Riding a bike in the winter can be unpleasant and it can be dangerous. Even though you're exercising and you start to warm up eventually, you are constantly creating your own wind and your sweat makes you wet and cold. Your fingers and toes go numb and your face feels like ice. You can't fit your typical ear warmers under your helmet so your poor ears ache and burn as the wind whips at them. You speed up and your insides get warm but your ears, face, and fingers just feel more pain. I know it sounds miserable but it will make you feel so good.
It will not make you feel good, however, if you're not dressed in the proper clothing. According to Performance Bike, if you're wet and it's windy, hypothermeia can be fatal at temperatures as high as 65 degrees. So layer up, avoid cotton, and make sure that your head, feet, hands, and core are warm. The less heat to escape off your extremities and your core, the warmer your whole body will be.
I know this wardrobe looks pricey but the best thing about layering is that you can wear the staples you may already have like bike shorts, a wind-breaker, wool socks, a warm wicking base layer and then add a few critical pieces to your wardrobe like toe covers and a balaclava. And I promise you that a cup of hot chocolate will never taste better than after you've bravely set out on your bicycle in the cold weather. Let's say after a day on the ski slopes is the one exception.
Do you have any favorite pieces to add to this list?