Cold Weather Commute

Yesterday and today were probably the coldest rides I’d ever taken. There was some fun snow on the ground on Thursday on the way to work. My years of practicing 100 yard fishtail skids on gravel roads when I was a kid came in handy keeping myself upright around corners. The cool and dry air seemed to slow me down a bit, and the westerly winds made my evening rides especially brutal. My only complaint wasn’t with the weather, but with the fact that every time the roads get a little slippery, invariably somebody will slide into the jersey wall on I83, and billions of late-for-work commuters come rushing in to every side street and alleyway trying to get downtown. For the last time people, slippery roads? leave earlier. drive slower. In comparison to the rides of some people I read about on the internet, my little commute is nothing. It feels good to keep active, even for just a little bit. I have my clothes dialed in really well. Not all of it is my favorite, but I’m warm, and I got most of it for 60% off or more…


  • Layer 1 – smartwool thin ‘next to skin’ baselayer shirt. I got these on closeout a year ago and wish I had brought a truckload. I’ve had one of these on every day since November 10
  • Layer 2 – smartwool midweight crew – also nice, but not my favorite. In slightly warmer weather I go right to…
  • Layer 3 – longsleeve Cotton T. Nothing fancy, My favorite is the freebie I got at the Seagull Century.
  • Layer 4 – Gap or similar Lightweight sweater – slightly warmer weather and I skip right to…
  • Layer 5 – Sugoi Waterproof windbreaker shell


  • Gordini waterproof gloves – I’d never heard of this brand before, but I got them because they were 70% off and I wanted 1 pair of gloves that was warm and fully waterproof. I’d post the link, but it looks like they already sold out


  • Mountain Hardwear dome hat
  • Smartwool Neck gaiter – I like combining a neck gaiter and a hat better than a balaclava because it’s more adjustable to me, and if it warms up during the day after a cold morning ride, I can just leave the gaiter off. It’s very warm, but I’m not crazy about breathing through it, so I do a lot of adjusting it along my ride – pulling it down when I’m going with the wind or up hill, and pulling it back up during descents and headwinds.
  • Native eyewear sunglasses – with amber lenses in low light. Don’t forget eye protection.


  • Danner Hiking boots – waterproof and warm. I save these for snow and the coldest days.
  • Smartwool knee High skiing socks.  – whenever I’m looking for cheap closeout gear for cold weather, I look in the skiing section too. Figure if it’s good enough for someone who’s going to go sliding down a mountainside in the snow for hours on end, it’s probably good enough for me too.


  • This is the only weak area for me still. I found a pair of Smartwool leg warmers on sale, but they are backordered. I wait for these to come in with the anticipation of a child at his birthday. Right now I have a pair of thick corduroy pants that do an ok job of breaking the wind. If it rains heavily I have a pair of Columbia rain pants that I hate, but do the job in a pinch.

I brought a Lands End Merino wool shirt, but I can’t recommend it. It’s warm, but has a very fragile knit. I brushed it against the hook side of some velcro on my messenger bag the first time I wore it and it started to unravel. I have a problem with $40 shirts that fall apart the first time you wear them.

2 thoughts on “Cold Weather Commute

  1. Pingback: Still Riding? « The Scooter Zoo’s Weblog

  2. Another option for the legs are inexpensive fleece pants. I got some from Performance several years ago on sale (maybe $20). They’re what I go with in the 30s, and in the 20s I layer underneath them. I have no clue what price they would be during the winter.

    Happy riding!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s