There are myriad items you can add to your cycling arsenal to make riding through cold weather more pleasurable. This is a challenge our industry has fairly met with wool and down and DWR coated fabrics, not to mention Gore-Tex, Lycra and synthetic insulations. As the season begins to wane, I thought I’d make one last pitch for four items that are my winter ride-or-dies, the things I wear all the time, year after year, because it works for me on every level.
Some of these items I’ve reviewed before, but this is a chance to underline their quality and put them all in one place. Also, this is about the last point in the season I might consider adding winter-specific stuff to my collection, so this is also me drawing a line under winter and mentally moving into spring…even though we’re at least a month out from that here in New England.
OK. First, the most useful cold weather riding gloves I’ve ever owned, the Craft Siberian 2.0. If you don’t own a pair, you’re missing out. They come in full-fingered versions, as well as lobster. Billed as cross-country skiing training glove, they go everywhere and do everything well. Ride a bike. Shovel some snow. Walk a dog. Ride a bike again. I should probably buy a dozen pairs before they get discontinued for no reason I can imagine. They are $64.99.
Next, another Craft item, the Glide Wind Tights. These are also made for Nordic skiing, but they’re perfect for winter riding too. Wind front, check. Warm, check. Stretchy, comfortable and good for all-day riding. Check. Check. Check. I like that they’re not fully fitted. There’s a little give in them, which makes them more comfortable, more forgiving, and better able to hold warmth once you generate it. They are $129.99
Next is the Salomon Essential Wool base layer. I have one from a couple seasons ago that has a hood, which I love, but even without the hood, I would wear this item on every ride if I could. So comfortable. So warm. So not smelly. It’s $100, which is a lot for a base layer, unless you wear that base layer 40-50 times in a year, which I do.
Finally, the Sportful Fiandre Light No Rain Vest. I misidentified this as their Pro vest on The Paceline last week, so my apologies. When it’s cold, I use a windproof vest with pockets (that’s critical), under my top layer. I ride myself warm, strip the top layer and stow it in a vest pocket, along with my other stuff. This vest is absolutely windproof across the front, but breathes well from the back, so someone who generate a lot of heat, like me, can still maintain a reasonable riding temperature. It’s $140.
Obviously, there are other items I like for winter riding, but these are the ones that stand out, that I’d replace immediately if I lost or wore out. Each of them, I think, is good value for the money and you can expect to get many seasons use from. If you have lights-out favorites you’ve been riding in this winter, drop a plug in the comments below.