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'Tis the Season: How to Ride Your Bike Year-Round in NYC

Bicycle Habitat SoHo.

With the recent introduction of Citi Bike and the ambitious expansion of New York City’s biking network, cycling in the city is at an all-time high. Nearly one million New Yorkers ride a bike at least once a month. Over the past five years, there has been an especially big boom in winter bicycling, with an 85-percent increase in cold-weather bike commuters. To cater to this growing trend, iconic bike shop Bicycle Habitat and urban outdoor apparel brand Nau have collaborated on a curated holiday shop-in-shop — open now at Bicycle Habitat’s SoHo location — to share winter cycling tips and outfitting suggestions to help you extend your bike season in style.

How to Embrace the Bike Season: Tips for Winter Cycling 

For the best winter riding tips, we asked three of New York City's leading ladies of bicycling: Caroline Samponaro, indefatigable advocate for biking as Transportation Alternatives' Senior Director of Campaigns and Organizing; Lara Lebeiko, Communications Director for NYC's iconic bike shop Bicycle Habitat; and Susi Wunsch, founder of velojoy — a growing online resource for city cyclists and those interested in getting started.

Street Smarts: When riding in cooler temperatures, be mindful to avoid puddles and metal street fixtures, which can ice up or turn slippery without notice. Ride straight, but a bit slower, which will give you more power and control in stopping and in turns. For extra traction, consider swapping out your slimmer tires for knobbier winter tires to give you more grip during the varying conditions.

Layer Up: Cotton and down materials are warm, but not always breathable. To keep comfortable in cooler temperatures, pair wicking baselayers, such as merino wool tops, with a light jacket that allows moisture to escape. This apparel will keep you warm, but also keep you dry as your body temperature varies with your outdoor activity. Adding a lined helmet and waterproofed “lobster” gloves and “booties” for shoes are the finishing details to keep your extremities warm throughout the trip. Our picks for winter warmth: Bern's Brentwood or Berkeley with Winter Knit Liner helmets ($100) and Nau's Motil Pants ($130).

Bern's Brentwood and Berkeley helmets.

The Berkeley (left) and Brentwood (right): thin, light, strong and warm when paired with Bern's Winter Knit Liner.


Nau Motil Pant.

Nau's Motil Pants, stretchable and quick-drying featuring a reflective hem (pictured), designed with ease-of-movement in mind. 

Communicate on the Road: Snow piles, plows or trucks may block the bike lanes, narrowing the road. When the lane ahead of you is blocked or threatened, you are within your rights to signal to cars and enter the traffic lane. Don’t be too timid to take the lane, even if vehicles must slow down to make room for you. Make clear hand-signals to motorists, letting them know where you will be riding, so they can make room for you and respect your right to the road in shared conditions.

Make Yourself Visible: As winter days have less light, consider USB-rechargeable bike lights to make you visible on the road without the worries about battery life. Reflective, adhesive frame stickers also help add visibility to your ride.

Commute-Friendly Bikes: Globe’s Daily 3 is designed with urban conditions in mind. Its lightweight frame and 7-speed internal hub allows for easy movement and even shifting without pedaling. Its full-coverage fenders keep your clothes clean from road debris, while an integrated front rack does the same for bags and gear. On sale now at Bicycle Habitat locations for $714.00.

Globe Daily 3, available at Bicycle Habitat.

Globe's Daily 3 has a step-through frame for comfortable posture, smooth riding and easy visibility. 

Maintenance: Your bike can withstand winter weather, just be sure to wipe down the frame and brakes to keep salt and water from corroding the frame or parts. After riding, wipe your bike down to remove road grit ― even simple soap and water will do the trick! Just be sure that if you clean grease from moving parts, such as chains and gears, that you re-lubricate them so that you don’t strip the grease they need to move. Apply grease and lube to moving parts often. Avoid WD-40 as it is not a lubricant heavy enough for bike components. Your bike shop can advise you on lubricants that work best for winter conditions.

Nau is a sustainable fashion brand that designs apparel for a modern mobile lifestyle. Nau fuses performance details and streamlined silhouettesallowing commuters to transition from bike to office, while looking chic, yet staying comfortable. A curated selection of Nau apparel is available now at Bicycle Habitat’s SoHo location, 244 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012.

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