Consider the winter weather you're most likely to encounter. Will it be wet or dry? What will the average temperature be? You will need to tailor these suggestions to your own situation, and everyone's preferred configuration of winter cycling clothing will be a bit different.
Keep your head warm by adding a warm layer beneath your cycling helmet. You may need just a thin beanie to cover the top of your head and your ears, or in more extreme conditions, you may need a neck gaiter, scarf, balaclava or some combination of these. Your primary areas of discomfort when cycling in cold weather are likely to be your ears and nose, so covering your ears with a beanie or balaclava is a great idea. Your nose -- unless you wear a ski mask, which is not a very popular option -- will probably stay unprotected.
Wear multiple layers on your upper body to stay warm. You can start with a long-sleeve cycling jersey or a long-sleeve long underwear shirt made of a material that will wick sweat away from your skin. Layer a cycling vest or jacket over the long-sleeve shirt. This layer should be water-resistant for wet winter weather; a bright color and reflective trim are also desirable since winter cycling may involve being on the road during cloudy weather and shorter days. Many winter cyclists also prefer a jacket with zippers in the armpits for extra ventilation; you can still become too warm in all these layers while cycling, even on a cold day.
Put on full-finger cycling gloves to keep your fingers from going numb. Even milder winter weather can turn your hands to ice when cycling and generating your own wind chill. For commuting or shorter rides in winter, normal winter gloves may suffice, as long as your hands have enough flexibility to easily reach brakes and shifters and your gloves are windproof and at least water-resistant. Gloves you can wipe a runny nose on -- and throw in the washing machine later, of course -- are ideal because your nose is more likely to run while cycling in colder weather.
Wear cycling shorts or padded cycling tights as your bottom layer on your lower body. You want the comfort of the padded chamois right next to your skin. Over the shorts or tights, you can layer additional clothing, such as nylon wind pants or tights made for other outdoor activities.
Pay ample attention to your feet. Your socks should be warm and cozy, while also wicking away sweat and providing a chafing-free fit in your cycling shoes. Wool socks, available in a variety of blends and styles, are a good option for winter cycling. For shoes, either purchase cycling shoes specifically designed for winter cycling -- which can be quite expensive -- or invest in shoe covers or, at the very least, toe warmers. Shoe covers go over your usual cycling shoes and keep the wind out of the mesh sections of the cycling shoe while also providing protection from moisture. Toe covers do the same, but only for the toe portion of your shoes. Select the option that fits your climate and budget. An emergency option for cycling on an unexpectedly cold or wet day is to tie plastic bags over your cycling shoes, but this is obviously only a short-term solution.
· 6 years ago