How to dress for winter bike commuting

Dressing for your bike commute in winter is a tad more complicated than summer.

When the temperature drops, riding a bike to work gets a tad more complicated. Especially in North America, where bike commuting is sometimes viewed more as an athletic pursuit than a simple transportation mode.

That’s why, in this video, I look at two ways of dressing for bike commuting. Version 1 we’ll call Dress for your Destination. In this approach, no special clothing is used. We simply ride a bike to work, with a few accommodations for the weather.

In Version 2, called Dress for the Journey, we gear up in winter athletic wear — from shoes to balaclava, this is the method in which we layer up like an athlete and ride hard.

Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, so check out the video and decide which method works best for you.

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Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling. 


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  1. Vince

    Love your content, Tom. I share your posts and tell others about your book regularly!

    Thank you for this novice friendly overview on dressing for winter cycling. I shared on my social network to encourage others to winter cycle.

    As a veteran winter cyclist, I’d like to ask for your advice regarding the “dress for your destination” in terms of dealing with road spray and icy rain, etc…

    I “dress for the journey” and pack a change of clothes with cleanup gear because I never know what the slush/precipitation situation will be.

    Thanks again for your enjoyable posts!

    • Thank you for reading and sharing! I think dressing did your destination works best in places where there is food bike infrastructure. If you are worried about road spray, I think the best solution is a good pair of fenders on your bike. For icy rain, studded tires are amazing. Also, don’t feel the need to ride every day, if conditions don’t allow. Just do what you can. Hope that helps!

    • David

      Decent fenders do an awesome job of keeping your clothing clean!

  2. Vince

    Good point! I have fenders on my Fatbike, but they’re not great.

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