How about these spring cycling conditions? In under one week, we’ve seen rain, snow, wind, warm and cold temperatures. One question is, what’s rideable? The more important question is, how to dress for a ride? Transitioning weather and riding conditions calls for ninja-like skills in navigating the weather to gear up appropriately for an outdoor cycling workout.
The goal is to ride comfortably Yet dressing to balance warmth and comfort is tricky. If you are really bundled up when you start riding, you will likely want to start shedding layers. If you start out with minimal clothing and a front comes in or you experience windy conditions, then you’re left feeling cold and your muscles may ache. Not ideal for spring training. Is there a way to dress successfully for transitional weather? Fortunately, at Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we’ve been asked all of these questions. Here is what we have found works, and works best!
Take inventory of your cycling wardrobe. It’s a given that you’ll want to have clothing that is versatile, lightweight, and easy to pack down. Take inventory of the cycling apparel you currently have and purchase additional items that are missing from your cycling wardrobe. With this in mind, you might want to consider what type of cycling you plan to do in the early season. That will help you to avoid making unnecessary purchases. Depending on whether you are riding the road, gravel, and maybe a mountain bike trail, your clothing options make the difference between a suffer fest or a great ride.
Take it a step further. Ask yourself, what clothing do you need to wear in different weather conditions? Do you have waterproof and wind resistant clothing? Do you have enough of the basic cycling necessities, as in leggings? Arm warmers? Knee warmers? Scullcap? What about your base layers? Do you have enough of them or do you need to add in some fleece lined clothing? These items are easy to layer and easy to carry with you while riding. Make sure you have enough.
Finally, try on the old grade school song for dressing appropriately. It’s the one that goes like this, “Head, shoulders, knees, and toes”… When gearing up for your ride and deciding on what to wear for your ride, use this song as your motto. Keep those digits nimble! Cold hands make it hard to maneuver the bike. Definitely go for long-figured gloves or lack liner gloves with thicker gloves in your jersey pockets. Referring to shoulders, think your core or your upper body. The key with upper body warmth and comfort in the winter is layering. Consider a light, long-sleeved jersey that has pockets in the back is a good base layer and gives you the opportunity to put extra clothes in the back pockets. Next, put another thermal layer on top of the long-sleeved jersey. You want something fairly light, warm, and breathable. As a final option, you want to top your upper body layering with a wind-stopper jacket that deflects wind and preferably is also waterproof. It’s super easy to keep your knees and legs covered with warmers. And, last but not least, cover your head! The relative amount of heat you lose from your head will vary, but it’s been historically said that you lose half of your body heat through your head. You can wear a buff or a cap and headgear to stay warm.
Ultimately, dressing successfully boils down to experimenting with what works for you. You may find you it’s important to keep your head and core warm for a productive ride rather than dressing full out and including knee and leg warmers. An important element to keep in mind is that transitional weather is just that. Transitional. It’s not here forever and the spring and summer cycling season is just around the corner. Do your best with the weather and be sure to stop by Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop to pick up any cycling accessories, bike parts, or cycling apparel you may need.