There are three things you must prepare for if you intend to cycle through the winter:

  • Staying warm
  • Staying dry
  • Staying upright

To stay warm, don't wear a thick coat. You'll overheat. Instead, layer several warm garments, ideally with wool on your skin and a wind- or water-proof outer layer. That way you can shed layers if you're hot and don them when you cool down. Wear a tuque and scarf or a balaclava under your helmet, and get the thickest mittens you can. If you put Bar Mitts on your bicycle, you can use thinner gloves and still control your shifters and brakes well.

To stay dry, there's no substitute for full fenders. Choose the right diameter and width for your tires.

To stay upright, it's a question of tires. Thin knobby tires work well on hard-packed snow, regular street tires work when the snow's been cleared or on powdery fresh snowfall, but when the icy times come, there's no substitute for steel-spiked studded tires.

Studded tires roll well on asphalt when you fill them to max. pressure, moving the studs out of the way of the rolling band, and they grip great on ice when you let pressure out to bring down the studs. You'll stay upright when everyone else is slipping on the ice.

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