Recently a reader asked for any tips on good value winter cycle clothing. Over the years I’ve tested and used a huge variety of winter clothes – not always the best quality. These are some of the good options for staying relatively dry and warm in winter, without breaking the bank. I’ve never been inspired to spend a lot on winter clothing ( I waste my money on 70 gram saddles instead.) Though at this time of the year, I do often look rather wistfully at the well made winter jackets you can get these days.
- I’ve never worn those knee warmers. My logic is that if it’s cold enough to cover knees, you might as well cover all your legs, but that’s just me
I can wear 3 or 4 of these mid layers between base layers and winter jacket. Merino wool is great, especially when wet. It is very quick drying and doesn’t get heavy with sweat. It is also pretty good at keeping warm. Endura Baa Merino wool layer
When building up the mid layers, I use one or two layers which have been cut at the armpit – to avoid getting tight with all the material around the arm-pits.
I also recommend the Marks & Spencers base layers. You can get varying layers of thickness, but they are all quite good.
One thing is to avoid wearing cotton T-shirts. They become heavy with sweat.
Some of the accessories I use to get through winter.
These are an excellent accessory. For me they are a necessity to get through winter. I buy a pack of 40 in October. When the temperature is cold, I open a pack and put the hot pad in between 2 layers of socks. The heat generated keeps feet nice and warm! If it is really cold I put a pack in my gloves as well. However, I find in gloves to be less effective, as you can’t get the pads so close to your fingers. But, it definitely helps. They don’t work as well when they get wet. But, they do last for seven to eight hours and make all the difference. I
How to keep hands warm
Try two layers of gloves- a thin base layer, underneath some ski type gloves. The thin base layer help to soak up any sweat. Ski type gloves tend to be more waterproof, but less breathable. Wool based gloves have base breath-ability. Merino wool is best quality. Make sure hands are warm to start off with. If they get cold, clapping your hands on bike definitely helps getting some blood to them. You can practise riding with no hands.
Another tip is always wear arm warmers. I use these for closing the gap between all the base layers and jackets and gloves. Keeping the wrists warm is a good start for keeping the whole hands warm.
How To keep feet warm
Make sure you don’t have too many layers of socks which restrict blood flow. I buy shoes with sufficient space for 2-3 layers of socks. Then on top of the shoes, I have a pair of Neoprene overshoes, which are useful for both insulation and keeping spray out of socks. Once you’re feet are wet, it is much harder to keep warm. Use hot pads if necessary.
A Heated cycling seat
Well, its pretty cold out there, but, I can’t help but think this heated cycling seat is going to be another of those cycling inventions that just don’t catch on.