You have now read Gearing up for winter (Your Bicycle) and are now fully informed in how to set up your bicycle for the winter. Now to the important bit, keeping yourself functioning during the winter or to put it better, reducing your excuses for not getting out! Clothing can often be overlooked and it’s not uncommon to see people cycling in shorts during the winter, having blue knees from the cold and are unable to stop shivering during the cafe stop. Here’s CycleHouse‘s guide to Clothing to allow you to embrace winter.
Layering is key for the winter, generally speaking the top half will consist of a warm hat under a helmet, then the core will be layered with a base layer, mid layer and finally, a jacket. Your bottom half will be finished with thick, roubaix style tights and winter socks, whilst your extremities will be covered with thick gloves and over-shoes (or booties).
There is a lot to be said of wearing Hi-Viz. Yes, it does stand out and shouts CYCLIST but that’s really the point! It is eye catching for other road users and with the early nights and dark rain clouds, it’s worth considering. Here at CycleHouse, we sell a range of Hi-Viz helmets, gloves and overshoes, as well as the usual suspects, Hi-Viz jackets.
Cycling Jackets can come in all shapes and sizes. Roughly speaking, cycling jackets will either be windproof and waterproof, or windproof and warm, its rare to get all three (the Endura Stealth Jacket springs to mind but this is really only suitable for sub-zero temperatures). The Endura Xtract waterproof jacket is a great jacket, small enough to pack into a rear pocket during the summer to keep for emergencies but is fully waterproof for the worst of the winter weather. It is however, not warm, so you’ll need to layer up below or failing that, look at the Endura Windchill Jacket. This will keep out light showers and is perfect for blue sky, frigid days in the saddle
A mid layer can be a great addition for the cold days, a simple roubaix fleece jacket will add plenty of warmth. The Endura Roubaix Jacket is favoured by most, form fitting to go below your jacket and with rear pockets to store inner tubes etc. The front zip allows temperature control too.
A good baselayer will do two things, keep you warm and importantly, wick the sweat away from your skin. Sometimes called a transfer layer, these fit next to the skin and good ones, such as the Endura Baabaa merino wool tops will add a surprising amount of warmth but will stick wick well, meaning that you wont feel cold or soggy during the cafe stop. N.B. Cotton does not work as a baselayer, it may feel nice to wear but it is unable to wick sweat away efficiently, so it is best to avoid wearing it.
Thermal tights or thermal biblongs are great for the winter, the thicker fabric helps with warmth and the extra long cuffs block out the wind. Some new biblongs are now being made with windproof fabrics, resulting in bottoms that are great on long descents and for when it is sub-zero conditions. It’s best to tuck your baselayer into the bibs as it keep your warmer.
The extremities are make or break for many riders, all too often we hear riders complain that they can’t feel the handlebars or their toes and will cut their ride short. This need not be the case, neoprene over-shoes will transform your summer shoes into full winter wear, just don’t forget to duct tape over the vents in the shoe soles. Winter gloves are essential, cold hands or numb hands can be very painful, so opt for something waterproof, windproof with a thick lining and you will be able to keep getting the miles in. The Endura Deluge Gloves are CycleHouse’s favourite, thick enough to be warm but thin enough to be able to feel the handlebars. Lastly, it is amazing what a thin layer below your helmet can do to keep you warm. A thin roubaix style fabric hat will keep the worst of the winter at bay.
Often overlooked in the winter are sunglasses, or glasses with several lens options. Winter weather can vary widely from day to day, one day it’s raining and dark, so clear lenses are ideal, yet the next day can be sunny, so a dark lens will suit (and then the yellow/orange for everything in-between). Glasses will stop the wind from making your eye water, keep out the rain and if it hails, stops the eye from getting damaged.
How about an aero helmet? OK, so I get laughed at when I suggest this but after practising this last year, I can whole heartedly recommend it! My rationale was that if it allowed the wind to pass around it but not through it, then it would block out the icey, winter wind and rain. It is also quite cosy hearing hail stones bouncing off your helmet and not through it. Highly recommended, if a little different!