Lots of people ride their bikes all year round; the picture shows a parking area at a train station in Hyvinkaa, Finland, where it gets colder and darker earlier than anywhere in America. I thought from personal experience that a few suggestions were missing in our earlier post, so I've added them here.
1. It Isn't Cold
Biking is like any vigorous exercise, and your body warms itself. The rule is to dress as if it is 20 degrees F warmer; that is too much of a shock to the system when you get on your bike, I tend to dress as I would for a light run or cross-country ski.
2. Consider Getting a Junker Bike
Particularly if you use a skinny, tired road bike; the bumpy wide tires of a mountain bike do provide more control.
3. Lose the Clip-in Pedals and Bike Shoes
You need warmer shoes and you need your feet on the ground more often, being clipped in is dangerous.
4. Plan Your Routes
Roads are a lot narrower in winter when they plough the snow to the side but don't remove it. Back roads that left plenty of room for bike and car don't in winter. If you live in a city with streetcar tracks, you will be forced into them; I avoid tracked streets as much as possible in winter. Not how we recommend you dress. Photo credit: Icebike
5. Protect Your Extremities
Your core will be warm as toast but your fingers and toes are out there exposed to wind. Have roomy shoes that can take two pair of socks, lobster gloves or mittens. On really cold days, I have worn an extra pair of shorts to protect other extremities.
6. Balaclavas are Great
I have a thin one that goes under my helmet, and keeps my neck warm. I can pull it up over my chin and mouth when it gets really cold.
7. Lots of Lights and Loud, Obnoxious Reflective Clothes are a Must
It gets dark early, you will often be sharing the same lanes as cars, and they all think that only a complete nutcase would be out on a bike so are not looking for you.
8. Drink Lots of Water
You won't know it but you get really dehydrated.
9. Time Your Ride
Not only can you be incredibly smug for doing the green, healthy thing, but don't be surprised if you beat all your driving and transit riding friends to work. Let them know.
Difficulty level: Moderate