First snowy ride of the year

When I checked the weather report last night, it said -22°C with the windchill. As my wife groaned, I smiled and walked towards the hooks that hold all of my PCU. After getting used to biking in cold weather and seeing patterns in my cold weather clothing diary, I knew that I'd need more than just a grid fleece and a softshell.

On the inside I made plans to wear what I was going to wear to work, a T-Shirt, a pair of Volcom pants and a normal pair of socks. The next layer was a thin thermal hoodie from MEC. My insulating layer would be my PCU level 3 fleece. My vapour barrier would be my PCU level 4 wind shirt. My outer layer would be my level 5 softshell pants and jacket.
My ongoing experiment with keeping my hands dry and warm has lead me to try an approach similar to how I layer with PCU. So next to my skin, I'm using OR PL Base gloves. As my insulating layer I'm using cheapo Dollerama fleece gloves, and as my outer layer I'm using OR Endeavor Goretex Shell mitts. I had just used this system for a night riding session at a local ski hill where the temperature was -18°C with windchill so I figured I'd try it again.

On my feet, I'd use my Giro cycling shoes with MEC waterproof boot covers which keeps the snow off and adds an extra layer of warmth. Up top, I figured I'd put a triangular bandito style scarf over my mouth, a beenie hat on my head, and then pull my MEC hoodie over all of that.

Head > Scarf > Beenie > MEC hoodie
Body > T-Shirt > MEC hoodie > Level 3 > Level 4 > Level 5
Legs > Pants > Level 5
Feet > Socks > Cycling shoes > MEC boot covers

When I got up in the morning, there was light snow and it was just as cold as they forecasted -13°C, -22°C with the windchill. I hit the road, and tried my best to stick to the untouched snow instead of the slippery tire tracks. Cars were bumper to bumper on all the main roads and I was able to easily zip past everyone. I wasn't able to find my fleece bandito that I use for snowboarding, and that was pretty rough because my cheeks were starting to feel raw.

Riding of this bridge when it's raining is ridiculously slippery. Snow was terrifying.
After about 3-4km I noticed that my breathing was picking up and I needed to exhale with more force from my mouth. It didn't take long for my scarf to get totally saturated which was… pretty gross. So for the rest of the 15km commute, I alternated between cold cheeks (keeping the scarf off my face), and foggy Oakleys with a wet but warm face (keeping the scarf over my nose and mouth).

Overall, I was VERY comfortable. I was never cold, and I didn't really work up much of a sweat. The only thing I'd change for tomorrow's commute is that I'll try and find my fleece bandito and I'll use a pair of goggles instead of my Flak Jackets. Eyelash icicles… not cool.


  1. Hey Geardo! Really enjoyed your articles about Beyond Clothings' new PCU system! So stoked to have my collection of it, further words of gratitude fail me. Nice that SOCOM personnel and PCS are now almost indistinguishable, one from another... Looks like you live in the BiG Smoke - me too, Drop me a line sometime and we'll trade Beyond Clothing war-stories. Cheers Mate!! Keep up the great gear-head work, you've just garnered another fan

    1. Hey thanks for the kind words! Give me a shout anytime at I'd definitely like to trade gear war stories!