References & articles for further review:

What to wear for winter cycling.

Winter Cycling in Ottawa, Canada – How to Commute All Year Round

Road Tested: Road Cycling Gloves

Where to buy:

A Beginner's Guide to Riding in the Cold
by Joshua Parks


Some thoughts on what’s worth the investment to continue riding through the late Fall/Winter/Early Spring in ever changing New Jersey weather. Includes a couple of products that I have found worth the money.


As the 2013 triathlon season, my first with MAPSO, came to a close I had a realization that I’d really benefit from continuing structured training throughout the winter. And, like many of you, I strongly prefer riding outside, whenever at all possible. But to do this I had to think about what to wear when the temperatures drop. Here are my thoughts on how to navigate the winter within a budget, including a couple of ‘free’ tips.


This is the result of HOURS of internet research, and a couple of bad purchases - hopefully sharing this will save you time as you kit up for Winter 2014-2015 and beyond. First three things to keep in mind:

  • Maintaining high core temperatures is key as the warm blood from your core will warm even less-than-ideally-insulated extremities

  • Layering is king! Be sure to do so with materials that breathe and will keep the wet away from your body, including your sweat

  • Most of the kit that we all have is designed to breathe in warm weather, and this airflow is not helpful in the cold


Most important items to pick up (that you won’t otherwise have):

  • Thermal Jacket - MAPSO Red This is an easy selection since MAPSO offers two of them, one with a fleece lining, I have the ThermoShield Winter Jacket and it’s great, even on the coldest days. Plus I like wearing bright colors, especially on cold, dark days - this one is a no brainer. (pick up the fleece lined if you tend to run cold)

  • WindStopper Bib Tights - Personal Choice, Get Wind Protection Bibs are always a personal decision, especially insofar as they include a chamois. This is an important purchase, be sure to get tights (or I suppose pants) that include some sort of wind stopping fabric, ideally on both the front leg panels and on the chest

  • Gloves - Early in the season I bought long fingered Specialized gloves so that I could continue to operate my Garmin 800 Edge with riding in the cold. These were great FOR RUNNING in the cold. Just didn't cut it on the bike unless the temperatures were rather balmy - don’t get me wrong, I do like the gloves but they aren't suitable for winter here on the bike. You live and learn - that said they’re simply the best winter gloves I've ever had for running. Worth the $40 just for that, this is why I’ve left them in here. But when the temperature really dips, I go for something more substantial. I thought that handling the bike would be difficult with insulated gloves on but have found that’s not a problem. While I thought about simply wearing some ski gloves that I have around the house I ended up going Sugoi Firewall Gloves. Not the long wrist, windstopper material, and insulation. Other riders, for example Bryan Magnus, like the ‘Lobster’ style gloves. Whatever suits, the key here is that you need something insulated if you’re going to ride below 45 degrees, well worth the investment.

  • Winter Socks - Strong Recommendation for Wool (it’s not the wool we grew up with!) The good news here is that you can wear these for Running and Cycling - you do RUN outside in the winter right? (well I effectively didn’t this winter, but that’s another story). Recommendations:

    • DeFeet Woolie Boolie - various lengths - these are great all around cold weather socks

    • Sealskinz - waterproof socks for when it rains - they work, available via and

    • Another great suggestion here is to wrap your toes in aluminum foil as seen below. Remember only you will know that you’ve done this (hidden by your shoes) and your feet will thank you - great at keeping the heat in.

    • Overshoes - Fashion Police say ‘no’ your feet will say ‘yes please’ Personal choice here too - some work better with different shoes. I went with a Thermo Windstopper from Gore Bike Wear. Mine were great, highly recommended - so glad I didn’t go for the dayglo yellow!

    • Cycling Shoes Most of the winter I rode in my warm weather shoes with electrical tape over the vents - this worked pretty well. I don’t have room in my shoes for chemical warmers, but I have read and heard that this works well. Finally, as the winter wore on and my feet started to get cold in my ‘summer’ shoes, even with covers, I treated myself to a pair of winter boots - and what a treat it was: As a pricing guy, I have to appreciate what SIDI does to keep their distributors in line. It took me the length of the winter to find these on sale, with a discount code at a price that was still a (large) swallow. But the advantage is that I no longer have to wear shoe covers, even in the coldest temperatures - though I still have the OPTION of wearing covers to stay even warmer/drier. While a big investment, this is one that, in reflection, was a great call. I love these boots, my feet are never cold, and I look forward to riding in less than ideal (read horrid) weather. Every little bit helps. Note that they’re sized large so that you don’t have to order a larger size to accommodate thick wool socks.


Stuff you already own (probably)

  • Under vest / baselayer - I like and wear DeFeet. You have your favorite already - Just as important in the cold weather as in the Summer to get the sweat away from your body and in this case keep you warmer looser layer under my cycling jacket

  • Layers - my favorite are from 180s - I often wear one tight layer against my baselayer and 1.

  • Cycling Cap, Skull Cap, or Balaclava (my favorite)

  • Helmet - Use your regular one with a cover or buy a cheap helmet for the winter without vents (yeah I look like an idiot but I’m warm)


The net result: (Spring ride with 3⁄4 tights and light gloves mentioned above)


- Josh Parks

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