Cold Weather Riding

The Idea

I want to be able to ride my bike, no matter what temperatures we get here in southern Indiana.  I’m not looking into biking much when the roads are ice, but that’s a rarity around here.

The Gear

I wore some inexpensive padded cycling tights, and a long-sleeved compression shirt as my first layer.  I wore a pair of thin SmartWool socks.

My second layer was non-padded tights, and a second long-sleeved compression shirt.  This one had a collar to help keep my neck warm.  I put plastic grocery bags over my socks, then a thick pair of wool socks over the bags.

Warm and visible
Warm and visible

My third layer consisted of jeans and a leather jacket.  I wear a safety vest over the jacket.

I put a thin balaclava over my head, and a beanie over that.  I wore my cycling shoes, put ski goggles over my glasses, and put on my helmet.  I’m sure I looked goofy, but I was warm.

The Rides

I rode my recumbent late last night for about four miles.  It mostly just a trial run around town, to make sure I didn’t freeze.  I was plenty warm, but I did have a minor issue with my glasses fogging up inside the goggles.  It was about 15 degrees.

Early this afternoon, I again rode the recumbent,  but the temperature was about 25, and there was a little snow on some of the roads.  I wore the same exact clothing, and would have overheated if I had pushed too hard.  My ride started out in the country, did 11 miles on back roads with rolling hills.  I had to walk one icy hill.  I then rode back into town, and ran a few errands.  My total ride was about 14 miles.

What Now?

I’m planning a 30-mile ride for tomorrow.  It’s short enough I know I can do it.  I’m supposed to have another cyclist meet me for the ride.

I’m more comfortable with my new gear.  I’ll be more willing to commute on the bicycle in cold weather.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t do a lot for rain.  I do have a rain jacket, but my rain pants lasted one ride before ripping.  Next week is supposed to be rainy.