How to Dress for the Cold When Cycling

Don’t let the cold weather stop you from training. Admittingly, I’m a wimp when it comes to cycling in the cold. I would rather be cycling when it is 80 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit; however, I try not to let the cold stop me unless the conditions are dangerous. There is just something about getting out there and enjoying the outdoors.

Here in the Charlottesville, VA area, our record low was recorded at -10 degrees Fahrenheit in 1985. That’s way too cold regardless of wearing the best of the best in cold weather gear, but our averages lows in the winter are in the 20s and 30s. This is much more realistic and doable with the right clothing.

Recently, one of the guys in my cycling group, Crozet Cycling Club, emailed a very helpful handout on what to wear at different temperatures. I loved this handout. I saved the handout to an easy to find place on my phone. So, when it is time to bike, I simply check out the handout and match my clothes. Simple, but genius. Below, I outlined the details. If you are like me and like to save information in easy to find places on your phone, then feel free to download it. Before breaking down the details, I want to thank Blue Ridge Bike Tours for making the handout and Jim Duncan from the Crozet Cycling Club for the information.

Cycling Apparel by Temperature

60 °F Fingerless gloves, light socks, shoes, helmet, jersey, shorts
50 °F Fingered gloves, light socks, shoes, helmet, long-sleeved jersey or arm warmers, shorts, leg or knee warmers
40 °F Fingered gloves, medium socks, booties or toe covers, shoes, helmet, headband, long-sleeved jersey, shorts, tights
30 °F Insulated gloves, medium socks, booties, shoes, helmet, headband, long-sleeved jersey, jacket, shorts, tights
20 °F Fingered gloves, pogies, heavy socks, winter shoes, light windproof poly hat, helmet, long-sleeved base layer, thermal jacket, shell, shorts, poly long underwear, tights
10 °F Fingered gloves, pogies, heavy socks, winter shoes, light windproof poly hat, helmet, mask, neck gaiter, long-sleeved base layer, thermal jacket, shell, shorts, poly long underwear, tights
0 °F Insulated gloves, pogies, light poly socks, heavy socks, winter shoes, light windproof poly hat, helmet, mask, neck gaiter, long-sleeved base layer, thermal jacket, shell, shorts, poly long underwear, tights

Tips

This information has made my choices so much easier, especially when getting ready for those early morning rides. The less thinking in the morning, the better.

  • Before getting out there and riding in the cold, there are also a few tips to keep in mind.
    If you are warm to the point of sweating, remove a layer. Once you soak through your clothing, it will not effectively keep you warm.
  • Your ride may span through a variety of weather changes, so be prepared. Consider a thin shell for the first 30 minutes to break the wind chill. Base layering that keeps you dry and helps with circulation is a good investment.

 

So, get out and enjoy. With the right gear, you can have an incredible winter or cold weather ride.

If you want a downloadable handout, click below to get yours.

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