What gear is good for bike commuting in winter?
What gear do you recommend for bike commuting in winter? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
The first piece of gear I’d recommend is a bus pass. Taking public transportation is safer and warmer than chugging to work between traffic on a slippery, slush-clogged road. But that’s me. If you’re psycho enough to do it, and you live in a cold-weather clime, your first investment should be in reflective and lighting gear–because odds are, you’ll be riding home in the dark for most of the winter. Sigma Sport makes an extremely battery-efficient LED headlight for commuters called the Triled. The company also offers a five-bulb LED tail light called the Tailguard. And don’t forget a dorky vest, in case some driver is too busy sending a text message to be able to spot your lights. Nathan Sports makes a trusty, no-frills one called the Cyclist’s Vest, which sells for $22.
Next comes clothing. The biggest mistake is leaving skin exposed in cold weather–just like if you’re skiing. Gore Bike Wear, the in-house apparel label by the makers of GORE-TEX, is your one-stop shop, here. Its Universal Hood ($50) is windproof, waterproof, and adjustable, and its fleece-lined Radiator gloves ($60) are gel-padded at the palm and highly wind-resistant–though the four-fingered design does make your hands look like they belong to Homer Simpson.
The go-to jacket for commuters is the quilted, full-zip and aptly named Pearl Izumi Insulatour ($150). It’s aerodynamic and warm, yet its polyester fill and shell don’t trap in the steam. For pants, go for a standard waterproof and breathable pair, like the dependable REI-brand’s Novara Express Bike Pants ($47).
And if you’re really hardcore, and will go out in weather that keeps even the Postal Service home, consider studded bike tires like the Schwalbe Ice Spiker ($110).