We are back with our second installment of Winterized, our guide to surviving your cold (perhaps miserable) rides. We’ve rounded up a bunch of tips from our staff, Kona athletes, and partners to ensure you have some handy little tricks to keep you happy this winter.
Name: Jake Heilbron
Kona gig: Owner/Founder
Bike of choice: “My winter ride is a titanium Esatto/Zone. The frame doesn’t mind any type of weather.”
How Jake gets Winterized:
This is from the POV of a retro rider. Let’s face it, your hands and feet don’t stay warm and dry in the winter, no matter how much dough you spend on gloves and shoes. In order to enjoy the ride more, head out with some friends because misery loves company. If you’re a racer, your heart will be warmed by the thought that no one else is training in this weather and you’re getting better than them today.
I like to use cheap parts, keep it lightly oiled, and let the dirt build up to provide an extra layer of protection. Wide tires are the way to for winter and summer.
The best winter snack involves a flask with some single malt whiskey that’s been distilled in Scotland. A shot every 15 minutes or so provides excellent energy.
Name: Gavin Stewart
Kona gig: Industrial Designer
Bike of choice: Paddy Wagon
How Gavin gets Winterized:
If you’re commuting, ride a fixie. They’re much easier to clean and maintain. Carry some latex gloves. Using latex gloves under regular riding gloves will keep your hands nice and warm. Super sweaty, but warm.
Growing up in Jasper we get to deal with winter riding conditions for the better part of 5 months. Generally, if it’s warmer then -15 C I’ll stick to my Aluminum Kona Honzo with a studded 2.25 tire on the front and a beefier 2.35 non-studded but knobby one on the back. Both these will be run at low pressure (16-20 psi) to provide some extra cushion and traction on the often rutted and ice trails. On my feet, I’ll wear Shimano SH-E& Enduro shoes with heavy wool socks and shoe cover. On the hands, I will wear a thin wool liner and then a bigger winter glove on top.
Once it dips to -15 C or colder or if there’s fresh snow and the trails aren’t packed yet I’ll switch over to a Kona Wo Fat bike. This provides much better traction and also slows down the speed and thus the wind chill. On the feet, I’ll switch over to flat pedals and wear a warm winter snow boot. On the hands, I’ll keep with a thin wool liner but will wear a large lobster glove on top.
Clothing starts with a thin base layer, cycling shorts and then either shorts and leggings if it’s pretty warm or else a full pant if it’s chilly out. The torso will be covered with a base layer (thickness depends on the temperature), a vest and then a layering of thin jackets which can be easily adjusted based on the temperature. I’ll tend to lean toward dressing light and riding slightly chilled so I don’t sweat and it also provides good motivation to keeping moving. Cycling is tricky as you work so hard on the uphills and then sit still on the descents which can freeze you really fast if you’ve overheated and sweated on the way up.
In the winter I like to toss in a few more night rides as the reflection of the snow and the silence of the winter night makes for some interesting times. Otherwise, the rides will start midday when the sun is high and the temp a bit higher. On cold days my rides will be split into two, with a warm coffee shop break in the middle.
Food and water are tricky on the cold days so I’ll generally get my hydration and fuel from a travel thermos of warm tea with honey which will easily fit in my bottle cage. For food, Clif Shot Bloks provide good treats that slowly dissolve and thaw in your mouth, or else a bag of nuts is always on hand. Most energy bars tend to freeze too much to not risk breaking your teeth on them!