Warm Up & Ride On

Monday, November 2, 2020
by Ed Hazelwood
The temps are dropping but it does not mean we have to just sit around inside. In fact, the chill in the air and change of seasons can make for a very beautiful time to be on the bike. At the same time, however, it’s hard to keep riding when your feet feel like frozen cinderblocks, your hands like bricks, and your face is freezing. But it can be done.
Here are some tips on riding through the fall and winter comfortably and safely.
As you probably already noticed, when it gets to 60° or colder you need to start with a base layer, a short sleeved jersey, arm warmers, shorts, lightweight socks, regular gloves, and bring a wind vest.
  • 60° Consider swapping knickers for shorts or add knee warmers, go with thicker socks.
  • 55° Definitely switch to knickers from shorts or add legwarmers. Wear a midweight long sleeved wicking jersey and carry a wind jacket just in case. Full fingered gloves are a good idea too.
  • 50° Go with thicker gloves add a thin hat under the helmet and consider toe covers for your shoes to help keep your toes warm-ish.
  • 45° Break out the thermal tights or thermal shorts with thermal legwarmers. Time to start using a heavier base layer. Depending on your preference, wear either a thermal vest or jacket.
  • 40° We start getting serious. If it is a wet day or even just threatening it, never go out for a ride without your rain gear. Use thermal shoe covers or switch to winter shoes if you have them. Wear a thermal jacket or thermal vest paired with a wind jacket. A neck gator or balaclava will help you neck, face and keep the cold wind out of the top of your jacket. Lined windproof gloves really help that first 5 to 6 miles before warm blood is flowing to your fingers.
  • 35° Heavier tights with wind block panels or bib tights with the same. Mittens generally are warmer than gloves but less agile for braking and shifting. My preference is serious winter gloves with a pair of windproof lobster gloves over them.
  • 30° Add a windproof long sleeved jersey or a windproof base layer. This can be better than the added bulk of multiple layers.
  • 25° And below consider wearing a base layer underwear. Use additional leg or knee warmers under your bib tights. Finally add windproof shoe covers.
Any colder than that and you are on your own.

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