In general, I follow the philosophy that regular clothes should suffice for city riding. After all, if cycling is an ordinary part of one’s day, then why should it require special apparel? However, when temperatures plummet, there’s no denying that the technical fibers used for road cycling gear can provide superior protection and comfort — especially to vulnerable extremities. In short, some cross-dressing may be in order.
So I thought I’d share the three “performance” pieces that I rely upon to block wind and lock in warmth during the winter months. The good news for New York City commuters: They come in basic black, so they coordinate with everything we own. Although the following aren’t the least expensive of their kind, I consider the fact that I’ve owned them for several years a testament to their durability and value.
Gore Bike Wear Helmet Cap, $33 – This soft, lightweight cap is so impervious to the elements that I have to turn up the elasticized hem slightly in order to hear traffic sounds (despite the presence of small ear holes). The Windstopper® fabric not only insulates and provides wind protection, but, with its slick finish, also seems to minimize “helmet hair.” Because this liner is unlovely on its own (i.e. it makes me resemble a very tall Munchkin), I carry a favorite wool hat to slip on when I park my bike and continue on foot to additional stops.
Craft XC Split-Finger Gloves, $31.49 - These warm, fleece-lined marvels are waterproof and windproof. They fit snugly, but the split finger allows movement and articulation of my fingers. Also includes mesh neoprene cuffs and reflective piping.
Capo Euro Winter Wool Socks, $18 - There are loads of choices out there, but these super-soft, medium-gauge merino wool socks, with their reinforced, heavier gauge foot bed, are my favorites all winter long.
In addition, some fun and fashionable picks to help seal the drafty gap between your chin and winter jacket can be found in this recent post.
What are your favorite keep-warm accessories for the bike lanes?