6 Tips to Stay Warm While Biking

Photos by Liss Platt

Photos by Liss Platt

Stay Warm On A Bike, The Canadian Way

When it comes to instructions for how to stay warm while biking in the snow, I always make sure to ask an expert. This is a guest post from Claudia Manley. A transplanted Californian, Claudia currently lives in Canada and is no stranger to biking in all kinds of weather. In this guest post, she graciously shares her tips for staying warm. Make sure to check out her blog Proper Tension. --Melissa

I’ve been excited to see all the guides to winter cycling, and now that we’re deep into winter, I have a few suggestions to add, especially if you live where it actually snows.

1. Slather on the moisture

Here’s something I have yet to see on a list – moisturizer. Everyone knows that layers will help your body to stay warm, but your face also takes a beating in the snow and wind. Slather on the good stuff and avoid the chap. Hardcore commuters use Vaseline, but that might be a bit greasy for the stylish rider. Instead, consider using a heavier than usual moisturizer. (I wear the Yes To Carrots Intense Hydration Night Cream. Even in the daytime. --Melissa)

2. TLC for the Eyes

Wind and cold will get your eyes watering. Ride unprotected and end up with raccoon eyes by the time you arrive. Instead, try a pair of photochromic sunglasses. They keep the wind and snow out of your eyes while adjusting to changing light conditions. Avoid metal frames which end up freezing the bridge of your nose. This pair of leather-wrapped sunglasses from Serengeti blend style with functionality.


3. Move your legs and stay warm

I wear skirts and dresses pretty much year-round. Tights are good, but they’re not always enough to stay warm. One solution for local rides – leg warmers! You can knit up your own (I made these) or buy a cashmere pair for that off-duty ballerina on a bike look. For commuting, I throw an old pair of cycling tights over my regular tights and take them off when I get to my destination.

4. Keeping it clean

Even if you have fenders, you tend to get muck splashed on your boots and tights while biking in the snow. Make sure to saddle soap your leather boots as needed. When you're on the road, carry something like these shoe shine wipes so that you can wipe down your boots when you arrive.

5. Defeat the chill, stay warm with wool

Very high heels don’t work well in snowy or icy conditions, but there are plenty of stylish boot options out there. La Canadienne is a favourite of mine. In addition to good footwear, slip on thin wool or liner socks underneath your regular wool socks. Your toes will thank you for the additional insulation.

Biking in the snow

6. Sweat the small stuff 

Taking advice from Bike Pretty pal Sam at the Overattired Blog, I wear a wicking shirt under my top or dress to keep me dry and warm when commuting. I take it off when I get to my destination, and by the time I’m ready to go home, it’s dry and ready to wear again.

Many thanks to Claudia! She's so clever for knitting her own leg warmers. Do you have a tip for how to stay warm while biking in cold weather? Let us know!

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