My first winter of commuting. It went pretty much as I expected. I think that I prepared for it properly. The gear that I bought worked to a charm. I didn’t have any problems with staying warm. The Showers Pass rainjacket worked flawlessly. Not only did it keep me dry when I needed it too. It made for an excellent windblocker. The Sporthill Jacket that I used as a baselayer kept me warm down to about 15f. Anything lower than that then I just added the fleece vest that I had. When the temps got below 10f I would wear the snowpants, which kept me warm. For next year I’d like to get one or two more riding pants Maybe another 3SP XC Pants. And try the Windshear pants from Cabelas. As for the snow tires. The Schwalbes were junk. They didn’t perform like I thought they would. I picked up a Nokian M&G 160 and put it up front. It did much better on the hardpack and ice. I also got a Nokian 294 but I didn’t get to use it. But I have it for next winter. The Snow Studs are harder to ride on because they have an increased rolling resistance. But that’s OK. They give me peace of mind. The LL Bean Snow sneakers were just the thing for my feet in cold weather. They fit real nice in my toeclips. The toes got a little cold due to the mesh-type material on the boot. But I added toe warmers and that solved that problem. When temps got below 25f I would wear Wool hiking socks which kept my feet comfortable. The MANZELLA mittens and WICKERS balaclava worked great in subfreezing temps. I added a Performance Fleece Hat for below freezing temps. The Visorgogs worked OK. I did have problems with them fogging up, particularly when the temps were below 25f. I think it was due to a lack of venting, which I plan to remedy by drilling small vent holes on the sides and enlarge the ones they already have on top. Being all bundled up with the right gear kept me nice and comfortable in the really cold weather. It didn’t bother me at all and made riding just as enjoyable as riding in warm weather. I rode in three Ice Storms and two near- Blizzards. The Friday blizzard wasn’t really a blizzard, but we did get 5” that day and the roads were difficult in spots. The Saturday blizzard, well that was a whole different story. The Ice storms made me realize how important the studs were. Without them, it would’ve made riding in traffic very dangerous. As if it weren’t hazardous enough.
So perhaps there are some folks out there considering riding next winter. Do lots of research. I read cycling blogs from people in Canada and Alaska, Bike Forums.net and Icebike.org to get as much advice as I can. Now is the time to start looking for deals on Winter clothing. It doesn't take that much. Last year I started to accumulate stuff in Sept and October. If you see something that you like. Then do a google search and try to find the best price. I saved alot of money doing this. I just wish I'd have done all of this about 15 yrs ago. Winter riding was fun, especially when I'd ride past the gas station