While the nation is still deep in the throws of winter, the retail industry is already shedding it’s winter coats for springtime apparel and activities. Most of the larger chain stores are touting their “Winter Clearance” in hopes of moving old product to make room for the next season’s hottest threads.
If you’re a cheapskate like me, then you likely wear gear you picked up many seasons ago during the scratch and dent sales at places like REI. There comes a point in my life, though, when I want new mountain biking shoes or socks, free of the stank and grime of toes past. However, my inner cheapskate battles with the desires of the flesh to own new goods, and unfortunately, the inner cheapskate wins.
As the end of a season approaches, you can find heavily discounted goods that haven’t been used, abused, and returned for the 100% satisfaction guarantee. Below is my list of winter items I desperately needed at the beginning of winter, but have just recently picked up on clearance. I highly suggest that you join me and take action now so as to avoid the miserable cold come next year.
A Thick Winter Riding Jacket
If you’ve read some of my articles previously, you may have gleaned that I despise the cold. As such, I rarely find myself outside if the temperature drops below 40. And forget biking in cold weather such as that! But with a young kid running around nowadays, I take my rides when I can get them. Sometimes that means venturing out in below-freezing temperatures with the windchill approaching single digits. A thicker, fleece-lined winter jacket is a must in temperatures such as these. However, a good winter biking jacket can run easily $150, way past what I’m willing to pay for comfort. Just this week, though, I picked up a jacket that was marked down to about $50. A much more manageable price to pay for warmth.
Fleece-Lined Thermal Bike Tights
Though mostly worn by road bikers, I have yet to find a pair of pants that keep me as warm as bike tights. A good, name-brand pair lined with fleece will run over $100. I’ve routinely seen them marked down 30-40%, if not more, towards the end of winter. Unfortunately, it’s usually too warm to even try them out for a test ride by that time of the year. But come next winter, you’ll thank me.
This is another item that can get financially out of hand very quickly. A good pair of gloves in the dead of winter can stave off frost-bite and couch-potating. It’s not uncommon for most winter gloves to approach 50% off on clearance.
These aren’t a high ticket item, but can run upwards of $20. For socks!!! I will admit that I am a pansy when my toes get cold, so it’s very important for me to keep them snuggly-warm. One of the best ways I’ve found to do that is with wool socks. They will keep your feet warm in relatively-cold climes, but don’t expect them to do much in 20-degree weather and 20mph wind. Trust me, I have learned the hard way. By the end of the winter season, you can typically save about $5 on a pair. That’s enough for an 11-inch sub from Subway.
Lights for Night Riding
As the days get short during the winter, it’s nice to be able to extend riding hours with a set of bright lights. These aren’t your standard flashlights. You’ll need about as many lumens as a car headlight in your handlebar-mounted light. In addition, a second light for your helmet is typically recommended for increased safety.
For more information, be sure to check out our two-part light buyer’s guide:
There’s a whole host of gear that is necessary for riding in sub-freezing temperatures. Even if you’re not riding on several feet of snow, the cold can either dissuade you from riding, or even make a ride miserable. Prepare for next year’s winter season by stocking up now!
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