As the temperature begins to drop, the Jersey humidity dissipates and leaves us crystal blue skies with crisp fresh air. The temperature hovers at about 65 degrees giving us time to enjoy fall riding and all of the summer fitness we have worked for. The catch is, this perfect temperature lasts for about twenty minutes before it just starts to get cold.
Then we have choices to make… We can stay inside and read Velo News and imagine how fast we’d be if we had access to a professional coach and a supply of HGH, or we can continue to ride and stay in shape despite the biting wind.
There are a few main articles of clothing you’ll need to enjoy cool-cold riding in comfort. With this list, you’ll be able to create a fall-winter-early spring wardrobe, and mix and match depending on your riding style or budget.
These removable sleeves will keep the chill off of your arms in 59-65 degree weather. The best part about them is that they are removable so that if your chilly morning ride warms up, you can easily take them off and hide them in a jersey pocket. You can also use them in conjunction with many of the other clothing articles on the list.
These are great for keeping the joints nice and flexible on colder days. The best part about knee warmers is that they offer a little bit more mobility than full on winter tights while still keeping you significantly warmer. These can be used in 49-59 degree weather.
Baselayer:As the weather cools even more, layering becomes important. Enter the baselayer. These go underneath your jersey or jacket and offer extra insulation. They should be made from a material that is breathable and moisture-wicking, in fact this one in particular is made from wool. A baselayer will keep your core at a steadier temperature by keeping it dry and warm. They come in sleeveless long sleeve and short sleeve depending on your preference. A baselayer is a necessity for weather under 49 degrees.
A windproof, lightweight jacket is key for riding in colder weather. This specific jacket has sleeves that zip away, turning it into a vest. There are many variations of windproof jackets, which include some with more insulation for the coldest days.
When the knee warmers just won’t cut it, some tights will get you through the frost. They may feel a bit like a wetsuit at first, but will keep you extra warm. Tights come in a variety of thicknesses and with options such as the bibs (as pictured above), normal (just like pants), and with or without zippered legs. These will keep you warm on rides in 29 degree weather and up.
Winter gloves are a necessity for the colder days of the year. These are called “Lobster Gloves” which offer a bit more warmth than a traditional style glove. You do sacrifice a bit of mobility with the lobster fingers. Something to look for in a good winter glove is breathability and wind resistance. If your hands get sweaty on a climb and the icy wind blows through the gloves on a descent, you’ll end up with some numb fingers. (Don’t be like Ricky Bobby.)
Instead of wearing a winter-specific shoe, you can invest in a pair of shoe covers to keep the icy wind off of those little piggies. Breathability is also key when looking for a pair of these. Along with shoe covers, you’ll want some nice wool socks for extra insulation.
Lastly, you’ll need a beanie or a headband to keep your head warm. With your well-ventilated helmet, the wind can really make your ride uncomfortable. This fits comfortably under your helmet allowing your scalp to breathe while offering wind protection.
All of these items can be used in conjunction with one another based on your personal preference. Remember that sweat is the enemy, so search for items with breathability, but that also offer wind resistance. Stop by your local Marty’s and talk with any of us if you have any questions or want to hear about our personal experiences with these products. Happy pedaling!