It was a brisk 10 degree day and I had wrangled Travis in for a fatbike ride, it had been a week or so since we had last gone out and the next couple days were going to be really cold. I don't feel I'm "hardcore" for riding when it's 9 or 10 out, not at all. I have cold weather clothing to wear that keeps me warm, simple as that, plus the exercise in general will warm you up!
When it comes to riding in colder weather, you can usually make due with what you currently have at home. If you find that you want to recreate in the winter more often, then I would suggest investing in some key pieces of clothing to assist.
1. A good pair of boots is always welcome. Especially those with good tread so you can walk in the snow and keep your foot on the pedal. I like having a boot that goes up past my ankle for support as well as keeping snow out.
2. Warm socks, but not too many layers or too thick. I never realized that you could have cold feet from having not enough air flow.
3. Plastic grocery bags! Put them around your feet for insulation and wet-protection (say, if you had shorter boots and landed in some deeper snow.)
4. A good pair of cold weather tights. I wear a pair of Craft Storm Tights for the super cold days. You can easily pair a thinner pair of athletic tights under them for additional warmth if necessary. Even stretchy pants! You can even make due with tights or long johns under jeans. The important part is keeping enough mobility in your knees so you can pedal fairly easily.
5. A good base layer. You can wear a mid-layer or potentially layer a couple long-sleeved athletic shirts. You want to be warm, but you do not want to be so warm you end up sweating- which causes you to become cold.
6. A warm jacket- it's absolutely surprising how warm an Outdoor Research Aria Hoodie Jacket is. Any winter jacket, so long as it's warm and you feel mobile, will do just fine.
7. Warm gloves! 'Nuff said.
8. Any combination of the following: balaclava, skull cap, headband, or a beanie. Even a Buff works great! Face cover for cold days is important. If you do not have a winter helmet, you want to have enough layers on your head to be warm and keep your ears covered. Experiment to see what works for you.
It's better to be a little chilly starting out than too warm. You will, most definitely, warm up as you pedal around. I can attest to being sweaty after a ride on a 15 degree day- it's legit.
The sun was out and it was great to get out and have some fresh air! Admittedly, the air is super fresh when it's that brisk. My riding wasn't the cleanest by any means as I fumbled on a few climbs that I had made the day before. Later when riding the upper half of Little Big Horn, I felt super confident that I would ride something dabless. Oh, victory was just within my grasp! Nope. My tire slipped and got into snow on the edge of the trail and it sent me crashing down. Legs tangled up in my bike an a bar end to the ribs. Good bye visions of trail shredding and hello to the reality that riding in the snow is unpredictable.
The rest of the ride was fine and overall a great time was had. All I could do was be thankful for getting out before a cold snap could hold temps down into the single digits. Riding in the colder weather is not impossible and it certainly helps break up the feeling of cabin fever!