Win­ter bike gear: How to stay cruis­ing in the el­e­ments

In­vest in qual­ity op­tions to keep you warm and dry, and you won't need to spend as much

StarMetro Halifax - - DAILY LIFE - Grace Dick­in­son THE PHILADEL­PHIA IN­QUIRER

Although win­ter is in full swing, there's no rea­son to sud­denly stow away your bike. And un­til snow hits the road, you cer­tainly needn't swap your fresh-air com­mute for a slower and seden­tary one by car or pub­lic tran­sit.

The key to rid­ing through the win­ter comes down to the proper gear. Think of it this way: In­vest in qual­ity op­tions to keep you warm and dry, and you won't need to spend as much on pub­lic trans­porta­tion, or gas, for years to come.

Af­ter suit­ing up, win­ter cy­cling is all about ad­her­ing to a few ba­sic safety prin­ci­ples. Get those lights flash­ing (front and rear) and put these tips to use to keep you cruis­ing into spring.

— Use lay­ers with the right ma­te­ri­als. "With the right ap­parel, you can ride in any tem­per­a­ture or any cli­mate, and In­vest in qual­ity op­tions to keep you warm and dry, and you won't need to spend as much on pub­lic trans­porta­tion, or gas, for years to come.

you can do it com­fort­ably," says Sean Burger, prod­uct spe­cial­ist at Philadel­phia Bike­smith and Main Line Cy­cles, and a city com­muter of six

years. "Yes, it's get­ting very cold, but there are other places that are colder and peo­ple ride year-round — there's ap­parel de­signed for all temps."

Burger says a good rule of thumb is to find breath­able fab­rics that wick mois­ture away from the body while be­ing thick enough to strike a

bal­ance be­tween warmth and mo­bil­ity.

"I use a lot of merino wool from brands like Smart­wool and Ibex," says Burger. "It trans­fers the mois­ture from your skin into the next layer of your cloth­ing rather than soak­ing it up and leav­ing you wet and cold."

Burger's next choice is syn­thetic fab­ric used for a lot of ath­letic ther­mal gear by such com­pa­nies as Un­der Ar­mour, the North Face, and Patag­o­nia. Like merino wool, the fab­ric is de­signed to wick away per­spi­ra­tion, un­like cot­ton, which read­ily ab­sorbs it. (Cot­ton can ab­sorb about 25 times its weight in wa­ter).

"Syn­thetic gear can often be very thin yet also su­per­warm," notes Burger.

A wide range of ath­let­i­cand out­door-ori­ented brands make ap­parel from both merino wool and syn­thetic fab­rics. Whether it's fleece, a longsleeved shirt, or a vest, check the tag be­fore buy­ing.

— Don't un­der­es­ti­mate the power of a good-qual­ity jacket

Lay­er­ing is es­sen­tial, par­tic­u­larly for longer rides, but in­vest­ing in a heavy-duty win­ter jacket will make life eas­ier and more com­fort­able. Burger sug­gests one filled with down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.