What do you need to Cycle in Winter and understanding Layering
Winter is a challenging season for cyclists. Over the years I have been cycling, I have found winters a tough time to train. I tend to need time to adapt to the colder temperatures, which can be pretty tricky. I am lucky enough that I have a great turbo set up at home, but I have found it’s not good to rely on that alone over the years. The turbo will give structure and provide strength, but I don’t feel it completely replicates riding on the road. When it comes to ultra racing, I feel the need to be on the road at least once a week to keep the flow about my riding.
Winter cycling is going to be great this year! Over the years of riding each winter, I have learned something new to help me be more efficient and make winter riding much more pleasurable. In this article, I want to run through all the handy bits of kit that I use in winter to keep me happy and comfortable. I will leave links below for the products if you wish to find research.
A Rain Proof Jacket
I tend not to wear oversized chunky jackets in winter because I want to take them off as soon as it gets warm. A decent rainproof will take the edge off the cold wind, and if you layer correctly under, it works effectively. Good Rain Proofs are not cheap, unfortunately, one from Amazon for £20 will not cover you on a long winter ride, in my opinion, and this comes from using a lot of cheap amazon jackets. The beauty of also having a decent rainproof is that you can also use it in summer.
For the best Jackets I use Wiggle Check out the link below
A Base Layer
Layering is everything when riding. A base layer, in my opinion, is the most overlooked piece of cycling clothing that you have available. It can keep you warm in winter and cool in summer. They are designed to regulate your temperature. They play a massive part in keeping you warm in winter and getting a good cycling-specific one can be pretty challenging. Again the more money you put into a kit like this, the better it will work and the longer it will last.
I find the choice on Amazon of Base Layers is on Amazon go for a decent branded.
Yes, leg warmers are good, but Bib tights are just so much easier. I always thought it was so much easier to have leg warmers so I could use the same bibs in winter and summer, but oh, I was so wrong. Bib tights are thicker, warmer, and don’t fall like leg warmers, a lot of them come up much higher to keep your core warm, and they are more water-resistant. Trust me in saying on a super cold day. You wish you would have gone with a set of these than summer bibs.
Check out these bib tights on Wiggle.
I don’t suffer much from cold feet, but I am a big fan of wearing overshoes. Not only do they keep your feet nice and clean, but they also keep your feet nice and dry. I have seen many riders, significantly long-distance riders fall to having wet feet for way too long and end up getting very sore because they have ripped their feet to shreds. There are a few different overshoes. I will only use waterproof ones, some cyclists use cloth overshoes, but they have never been my cup of tea.
Pro Bike Kit UK have a huge Range of Overshoes see below
Yeah, wearing gloves is a beneficial way to get through winter. I suffer badly with cold hands when the temperature drops. Interestingly, when your body gets cold, it will drive blood to keep your head and your core warm before even thinking about the feet or hands. Hence these always get cold first. I recently wrote a blog about the best gloves on the market. You can check it out HERE…
For the best gloves check out my article on it here
Cap or Skull Cap
Keeping your head warm will, in turn, keep the best of your body warm. The body is brilliant at heating the parts that need it most as a necessity. Keeping your head warm will help the rest of your body in heat distribution, so something as simple as wearing a cap under your helmet I have found over the years goes a very long way. A typical cap will work, but a skull cap is designed for winter and will do the job better.
Wiggle has a great selection of head and neck wear see below
A decent winter Jersey
Yeah, a classic jersey will do, but having a proper long sleeve winter jersey for those freezing days will offer you so much more. Long Sleeve jerseys are not like summer jerseys. They are much thicker, they usually are fleece-lined, and they often use very different materials other than materials to help cool you, as a summer jersey would. This also stops the need for Arm warmers.
Check out winter Jerseys on Wiggle
Arm and Leg Warmers
Ok, so say that you don’t plan to wear a winter jersey, or you don’t fancy buying bib tights. The next best thing is a set of arm and leg warmers. These not only will help you stay warm, but they will also be beneficial in Spring and Autumn as these can be easily removed or put on if the temperature changes.
Pro Bike Kit offers the best price overall on accessories link below
Layering in winter cycling is essential, and it’s good to understand why we do this. When using cycling clothing, it’s not all about having the thickest and warmest clothing. It is about how you put all the clothing together. You can ride on a very rough winter day, providing that you are using multiple layers. For example, having a Base Layer, Bib Tights, is much more beneficial than just chucking an oversized thick jacket on. Layering works because it keeps pockets of warm air between the layers of clothing. When we look at Ultra Racers self-supported, we can see them in the most demanding conditions, literally just wearing multiple layers. It is that simple.
Another thing that Layering does very well is it can keep flexibility when you’re riding. I have always found big winter clothing tends to restrict how you ride. When using less clothing, you can move around more, which can keep the warmth between the layers of clothing you have. So getting the heart rate up a little higher can sometimes really support you staying warm. So Layer up and work hard, and you will stay warm.
In winter, it’s easy not to want to eat or drink much. When you eat and drink much less than usual, you can find yourself getting cold and tired because you haven’t been fuelled. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean we don’t need to fuel. Stay on top of your fuelling, and you will make riding much more comfortable in winter.