Make sure you’re equipped with the essentials for colder temperatures with this guide to the best equipment for coldweather cycling.
Logging distance in the fall and winter can be difficult if you’re not dressed out properly. After all, who wants to spend hours on the bike, freezing cold, when you could be on an indoor trainer?
There are plenty of pros to training indoors in the winter, but sometimes we just want to brave the elements and get out of the house. Here’s the essentials you’ll need to get past the cold weather and get some winter miles in the logged.
Cold Weather Technical Jacket
A technical jacket is an important item to your cold weather cycling arsenal. While the temperature may dip to below Freezing, you’ll feel it even more with the wind chill if your outer layer isn’t windproof.
Windproof jackets typically come with a level of water resistance, which is always handy in colder months when it is also possible to be caught in the rain. Instead of a wind shell, you may also benefit from a heavier softshell or hardshell technical jacket, which will have greater levels of weather proofing in a more robust fabric, while remaining breathable.
A base layer should the most important part of every cyclist’s cold weather arsenal and never more so than when riding in cold weather. They serve an important purpose in wicking away moisture and sweat from the skin, and in the colder months this is just as vital as in the summer.
Wet skin and clothing in contact with the wind can cause more of a chill than being under dressed, and once wet it’s very hard to warm up again. Because of this, look for natural materials with wicking and insulation-balancing properties, like merino wool, which will take and move that moisture away from the skin quickly.
Thermal Bibs or Tights
While you have the need to look after your upper body, your lower body will also need insulation in the cold weather conditions. Thermal bibs and tights are match for a thermal jersey, giving you better levels of weather protection for your legs thanks to a number of features. It’s common find a lining for extra insulation, while materials can range from flexible summer-like materials, to thicker weather resistant panels. The thicker will help keep cold winds away.
If you opt for shorter thermal bibs instead of three-quarters or tights, then you may wish to pair them with leg warmers for when you need a little extra flexibility. These will fit under the shorts and over your thighs, and extend either to just below the knees or the full length of the leg.
Thermal warmers are commonly fleece-lined, while you’ll also find some form of windproof outer fabric or durable water repellent treatment to keep chilling air and water at bay also. Arm warmers are also a staple of a cold weather rider’s wardrobe too, offering better flexibility with the use of a short sleeved jersey.
Gloves and Shoe Covers
When its cold your body takes blood away from your hands and feet and transport it to your core. This is why your hands and feet are usually the first to go numb, this can be both painful and have a negative effect on your control.
Good gloves and shoe covers are a must! Gloves can come insulated with waterproof outer layers, windproof shells, fleece linings and thermal fillings. Shoe covers offer protection against air and water from entering your shoes, making it easier create a warm environment inside the shoe.
You may also want to add extra accessories for more insulation, depending on your preference. Beanie caps or headbands can add important insulation to your head, you may also want to think about a neck warmer to offer coverage around your chin and mouth.
Thermal socks are also an excellent idea if you want to add to your shoe covers, toe warmers can offer great warmth against cold weather where the conditions don’t call for full shoe covers.