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. Here are three must have accessories for winter bicycling.
I rely on these “performance” basics to block wind and lock in warmth during the winter months. The good news for New York City commuters: They come in basic blacks and grays, 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 Apparel Universal Helmet Cap, $35.99 – 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.
Terry Split-Mitt Gloves, $59 – These marvels are wind- and water-proof thanks to Windstopper fabric backing. Primaloft Thinsulate keeps hands toasty. The split design helps keep fingers warm while allowing movement and articulation for shifting and braking. The extended cuff is adjustable to seal out drafts, and reflective piping on the shell helps keep you visible.
Velocio Winter Wool Socks, $28 – There are loads of choices out there, but these super-fine merino wool socks, with their fully padded footbeds and toes for added warmth without bulk, are my favorites all winter long.
Readers: What are your favorite keep-warm accessories for the bike lanes?
top photo: velojoy, others courtesy of manufacturers