Vancouver was hitting record lows all of last week and it was the coldest weather we’ve had in a while. Nothing crazy as the rest of Canada is experiencing, but anytime it drops below 0, we all literally think we are going to freeze to death.
BUT it was some of the best cycling weather ever! The first day last week it hit -7°C, I actually chickened out (and got lazy) but I immediately regretted it when we drove by dozens of cyclists commuting to work. Of course, I bundled up and hopped on my bike to get to work the rest of the week.
“Once you start cycling, the city opens up for you. No longer are you fighting it, hot and frustrated; no longer are you at the mercy of bus drivers, roadworks, decisions made by others and over which you have no control. Believe me, once you’ve tasted this freedom, you’re hooked.” – Deborah Moggach
So WHY is it awesome to cycle in the winter?
- You know exactly how to dress. I always found the best times to cycle is when it’s really hot or really cold. In the spring and fall, I always worry about over or under-dressing but when it’s really cold, I throw on a bunch of dri-fit layers, my snowboarding jacket, a face mask and I know I still won’t overheat. Plus my snowboard jacket has so many pockets. I love pockets.
- It’s cold but it’s not raining. It’s beautiful out, the sun is kissing your face and you get to share the road with dozens of cyclists living a wonderfully healthy lifestyle.
- You don’t sweat. And you won’t smell like a wet rag when you get to work.
- You feel so reinvigorated afterwards. Best feeling ever.
I don’t actually own much cycling-specific winter riding gear. I have some but I prefer wearing my general fitness gear because I haven’t found much cycling gear that I really love and want to spend so much on. These days, I double-up my gloves and leggings (non-padded since I’m only commuting) and throw on my super warm Roxy boarding jacket. When I snowboard, I only wear one dri-fit top and my jacket so that should keep me warm enough for cycling.
The other secret is to keep your face warm and a face mask is much better than a regular scarf because it will stay in place. When you breath through material, the air warms up a little before entering your lungs, making the frigid morning rides more enjoyable. Well, I have to admit sometimes I feel like I’m suffocating because you have to take deeper breaths when riding up hills but it’s much better than looking like Rudolph when you get to your destination.
Last Friday, I actually had to throw on my thick boarding gloves over a fleece pair because my fingers always gets cold no matter what… which resulted in me cycling really slowly because I was scared I couldn’t brake in time if I had to. My fingers always freezes and doesn’t warm up until 15 minutes into my ride but I have no choice but to suck it up.