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?  ;-)

  • ladyfleur

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

    • http://twitter.com/BikePretty Melissa, BikePretty

      Dude, I know! This is some hard core viking-biking that still looks all cute!

  • http://willbikeforchange.wordpress.com/ storiteller

    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.

    • Lisa Curcio

      I rode all week in Chicago until today with the snow. I was warmer properly dressed on the bike when it was zero with wind than I was today walking when it is 20 degrees!

      • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

        Go you! True that biking is usually warmer than walking.

  • http://www.anniebikes.blogspot.com anniebikes

    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.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Cool :) A doctor who bikes to work is a good sign.

  • Sarah W.

    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.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Last winter was sooo warm (relatively).

  • cycler

    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).

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      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

        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!

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  • steve_a_dfw

    79F in North Texas yesterday.

    • http://nymblog.com/ Ezra Rufino

      79F! You are one lucky sun of a gun!

      • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

        Seconded, although not so much in the summer, I guess.

        • http://nymblog.com/ Ezra Rufino


  • K2

    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…

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      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.

  • http://nymblog.com/ Ezra Rufino

    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!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

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

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  • outsidetime

    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!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      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!

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