Cycling in cold weather can be invigorating and refreshing, but it's essential to dress appropriately to stay comfortable and safe. As the temperature drops, your choice of clothing becomes crucial in ensuring an enjoyable and successful ride. Let's break down the key elements of dressing for cold-weather cycling, helping you stay warm, dry, and ready to tackle the miles ahead.
Layering is Key:
The foundation of cold-weather cycling attire is layering. Start with a moisture-wicking base layer to pull sweat away from your body, preventing that uncomfortable chill when you cool down. Add an insulating layer, such as a thermal jersey or fleece-lined jacket, to trap heat and provide warmth. We love our Gore C3-TEX Infiniaum Thermo Jacket that offers a thermo layer plus a windproof and outer layer to shield yourself from the elements.
Protect Your Extremities:
Head: Wear a thin, moisture-wicking skull cap under your helmet to keep your head warm without causing overheating. Consider a thermal cycling cap for added protection.
Hands: Invest in quality, windproof cycling gloves to protect your hands from the biting cold. Look for gloves with insulation and waterproof features for added comfort in damp conditions. Our favorite gloves are Kinco brand that you can find at a Feed Store or outdoor shop for under $30. These gloves are tested by ranchers and people who work outside for a living - they offer warmth and plenty of dexterity needed for braking and shifting in cycling.
Added thermo protection can come from investing in insulated "pogies" or "bar mitts". This allows extra protection from the elements while giving you added dexterity in your gloves.
Feet: Keep your toes toasty with insulated and windproof shoe covers. Consider using thermal wool socks for additional warmth. Don't use too thick of socks as your feet need space to stay warm.
Choose the Right Fabrics:
Opt for fabrics that balance insulation and breathability. Merino wool is an excellent choice for base layers, as it naturally wicks moisture and retains heat. Synthetic materials like polyester and nylon work well for outer layers, providing water resistance and wind protection. These layers will become a key clothing item for your winter rides and can last for several seasons.
Don't Forget Your Legs:
Cycling Tights: Invest in a pair of thermal cycling tights to protect your legs from the wind chill. Look for windproof and water-resistant options to ensure comfort in various weather conditions.
Leg Warmers: For milder cold weather, leg warmers can be a versatile addition. Easily removable during the ride, they provide extra warmth without committing to full-length tights.
Adjust Based on Conditions:
Be prepared to adapt your clothing based on the weather conditions. Carry a lightweight, packable shell for sudden rain or snow showers, and consider convertible pieces that can be adjusted during the ride to regulate your body temperature. One of my go-to layers is an insulated vest as it adds an extra layer of warmth.
By following these tips and investing in the right gear, you can continue enjoying cycling in Wyoming (or wherever you live) even when the temperature drops. Remember to tailor your clothing choices to the specific conditions of your ride. Embrace the beauty of cold-weather cycling, and with the right attire, you'll be ready to hit the road, gravel, or trail, no matter the forecast.