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Posts Tagged ‘Winter cycling’

Winter Cycling. It’s not the cold, it’s the Gear

Friday, October 17th, 2008

by Tao Oliveto, Carroboro, NC

The first of our cool, windy, sometimes damp Winter weather has descended upon us. My commitment to ‘ride or stay home’ is normally in danger. Not this year! I’ve pulled out the right gear from storage and made a small investment in some additions.

Arm warmers are my latest discovery – they are great for changing temperatures in the Fall, when you ride into town in 50 degrees, but return when it’s a balmy 73. Easy to pack and you can keep the chill out of your arms and shoulders without overheating your core. They are also inexplicably stylish, in a weird, gothic way.

Under helmet hat – something snug to hug the ears but fit comfortably under a helmet and doesn’t itch – ahhh!

Scarf – okay, this isn’t a traditional cycling accessory, but I love lightweight, colorful scarves wrapped around my neck in cool temps, on or off my bike. Again – easily chilled areas stay cozy, but you don’t have too much sweat in your middle.

Did I mention gloves? Well, it’s a must have investment that can make or break your daily cold-weather ride. Even high-end sport gloves won’t keep my fingers completely comfortable so I opted for mitten-style. Yes, they do make them for cycling and I found they leave me warmer but nimble enough to shift and brake safely.

I wear big ‘ol hiking boots most of the year, so my feet are happy, even while pedaling. But if you prefer cycling shoes or sneakers, consider shoe covers – warm toes will keep you in the saddle like nothing else.

Wind is the biggest issue for me, so I have a good jacket that can be worn on average days or over warmer gear. Long johns help when temps drop more – you can peel them off when you arrive to your destination.

I don’t like looking through dark lenses during dim Winter days, so I finally splurged on those lightweight sensor specs that block the wind (and bugs) nicely, but get dark only when the sun comes out.

There’s a lot of gear out there – my collection is a mish-mash from years of riding, all from different local bike shops, depending on where I’ve lived. There’s not much available yet that meets sustainable standards, so I make local buying my priority and make sure I go for quality stuff that will last all of my riding days.

Ride with me this Winter! Tao

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