Layer Up For Winter Cycling

Layer Up For Winter Cycling

Our riding shouldn’t end just because winter begins. Other than the days being shorter, which is a whole other issue, the cold weather should be welcomed over the summer sweltering heat. In Southern California we really have no excuses for not riding all year round.

The secret is to layer up so that we are comfortable for the entire ride. We’ll be colder at the start of the ride, mostly because we are not warmed up yet, but also because the temperatures are usually cooler at the start of the ride and warm up as the sun rises higher in the sky. As this happens, we need to be able to peel off layers so that we don't overheat later.

Start with the appropriate baselayer. The Bontrager B2 is a good choice for most of our winter rides. It is available in short sleeve or long sleeve, but I think the short sleeve baselayer is the right choice if paired with arm warmers. The B2 is a blend of high performance Profila Cool fabric and merino wool. The combination of these two fabrics keeps us warm, while not letting us overheat.

Next, add some arm and knee warmers. Knees perform better once they warm up. Knee warmers help protect our knees until the pedaling motion lubricates and heats them up. Arm warmers keep us from being chilled as the first cool winds hit, then they are usually the first layer peeled back after our first climb.

Finally, finish it off with Windshell gloves, skull cap and vest. Keeping our hands and ears warm will keep our whining down to a minimum. The vest will ensure a warm core and can easily be stowed away in our back jersey pocket as things warm up.

Use these tips to have an enjoyable winter ride. We might end up with lumpy backsides by the end from all the layers peeled away and stowed in our back jersey pockets, but that’s way better than suffering through the first hour of our ride.

-Jeff
January 04, 2017