Winter Cycling “Fashion”

So I think I finally found the right mix of clothing & gear to be comfortable commuting when the weather is in the high 20’s/low 30’s. This ensemble has been years in the making- so I want to share, and hear what works for you, too.

Here’s my basic formula:

Hand-stitched balaclava from Bike Winter. Mine is fleece printed with sea turtles (?). I like the balaclava because it covers the head, neck and nose, and it’s thin so I don’t feel overly garmet-burdened.


Next is a lightweight and loose-fitting wool t-shirt. I am deeply ambivalent about so-called performance fabrics. Ibex, Smartwool, Swrve, and Nau have some good wool options that are nice and plain.


Then do a layer that has a full zip front. I think you could do any mid-weight fabric but I like zip-up wool sweaters best. The zip helps because you feel like you could escape if needed.

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For on top, the an unlined, light windbreaker works great. It cuts the wind and isn’t too bulky.


Wow, this is fun! For pants, I insist on a silk baselayer under windproof pants. I wish I had several colors of these Patagonia trousers because they are practical and plain, with belt loops and big pockets:


I am not too picky about socks but tall ones are warmer. For shoes, sturdy Gore-Tex shoes or boots have kept me warm and dry.


But one of the most important parts of successful winter cycling is having warm hands. I cannot recommend these mittens enough.


Yum! So cozy.

And of course one of these:


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So what combos work for you? Are there any brands or product categories that you consider essential?

About bikeuptown46

I am currently the Communications Director for the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters which represents 33,000 union men and women in three states who swing a hammer for a living. I publsih a magazine, a couple of email newsletters and two websites. I also do videos, webinars, advertisng and public relations. As an avid cyclist I ride a three-wheeled trike 5 to 6 days per week 52 weeks per year which adds up to between 5,000 and 6,000 miles year-round, including daily commutes along Chicago's lakefront ... polar vortexes included. I have never missed a day of work because of Chicago's weather. I am an activist who serves humanitarian and political causes: To advocate for the Sudanese in Illinois who have fled Southern Sudan and Darfur is one of my most rewarding experiences. I work with my son Sean on Sudan presentations at churches and community groups with my Sudanese friends on the problems facing them in Darfur, South Sudan and the United States. My son Sean and I work together on the Abolition Institute which seeks to end slavery in the west African nation of Mauritania. My photography chronicles Chicago's lakefront through my daily rides. My photo website is I just self-published my first photo-book on the history of my Chicago neighborhood: Sweet Home Buena Park. I live about one-half mile north of Wrigley Field in the Buena Park neighborhood.

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