Cycling can be a challenge if you don’t keep your ears warm, especially in the northern hemisphere, cold slows us down when we cycle. And the ears are a real problem for many of us when the temperature is cold and the wind chill is high.
When you feel cold, every time you feel it in your ears first. Here, two factors account for that. The first is that your ears are exposed to the cold weather as well as the wind since they are on the outside of your body. Second, your ears lack a layer of fat, which insulates your body, because they are mainly composed of cartilage.
In summer and winter, there is a huge difference between riding. Keeping your legs turning is what matters – not intervals or long rides. There is a reason for the famous saying, ‘winter miles, summer smiles’. While winter is the time to tune up your base, being outside and staying warm requires many layers. In this article, I’ll explore how to protect ears and head when winter cycling, preventions ideas, and more things related to this.
Why Is It Important to Keep Your Ears Warm?
Cold exposure regularly requires the body to protect the ears. As the protrusion blocks the canal from the cold, it increases bone growth inside the canal. And it’s called exostosis. Winter sports athletes are also affected by this condition, often called surfer’s ear.
- Because of its constrictive nature, exostosis makes it difficult for fluid, dirt, and wax to drain from the ear canal, causing chronic ear infections and hearing loss.
- The temperature should reach 59 degrees Fahrenheit, or 15 degrees Celsius before you should start thinking about keeping your ears warm.
- And people constrict their blood vessels to stay warm when it gets to this temperature.
What Temperature Is Too Cold For Cycling?
There is no particular danger associated with riding in temperatures below freezing. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. But you should wear extra ear protection if the temperature is below 50 degrees.
Does Cycling Damage Your Ears?
The damage to hearing caused by cycling has been demonstrated in some studies. It has been found that-
- Cyclists can hear wind noise up to 120dB depending on their speed and wind direction. During 10mph winds, 85dB can be heard. The noise level increases to 90dB at 15mph.
- Wind noise is loud enough to cause significant hearing loss – especially if you ride at high speeds every day. Furthermore, hearing loss can be caused by long and repeated exposure to sounds above 85 dB.
How To Protect Your Ears And Head When Winter Cycling?
In winter cycling, there are several ways to protect your ears and head. Let’s learn how to protect your ears and head from the extreme cold:
1. While Cycling In Cold Weather, Wear A Beanie
There’s nothing like a comfy and fuzzy beanie to fix a bad hair day, even if it’s temporary. I think wearing a beanie makes me look really cool to my friends and family. Cycling through puddles and trailing rooster trails doesn’t mean you can’t wear a beanie. Your helmet won’t get tangled up in a beanie, as it covers the ears adequately.
As beanies are thicker and warmer than skull caps, on a winter morning, I’m never without a beanie. My beanie is knitted, and I can’t describe how it pampers and warms my ears.
- Wear a beanie when biking to work on a cold winter morning, shredding on wet snowy trails, or riding at your local bike park.
- A good beanie keeps your ears cozy and protects them from the elements.
But Can You Wear A Beanie Under A Bike Helmet?
There is no problem with doing so. There are many beanies designed specifically for wearing under bike helmets. But it is good to wear a lightweight, close-fitting beanie that is not too thick to keep your ears warm. Moreover, you can shred on your bike after adjusting the helmet a little bit if the beanie is too thick.
2. Put On Earmuffs
It is a great idea to wear earmuffs during the colder seasons when cycling through the coolest days. However, these ear warmers keep cold ears warm.
- Earmuffs can be worn over the head in a headband style.
- Alternatively, you can choose earmuffs that fit behind the head. It is a headband like this wraps around the back.
- For staying in place, most modern earmuffs use a cup-and-clip mechanism rather than adjustable bands.
- Most bike riders and I prefer behind-the-end earmuffs.
- The bandless version or over-the-head style is also acceptable.
Well, Can These Bicycling Earmuffs Block Out Traffic Noise?
No, they won’t keep you from hearing traffic. As a result, they’re safe for road use. While you’re riding through traffic, you should remain alert and cautious. Therefore, you should bring earmuffs along on your next mountain trail ride or morning commute, no matter what the weather.
3. Put A Balaclava Over Your Entire Upper Body
A balaclava covers your whole face, leaving only a slit for your eyes. It’s best to wear a cycling balaclava when it’s extremely cold because they are long enough to sit under a cycling jersey, also protecting your neck.
When cycling during the winter season, a balaclava provides the best protection.
- It keeps your ears and faces warm even on the coldest rides through snow-covered forests or mountain trails.
- At the coldest times of the year, a balaclava is most useful. In cold, windy, or snowy weather, they provide ultimate protection.
- Furthermore, stormy weather and snowy terrain make them perfect.
Why Wear A Balaclava Under A Helmet?
Because balaclavas cover the head and lower face, they prevent heat from escaping, preventing fogging on goggles. Snowmobiling, skiing, and snowboarding require helmets that can be worn over balaclavas.
4. Wear A Neck Gaiter With Ear Covers
A neck gaiter does not allow water to flow downward, thus wetting the lower part of the body. It keeps both your neck and hands warm. In addition to covering your mouth, a neck gaiter also covers your ears.
Cycling, snow hiking, snowboarding, and skiing are just a few winter outdoor activities that require a good neck gaiter. Thus a neck gaiter is designed to make cycling more comfortable in the winter.
- The piece is designed to reach up to your ears and attach securely behind your head.
- Due to its soft, skin-friendly fleece fabric, you’ll be able to keep your ears and face warm and toasty on your cycling adventures.
- Windy days are the best time to wear these gaiters to keep your face and ears warm and protected when cycling in cold winter or stormy weather.
5. Put On A Skull Cap
The ultimate winter protection against cold is a skull cap made of moisture-absorbent fleece fabric. And your helmet will fit comfortably under this beanie-like head cap. Also, your ears and the top hemisphere of the dome remain warm and covered. This cap is perfect for cycling marathons and cross-country competitions in snowy weather.
But be sure to have this skull cap under your brain bucket if you enjoy riding your bike down steep descents in the coldest season.
- One of my favorite things about this skull cap is its comfy fleece interior that traps heat like nothing else.
- Additionally, it prevents sweat from dripping into your eyes below your brow due to its headband-like properties.
It covers the ears, but it is thin enough to allow a perfect hearing. So there shouldn’t be any problem hearing road noises.
- If you have long hair, the cap also features a hole at the back.
- And if you’re doing a long, intense ride, this cap can make the air inside your head pretty hot.
- Additionally, it reduces air circulation to the head.
Therefore, this cap is perfect if you want to keep your ears warm and toasty.
6. Wear A Headband With Ear Warmers
Headbands and ear warmers are common ways to keep your ears warm during the winter. As ear warmers do not interfere with helmets, they are effective while cycling.
- These ear warmers are easy to adjust to fit your comfort, especially the back, where you can pull them underneath your helmet, and cover your ears. You can also lift them up in front to keep them inside your helmet rim.
- Keeping brow sweat from dripping all over your face makes them popular among cyclists.
During cycling in the winter, running headband ear warmers keep your ears warm. Their purpose is to keep ears warm by resting on the forehead. Cycling ear warmers from this brand offer different options based on how cold it is outside.
In moderately cold weather, you can use a regular headband. In cold weather, you can use a fleece one. Cycling in winter can be made much more comfortable by using these ear warmers. So cycling or racing workouts are especially effective with them.
Their thickness and weight vary depending on the weather. In heavy winters, you can use the thick fleece ones for mountain or downhill skiing, or the thin ones for commuting or cycling.
7. Wear A Helmet Cover
Getting ready for your cycle ride in the morning means covering up, having your ears warm, and having your gear ready. Somehow, you have a feeling of cold, however. Bicycle helmets have a lot of slits and holes for ventilation.
- During cold weather, these openings let cold air into the trail and ruin your attempts to stay warm. As a result, dew accumulates on your hair and scalp, making you feel cold, regardless of how hard you try to keep warm.
- The helmet cover prevents cold air from getting under the scalp, so it is a great way to keep your head warm. Helmet covers keep you warm even if they’re not cycling ear warmers. It is important to keep warm when cycling in the winter.
8. Put On A Trapper’s Hat
It’s a good idea to wear a trapper hat during very cold winter months. While cycling, it keeps the ears warm too, just like it does while camping or cutting trees.
- A good trooper hat wraps firmly around your head and secures firmly beneath your chin.
- While you’re cycling hard and pushing your limits, it will keep your ears warm by blocking out the icy cold air.
Trappers are great for cycling since they have a thick, soft fur lining that keeps ears warm, as well as a thin, soft exterior that fits over helmets. When it’s cold and hard outside, especially on snowy terrain, it’s most effective in keeping you warm.
What Are The Best Ways To Reduce Wind Noise While Cycling?
Keeping the wind off your ears while preventing overheating is possible with a thin headband.
- The bike helmet straps can also be attached to a small strip that sits in front of the ears and acts as a wind noise reducer.
- A basic aerodynamic principle protects your ears by buffering the wind.
- Some manufacturers claim they can reduce wind noise by up to 80% despite their small size.
Invest in thin headbands, wind noise reducers, or headphones if you’re struggling with wind noise.
- The downside of wearing headphones is that it reduces your situational awareness, which is something many cyclists are opposed to.
- Bone-conducting headphones might be a suitable alternative. At least you’ll have something else to listen to besides traffic – and wind noise!
Is It Normal To Feel Clogged In My Ears After Biking In Cold Or Snow?
During a particularly strenuous training session, intracranial pressure increases inside the skull. As a result, the ears can feel pressured. You shouldn’t experience it every ride, but that’s perfectly normal.
If it happens every ride, there may be something else going on.
- Your ears may simply be clogged with earwax.
- You might also experience this symptom if you have an allergy or an upper-respiratory infection.
- And finally, it could even be related to your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull.
Cold-weather cycling gear must include ear warmers. Keep your ears warm while cycling during winter to make the experience more enjoyable and carefree. So, before exercising outdoors during the winter, be sure to cover your ears with warm clothing.
- Especially when cycling at high speeds against the sharp icy wind, overexposure to cold air can permanently damage the ears.
- When exercising in cold weather, always wear cycling ear protection.
That’s all for now. I think I have covered all the valuable information that any cyclist needs to know about protecting his/her ears and head while cycling in winter or snow weather. Happy Pedaling But With Proper Safety Precaution, My Friend.