Navigating cold weather biking

Hey frands!

TGIF. Am I right or am I right? You pick.

Scenes from the bike

I talk a lot about hiking on my blog, any long-term or even recent reader/follower will know this to be true. Heck, I even have a page about hiking gear and what to bring, wear, and pack. What I don’t post much about is another love of mine, biking. Mainly because it isn’t nearly as eventful as hiking… I mean I’m sitting on my saddle for an hour or more just pedaling away. Zip-a-dee-doo-dah.

On one of my rides this week I was thinking about how I road bike year round, and how much of a factor the right layering plays into being able to maintain this. It’s actually much more complicated than hiking because with hiking I have a 33L pack on my back with extra layers, and it’s also space I can take layers off and shove into. This luxury doesn’t exist per se on a bike. Surely there are bags you could get to store things, or even wear a hydration vest which would fit water and a layer or two.

With getting more “seriously” into riding this past summer and fall, my mileage and saddle time has doubled with I was doing on average last year. As we head into the colder season, and quickly head into it here in NH, I found myself challenged to find a system which works for me.

My first child

I have a journal in which I log most of my bikes, hikes, trail runs by hand. I’ll write the typical “stats”, but then add things like temperature, what I wore, how I felt. I like to keep track of these details because they are useful to resort back to when I don’t feel like thinking about it. I got this idea from my friend Blaire, and have found it be super useful. I can visually see what worked well, could use some improvement, or to never ever do again. It provides solid insight into what my body needs and how it tends to function in certain temperatures and weather conditions.

You know it’s nippy outside when I resort to riding in tights

While I could most definitely purchase an indoor trainer to set up my road bike inside, and will likely do this just to have on days where it’s 1. pouring, 2. dumping a foot of snow, or 3. 5 degrees outside, I plan to continue some longer rides outside throughout the winter. WHY?! Because, for me, being outside provides benefits much beyond the “exercise”. Sure, I like the endorphins and feels I get from the endurance part of riding, but it’s so much more than that.

Oh so happy 🙂

What have the temperatures and conditions been like lately here in New Hampshire? 40’s-50’s with some random mid-upper 30’s. Late fall/winter has come a smidgen early this year.

My go to for layers which seems to be working well have been as follows:

Under 40: cycling shoes, wool socks, toe warmers, thermal cycling tights, wool shirt, ventrix jacket, vest, wind-resistant glove, skida hat under helmet. I’ll then pack a set of hand warmers in case but am typically good if I wiggle my digits now and again.

Between 40-50: cycling shoes, wool socks, thermal cycling tights, long sleeve shirt, ventrix jacket, vest, fleece glove, skida hat under helmet. Similar, but slightly less aggressive insulation needed and therefore less human marshmallow status.

I need to figure out the under 30 game plan… I guess we will wait and see what happens.

“I see myself forever and ever as the ridiculous [person], the lonely soul, the wanderer, the restless frustrated artist, the [person] in love with love, always in search of the absolute, always seeking the unattainable.” ― Henry Miller

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