Product Review: The Winter Beard
Having surveyed a number of male cyclists, the most popular means of obtaining a winter beard seems to be the DIY method: Simply stop shaving your face, and in as little as a week you could find yourself in possession of a modest to moderate wooly facial appendage. In weather that's merely cool, that might very well suffice. In harsh winter climates, continue growing to taste, or until coworkers/ loved ones begin to complain. To shorten or shape, use a beard trimmer.
Maintaining your winter beard is simple: Handwash with soap and water, and check for trapped food particles after meals. If you notice people staring at the lower half of your face in disgust, you may not be performing these maintenance tasks diligently enough. Otherwise, you are probably fine.
The winter beard has many benefits. It is temperature-regulating, wind-proof, breathable and quick drying - more so than any wool or synthetic balaclava on the market. It is natural, organic, and ethically grown. It is inexpensive. You are unlikely to lose it or leave home without it. And it colour coordinates with any outfit.
Possible drawbacks include extra maintenance, and potential protests from your significant other. In the event of the latter, I suggest pointing out the communal usefulness of your beard: For instance, it can function as a loofa-like facial exfoliant for your spouse, or a scratching post for your cat.
In growing your winter beard, pay attention not only to length, but to total area of coverage: The most effective beards are as thick nearer to the neck as they are at the chin, providing the warmth of an extra scarf.
And finally, do exercise moderation. Local cartoono-anthropologist has documented breakouts of Competitive Beard Growing disorder among cyclists in winter, which are not without side-effects. Sure your luscious facial locks might impress your friends and terrify your enemies, but if a beard is long enough to get stuck in your bicycle's components, you have gone too far.