Editor’s Note: When temperatures hover around 0ºF (-18°C), it can be tricky to find the right setup to be warm without overheating. The right combination of layers and materials will keep you comfortable on a ride with friends or during friendly competition on race day. This week, Chelsea shares her favorite kit:
I have held a belief for a long time that the only way to get through cold Minnesota winters is to find an enjoyable way to stay active outdoors. Nothing beats exercising in fresh air when it comes to avoiding the winter blues.
I started as a cross country skier and transitioned into winter fat bike racing. Through years of trial and error in both sports, I have learned a ton about suiting up. Now, I have the honor of sharing with you what to wear for cycling at 0º-15ºF (-18° to -9°C).
How to Stay Comfortable Cycling in 0º Weather
Starting with my core, I wear my 45NRTH merino wool t-shirt. It’s comfortable, warm and wicks moisture away from my core — what’s not to love?
Next, I put on my Naughtvind Bibs over my wool t-shirt, then layer a zip-up wool jersey, or 2, over that. If I’m suiting up to go out for a fun ride with friends, I’ll probably wear 2 long sleeve jerseys since I’m probably not going to produce as much heat as I would racing in these temps.
I like to make sure that everything I layer over my bibs has zippers for easy access to my pockets. I do this in case I have to take a nature break at any point before, during or after my ride. Over everything, I’ll wear an insulating, wind-blocking mid-weight cycling jacket, like our Podiumwear race jackets, to keep my heat in and the wind out.
Sticking out From the Crowd
I like having a signature cycling accessory during the winter because it’s hard to tell who’s who out there when everyone is bundled up. So, on top of my head is a windproof Stove Pipe cap that can fit under my favorite purple Lazer Z1 helmet that I wear year-round.
Tucked into the neck of my jacket, I have recently started wearing a fleece neck gaiter due to its warmth and versatility. I can leave it around my neck, cover my chin, or even pull it up over my ears to double up with my hat. Usually, I’ll leave it between my lower lip and my chin in this temperature range, so that it doesn’t direct my breath up toward my glasses, which causes them to fog up.
Pro Tip: Wearing Glasses While Riding in 0-Degree Weather
In the winter, I like to wear glasses that have a photochromic lens, so they adjust to the amount of light in the environment. This comes in handy for the bright sun reflecting off the snow when I start my ride. Later, when there is no light because I stayed out too late and the sun has gone to bed, the lenses adjust so my vision remains clear.
Winter Cycling Footwear: 2 Steps for Protecting Your Feet
All you need for winter cycling footwear is a pair of wool socks and boots. Don’t overcomplicate it; this is a killer combination for my tootsies. Having a little extra room in the toe box is crucial for ensuring that my feet stay warm. It’s the same philosophy for my hands. Sturmfist 4 gloves do an amazing job of keeping my hands warm. When it’s 0º, it’s finally cold enough for me to start using them.
One extra item I like to carry on me is lip balm to protect my lips from the dry cold air. Another essential part of my kit is an insulated Stanley vacuum mug that fits in my water bottle cage. It’s always preloaded with a hot beverage, for breaks during my ride or to sip post-race. One of my hot indulgences is hot cocoa with a little bit of Rumple Minze Peppermint Schnapps.
Like Chelsea said, the best way to beat the wintertime blues is to get out there and breathe in the fresh air. Experiencing the joys of riding in cold weather will also help you find what to wear for cycling at 0º. Use Chelsea as your starting point and customize the right kit for you. Check out the other temp ranges here: