This site details winter cycling clothing and bicycle modifications that have been tested and work in temperatures below freezing. This reference site pulls together almost everything I have learned cycling over 17,500 miles in below freezing conditions.
The goal of this reference site is to pull together in one place the winter cycling clothing used and bicycle modifications made to comfortably and confidently cycle in below freezing conditions, 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) and below. If you cycle regularly in these conditions you know how hard it is to find good information.
Click on any of the Category topics on the right to go instantly to the areas that interest you most.
The 2015/2016 winter season is off to a slow start with only a few days below freezing in the predawn hours as of December 10th. Still riding 3 to 4x/wk. Below is a list of some of my colder rides in previous years.
12/16/14: 3 hour pre-dawn ride at 5 degrees F with 20 mph winds. Real feel temperature was about -15 degrees F.
1/31/15: 3 hour pre-dawn ride at 8 degrees F with 10 mph winds. Real feel temperature was about -2 degrees F.
2/18/15: 2 hour pre-dawn ride at 5 degrees F with no wind chill.
As you review this site you will see the winter cycling clothing and gear that I use and for each item I will detail why I selected it, my impressions, lessons learned, retail price, and where to purchase it. What I have learned over the years is that each person has their own “thermostat”. Some people are comfortable in riding with less and others require more to stay warm and comfortable. My personal “thermostat” is probably average compared to other ice cyclists.
In my area, Connecticut, USA, early morning temperatures drop below freezing from November through March. The coldest winter cycling months are December through February when many mornings the temperatures are 18-25 degrees Fahrenheit. Two weeks of the year the temperatures drop to 7-18 degrees with winds up to 25mph. I also ride regularly in the Pennsylvania mountains at 2,200 feet elevation. It is typically 7 degrees colder than Connecticut.
The winter cycling clothing and bicycle modifications on this site work, are durable, and last when used on a regular basis 3 to 4 times a week 5 months each year. Unless otherwise specifically mentioned, I have purchased all of the winter cycling clothing used and discussed on this site. Should I be sponsored by a manufacturer(s) or a retailer(s) or provided with free products I will disclose that prominently.
Some of the brands I use for winter cycling clothing and gear include Bellwether, Camelbak, Cannondale, Chris King, Col d’Lizárd, Empire Wool and Canvas, Fenix, Foxwear, Hind, Hotronic FootWarmers, Hotronic Snapdry, Illuminite, Jogalite, Lake, Nokian, Pearlizumi, Pila, Radians, Seirus, Simple Solution, SPOT, SRAM, Tri-Flow, and more.
For aerobic exercise, I used to run before sunrise about 25 miles a week. There came a point in time about 12 years ago when my knees started to ache after runs and I replaced running with cycling. During the first winter, I tried cycling indoors and found it wasn’t for me. I wanted to be outside. So, I started searching for the winter cycling clothing and bicycle modifications to support cycling before sunrise year round.
In the months that temperatures are below freezing I try to cycle 3-4x/week or about 100 miles per week. This is typically from November through March. My weekend rides cover more miles and sometimes when there is lots of ice I ride through the State Forest in my area with a group of people or on the iced over mountain trails near the Camelback ski mountain in Pennsylvania. I ride in all conditions sleet, snow, ice, etc. My favorite times to ride:
- When it is snowing and the roads are iced over like a skating rink.
- When the forest has 6 inches of snow covered with a thick layer of ride-able smooth ice and you can no longer see tree roots.
- Before sunrise after an overnight snow of less than 2 inches and no snow plows in sight.