Winterize Your Riding Pt. 2

In our first article on Winter Riding we aimed to set mental expectations for getting out in cold weather, a little “know before you go.”  Before digging into winter maintenance of your ebike, we’ll first suggest some tips to help your body, your main motor, thrive in freezing workout conditions.  This is the meat of "winterizing." 

Getting this right will set you up for many miles of frigid smiles in your winter wonderland.  But, get it wrong and you'll be fighting frozen fingers, toes, nose and ears, not to mention stiff knees and hips.  The beginner will err toward too much insulation, but each person's body will ultimately define how much or little clothing is needed for the adventure.  Embrace the learning curve and you'll be able to adapt your cycling kit to your unique needs.   (You'll also learn that a 10-degree drop from 45-35F is much less significant than from 25-15F degrees.)  

  • Wool, not Down.  The goal is to be comfortable once you’re warmed up, not at the start, lest you become a sweaty mess in less than 20 minutes.  Sweat and down are enemies, but wool still breathes and insulates while wet.
  • Dress in layers.  Just like everything else in winter.   You’ll want to have proper base, mid and outer layers to keep you warm and protected from the weather and potentially wet roads.  Having breathable but wind/water resistant pants, jacket, gloves, beanie, neck gaiter and shoes (or insulated/waterproof shoe covers) should do the trick.  Pay close attention to your fingers and toes; thick wool hiking socks and light duty snow gloves can be digit savers.  In some areas, bike pogies may be necessary to keep your hands warm.  
  • Embrocation.  Basically, embrocation is a warming lotion that takes the sting out of your warm up miles.  Generally applied to the legs, various companies offer various levels of heat.
  • Hydration.  Believe itor not, you’ll still be sweating through freezing temps.  Fill an insulated water bottle with warm (not hot) tea, and add a little honey to sweeten your ride.  
  • Misery Loves Company.  Ride with a friend.  That waning motivation to get out and ride can be kickstarted with the promise of suffering together (or fear of swift retribution if you ditch your buddy).

The final stop in our Winter Riding Series focuses on maintaining for your ebike as you roll through the winter miles.  If you missed our initial post on General Cold Weather Riding Expectations, you can find it here.