Hi! I’m Lucy (aka Tobin), a Grease Ragger and year-round cyclist. If there is anything I’ve learned about biking in the winter, it’s that in addition to your own experience, your best resource for information is your peers: WTFs who bike in Minnesota winters. The Grease Rag Winter Skill Share gets those very people into one place at one time to offer WTFs the winter biking motherload of info. If you attended the Winter Skill Share session on clothing or took a gander at the handout, you’re well-equipped with tons of info nuggets to get great winter gear.
When outfitting yourself for winter biking, I suggest you be mindful of this: there is no ultimate winter garb that’s better than all the rest. There are as many different body types and comfort levels as there are people; something that works for one person may not work for another. Keep an open mind, gather as much info as you can, and try it out. If it doesn’t work, try something else. Don’t want to throw down the cash to get gear you’ve never tried before? Get the gear from a retailer who has a reasonable return policy, or ask someone you know (like maybe one of your Grease Rag compatriots) who has the item if they would lend it to you.
If you’ve lived through a Minnesota Winter, you know the weather can change not only from day to day, but from hour to hour. So to ride through the entire winter, you’ll likely need a variety of gear. Again, there may be some trial and error to finding the right combination of gear for whatever weather Mother Nature throws at you in a given day, but don’t let the process discourage you. Pack extra clothes if you can; better to have something and not need it than need it and not have it. As we all know, weather can be unpredictable and unforgiving. I’m the type of person who prefers to be prepared for a change in weather. For every time I’ve not needed the extra gear, there has been a time when I REALLY needed it. With each new experience, with each anecdote from another winter cyclist, you’ll fine-tune your gear and share your experiences with others. Live the Winter Skill Share.
In a recent conversation with a fellow Grease Ragger, we shared a mutual aversion for cyclists who tout their gear as being THE best, the paramount apparel. It wrongfully assumes a lot about the person to whom they are talking. In sharing your experiences with other cyclists, try to avoid making that mistake and instead describe what you have found to work FOR YOU and why. Empower them with the information so they can make a decision that works for them.
To all the presenters, organizers, volunteers, and attendees of the Winter Skill Share: thank you. You help make this community possible and thrive.