Bicycling gifts extend the riding season | PostIndependent.com

Bicycling gifts extend the riding season

Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates

The recent Glenwood Springs bicycling boom has tapered a bit with colder temperatures and shorter days, but cycling still works for many local trips. The current gift-giving season is an opportunity to boost that habit among the cyclists on your list.

Bicycle trips to work, school, shopping, and appointments have not gotten any longer, but they do warrant some extra preparation and equipment for safety and comfort.

Cold-weather clothing and gear, safety lights, and visibility gadgets are among the more practical — and affordable — gifts available in local shops and through online sources.

Protect your rider with winter-adapted clothing

Clothing for winter cycling needs to be extra warm, wind-proof, and worn in layers for easy adjusting as temperatures and effort change.

Gloves are the first layer of protection; keeping hands warm and flexible is key to riding control and comfort. Look for models big enough to accommodate wool and fleece layers inside, made of fabric that will resist moisture, and including a wind-proofing layer or fibers.

A very cozy version of protection is an insulated hands cozy that mounts on handlebars — sometimes called pogies; the rider’s hands slip in with direct access to controls.

Face chill is the next spot to protect. Bandanas, neck gaiters and scarves help, but a full-on face mask or balaclava stays in place better while maintaining good vision. Goggles and fog-resistant clear glasses help, too.

Toes get cold on winter rides. Look for thicker wool and fleece socks. Toe covers designed to fit right over shoes while allowing effective connection to pedals are a real treat for the winter rider. Many covers also resist water and have reflective markings.

Ears feel ever so exposed to the cold. Creative combinations of stocking caps under the helmet, wind-proof headbands, and festive ear-muffs help a lot while allowing the rider to still safely hear traffic.

Overall body warmth comes with layers of insulation. A combination of perspiration-wicking long-johns or leggings, vest, and a wind-proof, moisture-resistant jacket provide the basic set-up. For particularly wet days, rain pants and full shoe covers complete the ensemble.

Brighten your rider’s appearance

Winter daylight is more limited, so keep your cyclist visible with bright headlight, taillight and reflectors. Reflective clothing or a reflector-strap harness or vest also helps catch the eye of motorists less accustomed to seeing riders out this time of year.

Essential at night, good lighting and visibility are also important for low-light morning and evening commutes.

Hardware for the season

Winter tires are an obvious addition for winter riding. Tires with wider profile and more grippy tread can be readily installed on existing rims.

Of course, the classic Christmas gift is an actual bicycle. Chosen for practical use, easy maintenance, and good fit, a new bicycle can really boost enthusiasm for year-round riding. Local shops will help you review the options and pick the best model — or perhaps gift certificate — for your rider.

For riders already well-equipped, this is a good time of year for a thorough bicycle tune-up. The demands of cold and moisture put extra pressure on components and connectors, so they need to be at their best. Local bicycle shops and Road Runner Mobile Bike Service have you covered on this.

Whatever you choose for your intrepid winter cyclists — or for yourself — winterizing the ride will help continue the fitness, traffic reduction, climate protection and simple joy of local bicycling.

Enjoy your ride.

Join Glenwood Springs Bicycle Advocates in riding and promoting local bicycle use. For more information, call 618-8264, or write glenwoodbikes@rof.net.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.