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Winter Riding In Northern California

Winter riding in northern California is quite common due to our mild climate.  We do have rain, wind and cold temperatures but we also have many winter days that are sunny and mild.  Temperatures in the 60's with sunny skies occur frequently and allow you to go out to ride.

Although we've had some days this winter with high temperatures in the 40's, that's pretty unusual.  There have been some reports of riders going down after hitting black ice, but that is very rare here.  Most riders don't even have fenders, which I hear are necessary in the Pacific Northwest.

You can ride here from late March through October in cycling shorts and a short sleeve jersey (but you might need a jacket or vest early in the morning).

How To Dress

Layering is the key to proper winter riding apparel.  An undershirt that wicks away perspiration, long-sleeve jersey and vest or wind breaker along with cycling tights are all that's  necessary on most rides.  Gloves and wool socks or neoprene booties are also a good idea to keep the extremities warm.  Nothing worse than cold hands or feet when you are a long way from home.  Don't forget your helmet, either.


On a cold ride, it's important to drink plenty of water.  Your body needs the fluid to operate efficiently, even when it's not hot outside.


Staying dry while riding in the rain is impossible.  If you ride on a rainy day, you are going to get wet and probably stay wet throughout the ride.  A rain jacket will help some, but is usually only going to keep the rain off of you while stopped.   Riding in the rain can be fun if you have the right mind-set.  It can be miserable if you are also cold.  Fortunately, it warms-up in northern California when it rains, so the cold is not a major problem.

A Few Suggestions

  • Shorten your rides
  • Take warm clothes to change into after the ride
  • Start the ride later in the day, it will be warmer
  • Plan a stop during the ride for something warm to drink



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