How to gear up for a subfreezing ride

By Melanie Kaplan
Special To The Washington Post.
Posted12/15/2014 5:45 AM

When you head out for a wintertime pedal, leave your subarctic apparel behind.

"Most people overdress -- they show up wearing a parka," said Karl Mechtenberg, owner of Seward Bike Tours in Alaska. "Once you get moving, you heat up pretty quickly."


He recommends layers such as a thin windbreaker over a non-cotton base layer and a lightweight fleece. Also helpful: gloves, winter boots, wool socks, a thin stocking hat and sunglasses or ski goggles.

Fat-bikers swear by pogies, or bar mitts, which fit over the bike's handlebar and protect hands from blistering cold. Two companies that offer them are 45NRTH (; $125) and Revelate Designs (; $95-$225). You can also check out 45NRTH's Wolvhammer cycling boot ($325), a redesigned mountaineering boot with insulation and breathable waterproof features.

Arctic Innovations' HydroHeater (, $125) was invented by an Alaska cyclist who couldn't keep his water from freezing. It combines a battery-powered heating element with a drinking tube so riders can thaw their water and stay hydrated. It's compatible with CamelBak and most other hydration bladders.

For warming up after your ride: a neoprene-covered steel growler cage (; $55), which fits in place of any water-bottle cage on a bike and accommodates a 64-ounce glass growler filled with your favorite brew.

Some area stores that carry fat bikes include Zion Cyclery, 2750 Sheridan Road, Zion,; Spokes with locations at 69 Danada Sq E, Wheaton, and 1807 S. Washington St., Suite 112, Naperville,; and North Central Cyclery, 534 E. Lincoln Hwy., DeKalb,

Remember: Don't drink and ride, and always wear a helmet.

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