Five must-have winter cycling accessories

Moving Well | RACV | Posted on 02 July 2020

Don’t let the cold keep your off your bike. These are the items every winter cyclist needs.

There’s nothing like an early-morning bike ride to get the blood pumping before work. But as winter’s chill takes hold, it can be hard to find the motivation to get those wheels spinning. Warm clothing helps. If you’re planning to cycle your way through winter, these are five must-have items to keep you warm, dry and, above all, safe through the cooler months.

Woman riding a mountain bike along dirt track in Autumn

Five must-have winter cycling accessories 

1. Gloves

Aim for water-resistant or repellent gloves, so when the rain comes during your commute your hands remain dry, and also protected if you fall. Gloves lined with fleece can add an extra layer of warmth, while some manufacturers incorporate reflective features for safety when signalling and riding along. While black gloves are easy to keep clean, brighter colours can make you stand out in poor light.

2. Neck warmer

An oft-forgotten item in a cyclist’s closet is the neck warmer. The winter chill can make its way through a number of layers, so an open collar is no match. Neck warmers come in a variety of styles and makes, but we’ve found those that cover the neck and chin are the most effective. Look for neck warmers made from moisture-wicking fabrics.

3. Warmers

Warmers can be an easy put-on and take-off option on dry days. The most popular warmers are for the arms and the legs, with both offering another layer to combat crisp Victorian mornings.

4. Jacket

Jackets offer the widest range of winter protection. If only commuting, you may be able to afford a heavier jacket. For these, look at waterproof covers, with sealed seams to prevent water leaks. Look for adjustable hems that will let you easily adjust should conditions change quickly. These jackets are designed to be worn over several layers, so remember this when picking your size.

If you’re doing more riding than just your commute, investing in an ‘all rounder’ jacket might be a better option. Look for water-resistant (or waterproof) and windproof garments that are lightweight and tight fitting. Ensure that the jacket is breathable (look for ventilation holes under the armpits), so you’re not covered in sweat when you arrive at your desk. Taped seams will keep water out, and zips can help with easy removal if the winter sun comes out. With either jacket, make sure they have reflective features... there’s no such thing as too noticeable when you’re on a bike.

5. Lights

When riding a bike, the key is to always be seen. Investing in a great set of front and rear lights is imperative for road safety. Lights’ ‘brightness’ is referred to in lumens. For comparison, the bulb in the lamp on your coffee table next to your couch is approximately 200 lumens. Bike lights tend to range between 250 to 2000 lumens; the bigger the light (usually), the more lumens it is. Lights of 400 lumens and above are usually suitable for well-lit road riding, with 1000 lumens and above for mountain biking or lightly lit bike paths and similar.

Pedal power

Don’t let a flat tyre or tube puncture slow you down. With RACV Bike Assist, you’re entitled to eight callouts a year. RACV will come to your aid if for any reason your bike can’t be ridden or you can’t continue to ride it, no matter if it’s a mechanical problem, puncture or even exhaustion!