I have discovered the coveted secret of winter bicycle commuting. I have discovered two pieces of gear, which, used properly, keep me comfortable from about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, all the way down to 0 degrees. I almost didn’t even write about this, considering the uber secret nature of this information. But no one is talking about these incredible pieces of technology, so I have decided to share my discovery with my readers. You won’t find this information anywhere else.
So, what are these two items, which together form the holy grail of comfortable winter bicycle commuting? Brace yourself, and I’ll tell you: a windbreaker and a sweater. Yes, really.
For some time, I experimented with different layering schemes. Eventually I found this windbreaker + sweater combination, but I didn’t realize exactly what I’d stumbled on. I wore this combination for some commutes in the 20s. Then it got colder, in the teens. I thought “surely, I need to add another sweater.” I wore an extra one, and I was too hot. Once temperatures reached down into the single-digits, I again thought I needed two sweaters. Still too hot!
Today, I once again strayed from the formula. It was 30 degrees during my commute this morning, and I thought “surely, if a sweater is enough in single-digit temperatures, it will be too warm now.” I didn’t wear the sweater. As you might have guessed by now … I was cold.
Now that I think things through more carefully, I realize that the same gear could extend to a higher temperature range, as well. Just the jacket, without a sweater, should be good from about 35 to 55. A sweater alone should get me up into the 60s. Above that, there’s no need for either a windbreaker OR a sweater.
Therefore, I conclude that I can go from 0-60 in a sweater and a windbreaker.