Cold Weather Riding

It’s the time of year again when many start thinking about New Year’s resolutions. Resolutions to be healthier are among the most popular. As I’ve written in the past, electric bikes can be a great way to shed those extra calories. My old commute across town helped me burn an extra 200 calories/day just going to and from work. Now that I live in Phoenix I burn an extra 450-600 calories per day when I ride, depending on conditions and PAS level.

The downside of riding this time of year is the weather. There is no one solution for winter weather riding, because we’re all unique individuals. However, playing around with layers, rain gear and even pogies can make an otherwise chilly ride very comfortable. My biggest struggles have been with cold hands and my core overheating. Up until recently my problem was I would arrive wet from the rain or I’d arrive wet due to sweat.

Raincoats even with vents trapped too much heat. Then I found rain capes. The cape has special attachments so my hands can stay covered and dry on the handlebars, while also offering a wind block. When I feel myself getting warm, I can just raise one hand off the handlebar and allow more airflow through. Since it’s a cape, I also don’t have to worry about a tight fit over the layers below. So, I can pile on whatever I need for the temps. Paired with rain pants and I can survive any precipitation in the Rogue Valley.

To tackle the cold hands I use pogies, which aren’t well known in the US. Think of a little cocoon for your hands that wraps around your handlebars. They come in varying thicknesses for different temperature levels. I personally opted for thick pogies and choose to ride with just a pair of thin glove liners inside. It allows me all the dexterity I need to operate the shifting and control pad inside the comfort of the cocoon. I’ve been able to ride comfortably in the 20’s with this formula.

Lastly, if you’re thinking those tips are great, but my friends/partner won’t ride with me in the winter, then I suggest finding a group. There are several ongoing rides depending on the type of riding you’re looking to do. Some are more oriented to roads, trails, or slow crawls through the town of Ashland. One of mechanics started his own meetup he’s dubbed the “Winter Blues Cruise” just to help motivate people to ride through the colder months.

Whether you’re looking for tips on how to dress or connections to find other riders, your local bike shop should be able to help. Happy winter riding!

Show More
Back to top button