What to Wear for Winter Bike Commuting | Athletic Wear vs Casual Wear

What to Wear for Winter Bike Commuting | Athletic Wear vs Casual Wear


Hey guys, what’s up? It’s Tom here today
and today we’re going to address the eternal winter cycling challenge…
question … what do you wear on your bike commute in the winter? I get this
question a lot and I’ve had a lot of time to think about it. I’ve tried lots
of different ways and what I’ve learned is that dressing for a winter bike
commute comes down to two different approaches. And so today I think we’ll
look at both plus approaches, we’ll give you the pros and cons, and then
you can decide what works best for you. OK, so those two approaches come down
to this: This pile. And this pile. This pile, we’ll call it the Dress For
Your Destination pile. And pile B is Dress For the Journey pile. Here’s what I
mean. This pile is just wearing the clothes you wear to work. You dress for
where you’re going, not for the transportation mode you use to get there.
So it’s regular work clothes. You put them on, you get on your bike,
and you ride. This pile is the Dress for the Journey pile. These are the clothes
you wear to dress like a “cyclist.” So I’ve got lots of warm gear, lots of athletic
gear. All that wicking stuff that you hear about a lot. These are the two
approaches you can take to winter bike commuting and we’ll try them both. Let’s
see how it goes. Pile A: Dressing For the Destination. It’s possible to wear your
regular work clothes when you winter bike commute. Here’s a couple of tips I’ve
picked up. Layer up, if you can. Sometimes that means layering up in a
way that is appropriate for your office. So a jacket. Sometimes you can put a
sweater underneath the jacket. I’ve got regular pants on right now,
nothing underneath the pants, but if it’s a particularly cold day you could put
some long underwear underneath, that helps. Keep the your feet warm. Always
wear warm socks, but of course it’s winter so you’re wearing those warm
socks every day, right? I’ve got my beloved Blundstones on. Luckily I can
wear these all day the office so I don’t even need to change but if you have some
boots that you can’t wear at the office leave a pair of shoes at the office and
when you get there change out of them. That’s about it. I mean really if I have
a few layers on here, I put my my warm puffy, on not too warm because you don’t
want to get overheated. Wear my mittens and I’ve got this kind of cool thing
that came with one of my helmets one time. It kind of looks ridiculous when
you put it on by itself, but your helmet goes over top it’s got these little tags
for the strap of your helmet to go in and it’s pretty good. So that’s it. That’s
how I dress for a dress for the destination. There you go, let’s see how
it goes. OK, so there was the first approach. And
that approach is Dressing for Your Destination. I just wore my regular work
clothes and it went for it, almost like summertime. So it’s great, this is a really good way of doing it. It’s easier to say warm than you might
think because of that body heat that gets going. So as long as you keep your feet warm and your hands warm and your head and your neck warm you’re gonna be good. In fact I find the biggest problem is trying to avoid getting too hot, so
I often find myself slowing right down because I feel like I’m going to get
sweaty. And of course if you’re going to work you don’t want to be too sweaty. So
that’s the big challenge. Other than that it’s pretty great, I mean I think there’s
this impression out there that you need to be a cyclist in order to ride in
winter but I think this shows it you can just be a person who takes a bike to
work you don’t need any special gear, you don’t really need to do anything special, you just get out there and go for it. So, yeah, lots of good
advantages. I mean there are disadvantages. It’s not much of a workout because
you’re going so slow but then again things are always slow in the winter
anyway. So it’s a bit different. It’s a kind of a different experience. So yeah
there it is. Let’s go try the other approach now. OK, here is approach to Dressing for the Journey. So, as you can see, I’ve got my
athletic wear on. This is dressing like a quote unquote “cyclist,” and let me show
you here. This layering up is very important here. I’ve got about six layers
on. I’ve got a merino wool base layer — key for all winter activities. I’ve got a
couple of mid-layers to keep me warm. And then I’ve got this shell on the
outside to help cut the wind a little bit. So that works really well. Down below
I’ve got some long underwear and I’ve got some cycling pants. Cycling pants tend to be pretty thin — they’re not really made for winter unless you can get some
specific winter ones but they’re kind of expensive. So here I’ve got long
underwear under my cycling pants and then the ultimate winter winter bike commuter apparel: shorts overtop of those pants. I don’t actually know why
people do this but I see it all the time. I kind of think it’s because most cycling
pants don’t have pockets. This is one way to get pockets Fashionable? Absolutely
not. But it’s kind of practical, I guess. And the last bit: warm socks. I have
some different kind of shoes. They’re basically winter hiking
boots. They’re waterproof. They’re warm. Keep the feet warm, so they’re really
good for this kind of thing. And lastly, I’ve got my balaclava. This will keep
under your helmet. It goes over nice and easy. I’ve worn this thing down
to like -25 C and it keeps my warm. Then some gloves. So there you
go. It may not be the most fashionable thing, but it keeps me warm and
comfortable. Let’s see how it goes. OK, so that was approach two:
The cyclist wear. The athletic wear. There are advantages and disadvantages
to this this method as well. It’s good for a workout. I find when I wear
this kind of stuff and I’m geared up for that sort of ride I go harder, I sweat more. I get more exercise, which could be a good thing if that’s your
goal. So that’s all cool. The downside is that when you go into work, that means
you are all sweaty and hot and you need to take a shower. So if you’ve got those
facilities at work and you’re looking for a workout, go for it. If this is just
a casual ride — you just want to get to work quickly and get up and get in there,
this is probably not the right approach. You’ve got to pack an extra set of
clothes, you have to change when you get there, you’ve got a lot more logistics to
think about when it comes to sort of getting dressed and getting ready and
doing all that kind of thing. So it definitely has its advantages but also has its disadvantages too. OK, so there are the two ways, the two approaches, to dressing for winter bike commuting. I hope that was helpful. Hopefully there issome information in there that you can use in your commute. Either way works, and I don’t care which way, I just think as long as you’re getting out there on
your bike, your life is going to be better than it would be otherwise. So get
out there and give it a try. Thanks for watching.

6 Replies to “What to Wear for Winter Bike Commuting | Athletic Wear vs Casual Wear”

  1. Wow, 6 layers of athletic clothing? I was going to say I usually only do three layers (base layer, thermal layer, and softshell outer layer) and that is sufficient enough, but then again I don't live as far north as Canada! I find that dressing for the destination is the most convenient as long as you don't overdress. Staying cool is the toughest part. I'll wear a hybrid of clothes, like cycling gloves, a skull cap or balaclava, cycling glasses and helmet, but the convenience of not having to change when you get to work is worth it (especially for a short commute). The only thing I haven't quite figured out is how to stay cool in the summer… it is impossible, regardless how slow I pedal. I just wear cycling kit and change when I get to work in the summer.

  2. I see your Priority Continuum is serving you well thanks to your video pertaining to your perfect winter bike I was introduced to Priority and made the decision to purchase the Priority 600 this past November. I must say that I am so pleased it is the perfect bike for my needs here in Ontario whether it is spring , winter , summer, or fall really enjoying it. I am leaning towards purchasing a pair of ski goggles for the winter, right now I just wear sun glasses or a pair of safety glasses.

  3. I have a very short commute to the bus, maybe 12 mins at most. I would say my look is dork meets deranged fur trapper. But with a windchill tonight around -30C I was snug as bug in my layers.

  4. It depends if you are only riding 1 mile(1.6km) to work or you are a real bicycle rider and riding 15 miles(24+Km) one way to work. If you are only riding 1 mile listen to this guy. If you are riding more, you will need bicycle wear for no chaffing.. Make sure you are wearing multiple layers and the top layer is always cold gear. Then wear a very warm jacket, enough to keep you warm if you were standing still, if the temp is only a degree or two above freezing or less. Less than 5F degrees below freezing then the water droplets in your lungs start to freeze and causes a burning sensation an can make you even shorter on breath. I ride to work at 17 to 19+ miles an hour and don't sweat to much. I change in the bathroom at work. I have a motorcycle tank bag that I fill with my work clothes and use bungy cords to secure it in the frame between my legs. A must though is covering all exposed skin except for your nose and mouth. I always wear glasses and that does a good job of covering my eyes. Your mileage may vary.

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