Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Bikes: Trek 7200 FX ('05), Trek 6000 ('07)
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I'm going to guess that you're looking at high twenties overnight averages for the most part and then warming up to the mid/high 30s during the day from your description.
I wouldn't worry about your stuff freezing/getting destroyed on your short 7 mile commute. But remember that if you're on roads that are deiced or treated with salts to make sure you keep your bike clean and oiled. You may just want to get a cheap (but in good order) beater bike to use. Put some knobby tires on it, just in case, or until you figure out what the winter is like and can adjust appropriately.
Need: fenders, knobbies, beater (or a bike you will take GOOD CARE OF b/c of the salt and crap)
Nothing really more.
Clothing wise, as long as you're biking above 20 degrees F, I'd suggest putting on a base layer consisting of some wicking fabric. I generally use just some tight fitting athletic clothing. Put a thin fleece over your base and on top of the fleece, put a windproof (proof, not resistant) shell. Try and get this shell to be waterproof as well.
If you're cold when you start, that is normal. If you're cold by the second mile, it means you need to put on another thin fleece. That should keep you happy
Others will give you more detailed advice. I ride 4 miles to school and I'm going to do it through winter. I believe that riding in winter is really something you can apply the KISS rule to: keep it simple stupid