As soon as the temperatures drop below 50, riding your bike to and from work requires a bit more effort than it does in the summer. While many cyclists and walkers may disappear from the roads and walkways, the emptier streets aren’t the only change you’ll need to navigate. There are some challenges of winter weather, like the sun setting earlier, colder temperatures and wind that’s brisker. Adding a few key pieces to your commuting kit can help keep you warm, dry and safe from other cyclists and drivers.
Pearl Izumi Cyclone Gel Glove
The back of my hands get super dry as soon as the weather slips into fall. Add in some windburn from cycling, and it’s a scary situation to shake hands with anyone. These softshell gloves come in black or ‘screaming yellow’ for an added striking color of visibility. They’re breathable yet water and wind-resistant for particularly dreary days. The tips of the thumb and pointer fingers are touch sensitive, so you can pull out your cell to hunt for directions or the name of a bar.
Darn Tough Chase Micro Crew Ultra-Light
A pair of sturdy and warm socks are a must-have when commuting. Your feet are almost always moving around and around, so you need some that are supportive and sweat-wicking for all that movement. Darn Tough’s socks are abrasion resistant, made in Vermont and guaranteed for life.
Cafe du Cycliste Heidi
Cycling jackets tend to veer into the crossing guard-look-alike category, yet work incredibly well. Finding a coat that looks great and keeps you warm is the great problem of commuters. Cafe du Cycliste is an under-the-radar brand that pumps out stellar products that are also beautifully designed. The Heidi colder weather cycling jacket features Italian high-performance fabrics with quilted windproof paneling that looks like a jacket you can wear on the bike and while walking to work.
Beryl Pixel Lights
These dual-color lights work as front and rear lights, as well as add a flashing update to helmets or backpacks. One of the most important things you can do in the winter is to make sure other drivers see you. Cyclists drastically overestimate how easy they are to see on the road, so the more lights you can add to your bike, bag or accessories, the better off you are to ride through the storm. The battery in these lights last up to 10 hours, then it’s time to recharge.
174Hudson Stack Packable Helmet
Foldable and packable helmets have a tendency to look pretty dorky, but this one folds up to the size of a textbook and slides right into your pannier, backpack or laptop bag. The high vis grey and neon helmet adds some light to your commute, and the CSPC certification in the US helps, too.
Blackburn Central Full Fender Set
Fenders can be a pricey upgrade to your commuter bike, but if you’re trying to limit the amount of clothing that gets wet along the way, these can help shield your legs and upper body. Puddles sneak up on you in the dark, so mount these to your frame and protect from mud, sand and snow.
Rapha Commuter Jacket
This list would be incomplete without a super bright jacket that protects from wind and rain. Rapha’s commuter coat comes in three neon colors: orange, pink and chartreuse (basically yellow), but it also comes in all-black. Lightweight and seam-sealed, this jacket has breathable back panels and a roll-up hood, so you’re not catching air along the back of your neck. Keep this in your pannier or backpack for any out of the blue rainstorms.
Electra Domed Ringer Bell
Just as the more lights, the better, the same goes for sound. The louder you can be on the bike, the more you alert drivers, other cyclists and pedestrians about your whereabouts. This bell fits most bikes, and is super loud. It also comes in a variety of designs, including one with tacos. You can’t beat a taco bell.
Buff Midweight Merino Wool Hat
Those vents in your helmet are clutch for the 90 degree summer days, but when the temperatures fall off, you want something underneath to keep your noggin warm. Buff uses merino wool to build a breathable and odor resistant hat that’s soft to the touch. Even if it’s raining out, the hat will keep heat inside.
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