I bike to work every day I can. Rain, snow, blistering heat, I try to let nothing stop me. At 3.1 miles each way, the ride is not long. But after riding almost 250 times a year for many years in Chicago’s four seasons (including two Polar Vorticies), those miles can feel pretty long.
I’ve acquired a lot of equipment over the years. Here is a list of what works for me.
- A bike helmet (or ski helmet), always
- On temperate, dry days I wear my business casual clothes with reflective leg straps I bought at my local bike shop
- I have multiple series of outerwear for cooler weather:
- For 50-60 degree days, a lightweight, shockingly orange Reebok jacket with a built-in hood that I found on clearance for $11.
- For 35-50 degree days, a fleece-lined running coat, light gloves, and either a light running hat or Smartwool liner hat
- For 30-35 degree days, the same fleece-lined running coat with a thick fleece zip-up underneath, winter gloves, and thick hat
- For 20-30 degree days, I migrate to true winter clothes. I wear a Marmot ski shell, thick fleece zip-up, winter gloves, and thick hat.
- For 10-20 degree days, same as above but with a Smartwool liner hat, liner gloves, long underwear, and waterproof/windproof galoshes
- For 0-10 degree days, same as above but with waterproof liner pants and possibly ski goggles
- For -10-0 degree days, same as above, but with another layer of gloves, hat, sweater, and thick ski socks
- For -20–10 degree days, same as above, but ride faster and pray…
I try to never carry a backpack. Instead, I use an Ortlieb Office Bag QL2 Pannier. It is waterproof, sleek, and has an amazing attachment system. I love it.
- A Topeak Explorer Bike Rack
- A Planet Bike Blinky “3” rear light
- A Planet Bike Blaze 2 Watt headlight
This is mainly for dry weather. I have slight adjustments for wet/windy weather, which I’ll post at a later time.