COLD WEATHER GUIDE
With fat bikes becoming more popular, we forget about the
days when snow would put an abrupt end to winter riding. We
now find ourselves floating atop said snow on 5-inch tires that
take little notice of what terrain they’re riding on. Not only do they
make winter trail riding a blast, but as long as the snow isn’t too
deep, fat bikes allow riders to cross areas where trails do not exist
without leaving the impact that would be felt in summer months.
Buying a secondary bike solely for winter riding may not sound like the
most financially responsible decision, but then again, it just might be if
you live in an area where winter seems to last longer than summer.
Wool always wins: It’s hard to beat wool when it comes to
warmth and comfort in all situations. It’s on your side whether
temps are hot or cold. It doesn’t mind being wet. In other words,
it’s perfect for all types of riding.
Socks are one of the most
overlooked items in a winter-riding
setup. The thin cycling socks you
wear during the summer months
simply won’t cut it when the temps are
near freezing. While companies do offer
thin wool socks, the thicker offerings
will keep your toes warmer and provide a
padded buffer for comfort if your toes go
numb. It’s important to wear socks made of
wool not only because of their initial warmth,
but also because wool retains its insulation
properties when wet. The additional thickness
of the socks will also allow you to run your
shoes a bit looser, encouraging additional blood
flow that will keep your feet warm.
The warmest part of the day is an hour before the sun goes
down, but trails will be softest at this time.
Snow will be the crustiest in the morning and allow you to
stay on top, but it’s also the coldest time of the day.
During the soggiest months of the year, ride at night when
the trails have firmed up.
Prescription sport glasses with clear lenses will keep your
vision sharp at night.
Replace a helmet before it’s completely toast, and then use
it as a dedicated night-riding helmet with a light permanently
mounted on it.
If you don’t have a pair of wool socks, doubling up on
traditional cycling socks will do the trick in a pinch.
We don’t suggest decking yourself out to the point where
you look like you work for the transportation department, but
reflective gear is a safety advantage during night rides and
when riding in foul weather.
If you travel on roads to get to the trailhead, we strongly
suggest a rear light due to poor road conditions that can slow
the reaction time of drivers. ❏
The fun don’t stop: It’s impossible not to pedal around with
a massive smile when you
have the trails to yourself, in
your cozy gear, while the snow
passes beneath and you realize
winter riding is simply about
fun and nothing else.