Summer is so over.
If the BTA Bike Commute Challenge did it’s job, then there are a lot of new bike commuters out there and a few of them might even be crazy enough to keep riding through the winter.
Since I’ve been doing the majority of my regular commuting by bike for over 20 years* I thought I’d put up a quick list of my tools for staying warm and dry.
From head to toe, here are:
- Little Package Wool Cap with Ear Flap
- What can I say about Caroline’s caps? They fit great, they keep you warm even when wet and the earflaps on the winter cap are like a hug for your head.
- Showers Pass Elite 2.0 Jacket
- Yes, it’s expensive. But I’m going into my 6th season with the same jacket and it still keeps me dry.
- Shower’s Pass Club Convertible Rain Pants
- At long last I had to give up my 12 year old Burleys. I nursed them through an extra 2 years because I tested an early version of these pants and didn’t like the fit or the performance. Finally, last spring, I tried on a pair and found the fit to be more accurate and the design better for allowing me to move freely. I probably went back and forth 10 times deciding between a medium or a large (literally, I switched trying them on 10 times). I went with the large for more freedom of movement and didn’t regret it. This will be my first full season with these pants.
- UPDATED January 17, 2015 I just added some Swrve fleece lined winter trousers to my arsenal and I don’t plan to take them off until early March. Warm, water resistant and super cozy without the constricting feel I get from wool leggings under other pants.
- Gore Windstopper Gloves
- These are a great shell glove that work for me down to about 45 degrees before I pair them with a nice liner inside (more on that in a sec). They are NOT waterproof, but hold up fine in a light rain and will dry out by the time you leave work.
- Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier WxB Glove
- These gloves were a revelation last season and I have to give credit for the find to my lovely wife Jess. I wore these in the Noah’s ark level downpours and turned up BONE DRY every time. With a liner glove, these were perfect for cold rain down to 35 degrees or so. In warmer rain, I ditch the liner gloves and don’t over heat.
- Smartwool Liner Gloves
- The secret sauce to make either of the other two gloves proof against just about everything winter can throw.
- Last but most important, for my feet, I used to go with a shoe cover strategy, but getting them on and off is really annoying (though not as annoying as cold, wet feet). In the last two years, I’ve switched to wearing a waterproof pair of keen boots (kind of like these). This is when the size large rain pants pay off, as they hang down low enough that I rarely have leakage problems.
*Holy crap, I’m old.