The air seems to bite straight to the bone. The wind makes you cry like Miss America receiving her crown. The temperature makes your hands so cold you start to think that you might actually be better off without them.
As bad as all that is, I would still take it over using my trainer.
Winter cycling can be a challenge for sure, but don’t let it scare you into hibernation. It may be more difficult to enjoy than during the warm months, but if done correctly, you can still have a great time in the saddle in January.
My opening description is what most people think about when they think about riding their bike in the winter. But honestly, it doesn’t have to be that way. If you gear up correctly, the ride can be far better than that.
I recognize that not everywhere is as easy to bike in winter as it is in Southern Utah. That being said, if there is too much snow and ice where you’re at, come visit St. George and get some quality riding in! If you would like to see a good map of the area and our 60+ miles of bike paths go to our cycling page.
I’ve broken down the items I have added to my riding wardrobe since the temperatures have dipped by what I feel has been most important to least important. You may find your priorities line up differently, and that’s okay. But no matter what you feel is most important, it’s good to realize that you don’t have to spend a ton of money on special products to accomplish the same results.
In boxing, the saying goes, “Kill the body and the head will die.” If there was a cycling version, it would be something like, “Freeze the hands the cyclist quits.”
It happens fast, it happens easy and it happens often in winter. Your hands have little to no insulation and not great bloodflow to begin with. For those reasons they are first to go in the cold.
I already mentioned it, but this is the prime example of not needing to find a special product for cycling. Sure, there are special riding gloves for cold weather, and they offer some extra perks like extra padding to help with numbness from the vibrations of the road, but that doesn’t mean that a pair of leather work gloves won’t do the trick.
I actually held out on this one for a week or two. It got down into the mid to low 20s before I broke down and ordered one. Again, nothing fancy. I think I spent $10 for a thin mask. What a difference though! I went from riding one handed half the time with my hand covering my throat and chin area to not even noticing the cold on my face. It has been a huge improvement.
Sweatpants work fine, but they don’t cut the wind very well. They can also be very bulky and become a chain hazard, which is what really pushed me to getting some leggings.
When you combine the leggings with some padded shorts, you get a winning combination. The blood flow is massive to your legs, so they don’t really take a lot to keep them warm. On those extra cold mornings, I have added back the sweats on top of the other layers and sported the cuff in my socks. It’s really easy to overdo it and start sweating, though, so keep that in mind as you start on your fourth layer in some areas. Sweat leads to a worse situation than slightly underdressed and cold.
A lot of winter cycling comes down to the level of comfort you personally prefer. Keep comfortable in the winter saddle and remember—St. George has 54 degree highs in January and February, so start planning your cycling escape now!
Written by: Mike Carr – Online Marketing Mike is all things digital for the Tourism Office’s marketing. So if you have a question about the website look to him. When you don’t find him at his computer you’ll most likely find him on his bike or hiking up a trail in Zion.our own text