Winter is a tough time of year to ride a bike. However, cycling clothing for winter weather has improved dramatically over the last decade or so and continues to do so. Making it a little easier to stay motivated with riding.
There are the obvious kit items that help you stay warm during cold rides, such as winter jackets, fleece-lined bib tights and waterproof shell jackets. However, there are a number of other winter cycling kit pieces that are often overlooked, but can make a huge difference to your winter riding experience. We’ve created a list of winter cycling clothing you might not know about.
If you’re looking for brands that provide cycling kit, we’ve complied a list of the Top 5 sustainable cycling clothing brands
Cycling Base Layer
We’re sure that many of you often wear a cycling base layer, but the type you use can be important. Generally, it is recommended to look for a base layer made of merino wool material. Merino wool is warm, but also importantly breathable. It helps trap air within your clothing, keeping you drier and avoids creating the sweaty ‘bin-bag’ effect Which can make you colder if you’re hit with a blast of wind chill.
When it comes to laying up winter cycling clothing, there is only so much you can keep putting on top of your jersey. The base layer is the perfect start point to avoid needing the 4th, 5th 6th layer of kit…
Winter Cycling Gloves
Again, we’re sure you wear some form of cycling glove throughout the year. However, in the winter cold, your extremities will be the first to feel the bite, so it’s important what type of glove you wear.
It’s best to look for a pair of gloves that are windproof and waterproof. The gloves that are best for you will likely be quite a personal thing. This is because the fit of the gloves is important to how well they perform and feel.
Ideally, look for a good balance between bulk and insulation. It’s best to find gloves that are dexterous, as well as warm and waterproof. However, try to avoid gloves that are too bulky, as this makes braking and reaching into your pockets difficult. It’s important to avoid gloves that are too small though as well, as this can cut off blood circulation, making your hands cold and numb anyway.
As with hands, feet will also feel the winter weather first. Your feet can often be hit by the cold even before your hands. On a dry winter day in the UK, the ground is still often damp, so water can still get to your feet, even when it’s not raining. Cold and wet toes can quickly turn an enjoyable ride grim, from wind chill on them.
Getting a good pair of cycling overshoes can therefore make a huge difference to your winter riding experience. Like gloves, it’s important to look for windproof and waterproof properties. The most common material that offers this is neoprene, so look out for overshoes made of this material.
A tip when looking at overshoes is to find a pair that comes up higher up your shin and is tight around the calf. This stops ingress from the water running down your legs. Also look for a pair of overshoes that covers the bottom of your feet well. Water can often make its way through air vents (for breathability) in your shoes, so covering these will keep you drier.
If you don’t like the idea of full overshoes, it’s worth considering cycling toe covers. They won’t offer the same level of warmth or waterproofing, but they definitely keep your toes warmer than without.
Spatzwear specialise in winter cycling kit
Cycling Neck warmer
The neck warmer, snood, buff, whatever name you use for it, is an often overlooked item of winter cycling clothing. It’s in the name that it keeps your neck warm, but it also helps create insulation to your core, which helps keep your overall body temperature up. You can also pull a neck warmer up over your chin and nose for when the wind chill is high.
It’s possible to find a neck warmer or cycling snood for a relatively cheap price and many cycling clothing brands offer one. It’s therefore an easy way to keep your warmth on a winter ride. The other benefit is if you do get too hot, it’s easy to remove (and you can wrap it around your stem like all the pros).
Another piece of kit overlooked is the winter cycling hat. Unfortunately, although it does take some of the wind chill off, your helmet won’t keep your head warm or dry in winter. If you’ve ever felt the brain freeze when going down a descent, you’ll know this. So, a cycling hat under the helmet is perfect to avoid this.
A cycling cap with a peak and long sides that cover your ears is the best option for warmth. It’ll help keep your ears and neck warm as well as your head. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a cap with a peak though, a skullcap or headband will help keep your head dry and warm. However, a cap peak is great for keeping water off your face and sunglasses when it’s raining.
Cover your winter cycling clothing
Our cycle insurance products all include cover for your winter cycling kit. When it comes to protecting your clothing and accessories, we offer some of the most generous cover out there as standard, with – £250 or 10% (whichever greater) of your insured values for clothing and helmets.
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