear long shirts to cover my kidneys
  • a soft shell, kind of neoprene, jacket (it's windproof and has colors that can be seen from afar) or my coat
  • legwarmes if it's really cold or if I wear a skirt (yes, I do wear skirts and tights in the winter - it's not particularly colder than a jeans, but much more stylish ;-))
  • if it's really cold I wear warm knee-highs, also designed for skiing
  • waterproof shoes or boots (waterproof shoes are quite practical if you have to stop in the mud)
  • I own overshoes, but I never use them since I have waterproof shoes anyway
  • reflector bands around my ankles (unfortunately I don't have a chainguard)
  • if it gets really dirty cause the cars created a lot of dirty mud on the streets I will wear waterproof trousers above
I never really check the temperature, I have a feeling for what I should wear for cycling. Actually I already forgot what I should wear for just walking around - and sometimes I'm not dressed warm enough cause I don't need that extra layer for cycling ;-).

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