Fall has settled in it doesn’t mean that your cycling has to be cut back. Dressing for the cold is easy to do, it is all about layering. With a few of the right pieces riding in the cooler weather can be very refreshing.
The best way to dress for the cold is layering. What is layering? Layering simply means wearing a combination of clothes (in layers) to help regulate your temperature and keep you warm and dry. Clothing creates air space that absorbs/traps heat. The layers of clothing act as insulation to help keep your body warm. The numbers of layers you wear for a given activity are matched to the weather, your activity level and your personal preference. There are three types of layers, the base layer, mid layer and the outer layer.
The Base Layer is in contact with your skin and wicks moisture and perspiration to keep you warm. A tight fitting and wicking material is best to keep you warm and dry. Avoid cotton because it traps moisture so it stays wet and draws heat from you. Retained moisture has a cooling affect on you. Base layers come in various weights. Whether it is a 100 degrees out or 30 degrees out always start with a base layer.
The Mid Layer provides insulation. It should be a bit looser than the base layer but for it to function properly it needs to maintain contact with the base layer. Mid layers also carry moisture away from the base layer to the outer layer. This is the layer that is trapping body heat. Depending on the temperature you can use multiple mid layers to achieve the desired warmth.
The Outer Layer blocks wind and allows moisture to escape. Extras such as pit zips, ankle zippers and a variety of ventilation options are standard. This layers job is to protect the layers under it from rain and wind.
Head, Hands and Feet. After your core is covered, you need to properly dress your extremities. Wear a hat, mittens, gloves, socks and shoes that match your activity and weather.
WHAT TO WEAR
COOL WEATHER LAYER GUIDE
GUIDE: Everyone reacts to the cold differently so don’t be afraid to experiment with different combinations to find out what works best. Remember if you are warm when you start out you are over dressed! You should be cool still about fifteen minutes into the ride as well.
60-70 degrees: Mesh base layer, long-sleeve jersey, bib knickers or knee warmers, arm warmers.
50-60 degrees: Base layer, long-sleeve jersey, wind shell or vest, insulated bib tights, light head cover, light full-finger gloves, light shoe covers.
40-50 degrees: Insulated base layer, long-sleeve jersey, jacket, insulated bib tights, head cover, full-finger gloves, insulated shoe covers.
30-40 degrees: Insulated base layer, insulated long-sleeve jersey, jacket, insulated bib tights, balaclava, full-finger gloves, winter cycling boots or heavy insulated shoe covers.
Less than 30: degrees: Heavy/Wind front base layer, heavy insulated long-sleeve jersey, jacket, insulated bib tights, balaclava, split-finger gloves, winter cycling boots.