This week in Portland has been unusually cold, with temperatures down around 15-17 degrees fahrenheit at night, and highs of between 25-30 F. That means that at the time I’m going to and from work, it’s been between 17-20 degrees in the morning and around 25 in the afternoon. While it may cause your cheeks to sting a bit, it’s quite possible to survive the cold, and even the wind, with a little bit of proper attire.
One of the most important things is keeping your head, hands and feet warm. For this, I use a knit wool hat with ear flaps which I acquired in Lithuania this summer:
Leather gloves and silk glove liners:
And leather boots with heavy boot socks:
I have to admit that with this exact setup, I do get a bit cold – particularly my fingertips. I have some mittens that I wear if it gets any colder or if it’s really windy. The knit cap earflaps also don’t keep heavy wind out, so having something more solid would be nice if you have to deal with that a lot. For the few days in Portland where it gets down below 25, this works out ok for me.
Next, on to the legs and torso. I don’t typically find that my legs get cold, since they’re doing most of the work. I think it’s just important to keep the wind from hitting them directly, so any kind of good pants will do, really. Jeans, suit pants, whatever.
For the torso, it’s important just to have a few layers. Having a few layers which are not extremely tight allows air to build up between, which is then warmed by your body heat. I usually wear a t-shirt, then either a button-up shirt or sweater, and then a heavy wool coat. I have a few different coats that all work well, but this double-breasted one (see image below) is nice because it is very wind resistant, and if I need to, I can flip the collar up and it covers my neck really well. It is also very water-resistant, and I’ve ridden home 45 minutes in pouring rain and been totally dry underneath.
Speaking of neck, I wear a wool scarf as well, folded in half, with the loose end tucked through the loop made by folding it, and then pulled tight. Tuck the loose end into the front of your coat, and you’re good to go.
My torso actually often gets a little bit over-warm like this, but not enough to really be uncomfortable. I’ve never really had a problem with my torso getting cold, only my extremities.
Also, while you’re out on days like this, don’t forget to pick up a little something to warm you up when you get home:
I highly recommend this:
In order to make this:
Most of all, take your time, have fun, and stop somewhere and warm up if you feel you need to. Enjoy the process of bundling, and enjoy the process of warming up when you get where you’re going – make sure you have some coffee or tea available and believe me, you’ll savor it. Happy riding!