Sunday, October 18, 2015

Essential gear for cold weather cycling

Over the past few weeks, temperatures in Sweden have dropped considerably and most mornings we are waking up to a thick layer of frost on the ground. Colder temperatures often drive cyclists to put away their bikes and opt for other training options, or to head indoors and sit on trainers or in spinning classes. But until the snow depth makes it impossible, I prefer to keep riding outdoors despite the sub-zero temps. Therefore proper clothing becomes very important, and in this post I've put together a list of my essential gear.

A GripGrab HeadGlove
I prefer the HeadGlove to other under helmet solutions because it is so versatile. The HeadGlove can be worn as a neck warmer, a hat, an under helmet layer (or even as a Ninja mask as my 8 year old showed me the other day). On cold days, I pull the HeadGlove down around my neck and then pull the back up over my head so it covers the entire back of my head, my ears and my neck under my chin. It is warm but thin so you don't even feel it under the helmet.

B X-Kross Sports Glasses
I've written a previous review of these glasses but they are fantastic for prescription wearers as your prescription lens sits inside the sports glass meaning that you never have to worry about scratches on the expensive part of the product. They are great for cold weather riding and I even have a pair of double insulated winter lenses which really cut down on the fogging. Note that the prescription lenses fog a lot less if treated with FogFree by Rodenstock

C Gore WINDSTOPPER Soft Shell Jacket
The second one of these that I've owned. Warm, breathable and very comfortable with high visibility color and lots of reflective tape. The arms zip off and can be stuffed in the back pockets turning the jacket into a vest if the temperatures happen to warm up.

D SKINS A200 Thermal Top (not shown)
Covered in one of our previous reviews, the A200 top is a comfortable long sleeve top that combines warmth and compression.

E GripGrab Hurricane Gloves
What can I say? These gloves are so warm that your fingers actually sweat if the mercury is above zero. Great grip and very good protection for your hands from cold temperatures and any potential injury as a result of falls. These are my go-to gloves when I no longer can have half-finger gloves due to cold.

F SKINS TRI400 Shorts
We have also covered these in a dedicated review but in terms of cold-weather cycling they are great because the shorts (and especially the chamois) are so thin, so when you start layering tights and/or wind pants over them you don't start to feel like you're sitting on a diaper while riding.

G SKINS A200 Thermal Tights
So warm and they feel great against your legs. These are perfect for temps approaching zero and can be used in combination with a windbreaking pant if temperatures get even lower.

H GripGrab Winter Cycling Sock
Thick, warm and very comfortable. These are like hiking socks for your bike. You need a bit of extra room in your cycling shoe for these, so if you're running shoes that just fit, you might have to look at another option, like a pair of merino wool socks.

I GripGrab Arctic Shoe Covers
This is the first and perhaps most important layer of defense against the cold. The first things that starts to get uncomfortable are your toes and fingers, so you've got to protect these as much as possible if your outdoor cycling is going to continue into November, December or even January. The Arctic shoe covers are like a wet suit for your feet. They are a job to get on due to the thick (4 mm) Neoprene but once you get them over your feet you are so glad you did. Cold simply cannot penetrate these in combination with a good pair of winter socks. They are also very durable and stand up well to both road and forest conditions. 

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