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Essential Gear for Winter Urban Cycling

By Christopher Ashley

If you’ve cycled through a bitterly cold sub-zero winter, you’ve probably fantasized about someone inventing a tooth-warmer or a nose-warmer that doesn’t make you look like a deranged owl. While you wait for these game changers to arrive, here’s some gear to make your life easier.

Heavier tyres

Your winter bike should have heavier tyres, ideally with a softer rubber compound, and extra puncture protection to compensate for the increased risk of deep cuts. Check out Continental’s Winter II range – these are roadie tyres, but they make them for a range of MTB wheel sizes too.

They may seem expensive, but you do not want to be stuck in -5 °C temperatures squeezing race tyres over a rim, ruing the fact you skipped thumb day at the gym. The soft rubber compound on winter tyres hardens at low temperatures and provides the grip of summer tyres. Worth the money.

Shoe/boot covers

Even if you are not wearing cleated shoes, using shoe covers is a great idea for the urban cycling – if only to protect those Common Projects trainers you told your wife only cost £50. Something like Lusso Stealth Winter Overboots will not only protect your shoes – they will keep your feet toasty.

Although Lusso claim the Windtex material will keep you warm down to zero degrees, I find this understates their effectiveness. Of course, this depends on the shoes you are wearing beneath them – so a pair of leather Common Projects with merino socks may be just what you need.

Bar Mitts

We love this product for a few reasons, not least because you can get away with a less bulky glove, so you don’t lose any dexterity in your fingers – braking and gear changes can stay snappy all year round.

What’s particularly great for the urban cyclist is the convenience of Bar Mitts. Because you’re wearing thinner gloves, you can get off your bike, lock it up, and get out of the cold without having to tear off your thickest winter gloves first. Your love for Bar Mitts will only grow through winter.

Head system

Giro have cottoned on to the fact that people like cycling in winter, and have designed a bike-specific helmet that is chic enough for the fashion-conscious urban cyclist. The Timberwolf is versatile – its removable insulation makes this helmet perfect for winter, as well as deep winter.

The helmet is designed to fit around the face in such a way that you can pair it with Giro’s range of winter goggles – no more early morning ice tears! We think it’s about time urban cyclists celebrate their eccentricities and channel their inner Tyres – the bike messenger from Spaced.