Tag Archives: winter riding

With winter showing signs of ending and roads soon beginning to clear of snow and ice, we all look forward to venturing out into the world on two wheels. The following should help you find the right cycling clothes for that #NextBikeAdventure

How to pick the right cycling clothes for any condition

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

With winter showing signs of ending and roads soon beginning to clear of snow and ice, we all look forward to venturing out into the world on two wheels. The following should help you find the right cycling clothes for that #NextBikeAdventure. Even though the weather is improving, true summer temps are still a ways off, so take a look at these tips.

Layering Up with Cycling Clothes

As we swing closer into spring finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

As we swing closer into spring, finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

Your perceived temperature as well as the actual ambient temperature can change while you ride. In order to get the most flexibility, and stay comfortable, layered clothing offer the most options. Listed below are the many items that make up a complete wardrobe of cycling clothes. However, depending on your geography or personal preferences, some items may not be required.

     -Jersey

A cycling jersey isn’t a necessity for riding, but it sure does make things comfortable. Jerseys come in lightweight sleeveless versions for the hottest summer days, or insulated long sleeve versions for cold weather riding.

     -Base Layers

They come in short and long sleeve versions. They’re usually made of a polypropylene material that keeps you dry by moving moisture off your skin quickly.

     -Shorts

Cycling shorts are the most important piece of clothing when it comes to comfort. There are tight versions as well as baggy ones, but all have a pad to help make your saddle more comfortable.

     -Arm Warmers

Arm warmers fit snugly from your wrist to just below your shoulder. The ability to roll them up or down while you ride makes them ideal for rides that have a large change in temperature.

     -Knee Warmers

Like arm warmers, knee warmers offer great flexibility on days with a large shift in temperature. They can be easily packed in a jersey pocket for use when needed.

     -Gloves

Gloves range from half fingered summer versions to heavy, windproof, winter versions and everything in between. The most important thing about glove is to find something that fits comfortably.

     -Tights

Tights are an essential piece of clothing if you want to be comfortable riding as the temperature drops. They help you retain body heat while not being bulky and interrupting your ability to ride comfortably.

     -Jackets

Cycling jackets are noticeably thinner than a standard winter jacket. The reason they don’t need as much loft is because as you exercise, you create enough heat. Most good cycling jackets use a windproof material to stop heat from being pulled off your body by the air moving around you as you ride. Some higher end jackets are windproof as well as waterproof.

     -Wind Breaker

As it sounds, this jacket or vest’s main job is to stop the wind from pulling heat away from your body. They are usually lightweight and can be packed into a very small bag for easy transport.

     -Hats

Cycling caps are usually thin enough to fit under a helmet and vary in insulation depending on the material used. Warmer caps are usually made from fleece with a windproof membrane, while summer caps are made of nylon.

     -Booties

Booties are thick neoprene covers designed to fit over your shoe and ankle. They do a great job of insulating while still allowing you to wear you comfortable cycling shoes. If you plan to do a lot of winter riding, you may want to invest in a dedicated winter shoe, rather than booties.

What to Wear

Now that we know about cycling clothes, let’s talk about how they fit into the game. Everyone’s temperature threshold is different, so you may find it comfortable to wear slightly more or less clothing than recommended below. After a full season of riding, you will figure out exactly what works for you and where you may need some more clothing options.

Above 65 Degrees

Winter riding above 65

Jersey, shorts, gloves, and socks should be comfortable.

65 Degrees

Winter riding at 60

Add knee warmers, arm warmers, base layer, and light full finger gloves.

55 Degrees

winter riding 55

The addition of a vest keeps your core warm.

50 Degrees

Winter riding 45

Trade the arm warmers for a long sleeve jersey and swap out to thicker socks and gloves.

45 Degrees

winter riding 45

Swap knee warmers for light tights, short sleeve base layer for long sleeve, and add a hat.

40 Degrees

Winter riding 45

A wind breaking coat and booties keep you toasty.

35 Degrees

Winter riding 35

Trade light tights for winter tights, light hat for winter cap, and full finger gloves for winter gloves.

30 Degrees

Winter Riding 30

A heavy winter coat replaces the windbreaker and long sleeve jersey.

Stay Dry

With the simple breakdown of cycling clothes above you should be able to comfortably ride throughout the spring and deep into winter. If it rains, all bets are off. With rain on top of cold, the most important thing is to stay dry. Most synthetic insulating fabrics will still work when wet, but the wet greatly diminishes their ability to keep you warm.

In the rains of the fall and early spring staying dry can be a difficult task. The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. Before you go out and just buy anything labeled “waterproof”, understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

In their most basic form, a lot of materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. On top of the issue with letting water in, basic waterproof materials don’t let water vapor out. It’s just as bad to get soaked through with sweat as with rain as far as insulation is concerned.

     -Keep Water Out

To keep water out, look for waterproof cycling clothes that have sealed seams or welded seams (see image). Pay close attention to the zipper. Look for waterproof zippers (pictured) or large flaps that prevent water from driving through the zipper. Make sure all the cuffs are adjustable enough to be snugged against your skin.

Examples of cycling clothes with taped seams (Left), welded seams (Center), and a waterproof zipper (Right)

     -Let Sweat Out

To let the sweat out, waterproof materials should also be breathable. Breathable means that water from the outside cannot penetrate the fabric, but that any water vapor (sweat) being produced by your body, can escape through the fabric. Breathable fabrics work because water vapor is smaller than water droplets. To breath, the material will be perforated with holes small enough to stop water droplets from getting in, but large enough to allow water vapor to escape. Using a breathable material in tandem with base layers designed to pull moisture off your skin is a sure fire way to stay dry and warm.

You cannot beat the changing scenery of fall riding or the feeling of rediscovering riding in the spring. Hopefully, with these tips and a little experimentation, you will find comfort and enjoyment riding outside, even when the weather is cool.

Mountain bike hacks: fat bike tips and tricks for winter fun!

by  John Brown. HaveFunBiking.com

For many of us, riding offroad through the winter is impossible without a fat bike. Our trails get covered with snow in December and don’t see the light of day again until April. While riding a fat bike is a great substitution for riding a mountain bike, it does behave differently than a standard mountain bike. Here are a few quick and easy hacks to riding fat bikes that will get you enjoying the snow in no time.

Why a fat bike

What makes a fat bike special is its ability to ride though deep snow with ease. The reason it is at home in snow is that these tires are between 4” to 5” wide. That width offers traction and flotation on the softest of terrains like snow and sandy ground cover.

Tire pressure

With wider tires comes a larger overall air volume, meaning that fat bikes have more space for air in their tires than a standard mountain bike. Due to that increased volume, fat bikes use a very different air pressure than your standard mountain bike tire. As an example, in very deep snow it’s not unheard of to run the tires as low as 8 psi. By contrast, a standard mountain bike tire at 8 psi would be completely un-rideable. Proper air pressure for a fat bike tire can be difficult to achieve if you don’t know what you are looking for. Basically, you want the tire to be able to deform easily over terrain, but not be so low that the tire “squirms” or collapses under hard turning efforts. I find it easy to get here by filling the tires until they are slightly less than firm, then lowering the air pressure incrementally over the first few minutes of a ride until the tires really perform well. You will know you let too much air out if the bike bobs up and down with each pedal stroke.

Turning

Due to the soft nature of snow, turning can be tricky. While turning on a normal mountain bike you move your body weight forward rely on the tires traction, then aggressively force the bike through the turn. Considering snow is soft and will not support that type of maneuver turning requires a slightly more finessed approach. First, leave your weight in a neutral position centered over the bicycle. Next, shift your weight toward the inside of the turn and begin turning the bars slightly toward the turn. The front wheel is more of a tiller than anything else.  Use it to direct the angle and direction of the bike, but resist the urge to load it up with weight. As the bike angles toward the turn, focus your weight on the rear wheel. If done properly, you will feel as if the bike is turning from the rear wheel rather than the front and your front tire won’t wash out.

fatbike

Weight back and rear wheel doing most the work.

Climbing with a fat tire bike

Climbing with limited traction can be difficult as well. Rather than putting your bike in its lowest gear and muscling up the hill you need to be wary of not letting the rear tire slip. If you drop the bike into its lowest gear, chances are the rear tire will have too much torque. Too much torque will cause your tire to rip through the snow and slip. The best thing to do is move your weight backward and pedal with as even a pressure and cadence as possible. Standing and pedaling, or jabbing on the pedals will most likely cause the rear wheel to break free.

Ice and studs on a fat tire bike

On snow covered trails that get ridden often it is possible for the trails to get packed in and begin to freeze solid. Once ice is on the trail it becomes very difficult to control the bike with standard rubber tires. For this reason, I recommend adding studs to your tires if your trail riding is susceptible to ice.

studded tire

MTB studded tire from Schwalbe (left) and stud detail of 45nrth tire (right)

Overall fun

The biggest tip I can give to fat biking is to keep it fun! Riding a fat bike is a totally different experience than riding a normal Mountain bike, and requires its own skills. Try not to get frustrated because it handles differently than your other off road bikes, just focus on building some new skills. Also, with riding in colder temperatures, enjoy the time you have. While a 4 hour mountain bike ride in the summer is great, you may not be able to stay warm that long through the winter. Beyond the different skills and time, enjoy the unique rewards only Fatbiking can give you.

Winter’s icy grip can be an unforgivable time for bicyclists riding without studded tires. We enjoy the solitude of winter riding and the added fitness it offers, but as rain or snow turns to ice real dangers abound.

Studded tires extend your season with safety and traction

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Winter’s icy grip can be an unforgivable time for bicyclists riding without studded tires. We enjoy the solitude of winter riding and the added fitness it offers, but as rain or snow turns to ice real dangers abound. To combat those slippery hazards the best tool is a studded tire. Basically, studded tires are a deep lugged tire that can accept steel studs. Some come with the studs installed while others are stud compatible.

On-road studded tires for your bike

In my experience the best use for studs is on commuter tires. Commuting typically takes me through roads, sidewalks, bike paths, and bike lanes. These changing surfaces are never uniform in snow removal and always prone to ice. For that reason, I love to use studded tires on my commuter bike. They offer a level of consistency that I can’t get with normal, all-rubber tires. Additionally, the deep tread on these tires has the side benefit of puncture protection.

studded tire

Schwalbe’s commuter studded tire.

Off-road studded tires

Here in Minnesota we periodically run into conditions that require studs off road, but usually winter trails here are white and soft. By contrast, the winter trails in Philadelphia were covered in ice all winter thanks to the normal freeze/thaw cycles. If your trails are particularly icy, off-road studs are a great solution for you. Studded tires are available for all types of mountain bikes with 26″, 27.5″, and 29″ versions from 2″-5″ in width. Also, there are mountain bike tires that are “stud compatible”. These “stud compatible” tires have pockets built into the tread designed to accept aftermarket studs.

studded tire

MTB studded tire from Schwalbe (left) and stud detail of 45nrth tire (right)

Adding studs to your bikes tire

Beyond buying pre-studded tires, you can buy studs that install on existing tires. The easiest solution is to buy “stud compatible” tires, and install the studs when needed. The other option is to buy aftermarket studs like the Gripstud and thread them into a standard tire. Installing this type of stud is a relatively easy process. What is difficult is choosing the right tire. To install studs you need to be sure that the tire you plan to use has lugs large enough to support the stud.

studded tires

Gripstud system explained.

studded tire

Aftermarket studs from 45nrth and Schwallbe

Riding with studs

If you take the leap and go with studded tires, realize that they will be noisy on the road and heavy off road. While that doesn’t sound like a rousing endorsement, the pros do outweigh those few cons. The pros include added traction on icy road surfaces, as well as consistent traction off-road as trails go from snow to ice and back again. Winter is a great time to ride and studs help you enjoy it.

As frigid temps continue to test many outdoor athletes like me who bike, Sealskinz offers winter enthusiasts a cold weather glove that is worth talking about. Check out the latest HaveFunBiking.com review!

Out of the box review: the best cold weather glove to date

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Finding a cold weather glove, it has finally happened. I found the bottom of the Sealskinz Halo glove’s effective temperature range. Before you start to think I went on some wild adventure like the Goonies search for One Eyed Willie, you should know that it has been a pretty mild winter by Minnesota standards around here. Basically, the Halo leaves me looking for more around 15 degrees. Normally, that’s colder than 90% of the riders out there will endure, but like me, there are a few lost souls who ride through it all (or almost through it all). For us, Sealskinz promises to have us covered with the Highland Claw glove. Let’s take a look at what makes it special!

A cold weather glove ‘Out of the Box’

The Highland Claw glove is a “lobster claw” style glove that intends to maximize your body heat by pairing your fingers together. You are left with the pointer and middle finger as well as the ring and pinkie finger paired up like a Vulcan salute. These gloves are fully water/windproof and boast more insulation than the Halo glove. Like always, special care is taken with the packaging to ensure no holes are put in the glove.

Highland Claw

Details of the Highland Claw.

Cold weather glove construction

The gloves have what feels like a durable outer shell and soft synthetic suede thumb. Closure for the glove is handled by a single Velcro strap paired with some elastic in the cuff to keep things snug. The palm is similar to the Halo glove so I expect it to be just as durable and comfortable. Additionally, the glove has a couple cool touches to aid in visibility. Between the fingers, at the knuckle, and on the fingertips, Sealskinz has included reflective material to keep you visable.

highland claw

Palm detail of the Highland Claw

Cold weather glove fit

I received a pair of XL gloves Highland Claw Gloves. They come in sizes ranging from small through double extra-large. While I usually wear the largest glove size from any manufacturer the XL seems to fit really well, which is good news for my large fisted friends. When trying on the glove I found that my fingers easily found their place and came out of the glove easily. Usually, when you add insulation, gloves don’t always want to release your hand well, but it appears Sealskinz has worked some magic to bypass this problem. The Velcro cuff is a nice touch, but probably not needed as the elastic held things in place well.

Highland Claw

The cuff detail on the Highland Claw glove.

Warmth

Right off the bat, these gloves felt warm, noticeably warmer than the Halo glove in fact. This isn’t a dig on the Halo but a testament to the Highland Claw. I’ve worn the gloves as low as -2 with no issue, but haven’t yet gotten the chance to ride with them much below the teens.

Moving forward

It appears the mild winter we all were hoping for here in Minnesota in unlikely. We are expecting highs in the negative range next week, so I will have ample opportunity to see how warm these gloves can be. In reality, if they stay warm through the single digits, that’s more than I can hope for. Riding below zero takes a commitment of mind and gear that I really don’t encourage for most. Also, once you get into the negative temps, there is no amount of gear that does anything but buy you time. The right gloves might give you an hour, but eventually, jack frost wins. Stay tuned to hear how much of a fight these gloves put up in my mid term review.

Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

New Year’s Resolution: make 2018 your best bike riding year ever!

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking

After all the presents are opened and the last of the cookies disappear many of us turn our attention to the year ahead. More specifically, many of us begin the annual task of developing new year’s resolutions for ourselves. This year, why not resolve to make this year your best year of bike riding ever!

Get ready for the bike season

For most of us, the season doesn’t begin in earnest until April 1st. Coincidentally, April 1st is also the first day of the 30 days of biking pledge. Therefore, why not take the next three months to get ready for April’s goal of 30 days of riding!

best year of riding

A happy rider having completed his 30 days of biking!

It’s been proven countless times in history – the mind drives the body! I find a great way to get my mind ready for a goal is to share that goal with others. For me, once I tell others about my goal, I am making a deal with myself that it is a real thing. Once your goal is real, begin clearing your schedule for it.

Get your body ready for the bike

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that plan matches with your goal (example: riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Minnesota is currently locked in a winter freeze, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year and it’s especially crucial for your training. You can go snowshoeing, running, swimming, cross country skiing, indoor riding (on a trainer), take spin classes, or anything that raises your heartbeat.

best year of riding

Indoor rides can be fun with the right group.

To ensure you have on-bike fitness there is no better indoor exercise than riding a bike trainer. There are spin gyms, training centers and bike shops that run classes a few times a week. Look into what programs are available and you will stick to in your community.

How to fit riding into your daily routine

Most people don’t have time to do the things they need to do (like that home project you swore you would finish last summer). So how do you fit in time to train? To start, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. Drive part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30 minute drive could turn into a 15 minute drive and the rest on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add a 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Do it in the morning and the evening and you bought an hour of riding while only adding up to 40 minutes to your daily schedule.

I find that I make a trips to the grocery store for a handful of items a few times a week. Try to ride your bike to the grocery store, rather than drive once a week.

Also, try adding a ride to your normal downtime. If you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. April 1st is smack dab in the middle of when many people begin to think about riding their bike. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like for you bicycle. Click the  (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

best year of riding

This rider is looking for speed, but a good bike fit can benefit any rider!

If you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead. The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun,rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First step

The longest journey begins with a single step and that step should be taken on January 1st. Making the time to ride or exercise on new year’s is easy considering most of us are off of work. Getting started right away is a huge moral booster, for the goal of having your best year of bike riding ever!

Biking with gaiter’s may be an added bonus to keep you warm

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Cold, snow, sleet and ice are normal conditions for my winter bike commute to work here in Minnesota. With the elements being so inhospitable  at times, I am excited to try any new product that offers warmth. With that concept in mind, I was excited to try the Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter’s. For those of you who aren’t familiar with what a pair of gaiter’s does, they covers your shin and calf below the knee and above the ankle. It works in combination with your winter boots to extend a splash-proof protection up your leg. Basically, they are designed to keep snow, slush and debris off your legs and dripping down into your boot.

Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter

Wearing the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter for the first time.

A gaiter’s construction

The Armadillo LT gaiter’s upper is constructed out of Flexia, a three layer material designed to stretch, be waterproof, and conform to your leg and stay in place. The lower section is made out of a dense nylon that appears to be extremely tough. The zippers are waterproof and the straps and clips seem to be more than tough enough for their job. Even though these gaiters exude durability, they are remarkably lightweight.

Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter

High quality buckles, zippers and straps are standard.

A gaiter’s fit

I have to admit that I have never tried riding with a gaiter before. Whereas my point of reference is small, I do spend a lot of time on my bike in the cold. For the frigid weather, my riding boot of choice is the 45NRTH Wölvhammer which is built with gaiters in mind. The Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter paired with them easily. Thanks to the full-length zipper, I was able to get my riding gear and boots on, then fashion the gaiter into place with relative ease. That ease comes from the stretch that the upper material offers, as well as the easily adjustable lower Velcro strap and upper buckle strap.

Warmth on the bike

The addition of a waterproof layer was immediately apparent when I left my house. We had gotten a fresh coating of wet snow overnight and the salt trucks were out in force. Thanks to the slush created, my legs were immediately doused in slop but stayed dry and warm. This is a far cry from a week prior when I rode home without the benefit of gaiters. This time, I buzzed along through my normal route to work and noticed that my legs were noticeably warmer than usual. Also, when looking down at my legs (not something I recommend), I saw all the sludge my tires were kicking up bounce off the gaiters. By the time I reached the office, my legs were dry and comfortable, and the gaiter was still doing a good job repelling moisture.

Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter

Snow and slush are no match for the Hillsound Armadillo LT Gaiter.

Moving forward

With my first foray into gaiters I want to see where they are best used. I know that hiker and snowshoeing fans love them for their warmth and protection, now after trying them I am fascinated to see how they will help a cycling perspective. As of right now, I will definitely be reaching for them whenever the weather is both cold and wet. While I am sold on their benefit for wet conditions, I am looking forward to their added against wind chill when things get really cold. Stay tuned for more information on my adventures with the Hillsound Armadillo LT gaiter.

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep your fitness through the winter riding months.

Fun and fitness when winter bike riding is not your thing

by John Brown

Snow, ice and cold are great conditions for Fat Biking, but how do you keep your fitness if fat biking isn’t your thing? Luckily, there are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep you in shape through the winter months.

winter riding

Fun is fat through the winter

Off the bike fitness ideas

Even the smallest efforts help you stay fit. Trying things like taking the stairs rather than elevator, parking on the opposite side of the lot and walking when shopping or taking time in the evening to go for walks around the neighborhood will make a big difference when the riding season comes back around. You can also start putting some time in at the gym. In the past I had a gym membership that I would turn off except for 3 months a year. I enjoyed yoga classes, weight training, treadmills, spin classes, as well as all sorts of other gym related activities.

On the Bike training

Besides fat biking (which is the best winter riding option) you can enjoy your bike through the winter by buying an indoor trainer. An indoor trainer holds your bicycle upright and offers resistance when you pedal, thus turning your bike into a stationary bicycle. Using an Indoor trainer you can ride from the comfort of your own home or in a group setting. In fact, most bike shops have trainer nights in their stores through the winter.

winter riding

Trainer rides are a great way to connect with other riders

If you join a shop’s group trainer ride there is usually a leader. However, riding alone can still be fun. Most people start riding their trainer while watching TV and it’s a great plan at first, but that quickly gets boring. I find it interesting to use trainer specific workouts online. There are plenty of free and for pay versions. Additionally, depending on the trainer you buy, some of those workouts will actually change the resistance through your trainer.

Spin classes

Most gyms offer spin classes. These classes use a stationary bicycle, music, and instructors to guide a class through a one-hour workout. These rides are really fun and offer an intensity that is difficult to achieve riding alone at home.

Winter riding

Spin Class is a fast and fun workout

There are however, a few downsides with spin classes to keep in mind. One issue is that a spin bike won’t fit the same as your own bike. To fix this, many riders will install their own saddle and pedals on a spin bike before each class. The other potential problem is that the classes are not tailored toward your personal goals. The classes are usually high tempo, high effort workouts that might not fit with your training plan.

Fun in the Snow

If you live in a cooler weather climate and snow is reality for months at a time you can enjoy the white stuff and keep your fitness. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and ice skating are amazing ways to get your heart rate up. I love skating on our pond with my boys because one, I’m not good at it, so I get to use new muscles and two, I have to really work hard to keep up with them.

winter riding

Our winter oasis where I fumble through learning to skate

However you find your fitness through the winter, enjoy your time off the bike. The brief time between fall and spring is perfect to strengthen new muscles, work on flexibility, and let your body recover from a full season of cycling. Additionally, time off the bike always makes me more excited to get back on it once the weather clears.

Now that I have had over a month of cold weather under my belt, I feel comfortable talking about the Sealskinz Winter Halo Glove.

A mid term review of this amazing Sealskinz Halo Winter Glove

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Now that I have had over a month of cold weather under my belt, I feel comfortable talking about the Sealskinz Halo Winter Glove. The onset of Minnesota’s winter is probably colder than most peoples harsh winter months, so I feel that this mid term review is probably a great indicator for 90 percent of America’s  riding needs.

The pros of the Sealskinz winter glove so far

i think we all agree, the major selling feature for any winter glove is warmth and this glove has that in spades. I have ridden well into the mid-teens and never once wanted for more insulation. Considering these gloves are a full five finger glove and lightweight, the fact that they are warm is unparalleled. Overall the gloves breath well, fit well and have a great amount of flexibility. I like the large Velcro flap that acts as the wrist closure and the palm material’s tacky grip on the bar.

The cons to date

The lighting system is one of the selling features for these gloves, but sadly it didn’t preform as stated. While the lights are bright their position on the glove doesn’t lend to amazing visibility. However, they do offer a really cool look when signaling your turns. Sadly, for me, one of the blinkers didn’t start well and didn’t last long. The bracket that holds the battery was loose from the factory and led to intermittent function. I was able to readjust the bracket (read bent) and the light functioned well. Unfortunately, maybe due to my work the wires broke free from the switch.

sealskinz

The wiring broke free on my Halo light (red circle). Luckily the part is replaceable

More Sealskinz  info coming

With the lighting system aside, these gloves have been amazing. Considering that the Sealskinz Glove is known for warmth and not electronics, this makes sense. I’m planning on riding these gloves right up until they can’t insulate anymore. So far they have done a better job than any of the dozen or so gloves I have sitting at home. I also hope to see how long the palm material stays grippy. That palm is starting to show some signs of wear, but overall, they are well intact.

sealskinz

Light wear on the Halo’s palm

Photo represents Fat Bike Etiquette vs. Rules of the Fat Bike Trail.

Fat Bike Etiquette vs. Rules of the Trail as the Winter Season Gears Up

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com  

Winter fat bike season is just around the corner. While riding a fat bike is much like riding a regular bike, there are a certain fat bike etiquette to keep in mind when you get out there on the trail this winter.

Everyone on the trail wants to have a good time and make memories doing what they’re doing. Whether that’s biking, snowboarding, skiing, riding a snowmobile, or hiking in snowshoes, these are all valid activities. At the end of the day, for everyone to have a good time, you need to share the trail. These rules below not only keep everyone safe, but it also keeps it safe and fun for everyone.

Etiquette – Being Polite and Respecting All Users of the Trail

Yield to all other users of the trail when riding. This includes hikers and especially skiers since they do not have breaks as they are traveling. Be constantly aware of your surroundings for who and what is around you. Everyone is trying to enjoy the trail.

  1. Ride on the firmest part of the track to prevent making a deep rut in the trail. These cuts more than a few inches are difficult, if not impossible, to repair.
  2. Stay as far right as possible on the trail. This is so that skiers, snowmobiles, or etc can pass on the left.
  3. Do not ride on the Nordic trails or classic trails. These trails are specifically groomed and tires that go across or over them ruin the trails and can cause problems for those people using them. Being respectful and sharing the trail is important for the enjoyment of everyone.
  4. Respect any closures or alternative days where bikers or skiers specifically have the trail. This is important because if it is closed to bikers, skiers and other people will not be specifically looking out for you. Plus, other trails might be closed or have maintenance going on. This can cause problems if you’re there.
  5. Wear reflective clothing and use lights or blinkers. This helps signal to others where you are from a distance. Skiers and snowmobiles travel quickly and seeing you from far away can help them change their route so there’s no collision or problems that will arise.
  6. Consider donating to the shared trails to help cover the cost of maintenance. It takes people to keep the trails well groomed and ready for people to ride, ski, or hike on them. A donation can go a long way to keeping that trail ready for when you want to use it again.

If you are riding in a group, do not ride side by side. This makes it hard for anyone passing by to get through or weave around. It also can block up the trail.

Rules of the Fat Bike Trail

Many general rules of the fat bike trail are the same as mountain biking or riding on regular trails. However, there is a major difference to keep in mind in addition to the general rules of the trail.

Understand ice travel and how to do it safely. Riding in the winter means riding on top of ice and snow. Throughout the winter there will be times where it’s warmer or colder out which can affect the ground beneath your tires. Know how to deal with this. Many people also ride on top of frozen water – which can be extremely dangerous if the ice were to crack. Learn about when ice will be thick enough to take your weight, and when it isn’t. Always bring items with you that can help in case you’re in a situation when the ice does break from under you. International Mountain Bicycling Association recommends that ice picks and a length of rope should be taken along if riding on lakes or rivers.

Practice fat bike etiquette, follow the the rules of the trail and have fun.

Practice fat bike etiquette, follow the the rules of the trail and have fun.

General Rules of the Trail

The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) developed the “Rules of the Trail” to promote responsible and courteous conduct on shared-use trails. Keep in mind that conventions for yielding and passing may vary in different locations, or with traffic conditions. This list is also on IMBA‘s website and on our Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide.

Before You Ride

  1. Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions.
  2. Let People Know: Make sure there’s at least one other person who know where you’re headed, when and where you left from, and when you’re hoping to get back. Any things can happen on the trail and if something ever happened, it’s important that someone knows where you might be.
  3. Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness. This mean, you guessed it, check ahead of time!

While Riding

  1. Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
  2. Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.
  3. Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.
  4. Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.

Wear your Helmet, follow the the Rule s of the trail and have fun finding your #nextbikeadventure.

Wear your Helmet, follow the the rules of the trail and have fun finding your #nextbikeadventure.

Don’t Forget!

Also, always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.

Search here for an IMBA Club to join and don’t forget to HaveFun!

 

Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.

My transition into winter has been cushioned by fine products from Sealskinz, most notably the Halo Overshoe. Read on to learn about my first impression

First Impressions of Sealskinz’ Super-visible Halo Overshoe

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

The pond in my back yard is frozen, all the leaves have fallen off the trees and the snow blower is ready. These are all signs that Minnesota is firmly in the act of becoming the ice planet Hoth, as history suggests. Happily, my transition into winter has been cushioned. I have some fine products to test, most notably the Halo Glove and Halo Overshoe, from Sealskinz. While I have written about the Halo Glove, learn about my first impression of their Overshoe for winter biking.

Out of the box, the Halo Overshoe

Sealskinz has made every effort to keep their products as waterproof as possible, including the packaging. The Overshoes came to me on a cardboard backer and was held in place with paper bands. In short, the Halo’s Overshoe construction is as impressive as its packaging. All the seams are in the product are welded (so no stitching). Plus, tape is bonded to the backside of all the seams to ensure they stay waterproof. The closure uses a zipper with large teeth so they operate under pressure. Then at the top of the zipper a large rubberized Velcro strap keeps everything tight. Also, the toe and heel are reinforced with a Kevlar fabric for durability. Finally, the most unique feature of the Halo Overshoe is its LED light mounted in the heel for visibility up to 500m away.

Packaging for the Halo Overshoe is neat and ensures the bootie stays waterproof.

First fit impressions

Trying the overshoes, my first time was a bit of a challenge. They fit snug and I had issues getting them to zip up due to where my shoes buckle was located. However, I am happy to say that was a onetime experience. I am not sure if the overshoes stretched, or what since that first time? Now, the overshoes fit on with ease and the zipper hasn’t offered any resistance. The fit is great as they are snug without being too tight. Not like many overshoes for bikes that often suffer from the toes flipping up due to a bad fit. While the Halo Overshoe stays put perfectly.

Halo Overshoe

Waterproof material, high visibility LED, and bulletproof construction are hallmarks of the Halo Overshoe

Overshoe Warmth

So far, I have ridden with the Halo Overshoe in conditions ranging from 30’s and raining down to windy at 11 degrees. Through all that weather I can happily say the Halo Overshoe has kept my feet warm and toasty. Even with the large holes in the bottom of the overshoe for the heel lugs and cleat, all the other waterproofing features kept my feet dry.

Added Visibility

The great thing about the overshoes LEDs is that, while blinking they are also moving up and down as you pedal. This gives them a unique appearance that is virtually impossible for drivers to miss. On top of the LEDs active visibility the Halo’s also have reflective material applied on the side, cuff and along the zipper. The red LED lights are also easy to activated by pressing on them.

Continuing tests

As the weather continues to get colder, I plan to see just how low a temperature I can go with the Halo Overshoes. As I mentioned above, so far I have had good success down to 11 degrees with wool cycling socks, standard cycling shoes, and the Overshoe. Moving forward, I plan to use the Halo Overshoes in combination with Sealskinz Superlight sock to see if I can be comfortable into single digits, Stay tuned for more info.