Distance riding in cold weather

Okay, Nathan, Scot, Andy, and all the rest,

It’s starting to get cold, but I don’t want to stop doing my distance riding. I guess there’s some special cold-weather clothing you can get for this sort of thing, but I don’t know anything about it.

Do you guys do a lot of cold weather riding or do you just pack it in during the wintry months. Or does it just not get cold in Cali-frickin-fornia? I’m sure Andy and others have to deal with the cold.

Advice me up, sirs.

Layering is the key, do your x-country ski? I really like capilene agains the skin. I ride in snowy cold weather, and usually have three layers on upper body and two on lower. Those funky shoe covers work well, and a headband is first then beannie second for head gear. Gloves or mittens work. I like the Patagonia line of clothing, and there layering system, and being on ski patrol my price is affordable. You can do better on price elsewhere, I would think. Hope that helps.

Sorry, Nick, you won’t like the answer! Of course we ride all year. It’s sometimes possible to ride in January with no shirt though. For the last several years, commuting to work pretty much 5 days a week all winter (missing the couple of really pouring days), I have been going bare legs (shorts only). We have about 3 days of frost a year at my house, and for 6 miles I can stand it. I knew you would hate that.


Andy will defintely have some better input for you though.

Re: Distance riding in cold weather

Check out this site. http://www.rusa.org. The folks involved in Randonneurring
ride bicycles for long distances in all types of weather and they tend to be
self sufficient, that is they don’t rely on a support vehicle to bail them out
of scrapes. I sometimes fantisize about doing the long cross state rides on a
unicycle like the bicyclists do but so far work prevents me from doing the
serious training needed for such events.

Generally layering is the way to go. It allows to you to adjust your clothing
to the conditions you will find. It will take some experimentation to find the
right combinations. Backpackers and bicyclists like wool, and some of the new
microfibers are great. Your budget will help you decide what to wear too.


>Do you guys do a lot of cold weather riding or do you just pack it in
>during the wintry months. Or does it just not get cold in
>Cali-frickin-fornia? I’m sure Andy and others have to deal with the
>Advice me up, sirs.

Where there is a wheel, there is a way.

Re: Distance riding in cold weather

Try IceBike for any cold weather ridding, really cold weather ridding. These guys ride the Iditarod trails and on frozen rivers, if anybody knows riding in the cold weather, it’s them. :astonished: :sunglasses:

It is some much fun when the weather is colder than -20 degrees Centigrade (-4 fahrenheit). If you ride your face freezes instantly. Last winter I went biking (didn’t know unicycling yet) and it was really cold. I could only ride for a mile or so because my face didn’t like the cold.

You need long sleeved cycling or hiking tops, decent gloves, either long cycling trousers or combats over cycling shorts and most of all waterproof socks. Oh and a waterproof of some kind. If it’s really cold you need some kind of hat that you can wear under your helmet, bike shops sell them.

Waterproof socks are grrrreat. Everyone should get a pair for winter riding.

Buy this stuff from either a hiking or a bike shop, often hiking stuff is cheaper and just the same, except cycling shorts/longs which are only sold at bike shops.


If it’s that cold the remedy is actually quite simple. Ski goggles and a neoprene face mask, together with a medium-weight balaclava under your helmet, will take care of face problems. I freestyled last winter with this combination and the biggest problem I had was my face getting too warm. I had to keep swapping protection to stay comfortable. With a breeze from distance riding the combo would have been just right.

Yes that’s quite good advice. For some reason I haven’t bought a mask yet. Maybe I should look for one. Ski goggles are also nice but those you need only when biking because of higher speeds. I think if youre unicyclinc and wear a mask you don’t need goggles. Still, not a bad option if you have them.
Maybe a cap that covers your whole face (what is it called in english?) with holes for eyes would be good when unicycling.

Cold weather riding.

Layering is key! The big problem with cold weather, if you can believe it, is actually overheating. Most cold weather cloths are wind and waterproof. Once you start to exercise your body will produce heat to keep warm. This warmth will be trapped by your clothes and if you don’t take off layers to cool down you can overheat. The big thing to remember is that your body looses 90% of its heat threw your head. If your wearing a touque most of that stays in. I rode in Winnipeg, Manitoba one January when it was -38c, which is uh, uh, really freakin cold in farenhiet!

Re: Cold weather riding.

That’s cool. :roll_eyes: The F and C scales cross at -40, so actually -38C is almost the same as -38F.

Re: Distance riding in cold weather

It is now called “Calleyfohhneeya” and don’t you forget it! :slight_smile:

Depending where you live, CA can be pretty not-cold in the winter. I think Sacramento is actually a little colder than the Bay area in winter, though it’s a lot hotter in the summer! But I grew up in Michigan, so I know what cold is.

Compared to bicyclists, you might not have to cover up quite as much. We work a little harder, and we go quite a bit slower. So you don’t get as much wind, and you generate lots of body heat.

Always start with layers, as previously mentioned, but make sure you have the ability to vent yourself once you’re warmed up. Mostly it will probably be a matter of covering your extremeties, arms, legs, head, with less worry about your core area. As long as you keep moving and are getting a good workout, your central body should remain warm.

Sorry that’s not very specific. But just remember, you’ll be warm as long as you’re getting a good workout. Ride on!