Winter Cycling Open Thread

Written by Boston Biker on Nov 25

Got a question about how to stay warm, what to wear, how to ride in the slush.  Ask them here and I (and everyone else), will do our best to answer them.

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Posted in education, Questions | 9 Comments »

9 Responses to “Winter Cycling Open Thread”

  1. By Ashley on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    Any suggestions on chain lube for the winter? And if it’s wax based can I switch back to non wax based if need be?

  2. By Charlie on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    I generally wear the following:

    – One fewer or lighter layer than what you would normally (you should be a little cold for the first 5-10 minutes biking). My general guide is a light jacket (or thin windproof/waterproof jacket) between 30 degrees and 50 degrees. For <30 degrees, a regular winter jacket.
    – Gloves if it's 35 degrees or below
    – A thin hat under my helmet if it's 30 degrees or below
    – If it's raining or snowing (or the road is slushy or has a lot of water on it), waterproof rain pants over my regular pants
    – My sneakers are relatively waterproof. If it's snowing and I expect there to be a lot of snow on the ground when I'm walking, I wear waterproof work boots.

    That's it really. With the exception of the waterproof rain pants, none of this is bicycling-specific gear.

  3. By geoff adams on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    Merino wool Buffs. Two of ’em. One on neck, scootched up to cover face. One on head, doubled up. Both overlap ears. Way more comfy – and chic – than balaclava.

  4. By BostonBiker on Nov 26, 2013 | Reply

    @ashley I don’t switch to another kind of lube, just use tri-flow all winter. however I do wipe my chain down more, and re-lube after salty/slushy days.

    See the winter bike maintenance guide in the side bar for more tips, but basically you just need to wipe your bike down a lot more.

  5. By Kil on Dec 2, 2013 | Reply


  6. By Kil on Dec 2, 2013 | Reply

    Agree, I use triflow all winter and am also big on wiping after fresh snow and salt.

  7. By Lia on Nov 21, 2014 | Reply

    I am looking for recommendations for a good cycling jacket that I won’t overheat in.

    This is my first year bike-commuting to work, and I’m determined to keep it up as much as possible through the winter. I already have novara brand waterproof rain pants, but I am having trouble finding a jacket / top combination that will keep me warm while preventing me from sweating too much.

    Here’s my winter closet:
    – Smartwool base layer (love love love it)
    – Heavier wool turtleneck sweater (Smartwool)
    – Light down vest for keeping my core warm (Uniqlo)
    – Wind and water resistant soft shell jacket (Northface) with no pit zips
    – Rain coat / waterproof shell (Northface) with pit zips
    – 675 fill REI down jacket (probably WAAY too warm for cycling)

    I am looking for some combination of these that will keep me warm yet dry for < 30 F weather. The problem is, if I only wear sweaters, the wind gets through and I chill. The rain jacket over a sweater also feels too cold. If I wear my soft shell Northface jacket, nothing gets through and I sweat like crazy.

    I am thinking of getting a special soft-shell cycling jacket that will block wind but allow me to breath. However, I can't decide between insulated and non-insulated cycling jackets. I prefer as few layers as possible If some one told me I could bike through the winter wearing just a wool baselayer with a single jacket, I would do that in an instant. Are insulated cycling jackets going to get me through a Boston winter?

  8. By Bostonbiker on Nov 21, 2014 | Reply

    I just wear a hoody and a rain jacket from patagonia all winter, when its really cold I put on two hoodies, or a long sleeve shirt under my hoodie.

    I never have trouble with over heating, or being too cold.

    In general I would suggest a base layer that is warm, with something wind/water proof on the top, and adjust the thickness of the bottom layer until you get it right.

  9. By Eli on Dec 3, 2014 | Reply

    @Lia this is also my first winter commuting in Boston. I just got a marmot minimalist raincoat with gortex and I’ve been impressed by how dry I’ve been after bikes in moderate showers. I also got a thermal Patagonia calls a polyamide isolant which is quite warm and breathes remarkably well. So far I’ve used the jacket with a thin polyester wicking shirt and been comfortable with temp and humidity.

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