Tag Archive | Winter biking

What I’ve Learned from this Winter

If you live in the midwest or northeast, you don’t need me to tell you that it’s been a tough winter for biking. Minneapolis saw more than 50 days below zero, with plenty of snow and recently, two solid weeks of the worst roads I’ve ever seen (bumpy sheets of ice sprinkled with loose “brown […]

Winter Biking Outfit

I think it was 12 degrees Fahrenheit when I left the house yesterday morning. I set off for errands: Midwest Mountaineering, grocery store, bank. All told, I biked and shopped for 2.5 hours and returned home in 15 degree weather. Here’s what I was wearing: On my bike: Bern helmet, windproof fleece balaclava, fleece earband […]

Skin Care for Winter Cyclists

Winter has always been a skin care challenge in the upper Midwest, but it got worse after I started winter biking. Even with my mostly-windproof balaclava, my face was red, dry and itchy after a good ride. I failed at staying on top of it last winter, and things got so bad that regular moisturizers […]

Why I Bike in the Winter

It snowed last week in Minneapolis – big, wet, not-quite-frozen flakes. It’s warmed up a bit since, but this is a good sign that the 70 degree days we experienced a week ago have headed south until April. Now I’m thinking about winter biking in more than just hypothetical terms – like actually switching out […]

Jackets for Fall Biking

October is here and the weather in Minneapolis is now as crisp as the dried leaves lining our streets (I’m loving the “crunch” they make as I pedal by). I’m still riding my bike, but I’m thinking about what I wear differently than I did in the summer. Outfits are now constructed around layers instead […]

Happy International Women’s Day!

Last Saturday I went on a group ride with Grease Rag Ride and Wrench (a loose organization of WTF, as in Women/Trans/Femme, cyclists) in celebration of International Women’s Day. It was my first group ride ever! Eighteen of us represented the Twin Cities, biking in fresh snow on a 25 degree day! There’s a great […]

Black Leather Boots

Black Leather Boots

I hate fashion articles with titles like Spring’s Must-Haves! or anything that features “essential” wardrobe components. Inevitably, they tout something that I either cannot afford or can’t imagine wearing. My black leather boots are, however, such an indispensible part of my wardrobe that when the zipper broke on the pair of knee-high Rockports I’ve had for four years, I panicked.

I built my winter wardrobe around these boots to such an extent that I couldn’t imagine what I would wear without them. They had faithfully looked good with skinny jeans, dress pants and skirts, and neither my cowboy boots nor my hiking boots were as warm or as cute. I’d had them re-heeled by a cobbler this fall, but this time he took one look and told me that this repair would cost $50 and then the zippers wouldn’t match!

It was time to buy new boots. Fortunately, tall leather boots are often on sale in February. After oogling these (http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/24718W/0/Womens/Angelic-Peak-Waterproof?dimensions=0) much more polished, dressed up Merrells online, I decided on a pair of Clarks.

Style Pros and Cons:
I like that the buckles add a bit more attitude than my last pair had, which fits the casual urban vibe of my current wardrobe. Just like the pair that I wore until they wore out, my new boots will go with the vast majority of my closet. I compromised a little bit of dressy-ness and polish by choosing boots with buckles, but the trade off of having them look better with my casual wardrobe was worth it. If I had a dressier job I would’ve picked something sleeker. I know that I will wear these boots six days a week for 6 months of the year.

Biking Pros and Cons:
Material matters for biking attire. I have owned synthetic upper boots before, and I got rid of them because my feet got uncomfortably sweaty just walking. The leather upper is a key feature – leather breathes more than the alternatives. The soles have a bit of traction on them, which grips the pedals better than my previous pair. My new pair is not pre-waterproofed, so I’m going to have to do that myself, but many companies do waterproof their boots (Merrell is a good example). The tall shaft keeps my calves warm and my pants clean and dry in messy conditions. Because this pair is lightly lined all the way up, they will also be reasonably warm. I expect to be comfortable down to 30 degrees F while wearing wool socks.

Fashion is a form of self-expression, so if you’re looking for something similar, make them your own. If you’re a heels kind of woman, biking in a moderate heel is very doable, though wedges and platforms can be tricky since there is no heel to catch the pedal should your foot slip. Traction on the sole will help with this as well. I personally like black, but any dark color would be similarly practical.