Home About Me Bikes Music
Overview Winter Clothing

Clothing for Winter Cycling

I have created this page to accompany the video I posted on the same subject.

I live in Toronto Canada, and I do not own a vehicle. I use public transit occasionally, but the majority of my transportation around the city is done by bicycle. I ride my bike to and from work every day throughout the year. Over the years I have gained lots of experience riding through a wide range of weather conditions, so I created this guide to help share some of my knowledge. My goal is to help inspire other cyclists to extend their riding season into colder weather, and to promote cycling as a legitimate year-round mode of transportation.

Most people that I talk to about winter cycling are amazed that I am able to ride in such cold weather. They tell me that I must be very tough or brave to be able to bike through such harsh conditions. However, in reality it mostly comes down to what you wear. Believe it or not, if you are dressed properly for the weather, it is possible to be quite comfortable riding a bicycle even on the coldest day of winter. The key is to find something to wear that will keep you warm enough, but not make you feel too warm. Being too warm is as much of a problem as being too cold. When your body overheats it causes you to sweat, making your clothing wet, which eventually makes you feel very cold.

In the winter of 2014 my daily commute was approximately 8 km (5 miles) in each direction. I kept track of the clothing that I wore for riding to work each day along with the daily temperature reading. By the end of the winter, I had a very good sense of what clothing combinations worked the best for any given temperature. Using that information I created the following clothing guide. By no means am I implying that someone needs to wear the exact same clothes as me to ride comfortably in the winter. There are infinite combinations of clothing that will work for winter cycling, and the average person probably already has lots of appropriate clothing in their closet. This guide simply shares the clothing choices which have proven to work effectively for me.


Summer Weather

+15°C and above
+60°F and above
Tops Short sleeve breathable shirt.
Bottoms Shorts (preferably bike shorts).
Feet Running shoes.
Eyes Sunglasses.
Head Bike helmet.
Hands N/A
Other N/A

Cool Weather

+8°C to +14°C
+45°F to +59°F
Tops Long sleeve breathable shirt*.
Bottoms Shorts (preferably bike shorts).
Feet Running shoes.
Eyes Sunglasses or clear safety glasses.
Head Bike helmet.
Hands N/A
Other *Might want a light jacket for start of the ride.

Cold Weather

-10°C to +7°C
+15°F to +44°F
Tops Soft-shell jacket over short sleeve breathable shirt.
Bottoms Soft-shell pants (preferably short liners underneath).
Feet Running shoes.
Eyes Clear safety glasses.
Head Thermal earmuffs and bike helmet.
Hands Light breathable gloves (such as fleece).
Other Reflective fluorescent straps over jacket.

Frosty Weather

-19°C to -11°C
0°F to 14°F
Tops Soft-shell jacket over long sleeve breathable shirt.
Bottoms Soft-shell pants (preferably short liners underneath).
Feet Running shoes.
Eyes Clear safety glasses.
Head Thin balaclava, thermal earmuffs, and bike helmet.
Hands Warm heavy ski gloves.
Other Reflective fluorescent straps over jacket.

Freezing Weather

-30°C to -20°C
-20°F to -1°F
Tops Soft-shell jacket over long sleeve thermal shirt.
Bottoms Soft-shell pants over Long Johns.
Feet Running shoes and two layers of socks.
Eyes Clear safety glasses.
Head Thin balaclava, thermal earmuffs, and bike helmet.
Hands Warm heavy ski gloves.
Other Reflective fluorescent straps over jacket.






cjhoyle@cjhoyle.com • ©2017 Christopher Hoyle