Too cold to ride a bicycle? Au Contraire! Gliding around the city on two wheels in winter offers all the benefits you’ve come to love — fitness, efficiency, eco-friendliness — plus blush-free rosy cheeks, can-do camaraderie between friends in the bike lane, and winter-blahs-busting invigoration.
Now’s the time to liberate your bicycle from the storage room, or get a jump on spring with a brand-new ride. With a few easy, street-savvy refinements to your bike (think fenders!), wardrobe and bike-handling skills, you’ll be ready to roll in comfort, style, and safety, whether to the office, along the Hudson River Greenway, or between your favorite NYC boutiques.
Comfort rules: Riding a bicycle is active. While there’s no need for special clothing, choosing looks from your closet that move with you make mounting and pedaling your bike a snap. That said, some cycling-specific pieces, like Outlier’s slim black daily riding pant or the Dargelos Lightning Vest, feel right at home with your Rick Owens jacket.
Be cool: It’s okay to feel chilly when you walk out the door. You’ll warm up within the first 10 minutes of pedaling. Still, carrying an extra layer in your bag keeps you prepared for whatever the day brings.
Be kind to extremities: Exercising in cold weather sends blood flowing to your core. A hat under your helmet, warm gloves, extra socks, and a scarf or gaiter help keep extremities toasty and seal out uncomfortable drafts. Polarized sunglasses, like Oakley’s new Twentysix.2s, also lend UVA and UVB protection.
Get ride-ready: Especially if your bike has been unused for a while, have your local bike shop check the tires, brakes and gears. Make sure your lights are packing fresh batteries and that your bell works.
Fenders are your BFFs: Avoid the heartbreak of greeting your date in the West Village with, ahem, slush butt. Some bikes, like the Globe Daily 3 Step-Through, come with city-ready features like fenders and baskets.
Enjoy the view: A leisurely pace not only makes your ride safer, but also cuts down on perspiration and lets you savor sights like the sweeping view of the Manhattan skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, or a romantic sunset along the Hudson River Greenway. When braking, pump gently rather than squeezing.
Steer clear of these: Metal or painted surfaces become slick in cold weather. Puddles can hide road debris. Your roommate will also tell you to avoid tatted guys on fixed-gear bikes. Just sayin’.
Beware of pigeons: These birds get sluggish in freezing temperatures, sometimes making them unexpectedly hard to dodge.
Photo: Courtesy of Globe