Cold weather gear

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Anonymous's picture

Does anyone have suggestions for cold (cool) weather gear, specifically for temperatures like we had this morning, i.e. low 50's warming to mid 60's with a stiff breeze?

Just got into riding this year and would like to ride into the fall season without breaking the bank - FWIW I heat up pretty quickly; how late into the season can you just get away with regular lycra shorts and some sort of layered top?

Anonymous's picture
Carol (not verified)

Buy a good pair of arm warmers and leg warmers and a vest (or a jacket with sleeves that zip off). These are easy to remove and stuff in a pocket once you warm up. You might also consider long-fingered liner gloves to wear under your cycling gloves - these too can come off and go in a pocket.

If you want to continue cycling when the temperatures drop into the 40's, you'll probably need more than this.

Anonymous's picture
Evan (not verified)
Cold weather gear

I used to Commute a couple of winters ago(8 miles each way down the west side greenway) I used to wear a gore-tex jacket, ski gloves and got some windproof riding pants to wear over my lycra shorts. I also had gore-tex socks to wear over thin socks in my riding shoes. This set up along with a wicking t-shirt and a light (200 weight) fleece was as much as I ever needed. Any rain jacket can substitute for the Gore-tex one I have and the only specialty items are really the wind proof riding pants and the gore-tex socks. I think I paid like $ 60 at for the pants, the socks they sell there too I believe. Key is the wind proofing once you get riding you dont need much warmth, just the windproofing. You could even wear rain pants too instead of the Bike ones.

Anonymous's picture
Bill (not verified)

Hard to say since everyone's diff. Plus there are tons of options. My general rule is 60 or lower and I need to cover up my knees at least - leg warmers if 50's, full leggings over bike shorts if 50 or lower. Comfort or not, I find its a matter of protecting my knees from getting stiff. I'm not prone to any knee problems but it seems to make sense.

Leg and arm warmers are ideal (and cheap) if you're not sure how you want to dress on a given day. You can roll them up, take em off and tie them to the bike, stuff them in your back pocket...

As for tops, I might just wear a shortsleeve undershirt under a short sleeve jersey with arm warmers. If its really cold and windy so far my favorite light jacket is a Craft windfront long sleeve jersey.

It's got a full length zipper and windproof material in the front. Under it I might wear a short sleeve or a turtle neck if its really cold. BTW, I love those merlino wool undershirts for when its really cold but they're a bit expensive.

I once read that if you're not cold for your first mile, you might be over dressed. That doesn't really do much for you if you happen to be underdressed though!

Anonymous's picture
Lucy (not verified)

"Nobody's mentioned one of the most important parts of keeping warm: a head covering. I wear a cycling cap when it's less than 70 degrees. My favorite winter piece is my Rivendell wool cap, which is long enough to pull down over my ears. There are also ""hel-muffs,"" which attach to helmet straps (assuming you wear a helmet). But that's for really cold temps, not for the fall chill we're experiencing currently.

And the old-schoolers would say to keep your knees covered when it's below 70, too. Knees are fragile joints, and don't like to be chilled."

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
cold weather clothing chart

This is a good starting point, modify it to your own needs:

click on CyclingForum Tech Tips, then click Winter Clothing Chart

Anonymous's picture
BIanchi Brother (not verified)
Winter Rides

"Go for it!
You need wind pants that have a nylon like material in on the front of the legs. You can wear nothing or get some tights or wear your regular pants. You can get socks neoprine and the like but when its really cold you may need booties that go over your shoes.
When you buy a jacket I agree with other comments about ventilation under your arms, and out the back. You want to make sure that the zipper has a wind flap otherwise it will blow right in on you. You can also get a ""do rag"" to keep some heat in or even get a cycling beanie hat that wicks. You can also buy a helmet cover. Gloves are tricky you want grip and windproofing but not bulk. You may also wear a neck warmer. People use sun tan lotion or vaseline to protect their faces from wind burn.


Anonymous's picture
hal eskenazi (not verified)
best warmer

for gear, sun tan lotion applied in mexico

Anonymous's picture
Carol Wood (not verified)

Hoping to stay warm without being too bundled up this winter, I just ordered Terry's thermal team jacket. The fabric is said to be wind and waterproof (unsealed seams) but breathable and nonbulky, and suitable for riding into the 30s and 40s with only light layers underneath. Sounds great--but at a heart-stopping $150.

Anyone have experience with this jacket? Or can recommend the perfect fall/winter jacket for the cold-blooded?


Thanks to Evan for the winter wear chart. Helpful, though I'd move the Xs further over to the left.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)
Don't thank me...

...thank Nate Morgenstern, it's his chart.

Issues with where the Xs are located are just further proof that (ta-da!!!) no two people have the same tolerance for the cold.

Anonymous's picture
Heath (not verified)

Can we get permission to post the chart under our cold weather section on our website? Or maybe post the link under that section.

Anonymous's picture
B. Dale (not verified)
Another site
Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

I emailed Nate and he said yes. I'll forward the info to the webmaster.

It would be nice to have that Kissena chart too - the same but different - choice is good.

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