How to dress for cold weather cycling


Let’s admit it not everyone likes to get on their bike in the very cold weather – even the hardiest of cyclists! The important thing to remember is to be prepared and dress appropriately for the weather conditions whether you are training for a forthcoming event or riding for fun. It’s always good to stay warm in cooler weather, and the best way is to wear layers.

What on earth does that mean?

If you take a cross section of an onion, you can see all the skin layers surrounding the core. Layering of your clothing works in the same principle.
When you dress in layers, you generally have three different types of clothing on your body, each with its own purpose.

Base Layer

The base layer is the one closest to your body. Its sole purpose is to help you stay warm but not get too hot, and most importantly, should serve as a way to carry perspiration away from your core. Wool is an excellent material for this, and some synthetic materials are suitable as well.

Typical Example of a Base Layer:Base Layer

Long sleeve base layer providing insulating compression for muscle support.

Middle Layer

The purpose of the middle layer is to insulate and at the same time to still continue to move moisture away from your body. This layer is “fluffier” than the base layer, keeping warmer air in close to your body yet allowing it to still circulate around you so that you don’t get too warm in periods of high activity. Of the three layers, this one will vary the most depending on the temperature and the individual person. In addition to the actual air temp, your level of activity plus the amount of sunlight and wind combined with your level of fitness and metabolism will all factor into how much insulation you will require in this middle layer. Polyester fleece is a good choice for an insulating layer. Wool polo’s or vests also work well.

Typical Example of a Middle Layer:

Casual long sleeve t-shirt in light fast-wicking Tri-Lite® fabric

Outer Shell

The outer shell primarily serves as a windbreaker and also works to thwart any good old UK showers! This layer’s first job is to keep you dry – the warmth you will feel comes from what’s underneath. The outer shell should be breathable to help get rid of the moisture you’re generating through perspiration. Lots of jackets now have rear vents and underarm zipped vents help remove the moisture.

Example of a typical outer shell:

Lightweight translucent waterproof & breathable jacket in an athletic fit

Most of All – Enjoy Riding in Any Weather

You can enjoy a great days riding using the above principle. However don’t forget your hands, head and feet. They all need insulating!

With the right gear you can safely and comfortably ride in the UK winter climate.

For further advice on clothing and ‘layering’ up for your ride why don’t you give our partners the team at Cycle Tech Hertfordshire a call on 07764 185515.

Above all ENJOY!

Hercules & Mike & the Cycle Tech Hertfordshire Team

Specialists in Mobile Bicycle Repairs


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