It's Cold Outside: Wintertime Apparel Guide

It's Cold Outside: Wintertime Apparel Guide

Riding through the winter can be tough. No matter who you are, it’s easy for motivation to start to slip for a number of reasons. Less daylight and holiday activities stacking up can certainly take some blame, but for most of us, the single greatest thing keeping us indoors more than we like is nasty weather. Indoor trainers can be life saving devices when it comes to consistent off-season training but it will never replace the joy and refreshing feeling of riding outdoors.

 The right gear is everything. There’s an old adage in cycling that states: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.” And while I can certainly cite some miserable conditions that would classify as “bad,” certain apparel choices can make those conditions much more bearable.

Below I’ve outlined some of my favorite methods to beat varying degrees of chill. It’s all about pairing the right layers together that you can modulate throughout your ride if you start to overheat.

 Low to mid 50’s

  • Synthetic wicking baselayer
  • Arm warmers
  • Short sleeve jersey
  • Vest
  • Long finger lightweight gloves
  • Summer weight bib
  • Knee warmers
  • Thin wool sock by DeFeet
  • Toe Covers! - some of the best money you can spend. They’re cheap, simple, and effective as hell in this in-between temperature range.

    45 - 50 Degrees

  • Synthetic or wool baselayer
  • Long sleeve thermal jersey
  • Vest
  • Knit Wool Gloves by Defeet
  • Thermal Bib
  • Thermal Leg Warmers
  • Thin wool sock
  • Specialized Deflect shoe cover

    40 - 45 Degrees

  • Wool baselayer
  • Neck warmer/gaiter
  • Specialized Deflect gloves
  • Skull cap for your head and ears worn underneath helmet
  • Long sleeve thermal jersey
  • Specialized Deflect hybrid jacket (wind/rain shell) - These jackets feature removable sleeves that you can unzip and stash in a rear pocket to turn you jacket into a vest if you heat up from your intervals or the sun comes out stronger than your iphone weather app predicted.
  • Thermal bib
  • Thermal Leg Warmers
  • Thicker wool sock
  • Specialized Element Shoe cover or similar

    Sub 40 Degrees

  • Long sleeve wool baselayer
  • Neck warmer/gaiter
  • Thermal skull cap
  • Heavier duty thermal jacket - Specialized Element
  • Bar mitts paired with a thinner glove like those from Defeet
  • Full length thermal bib tights
  • Winter Shoes - Specialized Defroster Boots

    You may notice that the common theme here is the trusty baselayer. This is perhaps the most important part of any off season kit because it helps you manage moisture build up and regulate body temperature underneath all these additional layers.

    Secret Pro Tips: If you find yourself slightly overdressed and starting to sweat underneath your layers, remove your outermost and shove it in the back of your bibs between the rear bib strap and your lower back. Save that valuable pocket space for snacks and spare gloves!

    About those spare gloves I just mentioned…. It’s not uncommon for me to go out in the winter with two different weight gloves. Those first twenty minutes are the hardest and I usually need a heavier glove to combat the initial wind chill that robs all your body heat. However once my heart rate has risen, my hands start to sweat in thick gloves so I really enjoy being able to swap out some thinner ones that I’ve brought with me in a jersey pocket or stuffed down my jersey.

    Layer up and get out there!