Not sure if you are on the Northern hemisphere, but up here, it’s freakin’ cold!
It really feels like winter is lasting forever (but it’s also very well possible that I’m a spoiled ex-pro who is used to spending all her winters in warmer destinations. This is actually my first full winter at home…). Anyway, we want to keep riding, whatever the weather, but wearing the right items is key!
Here are my key items for riding through the winter that seems like it’s lasting forever:
- Long sleeve, or LS for short:
This is my second-favourite piece of cycling apparel. A thermal jacket gets too warm quickly, with a long sleeve you can ride from just below zero Celsius until 15-20 degrees (that’s roughly 30-65F). Layering up (or down) under the LS is key. For cold weather, use a thermal base layer and / or a cycling jersey underneath with a windvest on top. Allow for layering when choosing your size.
- Wind vest:
This is by far my favourite piece. I don’t think there are many rides where I don’t take a wind vest with me. Even if it is only in my pocket – just to be safe. The most experienced mountain climbers, arctic runners, and cross country skiers will tell you that keeping your core body warm will heat the rest of your body. On winter rides; it keeps my body warm without overheating. On spring rides; it keeps my body core warm on chilly mornings and easily fits in my pockets when the sun heats up (if I’ve spend too long at the coffee shop and the sun is setting, it gets me home warm). Zip it open when climbing, zip it up when descending. It’s an essential! (And it looks amazing zipped open at pictures ;))
- ‘The Sound of Rain…’ Jacket:
This is my new favourite piece (yes, it’ll have to battle it out with the vest for the top spot). It is incredibly breathable, it’s warm, it’s waterproof. It’s simply very versatile! Although designed for riding in wet conditions I like it so much that I wear it when I see some dark clouds in the sky. Also, with this jacket, the rider can change up the combination of different layers underneath and make it suitable for a wide range of temperatures.
Winters in the Netherlands are too cold to just wear a bibshort with leg warmers. Thermal bib-tights (and by this I mean tights that have a soft brushed lycra on the inside) will keep your legs and – even more important – your butt warm. Plus, bib-tights erase the annoying muffin top created by leg-warmers under a pair of bibs. They’re much more comfortable than bibs that move around over a pair of leg warmers…
Don’t forget about the extremities! Cold fingers, toes or ears will ruin your ride and will make you cry in the shower when you’re defrosting. Better prevent this and make sure you wear quality winter gloves, merino wool socks, winter booties, a neck warmer and a winter hat or race cap (you can never have enough buffs, I wear them around my neck, under my helmet, around my face – sometimes all together).
So, no more excuses! Layer up and ride on!