Icicle Bicycle

The morning temperatures this week have varied from 0 degrees to 10 degrees, plus some snow has been falling.  For a good idea of how bitterly cold Chicago is, check out this photo below of a warehouse fire in the city.

Photo by Jose M. Osorio

Photo by Jose M. Osorio

Yeah, that’s cold!

I spent part of the week riding public transportation and part of the week bicycling.  Although I have biked in sub-zero weather before, the convenience of the L train lures me to the easy option when I’m feeling lazy.  Which is often.  A couple friends have been bicycling on days I took the L, so I give my hardcore title up to them.  :-)




These photos are in an alley.  The streets are much clearer, so biking in snow and ice has not really been an issue.


When I ride my bike on super cold days, there are some key pieces I rely on, as I’ve mentioned before.

Wool leggings over my tights to allow me to wear skirts and dresses.


Hand and toe warmers.


Snow boots that have been serving me well since 2001 (or the brown ones shown above).




I hope everyone is staying warm, whether on the bike or not.

Now how many weeks until spring?  ;-)

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25 thoughts on “Icicle Bicycle

  1. ladyfleur says:

    I look equally bundled in 35 degree weather in the San Francisco Bay Area. All of you with real cold weather are amazing.

  2. storiteller says:

    Yikes! Nice job keeping up the biking in this brutal weather. I walked to the train when it was 10 degrees out and that was only a mile, so I couldn’t imagine adding the wind of the bike to it.

  3. anniebikes says:

    I was driving my kids to school and a guy cycles past us all bundled to the nines. Couldn’t see his face, but I know he’s my husband’s doctor. He rides 10 miles each way. It was -10F. Some riders are hardcore.

  4. Sarah W. says:

    I have not biked in the cold at all this year. Last year Nashville had a very mild winter and I was often out on the weekends.

  5. cycler says:

    I think I’m going to have to finally break down and use foot warmers. I’ve experimented with several kinds of socks, and nothing seems to be cutting it.
    I have a bunch of warmers from skiing, but need to dig them out of the attic.
    One caution from skiing, that I think would be relevant to biking as well: put the warmer on the top of your toes. If you put it on the bottom, it can become so warm that it is uncomfortable to push on with your foot. This is a problem if you’re trying to keep your weight forward (skiing) or pedal with the ball of your foot (biking).

    • Dottie says:

      I’m all about foot and hand warmers. No need to suffer. I always put mine under my toes and haven’t had a problem.

      • April says:

        Dottie, I tried your wool socks under fleece tights trick and it worked wonderfully. I think it’s because it creates an pocket of warmth. Thanks for the tip!

  6. […] Clothing Strategies for Cold-Weather Cycling (LGRAB) […]

  7. steve_a_dfw says:

    79F in North Texas yesterday.

  8. K2 says:

    My cold weather wardrobe: Right as rain jacket (lululemon) with a base layer underneath for added warmth (Northface) . Polartec tights (Athleta). Socks: (Burton). Leather mittens with inserts (Marks Work Warehouse). Felt boots (Lands End). Eye glasses (Adidas Evil Eye with prescription/for distance inserts). All of the above keep me dry, warm and cosy…

    • Dottie says:

      Sounds like a great system. A thin rain jacket layered over a wool or cashmere sweater is super warm, most people would not think so.

  9. Ezra Rufino says:

    I’ve been really layering up, especially this week it went down to 10 degrees(feels like minus something with windchill). Doubling up on gloves, wool socks, wind breaker and winter coat, hat, hood, etc.

    I actually really want one of those cold weather helmets with the ear flaps and everything, they look great! Have fun and be safe on the days you are choosing to bike!

    • Dottie says:

      The built-in ear flaps are convenient, but honestly a pair of wrap-around earmuff with a regular helmet work just as well.

  10. […] past three days have been warmer than earlier this week, but presented challenges related to precipitation, rather than […]

  11. outsidetime says:

    I’m trying to get brave enough to do my commute by bike a few days a week this winter (13 miles along the lake). Could you tell me what boots (the black ones, especially) those are? Thanks so much!

    • LGRAB says:

      I bought the black boots in Russia 11 years ago, so I can’t help you there. They are very thick leather with a thick rubber sole and faux fur lining. Any snow boot should be fine with some wool socks, although I also have to use toe warmers because my extremeties freeze easily. Have fun!

  12. […] I’m not interested in biking when it doesn’t feel right and am happy to cede the hardcore title to others when necessary (I have biked four whole winters at this point, after all.). And chest […]

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