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Enjoy Winter Riding

Outdoor Riding

Paul Makela, Wheel & Sprocket - Fox Point, provides advice for staying warm and safe

Paul Makela

Location:  Wheel & Sprocket - Fox Point for over 30 years

What types of bikes do you ride?

Trek Domane road bike; tour bikes for winter; and tandem bike with wife Lisa

What’s your commute to work?

I ride 32 miles round-trip from Grafton to Fox Point using mainly the Interurban and Oak Leaf trails.  

How often do you ride? 

I average four days per week from spring to fall and two-to-three days per week in the winter.  

Why do you ride bikes?

I have a lot of fun riding my bike and it’s much better than driving.

Winter Body Essentials

Think about your body’s heat and cold distribution as ever changing. Always be prepared for the change of temperature. I bring a backpack with additional clothing, gloves, and head covering. Remember that the evening can feel cooler in the dark.


Wear head covering under your helmet to protect against cold air brought in from the vents. Also protect your ears and face with a mask from cold and wind. I use a winter ski goggle and helmet in extreme cold. 


 Always protect your hands with winter riding gloves. Handlebar mitts provide great wind protection as well. Pearl Izumi’s P.R.O. AmFIB Lobster Super Glove work great for me in very cold temps.


I wear a winter shoe and add a shoe covering to protect my feet from wind and cold.   Insert toe warmers in your shoes if needed.

Upper & Lower Body

Layering is key. When the temperature hits single digit or below, I wear four-to-five layers on top which can be easily shed or added depending on conditions. I ride with an outer rain pant over a winter riding bib to protect my legs.

Winter Bike Essentials

I recommend riding a less expensive or used bike during the winter months and keeping your nice new bike for better weather. I ride my trusty, well-equipped tour bike for winter commutes.

Front & Back Lights

Your number one priority is to see and be seen on the road.  I use both daytime and nighttime running lights to alert drivers at all times to my presence.   Distracted drivers are our new reality.  Watch this excellent video to understand how lights are critical to your ride.

Watch Bike Light Video: 


One of the best ways to protect you and your bike from rain and snow spray is adding front and rear fenders.   They prevent your clothing from getting wet and head-off the winter chills.


I change my bike to studded tires around January through March.   These special tires come in a variety of sizes and have small metal studs to provide more grip in ice and snow.

Keep It Clean

Salt is hard on bikes.  I wash my bike frequently in winter with soap and water.  Use your judgement but I would encourage you to wipe off your bike after every ride.