The Gear: What to wear while winter riding

  • Article by: TROY MELHUS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 1, 2008 - 7:40 PM

Not sure how to dress for winter riding success? Check out our tips from a year-round rider.


How to dress for winter riding.

Photo: Tom Sweeney, Star Tribune

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The Pearl Izumi AmFIB Lobster Glove. I use these hybrid mittens for everything from the slopes to the streets. They’re less bulky than regular mittens, but still offer the mitten bonus (where you can easily curl your fists at a moment’s notice) . ($65, at most bicycle outlets).

I ride with clipless pedals through most of the year. But on snowy cold days, I prefer waterproofed winter boots (any brand at most outdoor outfitters) with cycling socks layered with one pair knee-length Smartwool socks ($18 at most outdoors outfitters), which  wick perspiration away from the feet . Those who ride clipless in snow swear by Pearl Izumi’s AmFIB shoe covers .

The Pearl Izumi Gavia jacket. I’m wearing the 2004 model, the Vento, but Pearl Izumi’s newest version is the Gavia. It’s the same principle: thin and flexible, but windproof and water repellent. It absolutely rocks the upper torso.
($160, available at most bicycle outlets).


The Pearl Izumi AmFIB tights offer a water-proof front and a thermal back to ensure all-around leg warmth. ($100, available at most bicycle outlets).

I wear the UltraSensor Mesh Long-Sleeve Crew by Pearl Izumi for the top base layer that, again, wicks the layers of sweat off my body. For bottoms I just wear my knee-length bike shorts. On the coldest of cold days, I layer with lightweight Patagonia Capilene ($30-$35, tops and bottoms sold separately). If you want more colorful selections, check out the similar Hot Chillys. Amazingly light, thin and comfortable.

Under my helmet, I  cover my ears with a thin WindStopper fleece cap (North Face, $40) with earflaps. I cover my face with a WindStopper gaiter (North Face, $40). I prefer the gaiter instead of the Neoprene Thermal Face Mask ($12, most outdoors shops) because the mask obstructs my breathing. For eye protection, I wear normal sunglasses with yellow lenses to about 20 degrees. Below 20 degrees I wear ski goggles ($30-$80) with as light a lens as possible, given that I’ll likely be riding in some form of darkness.

Winter riding essentially means night riding. Hardcores travel with the full NightRider kit that will set you back a few hundred dollars. I ride with a blinking Sigma Sport Micro Light ($12) on my front handlebars and on the back, Planet Bike Super Flash ($30, batteries included).

To protect against backsplash while riding in the slush. ($15)
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