Winter Bike Touring Clothes

By Darren Alff on - Download my FREE bike tour starter guide!

Cycling in the cold and snow is not impossible. This past winter I spent two months cycling in and around the mountains of Switzerland and these are the clothes I wore while out on my bike. Not only did these items help to keep me warm and dry when cycling my way  through ice, snow, rain and mud, but they (for the most part at least) kept me from overheating and getting sweaty.


1. Giro Xen Helmet

2. Scott Snow Goggles

3. Seirus Innovation Ultra Clava Winter Face Mask

4. Fox Racing Jersey

5. Hurley Lightweight Jacket

6. Burton Snowboarding Jacket

7. Men’s DKNY Watch

8. Dakine Snow Gloves

9. Road I.D.

10. Patagonia Snow Pants

11. Warm Ski/Snowboard Socks

12. Shimano Men’s Multi-Purpose Cycling Sneaker

What kind of clothes do you wear when cycling in the winter? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


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  1. Roy

    October 9, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Cheers for the update, you’ve listed some things I hadn’t thought about using, especially goggles, and using ski wear is a great idea, waterproof and breathable.

  2. Darren Alff

    October 9, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    It should be noted that this is for extreme winter riding. There is a good chance (depending on where you will be riding) that your winter riding will just mean very cold weather (no snow). In that case, this outfit might be a little overkill. But this, at the very least, should give you some ideas on what you could wear if you were to encounter more serious winter conditions. It worked for me!

  3. Randy

    October 10, 2009 at 11:42 am

    I’d like to hear more about the pants — how’d you choose that particular one, what else you’ve tried, what features matter, what you wear underneath, etc.

    I currently wear tights or leg warmers. They work pretty well, but I’m looking for a less “cyclist” look while still working fine for long hours on the bike…

  4. Mandy Creighton

    October 10, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    We’d love some advice for touring this winter…have you ever worn the touring boots?

  5. Steve

    November 3, 2009 at 7:42 am

    I commute and live in cold weather and find no biking cloths that can work in the weather out here thanks for the idea for skey gear. also what bike do you use

  6. Darren Alff

    November 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    At the moment I am using an old beat up mountain bike as my winter commuter biker. However, this past winter when I was riding around in the snow of Switzerland I was riding my Bike Friday New World Tourist.

    I’ve never worn touring boots.

    I chose the Patagonia pants because I had them in my closet and they work well on the bike as long as you put a pant leg protector around them.

  7. Linda Imle

    November 3, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Darren, I live in Anchorage, Alaska and commute all year. So far it has been in the mid to low 20’s this past week and no snow yet. I wear some simple clothes; a pair of cycling shorts is my base layer then I have a pair of Mountain Hardware windstopper running pants, these are fairly light weight but the windstopper component is the important part. Next I have a pair of Mountain Hardware slightly heavier windstopper pants, I think they were for cross-country skiing but they work great for cycling. Unless it is raining or snowing this is my pants layer. If it is raining/snowing I will wear a pair of ShowersPass waterproof pants. I wear a pair of Dhalgren calf high hiking socks and, if it is icy I will wear my Icebug studded ankle high boots, otherwise I will wear my Smartwool biking socks and my Keen Mountain Bike shoes with shoe covers. For my upper body I wear an inner layer of silk, a long- sleeve pull over shirt (half of my long john set), a Coolmax longsleeve T-shirt (a Little Susitna 50K shirt) and some kind of long sleeve cross-country outer shirt that is windproof. If it gets way below zero I will wear a down jacket or for warmer days (between 0 -20} I have a ShowersPass waterproof jacket that is really great to keep me warm and dry. With our extreme weather here I just have to look at the windchill numbers, if it going to snow and layer according. My helmet is a Giro Xen with a polarfleece skull cap with ear flaps, a neck turtle that I can pull up over my mouth and nose and I always have my biking glasses. I have bad luck keeping goggles from fogging up so I have wrap around biking classes that I treat with Sea Gold Dive Mask Anti Fog solution.

    I ride in the winter up here because it is so beautiful, so mystical. It is the best thing I have ever done! Oh, I turn 66 years young in December so I enocurage all cyclists to not let the colder weather keep you from riding. I ride in th rain, the wind, the snow and of course, the sun!

  8. Leslie

    November 4, 2009 at 5:57 am

    I live/commute in Buffalo, NY. The weather here tends towards more sloppy than extremely cold. My biggest problem is footwear. I use traditional mnt. bike pedals and ride a beater mnt bike: no clips. When it gets cold/wet, I wear traditional snow boots, or sneakers with shoe covers and J&G rain pants/jacket.

    However, when it hovers around 45 and is pouring, I want to use my road bike, which has toe clips. Water runs down my rain pants and into my shoes. Currently, I would rather suffer wet sneakers and bring an extra pair of shoes to my destination than switch bikes. No good solution, yet.

    Lowest temperature I can tolerate? 5 degrees. At that point the space between my cycling glasses and balaclava at the bridge of my nose gets painfully cold. I like the idea of the goggles, but may just try creating a hat which has a pendulant extension to cover that spot.

    Nice articles, BTW

  9. Heather

    February 24, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    In the winter in Fairbanks, AK, most cyclists use some form of pogies, see article:

    This is for fairly serious winter conditions (think -40 F/C), and you might still wear a thinner glover underneath. I have heard tell of people making them out of second hand winter coats or hoods from old jackets as well.

  10. Heather

    February 24, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Oh and something should be said about color choice and visibility, both of which con become extremely important in ice fog or on slippery roads!

  11. Gurmeet Gill

    October 3, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    About the shoes and the reader sufferin from wet feet — Get winter riding shoes. Some people think of them as a luxury but if you’re a serious winter rider it’s a must. I got the Sidi Hydro shoes and they’re amazing. Not the perfect fit but again it’s a winter road bike shoe that you clip in. Water proof and keeps you warm below zero. I hate booties now.

    On snowy winter rides I wear Patagonia Super Alpine Bib, Arcteryx Fission SV jacket, Oakley Crowbar goggles, Black Diamond gloves. I also have a SealSkinz waterproof socks.

    I have all the best ski stuff and I always felt a bit bad about spending 1000’s on it when not in use but now that I’ve incorporated it into my biking I feel way better.

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