Winter, a cyclist’s favorite time of the year! The thrill of cycling is somehow intensified when the weather is cooler. It’s simply a nice time to be outside. Shrouded in mist and fog, the morning beckons the early birds who would love nothing more than to take their bike out for a joyride.
The otherwise scorching sun is gentle against the skin, bestowing a subtle glow with a comfortable warmth. While most people would love to be tucked inside their comforters, a cyclist would know better. This is the perfect time to ride their bicycle through tracks.
Unfortunately, the scenario is short-lived as the cold won’t be the best friend. It starts creeping in, causing discomfort in nooks and crannies you didn’t even know existed. You may think that you’re “strong” enough to resist the strong, chilly air constantly hit your face for an extended period, but you won’t even know when it hits too deep. Hypothermia and frostbite are two common issues with extreme cold; both a threat during cycling in the winter.
A cyclist must keep themselves warm when cycling in the winter, that’s a given. But there’s an issue many cyclists seem to report. No matter how much they try to cover up, the face still ends up cold. The primary reason behind this is that they are failing to provide warmth to key areas of the face, such as the ears and nose. Let’s explore how to keep face warm in winter while cycling to save you from a world of pain.
Clothing Items That Keep Your Face Warm
If you’re a cyclist who enjoys winter (who wouldn’t?), chances are, your wardrobe is already filled with the necessary warm clothing. Winter hats, scarves of wool or fleece, balaclavas, snoods, and infinity scarves – there is no such thing as too many.
Related Reading – How To Keep Ears Warm When Cycling In The Cold Season
Scarves appear in many forms. The traditional wool scarf comes from the thick coat of a sheep that acts as a natural insulant. Fleece is another good insulating material that can be natural or synthetic.
The best part of scarves is that they can be styled in a variety of ways. Just because you are letting the road take you wherever doesn’t mean you can’t be stylish in it.
Since they are loose-ended, you can tie them across the regions that need more protection like your mouth, nose, or neck. We would suggest you get a few in different colors so you can alternate between them. No harm in looking up various patterns and styles too.
A skilled cyclist possesses the skills, speed, and accuracy of an ancient warrior. Consider dressing the part and beating the cold air at the same time! A balaclava might make you seem like an angry ninja or someone who is about to rob a bank, but they are extremely effective in keeping the cold out. They’re perfect for winter morning rides since they keep every part of your face well covered.
A balaclava is essentially a cover for the head that fits snugly over the neck and features a cutout for the face. Since you will be getting one for cycling, it’s best to find something long enough to overlap with your base layers (turtlenecks and so on) so you achieve a reinforced seal against the gaps.
Material-wise, anything that wicks moisture from the skin while keeping it warm and dry is suitable. Good choices include Thermax, polypropylene, or other synthetics. Personally, a soft fleece balaclava seems to be another decent option.
Make sure the fabric isn’t too thick because otherwise, it will cause an issue with the fit of the helmet. You don’t want to remove the pads or change the side for the helmet to fit. In fact, thicker balaclavas may cause overheating. It’s equally important to radiate the excessive heat as it is important to hold the necessary warmth.
Raise your balaclava up if your face is cold just so it rests below the lower lip, still covering the chin. Alternatively, pull it up and cover the mouth, or even the cheeks and nose. Only your eyes will be uncovered which will be protected with goggles.
Related Reading – Best Cycling Balaclava Reviews & Buying Guide
Hats and snoods are a match made in heaven. However, ensure the length of the snood is enough to raise over your face. You can find some for only the neck but don’t get those for cycling purposes.
Featuring a detachable face mask, trapper hats are the answer to how to keep face warm in winter while cycling. They’re the ultimate face insulators. Normally, you can buy them in fleece or fur-lined designs.
Bikers or Ski Mask
A biker’s or ski mask is another great option to keep you cozy during the winter bike ride. They’re super lightweight and designed to be worn underneath a helmet.
On normal temperatures (average cold), these alone would provide adequate protection against the cold. When the weather is a bit harsher and you want an extra layer of warmth to keep the jitters away, pair it with the trusty balaclava. Wear it under a balaclava. If you find the fur lining to cause irritation to the skin, wear it under a trapper hat.
Goggles are a must-have for any winter sport activity if speed is involved. Not only do they keep the spine-chilling cold out, but they also protect your eyes from sharp bits of ice or snow. And then there’s the obvious protection from the wind.
If you’re wearing a balaclava, it’s crucial to pick out a pair of good googles.
Neck Gaiters and Warmers
In comparison to a balaclava, neck warmers and neck gaiters are typically heavier and bulkier. But, they do allow you to switch between covering only the neck to the whole lower region of the face.
A neck gaiter is wrapped over the face before attaching it at the back of the head with Velcro. Check to see if the neck gaiter reaches up to the ears because these offer all-over comfort. If your choice of warm clothing for the face is a neck fleece, a balaclava won’t be necessary. To ensure maximum warmth, combine that with a hat (in case you’re ditching a helmet) or a helmet liner, or an insulated helmet.
Related Reading – Best Cycling Neck Gaiter Review & Buying Guide
Helmet Liner or Skull Cap
In the shape of a small beanie, skull caps or helmet liners keep the face warm alongside wicking away excess moisture. Thanks to their convenient design, they sit snugly under a helmet.
This is what a swimming cap would look like had it been made for cyclists. Sometimes, the solution to how to keep face warm in winter while cycling is: the entire package. By using one of these, you are providing cold protection to the whole head.
What is a skull cap, you may ask. It’s a thin elastic cap made to cover the entire head, run down to the ear, and offer comfort and warmth for the top of your head. Similar to headbands, skull caps prevent the brow sweat from trickling down your face. As a bonus, they hold the hair down under the helmet, making sure sweat or air doesn’t mess it up.
Refrain from trying a fit or hat or beanie under the helmet. Let it shift around. Modern-day ski helmets don’t require additional coverage from a thick hat, and it will remove the protective effect of wearing it in the first place.
Related Reading – Best Winter Bike Helmet Reviews & Guide
How to Protect the Face Without Touching It?
People suffering from trigeminal neuralgia may not actually be able to wear a snood or balaclava as anything coming in contact with their skin, can be a trigger. Essentially, they can’t wear any sort of face-covering gear to resist the cold. This poses a challenge to their health.
Here’s where you have to get creative. An infinity scarf draped loosely could be a good solution, but the cold air will find a way to seep in. If the solutions have to be restricted strictly to non-clothing items, hand warmers are another option.
Related Reading – Cycling In Cold Weather – Tips On Keeping Warm In Freezing Cold
Frequently Asked Questions
How to Stop Goggles from Steaming Up?
Your goggles or glasses will steam up when you wear masks or snoods. This obstructs vision, paving the way for accidents. To prevent this, use a little washing-up liquid and rub your goggles or glasses before heading out. Polish it off using a soft cloth after rubbing it on.
These are the ways how to keep your face warm in winter while cycling. Your face should be well protected against the raging cold. Otherwise, a merry ride down the track could land you in the hospital struggling to catch a breath. It goes without saying that you don’t have to wear all the gear or try out all the tips at the same. One or two should change up your cycling game completely. It’s time to wrap up – literally.