Here are a few snippets of collected wisdom to keep you off the trainer and on those frozen, icy roads, all winter long:
When the cold winds are a-blowin,’ your knees shouldn’t be showin’
A good rule of thumb is to break out the knee warmers when the temperature falls below 50°F – unless, of course, if you’re a true hardman (see above).
Chemical toe warmers – your little secret
Akin to Spanx or chicken cutlets for all-weather cyclists, chemical toe warmers can be easily worn inside of a shoe or under a bootie to provide unparalleled warmth and riding comfort in frigid conditions. And the best part is, once you conceal the warmers, your riding buddies will never know how much of a sissy you are.
Put that old cassette on
Protect your drivetrain from the snow, sand, and salt by installing that useless 12-28 that came with your bike. Also toss on an old chain, wheels, and tires. Be sure to keep your chain coated in a thick layer of “extreme”-grade lube, preferably with emulsified ceramic nanoparticles.
Jackets are warm…and slow
While a windproof cycling jacket is perfect for the hip city rider, or weekend powerdad, it can generally be excluded from your winter wardrobe. On spirited rides, you will quickly inflate, overheat, and go right OTB. Unless you happen to be riding on Antarctica (where “everbody’s doing it”), a long-sleeve wool jersey or a thermal base layer under a short-sleeve jersey will provide more than enough warmth.
Plastic bags kill more than the environment
Save a baby seal and stuff a plastic bag under your outer layer for an extra wind barrier. It’s super light so you won’t lose precious seconds on your Strava KOM attempts, and like the toe warmers, above, remains completely unseen, leaving your hardman status unblemished.
And finally, remember..less is more
Your hardman status is inversely proportional to the number on the thermometer, regardless of your ride duration. If you can, try to take a victory lap around your nearest population center before, during, and/or after your ride. The looks of admiration from passers-by will warm you body and soul more than a Snuggie-lined GoreTex jacket ever could.
[Ed. Note] Andrew Baker is a fellow teammate for the University of Delaware club cycling team. He is a graduate student in mechanical engineering.