How to Actively Commute this Winter

Temperatures dropping into the teens with a chance of snow? No problem! With the right gear and personal commitment, anyone can continue to commute via bicycle during the winter months.

Despite the cooler temperatures, many active commuters continue to get exercise each morning and evening during the winter. St. Louis has significantly milder winters than most American cities, especially Minneapolis, Chicago, and Denver, all of which have greater bicycle commuter populations than St. Louis. Despite the occasional ice storm, St. Louis winters are very amenable to active commuting. Follow these tips to stay warm and protected during your commute this winter:

  • Windproof outerwear: Dress in layers and incorporate a windproof shell or some sort of wool to keep the elements at bay. Many bicycle-oriented windproof shells are also highly reflective, helping you stay visible.
  • Gloves and shoes: Keep your digits warm with windproof gloves and shoes. Many wear boots while riding; others purchase bicycle galoshes that stretch over bike shoes and keep out the wind and rain.
  • Hat and scarves: Covering your ears, neck, and face is crucial to staying warm when the temperature dips. It’s all up to personal preference and riding style; many riders prefer ski mask-style hoods to keep out the wind, and others stick with a headband and scarf. Try sunglasses or other options to keep the wind out of your eyes.
  • Tires: For snowy days, consider picking up some studded winter tires or riding your mountain bike. The studs help you stay stable and avoid wipe-outs.
  • Lights: With winter comes shorter days; while you might have biked home from work during the daylight hours spring through fall, you won’t have that luxury during winter. Invest in a pair of bright, rechargeable lights to stay visible.

As with any season, allow ample time to arrive at your destination, and make sure you carry a U-Lock to keep your bike safe. Happy commuting!