Winter Biking is a Breeze with the Right Gear

When winter comes to Greater Prescott, some activities do wind down, but many others are fine to stick with through all but the coldest or snowiest days. That’s what a lot of people love about this place. 

Cycling falls into that category for anyone who can maneuver through traffic and around the occasional icy hazards. All it takes is a bit of adjustment in what you wear — though not as much as you might think. 

Riding 10 to 20 mph on a bicycle while exposed to 30- to 50-degree temps sounds chilly, but your body heats up after just a few minutes. Think about judicious layering and avoid overdressing, though everyone has their own threshold for “too cold.” Here are some ideas to get you started: 

Base layer — Start out with a basic synthetic material like such as spandex, nylon or polyester, or you can try wool as well. The goal is to wick your perspiration away so you don’t get soaked, from which you can get too cold or even risk hypothermia. This works for your pants as well as your shirt.

Top layer — For outerwear, a soft-shell jacket usually works the best, allowing a little bit of wind to penetrate and cool you off without letting you get overexposed. A vest can suffice on warmer winter days to keep your core warm without restricting your arm movement. 

Headwear — A wool stocking cap or head liner under your helmet usually does the trick, though some riders prefer helmet covers. A hat or cover with a visor can protect your face and glasses. Invest in a good balaclava (ski mask) for the coldest days. 

Gloves — Biking gloves with good rubber grips are a good idea for hanging onto slippery handlebars. Make sure you can operate shift levers and other equipment safely before you ride. 

Shoes and socks — Most clipless biking shoes have a close fit that limits the kind of socks you can wear. Slightly oversized shoes or hiking boots with thick, warm socks generally are good adaptations.