Think of Scandinavian (Sweden, Norway, Denmark) and nordic countries (Finland) in winter and you probably think snow, right? Well you’d be correct for the most part. Huge swathes of northern Scandinavia get snow in December that lasts all the way through until April, effectively ruling out road cycling on all but the most arterial roads. However, further south in the more populated areas of Sweden, in Denmark and in the coastal areas of Norway the temperatures actually stay around zero – with most snow simply melting away. Which means the roads are clear to be cycled, so long as you have the right gear!
The temperature in southern parts of Sweden will range from lows of -3°C to highs of 1°C, while across the border in Oslo, capital of Norway, things are chillier, getting as low as -5°C. The Atlantic coast of Norway, however, is positively warm at 2°C.
As well as very low temperatures that continue through the winter, Sweden and Norway will see more rainfall in January than most other months of the year. While still cold, Finland enjoys the opposite, with less precipitation that most months. By mid-winter, hours of sunlight are in very short supply, with northern city of Tromsø plunged into permanent darkness until the middle of the month.
When February arrives so do the skiers and other snow junkies. That means the mountains in Sweden and Norway are still covered with snow, but the lowland roads are most definitely rideable. Temperatures remain very, very low, with sub-zero averages in Stockholm and Helsinki. Make sure you layer up before heading out on the bike.
Marsala Merino Membrane Vest
With low temperatures and harsh weather conditions it can be all too tempting to ditch the outdoor riding altogether in winter, but that need not be the case. Id you layer up correctly then you can still enjoy your road cycling way of life and you’ll end up starting next season even fitter and healthier than ever before. Keeping yourself motivated to train is tough enough, without the weather playing its part in discouraging you – so take that out of the equation by equipping yourself properly for the job.
The foundation of a good layering system is a baselayer. There are a host of options for this particular product, but we believe that ours – made with premium merino wool – are unbeatable in terms of weight and warmth. Because of the cold Scandinavian winters we’d advise going straight for a long-sleeved base, but if you want a bit of extra flexibility you can always team a short-sleeve with a pair of arm warmers.
The second piece of kit on our essentials list is a pair of quality bib tights, you’ll lose count of how many times you thank yourself for buying a solid pair of full-length tights once you’ve ridden through one Scandinavian winter. The key here is getting a pair that stay firmly in place, repel as much water as possible and – ideally – will have a fleece lining to keep you warm.
Once you have your core layers it’s time to build on top with the kit that works for you. You’ll obviously want a jersey to wear on top of your base, and if there’s a chance of rain then a waterproof outer is an essential. Because there’s not much point having all that super-insulating warm gear on if you’re soaking wet.
Protected with a water-repellent finish and fleece-lined for extra insulation, these are the perfect tights to carry you through the icy Scandinavian winter.
Marsala Merino Membrane Softshell
Designed for those who love to ride in winter, this jacket is there to help you push hard when you need to and keep you warm when you don’t. Waterproof, windproof and breathable – it’s the ultimate ally for cold weather.
You can’t beat a good pair of merino wool socks for keeping your feet warm. All the properties of a regular pair of socks, with the fantastic performance of merino wool. Unbeatable.