Bike Trail Picture of the Day - 12/31/12

Crisp morning ride on the last day of the year

Taken 12/31/12

Location:  River Valley Trail
West Segment
MN River Bottoms
Bloomington, MN

GPS Map Location


Winter Cycling Apparel to Keep You Warm & Comfortable

Winter biking is becoming more popular than ever, especially in Minneapolis which is one of the top five cities in the country for winter bicycle commuting.  Bike Walk Twin Cites data shows that more than a third of us still get the bike out for a ride on clear winter days and 20 percent still brave the elements regardless of the snow and cold temperatures.  Now that winter is here it is colder than ever and there is a wide variety of cycling apparel to keep you warm and comfortable on your ride or commute.  Minnesota bike shops are loaded up with the necessary items to keep you riding all winter long here in the great white north.

Keeping your core and extremities warm and dry is vital on cold winter rides and having the right clothing will help you achieve this.  I will highlight some of these items to keep you riding this winter.

The key to staying warm and to prevent overheating is to layer your core.  This will consist of a baselayer, a middle insulating layer and a windproof, waterproof outer shell.  

Baselayer Tops

The baselayer will provide a first layer of insulation and should be wicking and breathable to allow vapor to pass through.

P I Thermal Women's

P I Thermal Men's
P I Barrier Men's

P I Transfer Women's
Craft Pro Zero Men's
Craft Pro Zero Women's

Depending on the temperature, over your baselayer top wear a middle, long sleeve insulating layer that transfers vapor such as a wool, acrylic/wool blend or polyester fleece.


Make sure you choose an insulated jacket that acts as a breathable outer shell and is windproof and waterproof.

Gore BW Tool
Garneau Enerblock

Bellweather Coldfront
Bontrager RL Thermal
P I Elite Thermal Barrier


Stat with a good baselayer for wicking moisture and providing some insulation.

P I Transfer Men's
P I Transfer Women's
Craft Pro Zero Men's

Craft Pro Zero Women's
Craft Pro Zero Extreme
Craft Pro Zero WS

Then choose a breathable outer shell that is windproof and waterproof such as pants or tights.

Gore BW Vista WS
Garneau Solano
P I Select Thermal

PI Elite AmFIB
Gore BW Countdown AS
Garneau Women's Solano


Keeping your hands warm is a must when riding to be comfortable and to allow finger dexterity to brake and shift properly.  Manufacturers have come out with a lot of glove choices to achieve this.  You can choose from full finger, split finger or mitts of varying thickness and insulation levels depending on the level of thermal protection needed.  I like to wear a lighter, full finger glove and to make this possible I also use a handlebar mitten called a pogie.  Pogies offer great wind protection while insulating your hands and wrists from the elements.  A couple popular makers are Bar Mitts and Dogwood Designs.  Barr Mitts makes pogies for mountain/commuter and road bikes with or without exposed cables.  New to the market is Stellar Bags, they hand makes their pogies right here in Minnesota.

Garneau Roubaix
P I Barrier WxB
Garneau Typhoon

P I Softshell Lobster
OR Meteor Mitts

Dogwood Designs Winter Pogie
Stellar Bags Pogie
Bar Mitts Pogie
Head & Face

A large amount of body heat is lost through your head if it is not insulated properly.  You want to keep it warm and protected from wind but still allow vapor to pass through to keep dry.  Skullcaps, hats, balaclavas, neck gaiters and over or under the helmet hoods all do the job and which ones you implement will depend on the weather conditions.  On really cold days I wear a Pearl Izumi Transfer Hat under a Gore Bike Wear Balaclava Mask.  This combo gives me a little extra head warmth, head/face wind barrier protection and is thin enough to still wear a helmet without feeling bulky.  Protect your eyes from the wind by wearing a good pair glasses or better yet, a pair of goggles.  These definitely help keep your eyes from tearing up to much.

P I Barrier Skull Cap

Garneau Hat Cover 2
P I Transfer Hat

Bontrager Neck Gaitor
P I Barrier Balaclava
Gore Bike Wear Balaclava

P I Barrier WxB Hood
P I Barrier WxB OtH Hood


Local company 45NRTH made a big noise this year with the release of its heavy duty winter cycling boot, the W√∂lvhammer.  This boot is a bit spendy at around $325, but is heavily insulated, breathable and waterproof making it a great choice for the winter fatbiker.  If you are in the market for a high quality winter cycling boot but want to spend a little less there are the Lake MXZ 302 and the newly redesigned MXZ 303.  Even more affordable is the boot I have, the Lake LX 140, this is a good choice for cool to cold weather mountain biking and contains a waterproof, breathable eVent bootie.  Wear these with a good wool or wool blend sock to wick away moisture and keep your feet warm and dry.

Lake MXZ 302

Lake MXZ 303
Lake LX 140

All of this gear can set your pocketbook back a little, but it is quality winter wear that will last for years to come.  Think of it as an investment in your comfort and warmth.  When you have the right clothing for winter riding it makes it a lot easier to get the bike out on those cold days and you will find yourself doing it more and for much longer.

Some of these items can be found in stock at Penn Cycle & Fitness locations around the Twin Cities.  If what you want is a special order catalog item or in warehouse item call your local Penn Cycle & Fitness and they will get it in for you.



Penn Cycle's Get Phat with Pat Fatbike Race to be Held at the Minnesota River Bottoms-Updated

Penn Cycle & Fitness will hold its yearly Get Phat with Pat Fatbike Race January 19th with a change of venue from last year.  Owner Pat Sorensen has worked with the City of Bloomington to get the race moved to the fatbike popular Minnesota River Bottoms for 2013.  The event will coincide with the Bloomington Winter Fete which runs from January 19 through the 27th.

The Details:
 The Get Phat with Pat race will be held at the Russell A Sorenson Landing at the end of Lyndale Ave. S. in Bloomington, MN under the 35W bridge.  Registration will start and 9 am the morning of the race and closes 30 minutes prior to race start. Registration will require a $10 entry fee.

There will be a recreational race that starts at 10 am and and a beginner race that will start at 10:15 am.  Both races will be one lap of approximately 8 miles.  The advanced race starts and 12 noon and will be two laps totaling approximately 16 miles.  The course is mostly singletrack and will start and finish under the 35W bridge.  Racers will travel west of  35W for 4 miles to a turnaround point near the old railroad swing bridge and follow a return section of trail back to the start.  The course will be a full loop with a section heading out and one heading back.

All styles of bikes are welcome to participate.  Course conditions and number of entries could determine whether there will be a separate, non-fat tire bike class race. 

Penn Cycle gift cards will be awarded for first, second and third place finishers.  Penn Cycle will be handing out many door prizes including a Grand Prize Drawing for a 9:Zero:7 frame set, so make sure you put this one on your list to attend.

Never been on a fatbike before?  See what all the hype is about.  There will be two medium and one small 9:Zero:7 fatbikes to try out for demo rides.

Last year's race at the Penn Cycle Eagan location had to be rescheduled due to lack of snow from our mild winter, but I don't see that as a problem this year.  With all of the snow we have had in the last few weeks, this winter is shaping up to be a good one for hitting the trails on a fatbike.  Check out some photos and video from last year's race below.

Get Phat with Pat '12
at Penn Cycle-Eagan


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