Blog Post Written By Josée Gulayets-
What to wear when you’re out and about
It’s now the time of year when the cold really starts to set in…so naturally you want to set out into the snow on your fat bike of course! Whether you are returning to the fat biking scene or just getting your feet wet, we want you to enjoy your ride. So, what on earth could you possibly wear for biking in the winter?
Your bike shorts are…well short. Your downhill jersey is just a jersey and even your favourite fall sweater won’t keep the chill off your back. When your helmet isn’t exactly as warm as your favourite touque, where do you start?
Lucky for us, we can recount the old-fashioned way—the good ol’ Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes!
Besides your helmet which, as proper headgear goes for biking, is something we are avid supporters of, it’s very important to keep your face protected from the elements. If you’ve spent any time on a ski hill in the winter or even taken a brisk walk in the elements, I’m sure you’ve noted how easy it is to damage your ears, nose, and cheeks with the cold winter air. Well-loved items to protect your ears, nose, and cheeks would be a headband or thin balaclava. It might also be helpful, if you plan on turning Fat Biking into your new favourite winter hobby, to look into even more winter-friendly gear to comfortably sit under your helmet or neck warmers for those particularly long rides.
We can’t talk about the head without talking about your eyes. We definitely want to keep these protected from the elements as they are usually pretty helpful when biking. When biking in masses of the great white fluffly stuff one can think like ski
ing or boarding the slopes. Sunglasses are great on the not-so-cold days and offer a nice breatheable option. Snow goggles are perfect matches for more intense winter biking and often come with a variety of inter-changable lenses to properly help you deal with a range of conditions. Goggles, or eyewear in general, are important because they can not only help protect your eyes from wind and cold, but they can help you see what’s ahead of you better on a trail by helping you adjust to the natural brightness or contrast.
Shoulders (and heck, the rest of your torso too!)
Looking down from our head, we reach our shoulders which is where we will begin to discuss what to wear as clothing! Fantastic! Fashion! FAT BIKING! Here we start with a winter staple technique that I’m sure many of you are familiar with: layering.
You will want to start off your layers with a close-fitting yet breathable base layer. Moisture wicking abilities can be a very helpful bonus! You will be working up a sweat so it’s nice to have gear on that works to help you stay dry. The base layer will mostly help to keep your core warm without making you overheat. Over top of the base layer, feel free to layer your favourite jersey. Then, depending on how cold it is, layer an extra breathable and moisture wicking sweater before you put on a waterproof and breathable shell. A shell with back vents or underarm zips would be ideal. Ski shells would be an option here as well if you have one. Remember, you can always take layers off, but you can’t add layers if you don’t have them!
Your shoulders lead you down towards your hands. Here are some important little digits we know to protect in the cold as well. For different ranges of cold you might be able to look to different styles of hand-wear. For warmer winter days, opt for more wind-resistant gloves. As it gets a bit codler, weather resistant gloves with moderate to heavy insulation come in handy. Then for those down right wintery-days that you can’t resist taking your bike out on, I would suggest looking for a pair of warm Lobster or split-finger mitts which allow for better digit movement therefore being useful for braking and gear shifting. Beyond these options, we have one more idea for you to consider: the lovely bar mitts or bicycle handlebar mittens are a great option as well as you can wear thin gloves as well if you need to stay extra warm!
Knees and toes
Before we get to your knees and toes, let’s touch base about one of the ultimate winter fashion items: long johns. Often combined with a base layer in general, long johns or thermal tights are very useful for the colder days. If you need to stay extra warm, consider layering up with your favorite pair of ski pants, as long as they offer you the ability to move you will be all set to stay warm and conquer the snow.
Heading down your legs we get to your feet. Reach for a pair of cycling specific wool socks to keep your toes nice and toasty–again moisture wicking here is a great thing to look for. No one wants wet feet in the dead of winter. These socks are made for biking, so they are a perfect fit! On top of the socks, one can opt for wind-proof, water resistant shoes. Likely, you will be wanting to gravitate towards something with a bit of an ankle, however it is important to keep in mind that we need to be able to move our ankles when biking. You can find booties like this that are often made of neoprene which insulate your feet and can be worn over-top of your favorite biking shoes!
Just a quick recap for everyone, the best gear to have available to you for your fat biking session would be as follows:
- HEAD: helmet and balaclava/headband- Merino Buff
- EYES: sunglasses or goggles
- SHOULDER: breathable, moisture-wicking layers
- CORE: waterproof shell
- HANDS: bar mitts or weather resistent gloves
- LEGS: long johns and ski pants
- FEETS: cycle-specific wool socks
- SHOES: neoprene booties or warm weather resistent biking shoes
With all of this gear, you’re set to be warm, well-protected, and ready to go! Time to get your Fat Bike Fashion going and hit the trails. If you haven’t tried fat biking yet, check out one of our fat biking courses or group rides scheduled throughout the winter. They’re a great way to try out fat biking in a supportive and fun environment!
Be sure to share your favorite winter-riding items with us as we love to hear your tried-and-true favourites because who knows… maybe they will become one of our favourites too!