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Didja survive Thanksgiving? Stuffed… I mean me, not the turkey. And I am STILL having leftovers.

Now is the time of year to begin to think about cold weather clothing, especially for cycling.

memphis temperature

I’m pretty sure I have it down pat by now. 65-55 degrees – Long sleeve shirt, covered by a short sleeve shirt. Long leg warmers covered by bike shorts.

cold weather socks and top

55-45 degrees – I ditch the shirts and leg warmers and go to military grade tops and bottoms, and add long john bottoms, tights to cover the bottoms, cycling jacket, shoe covers and balaclava. (At times I use a cap for my head. The balaclava helps but when temperatures dip, I like some extra protection. I have also read that some people “duct tape” the summer helmet closed to keep the cold air out.) Merino wool socks helps to keep the feet warm. I also throw in chemical feet warmers to keep my toes toasty. Nice big gloves take care of my hands. (The shoe covers do help. Although I have basically destroyed my pair since last year. I have severely abused the material on the bottom of the covers. Probably time for a new set of shoe covers.)

military grade cold weather clothing

gloves balaclava and ear warmers

45- 30 degrees – All of the above but I make a switch to heavier shoes. And I usually take a scarf I can tuck into my jacket to keep my neck warm. The ear muffs help protect my ears. Closer to 30 and I put on extra socks.

shoe covers and merino wool socks

30- 16 degrees – All of the above, but I usually have a second set of gloves to keep my hands warm. (The 16 degree limit is the coldest I have headed out for the ride to work. This happened last year. Fun.)

And I top all of the above off with 8 lights and a reflective yellow vest. You would have to be blind not to see me at night.

bicycle jacket and reflective vest

I’m not exactly fond of the color of the jacket, but I guess any color would be better than the black jacket I wore for a few years. If you walk, run, or bike at night, PLEASE consider wearing something reflective. And LIGHT yourself up. I see so many people on the Greenline without lights or reflective gear in the evening.

The last bit? A nice big cup of hot coffee to go along for the ride. The balaclava usually keeps my head warm. Sunglasses in the morning insulates my eyes pretty well. It is during the evening that my eyes are unprotected. (Something I need to look into this year. Maybe some clear glasses or goggles? The cold temperatures affect my contact lenses while riding at night.)

memphis winter sky

Lately I have been obsessed with the evening sky as I get ready for my ride home. Even though the night is closing in, the sun to the west puts on a pretty good show as the day ends. And you never know what you will see at Shelby Farms when the sun goes down.

deer shelby farms christmas

By the way, I am still trying to work out how they were able to keep that deer still long enough to put lights on it.

The sum total of riding when it is cold for 13.5 miles is that I arrive at work very hot and very ready to get to it. A quick shower and a change into work clothes and I am ready to go.

For more information about cold weather clothing and bikes, go here. Now that “that” is over with, get on your bikes and ride to work.