Top 10 winter cycling accessories

It only seems fitting after our top 10 summer cycling accessories, we do a roundup of our top 10 winter cycling accessories.

DHB EQ 2.5 winter cycling jacket

DHB Winter cycling jacket

This jacket is built for cold, wet weather. With seams taped and waterproof zips, as well as a high neck and long back, you’ll arrive dry at work. Unfortunately, for the high level of waterproofing the trade off is that things can get pretty hot inside the jacket. You can look at that as an advantage, as you don’t need many layers beneath or if you have a long commute and tend to get sweaty quickly, you can look at that as a disadvantage. You can cool things down a bit by opening the under arm vents.

You get a bunch of great extra features such as reflective panels, large pockets at the back and large zipped pockets at the front for your mobile phone, keys and anything else you need quick access to.

You’ll really be happy to have this jacket at the ready when the real cold and wet weather arrives. The DHB EQ 2.5 is a true winter busting jacket and fortunately, won’t set you back too much. There’s a discounts currently on the normal price, checkout the Wiggle website for more details.

EDZ Merino Gloves

If you are like me, then there’s nothing worse than getting cold hands, especially the fingers. More recently, I’ve started wearing a pair of liner gloves that goes beneath my cycling gloves. My hands are now more toasty and comfortable than they’ve ever been. I personally wear the EDZ Merino Gloves.

Poncho

poncho

Often favoured by cyclists as the wind blows up from beneath and you cover more of your body from the rain. You’ll typically find good ponchos in outdoor shops. For example, Cotswold Outdoors have a poncho for as little as £4. It’s a great item to have nearby, so you can throw over yourself and even your backpack. Plus it gives you that classic cyclist look.

Fibre Flare bike light

Fibre flare bike light

We’ve reviewed the Fibre Flare bike light previously and highly recommended it. It’s a light offering all round visibility and is highly flexible so you can either attach it to your clothing or your bike. It’s impressively bright and offers excellent battery life, although unfortunately it is not rechargeable.For winter, it’s the perfect light to keep you visible.

Beanie

Beanie

A good beanie is a necessity with the cold weather. I find wearing one makes an enormous difference to how warm I feel. Typically, I’ll put my beanie on at the start of the ride and then as things warm up, pull it off and put it in my pocket. It’s good to have nice easy layers such as this one that you can quickly remove. I’m a big fan of the ones that cover the ears too.

Waterproof helmet cover

Helmet cover

A reader recently asked me if there is such a thing as a waterproof helmet cover. A quick look on Amazon proved that there is such a thing. If you choose to wear a helmet, then this can be a great way to keep your head dry.

Vaseline

Vaseline

The cold weather is bound to bring out dry lips and these are never fun after a bike ride. It’s good to keep a stick of vaseline nearby in your saddle bag or jacket pocket.

Neck

Merino buff

Another easier layer to remove, as you get warm on your commute is a scarf. I’ve got a merino buff, which works really well.

Arm and leg warmers

We’ll be covering arm and leg warmers on Monday of next week on London Cyclist. A while back I got painful knees whilst cycling through winter and invested in a pair of knee warmers, which solved the problem. Our roundup will cover which ones we recommend.

New brake pads

Old and new brake pads

Winter is the perfect time to replace your brake pads and adjust them, so that when you pull your brake lever, your bike will quickly come to a halt. Your local bike shop should be able to replace them cheaply, or if you are pretty handy on the DIY front then you can buy a pair of new pads and fit them yourself.

Waterproof bag cover

Waterproof bag cover

Whilst panniers such as those sold by Ortlieb come with incredible waterproofing, most backpacks probably need a helping hand. You can buy waterproof bag covers in all outdoor shops and they’ll help keep water out your bag.

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17 Responses to Top 10 winter cycling accessories

  1. Steve A 30/10/2013 at 4:15 pm #

    For many people, a helmet cover works better than a regular rain hat because the water doesn’t drip into one’s eyes as much and the helmet provides better breathing. Next time it rains, I’m going to rejoin the “helmet brigade.”

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention balaclavas.

    • Jordan C 02/11/2013 at 12:29 pm #

      +1 for balaclavas, so so useful during last winter from short commutes to 200km rides

  2. James N 01/11/2013 at 11:13 am #

    I would have to add overshoes as with cold fingers I need my feet to be dry and warm
    Merino wool baselayer is a fantastic way of keeping the body warm and dry. I use the icebreaker 200 which I have had for 5 years.
    Winter riding is a challenge and if well protected is fun.

  3. George Debono 01/11/2013 at 1:59 pm #

    Why are most, if not all, accessories as illustrated here, BLACK ???

    I like bright colours on a bicycle and not funereal greys and blacks.

    I have commuted by bike for years in Scandinavia and did beautifully in seriously sub-zero temperatures wih “ordinary” clothes – basically ‘normal’ warm trousers and zip-up roll-neck pullover (thickness according to temperature) under a good anorak-style (brightly coloured) so-called ‘wind- cheater’ (usually red, or white & also good for skiing) — and, most important, a comfy fur hat and good gloves – best of all was a huge luxurious pair of lamb-skin mitts which I bought in Finland.

  4. Martin Gillett 01/11/2013 at 2:28 pm #

    Hi,

    Yes George has a good point.Actually, I do think luminous yellow is boring but it is what stands out. Why can’t clothing manufacturers show a little more flair? Look at what Rapha produces. Couldn’t we have more clothing in luminous colours other than yellow? Grey and black don’t cut it at this time of year.

    • Rob Eggleshaw 01/11/2013 at 7:33 pm #

      you might not be as correct in making the statement that luminous yellow stands out as you think –> http://eprints.qut.edu.au/47281/1/

      interesting research here.

      Reflective clothing is your friend especially on moving limbs as the brain will subconsciously recognise human bionics before consciously recognising a person on a bike.

      colourful clothing is only as good as a contrasting background.

  5. Nick 01/11/2013 at 3:55 pm #

    My friend had a rather nasty accident slamming his (tight) brakes on and went over the handlebars. I have had my fair share of skids, thankfully rear wheel only.

    For this reason I don’t like my brakes too tight, as i’d prefer to stay in some form of control should I have to slam the brakes on. Leaves and wet winter roads increase the skid risk and if you slam your brakes on and lock the front wheel you’ll be on the floor before you realise.

    personal preference I guess, I’m sure my friend still keeps his sharp!

    • George Debono 02/11/2013 at 12:58 am #

      Nick !

      Funny comment – a friend of mine once sneezed and involuntarily squeezed his brakes at the same time & took a header over the handlebars !

  6. Kay 01/11/2013 at 7:39 pm #

    I’m gobsmacked that you use the phrase, ‘If you choose to wear a helmet.’ If you don’t you choose to be an organ donor. A beanie fits under a helmet or better still buy a helmet liner….

    • MJ Ray 02/11/2013 at 8:05 pm #

      Helmets are designed to protect against falling off your bike. Nothing more, nothing less. Most bike fatalities are due to motor vehicles and have been for a long while: helmets don’t help with that. Up to you whether you think you may fall off your bike unaided: if so, then a helmet’s a good idea.

      • Chris R 03/11/2013 at 4:14 am #

        You are so very wrong. I was hit by a car, went flying through the air and when I hit the road my head bounced. My helmet split from the back to the top of the crown but my head stayed intact!

        I have also come off when I hit a patch of ice. Again, my helmet – not my unprotected head – took the brunt of contact with the ground. Unfortunately my hip was not so protected and broke.

        No helmet, no brains!

        • MJ Ray 03/11/2013 at 2:37 pm #

          I’m not wrong. You got lucky. Being hit by a car is absolutely not what bike helmets are designed to help with, not a situation they’re tested for and some helmets have explicit disclaimers on them about colliding with cars. Moreover, splitting in two is a catastrophic failure because a helmet should compress and cushion the head, not split.

          Falling off on ice is more the sort of situation that they do help with. If it’s icy, a helmet may become a better idea. Most of the time, you’re at far more risk from other vehicles than the ground, though.

  7. George Debono 02/11/2013 at 12:56 am #

    Rob !
    My feeling is that there is a huge difference in perception/ awareness of cyclists between countries.

    The difference between UK (in the 1990s) and, say, Denmark where I lived for a number of years .
    was huge, in my experience.

    I never felt threatened in Denmark (or Germany or Switzerland) even in pitch darkness but on returning to the UK (outer London ) got so scared that I felt obliged to resort to using a reflective Sam Brown and reflective bicycle straps (instead of bicycle clips) by the frequent close shaves. So, up to a point this supports the finding in this study but it also depends to a great extent on motorist attitude & conditioning. In Scandinavia and many other European countries driver awareness and caution is higher so that wearing of reflective devices is less important.

    It is also my experience (and that of many) from driving my car that pedestrians wearing dark clothes are less easily visible in headlight beams (eg on a zebra crossing) , that those wearing light coloured clothing

    In any case, I think the bottom line is that it is much more fun if you wear jolly clothing – I had a wonderful collection of brightly coloured beanies etc – not to mention those great fur hats… I also had a bright blue poncho- style cycle cape…. Not a horrid grey thing…

  8. MJ Ray 02/11/2013 at 8:07 pm #

    I’m surprised there’s no wind stopper jacket in this selection. Best discovery of the year, for me.

    Buffs are better than balaclavas: just pull it up if it gets colder.

    • Vincent 06/11/2013 at 12:52 pm #

      MJ Ray > I’m surprised there’s no wind stopper jacket in this selection. Best discovery of the year, for me.

      +1. I’m also looking for a good, bright yellow, breathable wind-stopper that folds small into my bag. It doesn’t have to be waterrproof since a rain cape takes care of that.

      • MJ Ray 07/11/2013 at 3:31 pm #

        I can’t help you if you really want bright yellow (I don’t like it much – I’d rather add reflective sashes and cuffs in low-light), but Tenn’s black+reflective-white windstopper is currently £15

  9. Vincent 06/11/2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Andreas > Often favoured by cyclists as the wind blows up from beneath and you cover more of your body from the rain. You’ll typically find good ponchos in outdoor shops. For example, Cotswold Outdoors have a poncho for as little as £4. It’s a great item to have nearby, so you can throw over yourself and even your backpack. Plus it gives you that classic cyclist look.

    This is not a good product for cyclists, as it’s a dark material with no reflective stripes. This is all the more important since the rain makes cyclists even less obvious to motorists.

    Get a bright yellow rain cape : http://www.bit.ly/187ecc6

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