Road cyclists like to travel very light, and they don't mind mud.
City cyclists, on the other hand, usually want to arrive to work — or
any other destination — looking dry and somewhat put together. That
makes it advisable to carry waterproof gear - rain pants, rain jacket, and if possible rain boots. Good buys: Eddie Bauer's unstylish
rain suit, Water Off A Duck's Back stylish Livia rain coat; and for breathability, REI's Taku Pants. In a pinch, even having a folded-up rain poncho will help when unexpected rain hits.
2. Adjust Brakes, Learn Wet Braking Technique, Get Disc Brakes.
On slippery-slidey winter days, you'll want the best braking ability possible. Learning to do your own brake adjustments
is not particularly hard or greasy work, but if you don't fancy doing
it yourself, have it done as winter approaches. Check periodically to
keep leaves, mud, and other crud off of your brake pads during winter
riding. In addition, figure out how to handle winter bike path hazards
like wet leaves. Susi at Velojoy
has a straightforward post on riding on leaves. Also, it's possible you
may want to consider a bike with disc brakes if you are going to be
riding a lot in winter. Disc brakes are more complex and expensive than
regular rim brakes, but provide more braking power.For really
lousy and extended snowy weather conditions, you might also want to
consider studded bike tires. Or, you can just take snowy streets slowly
3. Light Up The Night.
you are a fair-weather cyclist extending your riding reach, you might
be surprised to notice that a lot of cyclists who ride in all weather
situations continue to be cavalier about proper lighting. They also
ignore the little bits of extra reflective gear that keep us visible to
others in low light, bad weather, and dark nighttime riding conditions.
Since there are now myriad new solutions for lighting and fun reflective
gear, it doesn't make sense not to find lighting that reflects you! If
you have sufficient lighting and good gear with reflective elements, you
feel safer in winter conditions, and you probably will be. Good
choices: Chicago-based Po Campo is offering a winter riding kit for any purchase of $100 or more for a short time with a cool reflecitve bandana! VespertineNYC has wonderful and stylish and upscale reflective gear for women.
4. Do Not Forget Extremities.
cold, inclement weather, covering the extremities will, practically
speaking, make you happier than a toasty jacket. Once you've been riding
for awhile, your body will heat up, so layering with merino wool and
other breathable underwear is good. Then top with a shell, a totally
waterproof one if there's rain in the forecast. In addition, don't
forget gloves, an under-the-helmet beanie, Buff, or cycling cap, and
good socks. Good choices: Merino wool Buff tube, reflective Lflect scarves or helmet covers, the Novara Thermal cap recommended by Bike Hugger, or Bike Hugger's own Merino/lycra beanie. The Clymb is also a great site for good values in bike-ready winter accessories.
5. Move to the Netherlands.
In many ways, the Dutch are the world's luckiest cyclists. Though the
weather in this low-lying country is pretty yucky for a good part of the
year, the Dutch don't stop bike riding, and they don't seem to get
miserable about it, at all. Perhaps that's because the have enough of a
bike culture for innovation to be happening continually, and enough of a
budget to pay for implementing some of the innovation. That's sure good
news for cyclists. In Utrecht, there's a plan to geothermally heat bike lanes,
to help melt snow far ahead of the arrival of snow plows; there's also
consideration of glow-in-the-dark smart highways that charge your
electric car. Now, the next step is glow-in-the-dark, geothermally
heated bike lanes that charge your bike lights. We can dream, can't we?