Cycling in the winter brings you a lot of unforgettable memories. However, logging valuable distance in the winter can be difficult if you’re not kitted out properly however. Wearing the right clothing can make the difference between getting the year off to the right start, and constantly putting off riding until the weather improves.
Here’s a list of the essential best winter cycling gear you’ll need to overcome the cold in the winter.
First up, a technical jacket is a vital inclusion to your cold weather riding arsenal. While the temperature might be dipping to 0ºC, you’ll feel it even more if your outer layer isn’t windproof.
With windproof jackets usually comes a level of water resistance – always handy in winter months when you could also be caught in rain showers. Alternatively, instead of a wind shell, you may wish to opt for a heavier soft-shell or hard-shell technical jacket instead, which boasts higher levels of wind and water proofing in a thicker fabric, while remaining breathable.
You should invest in and look after a high quality jacket. A good jacket is not worth scrimping on. Many feature a waterproof coating that can be damaged by lying in damp kit piles overnight.
A base layer should be a staple of every cyclist’s wardrobe, and never more so than when riding in cold weather. They perform a vital function in wicking away sweat from the skin, and in the winter this is equally as important as it is in the summer. So, we think that base layer is one of the best winter cycling gear that you should prepare.
Wet skin and saturated kit in direct contact with the elements can cause more of a chill than being under-dressed, and once wet through, it’s very difficult to warm up again. As a result, look for natural materials with high wicking and thermal-balancing properties, such as merino wool, which will transport that moisture away from the skin quickly. Merino helps to dramatically reduce stink levels, too, which is good.
When it comes to cold-weather riding, we put forth a great effort—and lay out a healthy chunk of change—to ensure that we stay warm in the chilliest and wettest of conditions. We invest in winter tights, waterproof jackets, insulated gloves, even cozy socks. Now it’s time to add a good winter cycling cap to this list. But before you buy the first one you see, here are some things to consider:
- Some fit better under a helmet.
- A Balaclava covers more skin.
- It’s important to protect your ears.
- Wind and waterproof options exist.
Neck warmers for cycling, then, need to be not just good at insulating your neck, but also good at wicking – allowing water vapor to escape.
They should also, ideally, have a good stretchable fit for maximum comfort as most tend to be one-size-fits-all.
Overshoes For Winter
Overshoes is in the top best winter cycling gear because your road shoes probably aren’t made for riding in the cold, and contrary to popular belief, wearing three pairs of thick wool socks won’t necessarily keep your feet warm on a big day out in awful conditions, especially once the water creeps in. With this roundup of the best cycling overshoes and winter toe covers, your toes should remain toasty throughout the darkest months of the year.
One of the ways to keep your feet more comfortable is a pair of winter cycling shoes, which are highly insulated shoes explicitly designed to keep the cold and wet out. However, you don’t need to invest in dedicated winter footwear to keep your toes toasty during the colder months. Depending on where you live, winter boots might be overkill, and a pair of toe or shoe covers may be just enough to keep your feet warm. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how cold you can go with just a pair of neoprene overshoes.
Gloves & Shoes
Your body’s natural reaction to being cold is to take blood away from your extremities and transport it to your core. As a result, your hands and feet can be the first to go numb, which can be both painful, and have a negative effect on your bike control.
Good quality thermal gloves and shoe covers are must-have items. Gloves can come insulated with waterproof outer layers, windproof membranes, fleece linings and thermal fillings, while they may also work as part of a ‘deep winter’ system in which you can add additional breathable thermal liners for added warmth. Shoe covers offer a windproof barrier against air (and water) from entering your shoes, helping to create a warmer environment inside the shoes.
When it comes to winter cycling, let’s face it: Some parts of the country have it worse than others. Even so, at some point, no matter where you live, it will get colder. It will get windier. It will get wetter. And that’s okay, as long as you’re prepared. A good pair of cold-weather tights tops the list of best winter cycling gear you must have to make the experience less painful. After all, your legs do the brunt of the work, so you should keep them happy.
How do you know that you’ve chosen the right outfit?
If you step outside and are cold right away, (not on the face but on the torso, under your shirt), you are dressed too lightly and you will probably never warm up. Go back in and add a layer.
If you are warm standing around getting ready, you will be drenched after even a short ride.
If you are mildly chilly as you finally get moving, you have the right outfit and will surely warm up soon.
The layering principle is customizable according to your insulation needs. Since not all people are created equal in terms of body size, temperature, and chosen activity, perfecting your layering technique may require several trials. However, a balance between keeping you warm and dry while allowing air to circulate must be met.
Now you have everything about best winter cycling gear that you need to know to be well dressed with the right winter cycling gear and to enjoy your favorite trails or roads even during the colder months. Let’s ride on!