November 15, 2023
Keeping Winter at Arm’s Length
By Matt C. - Bike Poloist and Long Time Cyclist
As a cyclist I’ve always loved Charlotte’s more mild winters. The first three years I spent in the city I spent the majority of my time commuting by bike in addition to riding for recreational purposes. While working with and around bikes I’ve tried my fair share of gear for every season. Mild as Charlotte winters can be during the day, if you are riding December to February, you will definitely want something a little warmer, with wind and waterproofing to go on a ride.
We’ll go more in depth into proper layering for different types of weather in additional posts, but here I’d like to touch on the hands and feet. Whether you are commuting, training, or racing it is essential to take care of your extremities. In the cold, our hands and feet feel it first and feel it the worst. For my feet, I have come to love the Swiftwick Pursuit Wool Socks for winter riding. They are warm without being dense or bunching up. The wool wicks away sweat and is plenty warm down into the 30s. For those braving the rare day that Charlotte doesn’t break thirty, I recommend the heavier weight DeFeet Woolie Boolie sock also made of a blend that is 70% Merino Wool.
Just as important is having the right balance of weatherproofing and insulation on your hands. Nothing spoils a ride as quick as your fingers getting iced out. My experience has been that insulation won’t save you if your hands are already cold. That is why I recommend something with waterproofing and wind protection like the Gore C5 Gore-Tex Glove. It provides plenty of features for whatever you might expect in a Charlotte winter. If you’re less of an all-weather rider, and just want something to keep your fingers warm on chilly weekend rides, I like the Garneau Gel Attack Glove. It provides plenty of insulation for your weekly group ride and is affordable.
Whatever you choose for your winter rides, just keep in mind that it’s easier to stay warm with the right gear than to try to warm up cold hands and feet a few miles into your ride.