Riding in the cold is one of those things that sounds like an awesome idea at first but later turns out to be awful because you find yourself completely unprepared for what happens when you do.
From freezing temperatures to strong winds, riding in the cold isn’t for those without the proper gear.
But if you do have the best winter cycling gear with you, then it becomes something more tolerant — enjoyable even.
Why You Should Cycle in The Winter
In addition to owning the unofficial title of “he who bikes in the cold”, cycling in the winter carries a lot of benefits, including but not limited to:
A lot of calories being burned
Because of how cold the weather is, your body has to work extra hard to warm up your body if you cycle in the cold. This results in a higher calorie count burned without really requiring much more effort.
In fact, you could argue that cycling in the cold (as long as you have the proper gear) is much less strenuous considering the lack of heat and glare from the sun, among other things.
But then again, cycling in the winter means that you’ll have to cycle through snow and slush, so there’s that too.
All in all, cycling in the winter is great if you’re trying to lose weight or if you really just want to keep your body in shape. It’s a great way to counteract the inevitable weight gain that’s part of everybody’s holiday season.
No more winter blues
Less time spent outdoors and with other people can result in all types of seasonal mood disorders. However, if you cycle, you pretty much eliminate the possibility of you running down on some kind of seasonal mood disorder.
This is because exercising is a great way to force your brain to release natural antidepressants that help combat the winter blues, or so to speak.
Another added benefit is that cycling has been found to make people happier in general.
It’s an economical and environmentally-friendly decision
How much more money do you spend to prep your car for the winter? In addition to having winter tires installed, you’ll have to pay for more expensive gas.
This is because fuel prices have a tendency to go up as the temperature drops. But by cycling, you essentially eliminate those problems.
The bonus? You’re helping save the environment at the same time. One less car on the road might not seem like much, but a little bit of something is still better than a whole lot of nothing.
How to Improve Your Winter Cycling Experience
- Invest in high-quality winter cycling gear. This is because your clothes and gear are what literally separates you from freezing to death and getting home in one active piece.
- Get spiked tires. If you can’t afford them, let your tires sag a bit more than usual. This is because saggy and fatter tires get more traction, significantly improving handling and ride comfort with little to no added cost.
- Do try to lower your saddle. A low center of gravity will make your bike more stable. This can make a huge difference once you’re riding on slippery surfaces like ice and/or snow.
- Stay away from the curb as much as possible. The curbs are not a safe place. The snow build-up can hide a lot of things that can cause an accident, including but not limited to rocks and garbage.
What are the Best Winter Cycling Gear?
Below is a brief table on some cycling equipment or accessories you may want to get just for winter.
|Cygolite Metro 700 and Hotshot 100 Bike Light Combo Set||Prime||Buy Now|
|Timbuk2 Spire Laptop Backpack, Black||Prime||Buy Now|
|Castelli Estremo Glove - Men's Black, M||Prime||Buy Now|
|Fizik R5 Artica 43 Shoe, Black||Prime||Buy Now|
|Muc Off 284US Black Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit, 60.86 Fluid_Ounces||Prime||Buy Now|
|SEALSKINZ Unisex Waterproof All Weather Cycle Cap, Black, Large/X-Large||Prime||Buy Now|
|PEARL iZUMi ELITE Thermal Arm Warmer, Black, Large||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pearl iZUMi Elite Thermal Knee Warmer, Black, Medium||Prime||Buy Now|
|Pearl iZUMi Elite Thermal Cycling Legwarmer, Black, Large||Prime||Buy Now|
1. Cygolite Metro 700 and Hotshot 100 Bike Light Combo Set
You really can’t trust your eyes during the winter. Nor can other people. The more visible you can make yourself when riding in the winter, the better.
This is where the Cygolite Metro 700 and Hotshot 100 Bike Light Combo Set comes in.
The 700-lumen bicycle headlight will give you enough light to see what’s in front of you clearly while the 100-lumen bicycle tail light will make sure that you can be seen.
The best part? The headlight can last up to 115 hours on a single charge. Meanwhile, the tail light has a 270-hour battery life, which isn’t half-bad all things considered.
With exclusive night and day modes, as well as a SteadyPulse mode, a low battery indicator, water-resistant and lightweight design, this light combo set is one of the best winter cycling gear as far as keeping you safe goes.
- Lightweight and water-resistant design
- 6 different light modes to choose from
- USB rechargeable
- A lot of value for its price
- Only water-resistant, not waterproof
2. Timbuk2 Spire Backpack
Backpacks are a lifesaver when riding out in the cold. Not only does a reliable waterproof backpack help save you money by keeping all of your belongings safe, wearing a backpack also allows you to be seen better while also letting you focus on the road and less on whether or not your things are going to drop, get lost or wet.
And as far as backpacks go, the Timbuk2 Spire Backpack is arguably the best winter cycling gear out there.
The waterproof rolltop comes with an incognito back zip for easy access, while then front zipper pocket fits all sorts of things, from smartphones, shades, and even wallets.
Not to mention, it comes with an internal organizer as well. There, you can keep important stuff like IDs, passports, and even pens.
- Waterproof design
- 32-liter capacity
- Convenient pocket access
- Ventilated back for all-year use, even during summer and warmer weather
- Sleek and modern design
- Narrow straps
- Heavier than most competition
3. Castelli Estremo
The Castelli Estremo is so well-recommended among winter cyclist circles that there’s really no sense looking at the competition. The Estremos pretty much comes with everything anyone can ask for from a glove that they can wear during the winter.
This includes a long and historied name — Castelli has manufactured elite cycling gears since 1876 — and a wide slew of winter-centric features.
The long list of features that the Estremo comes with includes textured silicon grips, Velcro wrist wraps, Polarfleece insulation, as well as a synthetic leather material.
If you’re looking for winter gloves that you can wear year-round at the same time, it’s hard to top what the Estremo brings to the table.
- Top-notch build quality
- Perfect for year-round training use
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Sufficient padding without the added weight
- Not waterproof
- Doesn’t provide as much warmth compared to other “thicker” winter gloves
4. Artica R5
Riding in cold and wet weather means that you need reliable shoes that will help you pedal through the snow. The Artica R5 is pretty much the closest thing to a no-brainer as far as winter cycling boots go.
The R5 is insulated, waterproof, and easy to wear. It also boasts an accurate fit and comes with a Microtex Reinforced Shell for added protection with a Breathable Membrane helping maximize airflow to help you keep your feet warm and cozy as you cycle through bad weather.
Adding to these exciting features is a Carbon Composite outsole to help maximize power transfer from your feet to the pedals, while the Cycling Insolate is made out of fleece material and an insulated aluminum foil for its underside for warmth and comfort regardless of the weather.
- Lightweight yet stiff
- Fully waterproof
- Easy to wear with accurate fit
- Advanced insulation features
- Restrictive high cuffs will require a lot of adjustment
5. Muc-Off Ultimate Bicycle Cleaning Kit
Eventually, you’ll find riding in the winter fun. But even with all the layers and gear providing you with the necessary protection, there will come a time where you’ll notice just how much of a total the weather can take on your precious ride.
Once that moment comes, you’ll thank yourself for investing in Muc-Off’s Ultimate Bicycling Cleaning Kit.
This complete package from Muc-Off comes with everything that you will ever need to keep your bike clean and performing well despite the harsh weather conditions you use it in.
This includes all of then cleaning essentials, as well as the lubing materials. This means that, with this kit, your bike will not only look better, but it will also run smoother and last longer.
- Comes with everything that you’ll need to keep your bike clean, lubed, and protected throughout the winter season
- Convenient storage with included toolbox
- No chain cleaning device included (Muc-Off sells on separately)
6. SealSkinz Belgian Cycling Cap
Winter is probably one of the few times when wearing a cap is much better than wearing a helmet when biking. But that doesn’t mean that you should just wear any cap you can find.
Instead, as mentioned earlier, you should still use high-quality gear, which the SealSkinz Belgian Cycling Cap is.
The simple and effective design of this cycling cap belies its complete feature set. This includes windproof and waterproof construction, as well as a longer-than-usual ear band that’s equipped with reflective stripes for better visibility.
Even though this cycling cap’s style and design leave a lot to be desired, it remains one of the most ideal winter cycling gear out there.
- Provides more than enough warmth even in freezing temperatures
- Waterproof and windproof construction
- Comfortable to wear
- Reflective strips for added safety
- Definitely not something you’d buy because of its style
7. DZR H2O
Riding in foul weather doesn’t mean that you’ll always have to wear boots. On the contrary, there are sneaker alternatives that exist that can still keep your foot warm and comfortable without compromising a lot of things.
A good example of this is the DZR H2O.
This pair of waterproof sneakers was built specifically for harsh weather. It’s waterproof and fully seam-sealed. It is also SPD-compatible and is made out of sheepskin leather with a waterproof inner membrane.
It’s even got a nylon shank and gum rubber traction outsole for little to no performance compromise even when riding in deep snow.
While the style of the DZR H2O won’t turn a lot of heads, it’s very effective at what it does and that’s what’s important.
- Seam-sealed and waterproof design
- Sheepskin leather exterior for added durability
- Excellent power transfer and grip
- Unnecessarily expensive
- Has very little in the way of style and design
8. Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Arm, Knee, and Leg Warmers
Even though you’re riding in cold weather, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should wear a jacket. Sometimes, arm, knee, and/or leg warmers over your usual jersey and shorts are more than enough to keep you warm and comfortable throughout your daily winter ride.
Covering plenty of area on your body to help prepare you for when the weather gets too cold for comfort, these warmers are made out of a comfortable fleece lining material that gives it warmth without making it too heavy.
Plus, the material is breathable. It also helps that the anatomic construction is perfect for preventing bunching.
Basically, if you’re looking for warmers for your winter rides but don’t necessarily want to invest in a jacket just yet, Pearl Izumi has got you covered.
- Comfortable fleece lining material
- Zipper design makes them easy to wear and remove
- Excellent for keeping you warm
Invest in the Best Winter Cycling Gear Today
Even with the best cycling gear for winter, cycling in the winter is no joke. It will take you a while to adjust to it. But the more often you cycle out in the cold, the more you become attuned to it.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself wanting to go outside during the winter instead of staying indoors, which is probably what you’d be doing if you hadn’t learned that you could ride during the winter.
With that said, we do recommend that you exercise great caution when riding in the winter.
After all, the weather conditions are far from normal.
Not to mention, you’re not the only one adjusting to the weather — everyone on the road is!