I get questions all the time from people about cycling. Got this one today from one of my local customers here in NC.
“A clothing question for you. Today I rode in about 45 degree weather. I wore bike shorts with Pearl Izumi leg warmers and my lower body was quite comfortable. Still having issues with what to wear on top. Today I wore a wicking short sleeve tee shirt, a long sleeve bike jersey, and a Gore Tex jacket. I was comfortable riding but was pretty sweaty when I finished. I don’t think I am supposed to get that warm. If I don’t wear the jacket my chest is too cold from the wind. If I had a top of the same material as the leg warmers I think I would be more evenly comfortable. What am I looking for?”
What clothing to wear is always a challenge.
I suggest that you create a log that shows what you wore on a given day and temperature. There is a lot of personal preference to what you wear and how warm you like to be but here are some basic guidelines.
In cold weather the last thing that you want to to get really sweaty. If you get sweaty its then very easy to get a chill. Wearing too many clothes is the biggest mistake most riders make when they are riding in cold weather.
If you are not cold for the first few minutes of your ride you are probably wearing too much. (if you hate being cold at the beginning of the ride then just wear your wind shell for the first 10 minutes and then stop and take it off.
- Think in layers: Start with very thin moisture wicking base layers and build up from there depending on the temperature. The more layers the better, you can always shed layers as you get into your ride.
- Don’t over do it: You probably need less than you think you do. If in doubt put an extra jacket or shell in your jersey pocket for back-up if you get cold on the ride.
- Build your wardrobe: At a most basic level you should have all of these items. These should all be cycling specific if possible.
- Thin short sleeve base layer
- Thin long sleeve base-layer
- Thin long sleeve jersey
- At least 1 merino wool jersey
- Leg warmers (brushed Lycra inside or wool)
- Arm warmers (brushed Lycra inside or wool)
- Neoprene Toe covers
- Full booties
- Smartwool socks
- Thin wind resistant shell
Personally on a 45 degree day , I would wear my short sleeve base layer, bib knickers, long sleeve base layer , mid weight long sleeve jersey, toe covers, and my thin non- wind proof gloves. Yes I am cold for 5 minutes but am comfortable for the rest of the ride.
What do you wear during your ride? What is your favorite piece of clothing?