For me this is one of my favorite times of the year to ride. The weather cools down and the colors begin to change, offering amazing scenery for a ride.
Sometimes it is a struggle to figure out what to wear for my ride. Lately I always keep pulling out three of my favorite cool weather cycling accessories; a vest, arm warmers and knee warmers.
For me this time of year it is still generally a safe bet that I start by putting on a short sleeve jersey, a base layer and bib shorts. Then I start having the internal debate of what else I want to wear. The beauty of the arm warmers and knee warmers is that if it warms up during my ride I can always take them off and easily stuff them in my pocket. The vest is perfect for keeping that morning chill off of you and can also be stowed if the sun warms me up enough. If the weather is going to warm up during the ride I will always dress with these items to offer flexibility.
I have a general rule that if it is below 55 degrees that I want my knees covered. This was a recommendation from my physical therapist and I never break this rule. When it drops into the 60’s I almost always end up with a vest and some arm warmers I may or may not wear the knee warmers.
For years I used to be a fan of a light jacket for cool weather. Recently I grew tired of all the extra wind age it creates and flapping noise it makes and have gone back to the flexibility of a vest and arm warmers. I searched for years for a properly fitting jacket that I like and was always unsuccessful. If you are a fan of a light jacket I encourage you to look for one with a double zipper so you can vent from the bottom of the jacket and not create a big sail when venting from the top.
Another benefit of the vest is that on a day that it is going to stay cool during the ride I will sometimes trade the short sleeve jersey and arm warmers for a long sleeve jersey and a vest. The vest keeps the chill off of me and then I can shed that if I get to hot. Many of my cycling friends will still be wearing arm warmers when I have donned the long sleeve jersey.
When days I know it is going to stay cool during the ride I’ll trade the knee warmers for my knickers, but if you don’t have knickers the knee warmers will continue to do the trick. I do love my knickers and I will ride wearing them well into the low 40’s.
Riding is always about layering, this time of year especially. If you want to learn a little more about dressing for cool weather, check out my other blog entry here.
Dressing for cool weather just comes down to personal preference. I encourage you to experiment to discover what works best for you, but you’ll never be upset that you own arm warmers, knee warmers and a vest. Many cyclists know the value of arm and knee warmers but have yet to discover the practicality of the cycling vest.