A leg up on winter cycling: Yvonne Bambrick on layering up

Yvonne Bambrick: A leg up on winter cycling

Item: Leg warmers and thin gloves under mittens

Photos by Tammy Thorne

What was the temperature on the day of this shoot? I think it was about -5 with flurries.

What is the coldest temp you've ridden in? I’d say this year during the ‘polar vortex’ weirdness. It was about -38 C with windchill at one point there.  If you can believe it, I overdressed and overheated!

What is your average distance for winter commute?  4 to 5 km

See all nine dandy winter riders here.

On most winter days, my must-have riding item is a pair of leg warmers.  These are great for keeping my knees warm, and the road splash off my pants – they also allow some room to breathe so I don’t overheat. I used to swear by long underwear, but have been much happier using outer layers these past few years because they’re quicker and easier to remove when I get to the office or some other destination.  On the colder days I’ll throw on my snow pants – they’ve got side zippers from top to bottom so I can get them on and off without removing my boots. But on the ridiculously cold days, I wear the leg warmers under the snow pants and tucked into my Sorel boots. That’s some serious warmth!  I love leg warmers so much that I now have about eight different pairs – all in different colours, of course. Most of them have been picked up from Preloved so they’re made out of up-cycled sweaters. I highly recommend these to both men and women since they can also be worn under pants as well, and a bit of wool goes a long way to keep winter riding more comfortable.

The other thing that makes winter riding bearable is my pair of thin, fitted, touchscreen sensitive, inner gloves.  I wear these on their own sometimes, or under heavier weather-proof mitts, and they’re great for a number of reasons; using keys, unlocking my bike, answering a call, it can all be done with ease while keeping my hands just warm enough for these quick activities.  Thicker warmer gloves and mitts can limit your dexterity and make fiddling around with small things more difficult, but when you take them off, bare hands get cold fast, in particular when holding cold metal things like locks. Another great reason for the thin inner glove is for help regulating body temperature while riding.  If I start to get too warm on my ride, I can just remove my outer mittens and let some heat escape. I find that allowing my hands to be just a little cold can keep me from overheating once my 'engine' is running.

My final must-have is something to protect my eyes. This is a year-round thing that’s even more important in winter - the cold wind and snow are hard on your eyeballs and can make cycling impossible without protection.  My glasses and sunglasses are usually good enough, but sometimes it’s so cold and snowy that I bust out the ski goggles.

Winter 2014 homepage: read all nine here.

Yvonne Bambrick is an urban cycling advocate and consultant, event and portrait photographer, and the Coordinator of the Forest Hill Village Business Improvement Area (BIA). A lifelong, year-round cyclist, she is passionate about sharing the many benefits and joys of bicycle transportation, and is currently writing a handbook for urban cyclists in an effort to help fill the gap in bike education. Yvonne wishes more cyclists used lights at night and hopes the City will make good on its promise to maintain our roads in a state of good repair! http://yvonnebambrick.com


Related on the dandyBLOG:

 Winter Bike Spotting Duo: Kristyn Wong-Tam and Tristan A. Downe-Dewdney

Streets and Alleys: Yvonne Bambrick's debut solo photography show

P.S.  There is a Warehouse Sale at Preloved until Sunday, January 26.


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