Cycling is a great form of exercise. Being able to go from place to place gets your blood flowing, heart pumping, and calories burning. But for most people, the cycling season ends once the winter weather rolls around. After all, cycling in winter can be daunting, especially in subzero temperatures. But with a little knowledge and right cycling gear for winter, you will realize that cold weather riding is fun and rewarding.
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Thermal Base Layer
There is no such things as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing. This is a popular saying among cyclists who brave the cold winter on their bikes. With the right cycling gear for winter, you can keep riding no matter the weather. You can hit the trail, bike to work or go for a ride with your buddies and still have fun.
Here are seven essential cycling gear for winter riding. These cozy and practical pieces will keep you comfortable even in the harshest conditions.
Dressing for cycling starts with a decent base layer. Base layers play an essential role in maintaining your core temperature, especially when riding in chilly conditions. They provide insulation and wicks sweat away from your skin to keep you dry.
If you’re planning to ride your bike this winter, we highly recommend that you invest in a good quality base layer. Some base layers can be worn all year round. But for winter, look for one with a high collar, long sleeves, and thicker than what you usually use. The colder the conditions, the thicker your base layer should be.
When choosing a base layer, you should also consider the material, fit, and odor management. Merino Wool is one of the most common fabric for base layers. It is a natural, lightweight material that provides excellent moisture wicking properties and is very soft next to the skin. It is also odor-resistant and can be worn repeatedly without getting smelly.
There is a reason why cyclists wear jerseys instead of just regular t-shirts. They are comfortable, have a more aerodynamic design, wicks away sweat, helps you stay cool in summer and keeps you warm in cold, chilly days. Plus, they fit better than a regular shirt.
Cycling jerseys are available in different fabrics. But if you intend to do more cold weather riding, we recommend that you purchase a long sleeve cycling jersey made from Merino wool. Merino wool jerseys will keep you warm when the temperature drops, wick sweat away from your body and is antibacterial. They are more expensive as compared to other types of cycling jerseys, but they are worth the investment.
Whether you’re a roadie, a commuter or a mountain biker, you’re going to need the extra protection to keep riding during the winter.
When buying a winter jacket, you want to look for features that will suit the majority of riding you plan to do. On rides when it’s below freezing, you’ll need a jacket with more insulation. If most of your winter riding consist of leisurely rides or moderately paced commutes, perhaps a loose-fitting shell may be just what you need. A decent waterproof jacket is also a great option for winter riding.
Clear eyewear or goggles are essential in winter. The sun may not be out, but eye protection is still necessary with winter riding. It provides a barrier to the rain, snow or even just wind and bugs.
Thermal Bib Shorts
Once the cold weather kicks in, you’ll need something that will help keep your lower body warm. Keeping your lower half warm and covered can mean the difference between enjoying a cold winter ride and dreading it.
While some cyclists prefer wearing regular bib shorts and leg warmers, we don’t think it would be enough for subzero temperatures. For those bitterly cold days, a pair of thermal bib shorts is usually the best option. Thermal bib shorts provide excellent warmth and reduce wind chill while making sure that you stay comfortable on your bike.
Winter Cycling Gloves
When you’re exposed to cold, your body pulls blood away from your extremities and transport it to your core. Your core temperature actually goes up, and your fingers and toes are left cold. As such, good quality thermal gloves are a must.
Keeping your hands warm is vital to ensure you maintain proper control over your bike. You’ll need something that will entirely stop the winds while still maintaining dexterity in your fingers for braking and shifting.
You don’t want to cut corners with hand protection. We highly recommend that you invest in the best winter cycling gloves you can afford.
Cycling Shoe Covers
Most cycling shoes are not designed for warmth. Many of them are generally vented to keep your feet cool throughout the ride. This can be a problem once the cold weather kicks in. As such, it is important to cover your shoes with a wind and water-resistant shoe cover. This will help prevent frost-bitten toes and numb feet.
Shoe covers are available in different materials, so you can choose a product that suits your needs. Neoprene will soak up water and keep your body heat; thus, helping you stay toasty. Neoprene is great in wet, cold climates.
Tips for buying cycling gear for winter
Material, quality, and fit are just some of the most important things you need to consider when buying cycling gear for winter. Make sure that you purchase cycling accessories that will keep you warm and dry throughout the ride. Most importantly, make sure that it fits you perfectly.
A base layer, cycling jersey or a jacket that is too small can restrict breathing and circulation. If it’s too big, the wind will blow in through the space between the neck and the collar. Wind may also enter the opening at the wrist if the sleeves are too baggy. Not only is it inefficient, but it is also annoying. Try on the cycling gear before buying to ensure that they fit exactly right. You want to make sure that your base layer and cycling jersey sit reasonably close to your body, so it doesn’t flap as you ride. There is no point in buying expensive cycling gear if they can’t do what they are supposed to.