Tips for Winter Bicycling

When riding in the winter, expect rain and bring your rain gear with you when riding. We recommend a rain jacket and rain pants. 

During the winter, Bellingham isn't cold enough to necessitate the warmest of measures, but you should always be prepared. Your extremities will get the coldest when cycling in winter. Here are some tips on how to keep everything warm!

Feet

  • Wool socks will help keep your feet warm even if they get wet. 
  • Avoid cotton socks, these won't keep you warm when they get wet.
  • Boots. Leather or rubber boots can provide additional protection against wind and water.

Hands

  • Lobster claw gloves. Your fingers will be warmer because they are bundled together, and you will still have enough dexterity to shift.
  • In the rain, wear waterproof gloves with grippy palms and fingers. Handlebars can become slippery when wet.

Neck, Chin, and Nose

  • Neck gaiter. Use it to keep your neck and the lower part of your face warm at the beginning of your ride, and slide it down as you warm up.
  • Face mask. Covers your face from the nose down.
  • Balaclava. This will keep your head and neck warm.

Ears and Head

  • Helmet strap or ear covers. If you can knit, you can find a pattern to make your own!
  • Helmet cover. This is worn on the outside of your helmet to block wind and rain.
  • Hat. A thin thermal hat can be worn under your helmet - wool is helpful here too.

Dress in Layers

Thermal base layers are important, because they trap body heat. Go for wool or synthetic base layers, and avoid cotton. Dressing in layers allows you to remove a layer or two as you warm up during your ride.

Remember, feeling a little cold as you leave for your commute is good. You will warm up as you ride!

Additional Resources

Kirsten Wert from Whatcom Smart Trips shares some great tips for keeping yourself motivated to ride your bike in all seasons.