Cycling in Winter
Keep your feet, hands, and head warm!
Cycling in the winter can be an enjoyable, albeit challenging, task for any athlete. The trick is to stay warm and comfortable. Besides the upper and lower body, there are three distinct areas that deserve special attention to keep you going on those cold winter days. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /?>
Keeping your feet warm begins with a properly fitting pair of shoes. Restricted blood flow can occur if the shoes are too tight. You?ll need a thicker-than-usual pair of socks. Polypropylene sock liners work well as they transport sweat away from the skin in addition to providing warmth. On severely cold days, consider a pair of wool socks. Booties are a common accessory for cyclists. Their added layer buffers wind and moisture and gives added warmth to the feet. For extreme cold or sensitive feet try <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /?>
Because of reduced circulation, keeping the fingers and hands warm can be difficult. Mittens provide the most warmth but at the expense of dexterity compared with gloves. Lobster gloves provide a happy medium?slightly better grip but a little less warmth than mittens. Some models feature five inside fingers slotted into separate pockets allowing you to steer, brake, and hold on simultaneously. Regular glove liners also work well in providing protection from moisture and increasing warmth.
Maybe the most important thing you can do as a cyclist to keep warm is to cover your head underneath your helmet. When the weather is mild, consider a cap or headband, and when it gets considerably colder look into a thin winter hat made of fleece or wool. A balaclava is a great way to protect your entire face and head for those bitterly cold days fraught with low wind chills. Not only does it wick moisture, but also protects your face and mouth, keeping your breath warm. Another important task is eye protection. Look into a quality pair of wrap-around shades to protect the eyes entirely and keep out the wind and debris common on cold, windy days.
Although riding in the winter takes a little more motivation and preparation, it?s a season any cyclist can ride through with the proper gear and clothing. Just follow these tips for a good-quality ride next time it?s cold and windy outside.