Bicycling in the cooler months is great fun, especially when the seasons are changing and the gym is packed. The key is staying comfortable, which is all about choosing and wearing the right cycling clothing.
To help, here are some suggestions for what works for each temperature range. Follow these guidelines and then dress in layers, with heavier outer layers for rain, snow or high winds. Keep in mind that fat tires, steep hills and soft surfaces slow you off road, resulting in less wind-chill. So, for off-road riding, wear slightly lighter clothing, and be prepared for colder temps on open roads and descents by carrying a vest or jacket.
After reviewing our tips here, please swing by the shop so that we can show you some of the new features and styles, and help you select an awesome winter wardrobe.
60 and Below
For this temperature range you want light protection that packs easily and/or unzips to let excess heat out. Start with the base layer — an essential piece for all cool-weather exercising. This light, thin undershirt wicks to keep you dry, warm and comfortable so you never catch a chill.
Arm and knee warmers add protection for your limbs with a cozy layer of warmth, which also helps prevent injuries that can come from exposing the joints to the cold. Warmers are easy to pull on and off, and pack, so they're ideal if you're unsure about the weather or if you’re climbing and descending a lot.
Long sleeve jerseys are perfect for consistent cool or cold temperatures. Their combination of technical wicking, breathability and insulation makes them an excellent outer or inner layer. And if you tend to heat up significantly on your rides, get a jersey with a long or full zipper so you can get enough ventilation when needed.
Wind vests keep your core warm as you slice through chill winds thanks to technical wind-proof material that blocks cold blasts and breathes for ventilation, too. These vests are small and lightweight, too, so you can stuff them in a hydration pack or jersey pocket as the temperature or weather change. Plus, they often sport reflective accents for safety, a nice feature on dark, stormy days.
The speed of cycling can cause the wind to nip at your fingers and ears. Full gloves block it and keep the fingers warm. Plus, the padded palms make them ideal for on- or off-road riding. And, they usually include terry panels great for wiping your face and nose. And don’t forget an ear-warming headband that easily fits into your pocket and can save you on a long, chilly descent.
50 and Below
At these temperatures you need more protection. For example, frozen feet can ruin a ride quickly. Wool socks, which are warm when dry or wet, are perfect for winter warriors. They're not only incredibly warm and breathable, but they wick to keep you dry, too. For your upper body, a light jacket is great for cool and changing weather. Jackets provide wind protection, breathability and water-resistant or waterproof fabric. Plus they're easy to get on and off, stow easily in a jersey pocket and are form fitting to not catch the wind.
Lightweight Lycra tights are another piece perfect for just about any outdoor activity. Thin and durable, they protect your skin from the wind and elements while never overheating you on 'tweener days. Plus, a form fit means you won't have to worry about fabric tangling with bike parts or impeding you whether you're riding, running or skiing.
40 and Below
We have helmet-friendly hats that provide essential moisture management for your dome. And lined gloves ready to take on the vicious combination of cold, wet and wind-chill that ends many rides. They boast a water-and wind-resistant outer layer with a warm, wicking removable liner (for easy washing). Plus the flexible, five-finger design prevents numb digits without bulk that would hamper shifting and braking. You'll also want booties that slip over your cycling shoes to block the wind, water and frigid temps too. The soles are built to last and have cutouts for your cycling shoe cleats too.
Up top, maximize your layering power with a warm fleece-lined vest. Like their lighter wind-stopping cousins, these block breezes but with heavier fabric and a cozy fleece lining for moisture transfer and maximum comfort when temperatures drop.
Look at all-weather jackets and rain pants for more protection. With water resistance, wind proofing and toasty warmth, they are just the thing to keep you commuting and training strong all winter. Features, such as sealed seams, shockcord bottoms, weatherproof collars and extended cuffs keep you comfy. Plus, breathable materials, fleece lining and dexterity-friendly designs make these jackets and pants just right for much of your winter riding.
30 and Below
When the temperatures drop below freezing, it’s really time to bundle up. And balaclavas are essential for all-season cyclists. They offer complete head, neck and lower face coverage and protect your lungs from cough-causing cold by warming your breath.
For the torso, a thermal jacket is like having your own heater. Its outer shell boasts multi-ply laminate for complete immunity from the wind, water and cold. Inside there's a breathable membrane and comfortable fleece to keep you warm and dry. And you'll love a pair of thermal tights when it's freezing out. The fronts are covered in wind-resistant fabric while the backs offer comfortable ventilation. The thermal-fleece fabric next to your skin makes you feel as if you were sitting in front of a fireplace.
Stop by the shop today and get prepared to bicycle in all weather!