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How to Dress for a Cold Bike Ride to a Concert

9 Cold Weather RIding

This guest post is by Lindsay Piper of QBP.

Man, my boyfriend is the coolest.  Me: doot doot doot, working away.  BF: Guess what? I got tickets to Polica tonight.  Me: Whaat?  OMGAWESOMEYAY

Here’s the thing, this conversation took place in early December in Minneapolis.  The concert was to take place at a concert venue called Mill City Nights, which is in downtown Minneapolis.  Well on a weekend, parking is a pain, and there’s the whole problem of not wanting to drink & drive, but well YEAH I’m going to have a cider while I watch Polica.

So what’s a gal to do? Ride her dang bike, that’s what a girl’s to do. 

That’s a bit easier in summer of course, but that night was expected to be in the range of 20-30 degrees, and the roads & paths were covered with a bit of snow/ice slop.  So this brought up the obvious question – what on earth do I wear to stay warm & dry on my bike, but still look concert-worthy?  I set to work a-wardrobing.

It is Crucial to Layer

winter bike clothing

 Layer 1 – The concert layer

Key #1: Toasty legs- I accomplished this by layering Patagonia midweight Capeline pants under my Outlier Women’s Daily Riding Pants. The Outlier pants are super stretchy, so it’s easy to add the layer under them without becoming immobile.  And they look like jeans, so style.

Key #2: Warm & dry tootsies- Nobody likes cold soggy feet while trying to take in awesome music.  To fix myself up here, I layered some DeFeet Wooleator socks (Minneapolis Bike Love Edition) under my Stella McCartney for Adidas high tops.  They’re made entirely of shiny synthetic leather and cover my ankles; both factors keep my feet dry & stylish at the same time, in a slightly Marty McFly kind of way. Where’s my hoverboard?!

Key #3: Warm but not sweaty core- I snagged a delightful tee shirt, complete with printed sassy phrase, and layered it under my numero uno, all-time favorite piece – my Surly long sleeve merino jersey.  It’s comfortable, keeps me warm & sweat wicked, and looks feminine but not girly. Disclaimer: I manage Surly and a few other brands’ clothing offering- this is one of my babies, so I might be biased, but it really and truly is awesome & indispensable.

winter bike clothing

Layer 2 – The outer layer (as watched over by my late dog Baxter, who was not thrilled that I was about to leave him home alone)

Key #1: Dry & Windproof torso – My handy OR Mithrill softshell- another indispensable piece, does the job with panache.

Key #2: Warm, safe extremities – On the paws, my 9,000 year old Swix lobster mitts.  They’re a little sad looking at this point, but they work.  I’ve yet to find a bike-specific pair of gloves that I like as well.  My 45NRTH Greazy merino cap.  It’s warm, fits nicely under a helmet, and has plenty of ear coverage.  Same disclaimer as above, and also in this case the Brand Manager is also the aforementioned boyfriend, so there you go.  Anyhoo popped on top of that is my Lazer 02 helmet.  The high-vis yellow is nice for night riding, and the one-size-fits-all adjustment means it’s easy to fit it over a hat.  The finishing touch is a pair of photosensitive Optic Nerve glasses to keep the crap & wind out of my eyes.

Key #3: ID & money required- The tiniest of Timbuk2 messenger bags, the Catapult, is so handy.  Plenty of room to stuff my gloves & hat once I arrive at the venue, without excess bulk.  And it rides high & tight to the body, which is really nice for riding.

Lindsay Piper

Striking a pose in my concert getup at home

Lindsay Piper

About to roll out.  Note the front & rear lights.  Safety, people!  I’m riding my All-City Macho Man with 45 NRTH Xerxes studded tires to cut through slop & ice.  You can tell this is still early winter, because my neighbors & I had still been taking snow removal much more seriously & thoroughly.  We’ve since given up on the prospect of seeing actual pavement.

Cold Weather Commuting

Success!  Opening act Marijuana Death Squads, and headliner Polica.  Love her pants!

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