When you go cycling during the winter, sooner or later you end up encountering two types of cyclists. You may even be one of them.
On the one hand there are those who, before leaving home, put on one layer of clothing after another as if they were going to climb Everest: a pair of shirts underneath, jersey, vest, winter jacket, another jacket just in case, two pairs of gloves, knee warmers, balaclava for the head … And in the pocket of the jersey there is no shortage of a raincoat and some thermal reinforcement shirt just in case. They are so warm that they could both ride a bike and go out to conquer the South Pole.
On the other hand there are those who do not seem to care about the cold and go out with the short sleeve jersey, their summer shorts and little else. A thin jacket in case it does seeing or some sleeves to cover the arms as much and ready. His argument is usually that “then I get warm when I get on the bike and I have everything left over.”
Really equipping to cycle in the spring and summer months is relatively straightforward. It is enough with a fine and comfortable short sleeve jersey and a bib that does not scratch.
But in winter the thing gets complicated. The cold, the rain and the wind are not the cyclist’s best friends. Sometimes we can sin of falling short when choosing the clothes with which to ride a bicycle, with the risk of catching a cold. On other occasions we can also go from forecasters and suffer heat by carrying so many clothes on
How should we dress to go cycling during the winter months? Here are some guidelines that can be useful to equip your closet in order to continue enjoying the bike between November and February.
The three layer theory
It is important that the body is maintained at a suitable temperature. This is easy to understand: it is cold in winter and we need to be warm.
However, there is a detail that we should not forget. In winter we not only have to protect ourselves from low temperatures, but also from moisture. As much of the one that can come from the outside through the wind or the rain, as of the one that is generated in the interior through the sweat.
Therefore, in addition to using clothes that insulate and shelter, it is also very important that it is breathable and allows evaporation of sweat from the body to the outside.
Just as in summer the logic dictates that we go out with a short-sleeved jersey and traditional shorts, there are no specific dress standards for winter. First because the conditions of cold and humidity are not the same in all places. And second because not all of us are equally sensitive to low temperatures.
However, there is a basic recommendation that we can follow to cover the body and protect ourselves from the inclement winter: dressing in layers. When choosing which garments to wear, How To Dress For Cycling In Winter it is recommended to wear three layers. 3 layers normally.
The first layer helps us create a micro climate and remove moisture produced by sweat from the skin. The most advisable thing is to use a thermal shirt. It can be long sleeve or short sleeve, depending on how comfortable we feel with one or the other and the garment we use in the second layer.
The second layer performs the function of retaining heat and thus preventing temperature loss. We can use a specific winter jersey or, if we wear a long-sleeved thermal shirt and it is not too cold, the classic summer jersey.
The third layer aims to isolate us from the cold, wind and humidity outside. We can wear a vest, A Specific Leather Jacket, a windbreaker or a raincoat.
It is important that the 3 layers are able to evaporate moisture from the inside, so the clothes must be breathable. Sweat is one of the worst enemies of cycling in winter, since we can stay cold if too much moisture is concentrated near the skin.
Wear specific cycling clothing, not other sports
When it comes to buying clothes to wear when we go cycling during winter it is better not to focus on quantity, but on quality. It is not about buying a lot of clothes that are warm, but about going out with the appropriate equipment so that we feel comfortable when we do a route or a training.
It is better to buy specific cycling clothing than multi sport sportswear or other sportswear. A frequent mistake among fans who start cycling is to wear neoprene or mountain jackets to go out with the bike.
This clothing, although light and protects us from external cold and humidity, is actually designed to be used in very different conditions than pedaling on the bike. A hiker who climbs a mountain walking does not sweat the same as a cyclist who climbs a port or performs a trail route.
On the other hand, the thickness or the materials used fulfill a different function in the same garment depending on the sport for which it is designed. Neoprene, for example, is a good thermal insulator, but does not favor perspiration (with the exception of Gore Tex).
It is important not to forget that it is not just about not being cold. When you have been on the bike for 3 hours, it is important to feel comfortable and not have the feeling that you are missing or have any clothes left over.