Anyone bike commute all winter? Couple questions


I’ve got some waterproof pants, but what do you wear on your feet? Boots? some kind of trail shoes? regular shoes?

Am i going to need ski goggles or glasses on most days or rarely?

Anyone run studded tires?


I usually wear waterproof trail boots with a wicking sock and then some sort of thick sock with a toe warmer shoved in for exceptionally cold days.

I’ve never worn ski goggles but I always wear a balaclava and my yellow sunglasses (but I wear those basically whenever I bike).

I’ve been using the carbide studded tires for a few years now - can’t remember what regular nobby tires were like in comparison. Just bought a new set from mec for relatively cheap last week. I know someone who rides 25c slicks in the winter though so maybe I’m just a wuss :shock:


I did this for a few winters on a road bike. The best option for feet I think is mtb shoes/pedals and neoprene booties.

I usually wore a ski helmet and goggles, with a mask on the coldest days. Some visibility issues but it was warm.

I used cheap 30 mm cyclocross tires and had no problems turning on anything but shear ice, not really worth going for studs.


If you are riding downtown only the roads stay relatively clear most of the time. Outside of the core things get messy quickly and ice is way more of a problem.


Definitely for downtown only. Just 15 minutes to school and back so i think that the booties and mtb shoes are a bit over kill in my case.

i’m already using a snowboard helmet which is awesome because it’s insulated and you don’t have to wear a tuque underneath.

We should organize a MCT weekly outdoor ride this winter. perhaps something flat, but it would be fun to get outside with some people once a week on the beater. Wonder if anyone would bite.


if you’re staying basically around McGill you can easily get by with pretty much any nobby tire.

I’d be interested in winter rides, but I’m not sure where you’d want to ride - the canal is almost like riding single track in the winter with the x-country skiiers.


I’m riding single speed in the winter so hills are a pain. The Carriage road the mountain is not too steep and could be a nice. It would probably be ridable most days. The F1 Track is also plowed but I’d rather find something new that’s fun specifically because it’s winter rather then something that’s made crappy specifically because it’s winter.


The hardpack on the carriage road is a blast to ride. If you catch it when it’s nice and frozen it’s faster than the dirt.

(Ben Adler) #9

Definitely don’t need studs, just don’t plan on carving up the S turns like you would in the dry. Everything has to happen slower and smoother when you are riding in the snow. And keep your eyes up for ice, because it creeps up on you.

I only wear googles if its blustery blowing snow, but on those days they really make all the difference. I just wear an old full face downhill helmet, which is warm like a ski helmet.

Hiking boots on the feet. I’ve never really felt the need for clipless on my 5 minute trek to school.

and yeah, I would definitely be down for some winter riding.

(John Danby) #10

I actually have been excited about doing the carriage road on my “winter bike” since it became too cold to be considered summer.

Maybe a weekly “ice-king of the mountain”?


Studded tires aren’t really something you should necessarily swear by or swear against, since their utility ultimately depends on where you ride. I’ve heard that many parts north, south, east, and west of downtown can get pretty icy, but as has been said, downtown is usually quite clear. Studded tires are only worthwhile when you are consistently riding on ice or hard-packed snow, and handle poorly on clear roads.

I plan on riding flat pedals for most of the winter, so my regular boots will see regular use. My feet get exceptionally cold when I’m wearing cycling shoes, so in those cases I wear thick wool socks underneath and full neoprene booties over top. Hands too. A bandana and thick hat usually suffice for my head region.

This aptly-named site is outdated by has some good information:


i’ve successfully made it up Av. Mont-Royal every day of last winter on slicks. The problem sometimes is getting down. But with regular Canadian Tire hiking boots, and $4 pharmacy gloves, une cagoule (not sure what in english) and snowboard goggles every day, i never once got cold. I will buy myself long-johns though, because a -35C saddle may be uncomfortable

I’m definitely down for snow-riding!!


Cagoule = Balaclava, not to be confused with cagoule as used in english meaning rain-coat :?

Road maintenance in winter time outside of the downtown core is generally speaking crap. I never really wiped out badly but it was almost pointless to bike going 10 km/h which is why i got my studs in the first place.

I am going to try extremely hard not to pussy out and buy a metro pass for the month of feb this year.


I rode at the begining of this year on my mountain bike using long cycling pants with a pair of shorts over them to cut down the wind and a wicking long sleaved shirt from MEC. A thermal Long sleeved shirt and a long sleeved vest over it.

I had a head warmer, a mask, and Craft Gloves that make my hands look like im some sort of frog. I have mirel hiking boots which are good up to -30 and thick cold weather cycling socks. A hydration pack (which I find out quick that if you don’t watch your water it will freeze in the tube and your screwed).

I did most of my cycling on the bike path that follows the saint-laurance from verdun to lachine, it’s not always cleared and there are some ice patch’s but not that many, Generally speaking ice is rear at least where I have ridden. One thing I saw lots of is slush… Generally speaking if you want to ride with thinner tires I suggest faceing the slush though if you ahve thick moutain bike tires you can probably venture into the 1 or two inches of snow which isnt always hard packed and enjoy a decently confortable ride.

I think its safer with taking the path’s in winter as many cars simply don’t expect winter cyclists and continue at there normal speed (which is often above the speed limite) without any secounds thoughts.

I did not use any glass’s but should have as I have.

Also my suggestion would be to pack a secound sent of cloths wrapped in a plastic bag just in case things go bad and you get drentched…

As for cycling in the winter, I would have loved to though my younger sister wants me to clear out my Moutain Bike and BMX with her somewhere indoors, probably in one of the many privatly owned garages on nunes island, so if anyone has any other bmx or urban places please do share :twisted:


Balaclava, sounds XVII century high English


I know a group of guys that do weekend rides on the Mt Royal carriage trail throughout the winter. They’d love to have anyone who’s willing to ride. I’ll start posting rides in the “ride” section whenever they start happening

(John Danby) #17

“woolen head covering,” esp. worn by soldiers, named for village near Sebastopol, Russia, site of a battle Oct. 25, 1854, in the Crimean War.


I always get it confused with Baklava.

(Jordan Miller42) #19

@Jason_L you still wear those don’t you