As the days begin to get shorter and the temperature starts to drop riding becomes more challenging. But don’t let the weather make your bike disappear, because as they say “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.
The key to dressing for cold weather riding is layering, this allows you to add or remove items as the weather or your exertion level changes. Vests, jackets and warmers that can be rolled up and put into a jersey pocket are the key.
An undershirt or base layer is the first piece of clothing to reach for as the temperature drops, it will help keep your core warm and move sweat away from your skin to keep you dry.
Arm, leg and knee warmers are key lightweight components to help protect against wind and add warmth to your extremities. Arm warmers in particular are extremely quick and easy to put on and take off as needed and the first of the three we would recommend using as you look for more protection from the cold.
A lightweight, windproof vest can also help protect you against light showers and is an essential item in your layering system. It will keep the wind off your body and can easily be unzipped or packed in your jersey pocket as you begin to warm up.
When you need a little more protection than a vest will provide or in wet conditions you’ll want to look at a jacket. When purchasing a jacket choose something that is waterproof, windproof and breathable. A high neck and long arms are important to keep the wind off as much skin as possible.
Long finger winter gloves which maintain dexterity to operate your shifters and brakes is critical. Your hands will feel the cold before other parts of your body, however everyone feels the cold differently, particularly in their hands and there are many different styles and materials to choose from. Weather proof materials, the level of insulation used, cuff length and the ability to use your phone or bike computer are some of the key things to consider.
Winter caps, headbands or skullcaps are all great options on particularly cold days to help trap the large amount of warmth we lose from our head and to keep wind off ears.
Winter shoe covers designed to keep the rain and cold out are usually constructed of neoprene or a lightweight windproof fleece backed material. Pay particular attention to sizing. Test the shoe covers over your own shoes before purchase. Trying to fit shoe covers that are too small can be one of the most frustrating things you’ll find yourself doing.
If all else fails jumping on an indoor trainer has never been a better option, with the new generation of smart trainers and software such as Zwift bringing a whole new dimension to indoor cycling.