How’s your winter cycling coming along?

Autumn leaves as we head into the winter (eBike: Spencer & Ivy)

A couple of weeks ago we looked into the winter cycling gear that can make winter cycling more enjoyable. I wanted to check in with you guys and see how it’s all coming along.

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How are you finding the shorter daylight hours?

The colder weather?

The rain?

And what sort of gear / techniques are you using to make your winter cycling more enjoyable?

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59 Responses to How’s your winter cycling coming along?

  1. Giles Roadnight 05/11/2010 at 9:18 am #

    Well, I bought a load of really good cold / wet weather gear JUST in time. The day it arrived at work it was torrential rain on the way home. Since then (and a 1 degree C start one morning) it’s shot up to around 12 degrees in the morning so I’m back to a T-shirt.

    At least I have all the kit so that when it does get cold again I won’t be caught out.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 11:29 am #

      Good to be prepared Giles!

  2. Matthew Sparkes 05/11/2010 at 9:21 am #

    Just trying to pretend it’s not happening and ploughing on regardless…

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 11:29 am #

      I’m currently trying much the same strategy! But when I look outside and it’s raining I know it’s time to gear up – hate wet feet, hands and being cold!

  3. Rob 05/11/2010 at 9:32 am #

    I’m with Matthew, apart from buying a pair of cycling gloves and wearing a scarf on some mornings, I’m just pretending it isn’t happening. I still need waterproof trousers, overshoes, waterproof bag, a warm waterproof top… ;_;

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 11:30 am #

      Waterproof trousers is on my list of things to buy too..

  4. K 05/11/2010 at 9:38 am #

    I’m ill-equipped for rain. I can get away with cycling back home, but if it pours on the way to work I’m screwed – won’t have a dry change of clothes for the evening. So far I’ve been lucky in that respect. I just wear a t-shirt and regular shorts.

  5. SM London 05/11/2010 at 9:47 am #

    I’ve only been caught in a downpour once up to now which was last week, but in terms of the cold I haven’t really noticed it. It’s actually been quite mild

    Haven’t had to wear my heavy jacket yet, but I have started to put on gloves.

    It’s always dark when I go home, but haven’t found that to be a problem as most roads in London are pretty well lit.

    Let’s see what happens when it gets really cold.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 11:31 am #

      It’s true we’ve had a fairly good week of weather. Mainly just the wind yesterday.

  6. Klaus 05/11/2010 at 9:55 am #

    I don’t commute, however I have a folding bike at work and do about 5 miles every lunchtime, thankfully the weather has been quite mild. No specific gear apart from my Alture Night Vision jacket. Weekend rides on hybrid have been ok also, about 10 miles each on Sat/Sun in the country-side (Buckinghamshire). Splashed out on a Merino long-sleeve baselayer which is brilliant for early morning starts, however also found it can get too warm once the sun comes out ….

  7. Dave Escandell 05/11/2010 at 9:55 am #

    I’ve managed to stay dry and the mild weather has been a pleasure. I hope that it’s not giving me a false sense of security.

    Aside from purchasing a new neck warmer the majority of my winter kit is still at the back of my wardrobe.

    Ask us all again in January!

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 11:32 am #

      True! Maybe I’ve been a little pre-mature with my winter cycling preparation! I’m the last person who would want to wish in an early winter.. Maybe it was the Oxford Circus Christmas decorations!

  8. John 05/11/2010 at 9:57 am #

    Well, it’s not been that cold so far, the worst is certainly yet to come. The biggest change for me is having the shorter days which means needing lights and high vis on the commute home. I’ve been looking for a good cheap cycle jacket though.

  9. el-gordo 05/11/2010 at 9:58 am #

    This is my first winter but suprisingly find it quite enjoyable at present. Have invested in some cold/wet weather gear and it promptly stopped being cold/wet. Still, plenty of time to use it.

    The thing I am finding hardest is pedestrians. They step out just the same as always but in the dark I often don’t see them until late – particularly as they don’t have lights on. Just having to adjust my riding style/speed in certain areas of town.

  10. Andy P 05/11/2010 at 9:59 am #

    What with the ride home now being in the dark and the tube strikes, this week’s communting has definitely been more fraught than ususal. I’ve had to put the brakes on many times in anticipation of someone doing something moronic. Especially on the strike days.

    Thankfully its not that cold and wet at the moment. Jinx….!

  11. Eric 05/11/2010 at 9:59 am #

    It’s unseasonably warm isn’t it? I got back from holiday on Monday thinking it would be cold and headed off to work with base layer, cycling jersey and waterproof on. Had to lose the top two layers within 5 minutes and haven’t needed them all week.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:14 pm #

      We’ve definitely not entered the 3 layer game yet ;)

  12. cafewanda 05/11/2010 at 10:10 am #

    As much as I hate the cold (when it arrives) and the dark, cycling is a joy. I’ve got plenty of lights and hi-viz/wet weather clothing. Just need to ensure I have a variety of gloves/liners for the cold as my fingers and toes suffer.

    Bring it on!

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:17 pm #

      Loving the bring it on attitude!

  13. David Cohen 05/11/2010 at 10:11 am #

    You know what they say, there’s no such thing as ‘bad weather’, only bad gear. When it’s very cold one of the main things I find difficult to combat is wind – on the fingers and toes. What you really need to do is put a barrier between yourself and the wind. An example are breeze blockers (http://www.breezeblockers.com/), although they don’t have any yet for straight bars. Waterproof socks (means you can avoid wearing overshoes) and beanie hats are quite a good investment – sealskinz (http://www.sealskinz.com/) do a range that is rated and their products are widely available in shops.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:18 pm #

      I’m testing out some of the Sealskinz stuff at the mo. Should have a review up soon!

  14. Hayley 05/11/2010 at 10:12 am #

    The great thing about living in Florida is that so far all I need to do is throw on a jacket!!

    …but what’s the bike in the picture?? It’s lovely!

  15. Mike 05/11/2010 at 10:31 am #

    Apart from a couple of cold days two weeks ago, it’s so warm at the moment I don’t really even need a jacket.

    But I am equipped. Bought some new waterproof overtrousers and dug out the really important piece of kit, my sealskinz waterproof socks (http://sealskinz.com/cgi-bin/psProdDet.cgi/KE351). No shoes I’ve found are truly waterproof, and I hate overshoes – they’re just clumpy and time consuming, so I wear these inside my cycling shoes – and have warm dry feet when I get to work. Brilliant.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:22 pm #

      Found my sealskinz are keeping my feet a bit too warm at the moment but maybe I’ve just got the too thick version

  16. Samuel 05/11/2010 at 10:40 am #

    all good for me, love the 10c weather these days to go around.

  17. Tiva 05/11/2010 at 11:22 am #

    My big winter purchase this year has been a pair of heavy duty Endura rain leggings. I bit the bullet and splashed out on them back in September after a particularly soggy journey across town.
    They’re not great for milder weather as being some form of synthetic neoprene, they are quite warm – I end up being a bit soggier on the inside than on the outside at times. That said, I think they will come into their own in the cold weather. They’re nice and snug – when I pull them on in the morning, the trapped air in the knees leaks out from below and makes my ankles fart! Good thing my boyfriend finds this unsexy morning behaviour hilaaaarious!

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:24 pm #

      Haha @ immature boyfriend. I’m sure I’d do the same.

      I’ll do a little roundup of keeping the bottom half warm and dry as its the one part of the body I think I’ve left out so far!

  18. Rob 05/11/2010 at 11:23 am #

    In Canada real winter has not arrived yet. The days are shorter, it means I ‘must’ leave the office by 5, so that’s not at all bad.
    Next week the clocks change and I expect a shakeup then. It will be impossible to avoid biking in the dark. I’m going to get a super reflective jacket. So reflective it will be hard to look at.
    Snow will be along soon. And a lot too.

    • Andreas 05/11/2010 at 12:25 pm #

      I swear bike are the best excuse for getting out of work early or arriving late. “sorry, puncture..”

      • Filippo Negroni 05/11/2010 at 1:14 pm #

        You mean, better than the pathetic “sorry, traffic…” ?

  19. David 05/11/2010 at 1:16 pm #

    Its the first 10 minutes or so that I find a bit chilly, once I’m 3 or four miles into my commute I have the problem of overheating. I’m looking for a waterproof top that dosen’t make me sweat so much but haven’t found anything yet.

    • kathryn 05/11/2010 at 2:57 pm #

      David I’m totally the same!!
      I have put a nightvision evo jacket on my wishlist for my birthday and have great hopes for it…will let you know!

    • Jonathan 05/11/2010 at 3:07 pm #

      I too have this dilemma. I don’t think there is an easy answer. It’s always a toss up between breathability and waterproofness. For colder weather I have a Foska Tangent jacket which I find a great all-round commuting jacket. It’s not a waterproof as a ‘boil in the bag’ job but will keep me dry in a deluge for around an hour. More importantly it is very breathable and looks good on and off the bike.

  20. JimF 05/11/2010 at 2:18 pm #

    Temps been mild enough not to change my routine so far. The Rapha softshell jacket (perfect for winter, too warm at other times) has remained in the cupboard
    http://www.rapha.cc/classic-softshell-jacket/
    and I’m sticking with the packaway rain thing.

    I know their gear is expensive but it’s bloody good and I deserve the reward for not getting the tube/car!

    Couldn’t face the idiot drivers of Harlesden during tube strike the other day so ventured onto canal towpath in the dark, as did a few other cyclists. It was ok but still feels a little urban explorer at times.

    Definitely considering newer/brighter front lights I saw at cycle show as well as those socks they demonstrated.

  21. Jonathan 05/11/2010 at 3:01 pm #

    I also like the sealskinz winter socks, although on a long commute 20+ miles at around 1 or 2 degrees, by the end of the journey I have lost the feeling in my toes. This is usually remedied by ferocious toe wiggling for a couple of minutes until feeling is restored.

    I have been toying with the idea of combining the sealskinz with overshoes. Something to think about when the mercury drops below freezing.

  22. Peter Jordan 05/11/2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I went on a micro cycle tour for London to Brighton at the weekend and it rained on and off all weekend. I use Gore paclite jacket and trousers which are expensive but stuff into their own pockets and are really small and light. They are great even in heavy rain. I use Carradice wax cotton over shoes which look ugly but keep you dry. I also use Extremities over mit shells for my gloves which keep the rain out but cause condensation even though they are Gortex ( i think ) material. Yes i look odd..ish and it’s a pain getting everything on and off but when i put my tent up at night i am dry.
    Peter

  23. Fran 05/11/2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I’ve just come back from an 8 mile ride to Woolwich and back – and it rained for the last couple of miles but pretty warm. I was wearing my brilliant Vaude Hibiscus jacket from – wait for it – TKMax. 80% windproof and at least half price. It doesn’t seem to get wet inside either. I was going to put my high-viz mac on top but didn’t need to. Stretch jersey trousers got slightly damp on the outside and new Altura waterproof gloves kept my hands warm and dry.

    That makes a lot of difference!

  24. Emo 05/11/2010 at 5:40 pm #

    eVent is a fabulous low price alternative to Gore-Tex. But when it comes to Gore – great investments are the helmet and shoe covers, pricey, but will last forever. The key to comfort are wool baselayers for me, plus it doesn’t stink after a week of commuting.

  25. Angi 05/11/2010 at 7:40 pm #

    I’m with most commenters on this one…it’s been unseasonably warm.
    But I have prepared myself for the cold to come (many merino tops…my favourites being the nice ones from Howies).

    Got myself a pair of overshoes…used them once or twice and decided they were so ugly looking that I’d rather my feet soaked through (a floral dress, purple tights and overshoes somehow don’t go). Though I’m guessing I’ll probably use them for really heavy rain times.

    Have most of my stuff from last winter though and I always keep an eye out for anything that is on sale throughout the year.

  26. Diana 05/11/2010 at 8:09 pm #

    I invested in a pair of Swrve softshell shorts – they are waterproof on the outside and fleece on the inside – coupled with knee high socks they are keeping me toasty on my commute! ( possibly too toasty…since the weather has been so mild!)

    My Altura jacket keeps my to half dry – and I got my new Bike Glow in the post this week so although my bike looks a bit like a christmas tree…at least people can see me!

    I think overshoes are my next investment for the soggy winter weather!

  27. Ryan 05/11/2010 at 8:17 pm #

    The shorter daylight hours hasn’t been much of an issue. I just have to remember to put my rear light on.

    Colder weather hasn’t been that bad. I live in Canada so the 4C is nothing compared to what we will be receiving in another month or two.

    There has been a bit more rain here then usual, I just make sure I wear my water proof jacket.

    I don’t wear anything special this time of year, though my techniques for riding is simple…Take it easy. I slow down when the roads are wet or snow covered and have no issues.

  28. Matt 05/11/2010 at 9:02 pm #

    In york there’s a constant grey cloud on the horizon but it doesn’t seem to rain much, so I can get away with wearing some summer shorts, fleece, scarf and pair of skiing gloves.

  29. John90 05/11/2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Given up trying to second guess whether it will be too warm and sweaty for waterproofs or too wet for light clothing. I’m sticking with a t-shirt and sleeveless hi-viz top until it gets too cold to tolerate. I’d ride topless if I thought I could get away with it, but in my case that would definitely be an offence against taste and decency.

  30. Higgs 06/11/2010 at 9:12 am #

    In terms of clothing have an endura jacket which keeps me warm and dry with only a baselayer or tshirt underneath. When commuting I do have waterproof leggings in case of a really bad downpour

    To be honest though it isn’t the weather that gets me down ( I like autumn/winter ) it’s the increase in car traffic, when it rains, that annoys the most with less space on the road (more cars crammed together) and for some reason the increase in the number of pedestrians taking risks crossing the road anywhere they like in an attempt to not get as wet as they would if they used the lights/zebra crossing.

    The weather is easy to cope with it’s the effect on other people that requires even more vigilance (so is a little more tiring)

  31. John 06/11/2010 at 10:51 pm #

    I always keep my Altura night vision jacket my Berghaus over trousers and a dry pair of socks in my pannier, any day of the year can become a monsoon nowadays.
    I just add a bobble hat, thin sweater and gloves to it for the winter months and how ever the day starts or ends they are with me as I need them.

    John.

  32. Tony 07/11/2010 at 11:10 am #

    Another Altura Night Vison jacket wearer here, + Helly Hansen Dry baselayer/or cheaper Campri baser layer + scott bib + night vison race overshoes (worn once) + bike gore gloves. Gloves were £££ but very warm/waterproof. Old goretex bottoms from by running days do if it rains. Been too warm this past week but all kitted out bar maybe a change in jacket…I find I cook in the Altura night vision jacket so may be tempted into buying a goretex equivalent.

  33. billy 07/11/2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I bought an Altura Pocket Rocket jacket the other week (I find my Nightvision too sweaty) and haven’t found myself in the rain since. To be fair, I am retired and don’t have to cycle :0)

  34. SM North London 08/11/2010 at 9:51 am #

    Winter definitely started this morning. Not sure what was worse, getting drenched or coping with riding into the wind.

    Need to get out the heavier jacket for sure now.

  35. Will 08/11/2010 at 10:12 am #

    Looking forward to when winter gets here next month and I can confidently wear cold weather gear every day without worrying about getting too hot. For now while its still late autumn and one week its cold and then the next its mild, I just accept that it is difficult to judge how much to wear in the mornings. Having said that, today was a bit of a no brainer. Sealskinz on my feet, Altura showerproof high-viz on my back and synthetic cycle gear everywhere else. And all of it hanging up all day drying out for the ride home this evening.

    Don’t care for the dark evenings though, even with three lights front, three lights rear, and reflective strips on the panniers, jacket, shoes, gloves, leggings, and helmet. Its not that I feel more vulnerable, it’s just the autumn colours of the commons on the way home look better in daylight.

  36. jonny 08/11/2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Ive been perversely looking forward to this weather since the end of summer sales – managed to pick up Altura waterproof jacket and trousers for under £100 for both.

    I’m back on the bike after injuring myself and can honestly say that the altura kit does exactly what it says on the tin!

    just need some full finger gloves now, who knew brake levers could get so cold!

  37. wee folding bike 08/11/2010 at 10:33 pm #

    Still wearing shorts most of the time unless I’m going to be standing around not going anywhere. Craghopper Kiwi zip offs let you have the best of both worlds.

  38. Steve 08/11/2010 at 11:38 pm #

    Well, in Bristol on Friday, I cycled through the heaviest rain I’ve seen for a long time. On a track on the side of a ring road, a tanker sent a wave of water so big it would have presented a challenge to the keenest surfer.

  39. Andreas 09/11/2010 at 7:17 pm #

    I live in Sweden and today I had my first real winter cycling trip for the season. Temperature around zero, strong winds and snowing. My GribGrab cap and buff with fleece fabric made the trip more enjoyable. I’m planning to put my studded tires on my bike tomorrow.

  40. David 10/11/2010 at 8:49 am #

    Cold this morning. Still wearing my shorts, although I find I cycle faster in this weather to keep warm, I will need to invest in a pair of gloves quite soon though.

  41. Diana 10/11/2010 at 11:28 pm #

    My bike gets dirtier a whole lot more – very noticeable. Not so easy to get it in my flat trying to not dirty the carpets on the way.

    Does anyone know what cyclists in cities like Copenhagen or Amsterdam wear in the rain? They have got it sorted with regard to stylish cycling, which is why I want to know.

    • Arthur 20/11/2010 at 8:25 pm #

      I don’t know about Copenhagen or Amsterdam but there’s heavy rain here in Luxembourg. I wear a goretex raincoat from which the water and mud slide right off. In terms of style, it’s a prada coat ;) but unbranded goretex will do the trick im sure! Over my legs i wear a very daggy pair of rain trousers over my suit pants…not very stylish but my coat hides them well and i slip them off before anyone in the office gets to see them

  42. Dave Krentz 24/11/2011 at 2:47 pm #

    I’m Canadian, living near Toronto, and it’s been a rather warm autumn so far. Usually by late November I’m saying “I’m sick of all the rain: let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” but perhaps this year we’ll skip the wet and head straight for the 10 cm snowfalls!

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