Rolling Through the Snow Part 1: Layering Effectively and Visibility

The following series of blogs are a collection of writings that I have done over the years in regards to commuting in winter. For more information, please do not hesitate to ask

Layering advice on a bike is very similar to that of bus/walking layering, except that your layers should be compact so they don’t get caught in your bike. I have an oversized Pea Coat that runs the risk of getting stuck in my wheel/gears I try not to use around this time of year.

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Above: A sample layering scheme. From left to right: Blue middle layer, black outer layer a black scarf and a Wyoming branded face cover. The right most is a fortified Ushanka hat I use when riding

The above picture is a basic layering scheme that I would use in roughly 20-30 degree weather, minus gloves and leggings, which are a constant. Since all body types are different, gauge how you feel walking in your layering scheme and translate that to riding, where temperature and energy exerted can often cause a sweat to build up.

An old lighting setup for my mountain bike

Be really well lit like you are walking (I have 3-4 lights) and make sure your lights are mounted and fully charged. I have occasionally had the instance where I accidentally forgot to charge a light, and that caused me to be in total darkness at dangerous intersections. Additionally, ride in areas that are well lit if possible, making intentional movements when signaling to turn.

De-layering is also a factor that needs to be considered. Depending on where you are headed, you may have more or less opportunities to take layers off. Layer according to that, realizing that a lot of it is situational. An example of the differences of layering schemes in my own life is the difference between layering for King Soopers vs layering for my job (security at the museum). When I layer for King Soopers, I generally am layering for a trip that I know I won’t need to delayer a ton for since I will be in and out of Soops in 30 minutes, so I may bring heavier, less compactable layers. In a situation where you are going to be at your destination for a longer period of time, more compactable and manageable layers may be necessary. While I hate plugging products, some Uniqlo outerwear jackets are compactable, including one I have ridden with for over 3 years.

In the next installment, I will talk about challenges while riding. Stay Tuned!

Check out Part 2 Here

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