Front Range

Gear Shift

Winter commuting—by bike.

November 2011

Don’t let the wind and snow strip away your two-wheelin’ green mentality this winter. Michelle and Ethan Bontrager, the sibling mechanic crew who co-owns Highlands Square’s Urbanistic Tea and Bike Shop, tell you how to convert your warm-weather rig to handle those frigid temperatures.

Lights
Shorter days make proper lighting essential. Buy a battery-free, magnet-run, axle-mounted light like the Reelight system ($53–$90).

Fenders
Don’t start your day with a stripe of street water painted on your backside. A full coverage set of Tanaka metal fenders ($57–$90) will help eliminate mucky back splash.

Tires
Choose a studded Nokkian tire ($90) to avoid slipping. Another option is to slightly deflate your summer street tires for increased control.

Chain Lube
At least once a week, wipe down the drive train. Drip a chain lube such as Rohloff ($9.95 a bottle) on each chain link and let it soak in. After a few minutes, run the chain through a rag to rid it of excess lube.

Layers
Look for a waterproof shell like the Marmot PreCip jacket ($99), which repels the moisture and can be rolled up for easy storage.

Gloves
Your fingers need to stay warm but nimble to change gears and brake. Try lobster gloves such as the Pearl Izumi Barrier ($75), which look like mittens except for a break between the middle and ring fingers to fit over handlebars and brakes.

Helmet/EarFlaps
You can wear your summer helmet, but add a Walz wool cap ($30) with earflaps underneath your lid to keep frostbite at bay.