7 Winter Riding Must-Haves
Just because the weather’s gotten colder doesn’t mean the joyrides have to stop! Getting out there when the temps get frosty and the icicles start forming is all about keeping cozy and staying upright—both easier than you might think.
How do we make our winter riding safer and more comfortable? We visited year-round cyclist and One on One Bicycle Studio marketing manager Zach Dolinaj to find out.
THICK GLOVES: “The number one choice for a cycling-specific glove,” says Dolinaj, “is the 45NRTH Sturmfist 4.” Minnesota-made and designed for temperatures down to 0 degrees, the Sturmfist is water- and wind-resistant, with a Merino wool lining for extra warmth. It’ll insulate your hands against rough winter conditions and keep your fingers cozy.
WARM BOOTS: Dolinaj recommends 45NRTH’s Wölvhammer and Wølfgar boots. These rugged, mountaineering-inspired boots will keep your toes toasty down to 0 and -25 degrees, respectively. “If you’ve already got a pair of old winter boots or hiking boots,” says Dolinaj, “those’ll work, too, with a double layer of wool socks.” Try out different boot and sock combos to see what keeps you warm.
WOOLY SOCKS: Sock-wise, says Dolinaj, “it’s all about wool everywhere.” One on One has socks from 45NRTH and Giro, as well as One on One Bicycle Studio–branded socks with a nice thick footbed. No matter which brand you buy, says Dolinaj, “Merino wool is the way to go. You pay a premium for it, but Merino will keep you warm even if your feet get sweaty. Wool insulates even when it’s wet,” unlike cotton and synthetic fabrics.
LAYERS GALORE: “Have layers on,” says Dolinaj, “and add or remove when you get cold or hot.” He recommends against down material, which doesn’t insulate if it gets wet. “On a 10-mile commute, a down jacket will fill up with sweat and you’re gonna get cold.” He recommends layering with wool and wearing a North Face Thermoball jacket up top, a combination that will be “more insulating if you get sweaty, and you will get sweaty.”
TOUGH TIRES: Dolinaj recommends installing a studded tire on your front wheel. The front, he says, “is where all your major crashes will come from. If your front tire loses grip, you’ll go down hard. A studded tire up front will keep your wheel locked and close to the ground.” Even with a studded tire, you could fall, but it’s much less likely and the feeling of stability you get really improves your winter riding experience. Popular studded tire brands include 45NRTH, Nokian and Schwalbe.
JUST ABOUT ANY HELMET: Fitting a winter hat under your everyday helmet works just fine for cold weather, says Dolinaj. His favorite made just for winter riding, however, is the Giro Timberwolf, featuring vents you can open and close depending on the temperature. “It’s also got padded ear covers and a fleece liner on the inside so you stay warm.” The main thing is “to keep your head warm and cover your ears.”
LUBE + LOVE: It’s crucial to keep your drivetrain clean and lubricated in the winter, says Dolinaj, and he recommends weekly TLC: “Just get an old rag and run the chain backwards to get the grit and grime off...apply the lube, let it soak in a little bit, then rub it all off with the rag.” Salt wreaks havoc on bike parts, says Dolinaj, and a little maintenance can prevent your beauty from getting rusty.
This story was produced in partnership with One on One Bicycle Studio, our shop partner for the month of November. Check out more great gear and the cafe menu at oneononebike.com, or better yet, visit them at 117 Washington Avenue N in Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood. The One on One year end sale is on now!