With threats of the first snow on the Front Range tonight, Rachel and Vera thought this winter riding checklist would be a good one to promote. Not only do you need to give yourself at least an additional 15-20 minutes to get ready for winter time riding, you also need to give yourself an evening searching for your winter riding gear! Don’t get left out in the cold!
Winter Riding Check List
- Three top layers: wicking baselayer (no cotton, Curve Inc makes great ones!), long sleeved jersey or short with armwarmers, jacket or vest (sometimes both!).
- Bottom layers: below 40-liner plus winter tight; above 40-winter tight; above 55-shorts and knee warmers (embrocation is your friend)
- Head protection: ear warmers, hat. Make sure it fits under your helmet comfortably or you will develop a headache 15 minutes into your ride.
- More Upper-body protection: neck gator or balaclava if below 40.
- Gloves: everyone is different but wool liners under gloves can help, or always carry rubber surgical gloves for emergencies! My favorite trick and easy to pack. You can see what happens to Roberta, Rachel and Vera when one forgets their gloves and decides to race in the snow and freezing, wet temps.
- Handwarming Packs: Not just for hands-great for all body parts!
- Booties: Preferably wind stopper or water proof because snow melt will get your feet wet. If 50 or above, go for toe warmers.
- Socks: Defeet Wool socks and silk liners help keep the feet warm. If you have Shimano shoes, make sure to tape up your air hole!
- Food: Bring food that won’t freeze. Lara Bars, liquid Powerbar shots, bananas, sandwiches, waffles! Bring food that you’ll eat and that you like.
- Money: always bring cash money honey and a debit card! Keep $5-10 in your saddle bag at all times. You never know when you’ll need it.
- Flat kit: handpumps are good in the winter. I tend to get more flats in winter. Also have at least 1 tube and a patch kit or 2 tubes. A heavier set of tires might also help prevent flats.
- Hydration: Water and electrolyte-type drink. Insulated bottles (polar bottles) can keep your water from freezing.
- Time: Give yourself at least an hour to get all of this ready for the first couple of winter rides. It takes a long time to get out the door with all this stuff. Don’t be late for the group ride-it’s RUDE and in violation of Rule #87.
- Water/Snow protection: Rain jacket if you have room. Pearl Izumi or Craft make a good lighter wind/water resistant jacket that wads up to the size of a tennis ball.
- Sunglasses: your year-round riding gear! If you need goggles, you should turn around and ride inside or go skiing instead:)
- Maintenance: Make sure you’re cleaning your bike after each ride and drying it off (chain, moving parts, relubing chain). If you leave a mess on your bike, you’ll find you’ll need to replace parts much sooner than later.
- Optionals: Fenders if it’s super slushy could be a good addition to your riding gear. Also, I’ve always wanted to get my hands into a pair of bar mitts just to try.