A guide to winter cycling gear by Krystyn Williams
Anyone else have a love/hate relationship with their trainer or just like to #optoutside? There is something about riding in the winter that is just really peaceful and beautiful. A ride can turn ugly very quickly though if you do not have the appropriate gear. I’ve spent a lot of time through trial and error discovering what helps keep me warm on the bike and what doesn’t! Every person is different so you will definitely need to see what works for you, but keep reading to get some ideas on how to stay warm and dry (and maybe avoid some of my mishaps) even on the coldest of days!
* Any item outline in pink is something I have a similar version of from a Velorosa order
It’s all about that base! When riding in colder temps it’s a must have! When I first started riding in colder weather I invested in some under armor base layers…horrible! They were cotton based and I was sweating and freezing right away! Then I was introduced to merino wool…game changer. Merino wool is great in so many different temps. Even if you sweat it pulls it away from your body, keeping you warm. You can buy it in different weights (thickness) and layer it. There are so many great options out there. Here are a few favorites from Velorsa ladies!
I love to add a thermal jersey on top of my base layer. Not only is the brushed fabric on the inside cozy, it also holds warm air close to your body! A wool jersey is a great versatile piece as well. On cooler days I throw my wool jersey over a base layer and it is plenty warm. On the coldest of days I start off with it as a layer over my thermal jersey. Wool jerseys are more expensive but they are definitely worth the investment! I even love to just wear mine around off the bike!
Because our legs are constantly moving on the bike we do not need as many layers down there! When I first started out I bought a pair of thermal Pearl Izumi tights thinking I was going to be set…and then I went and rode in some cold weather. The wind cut right through and within minutes I was frozen! I have found windproof is a must for my winter rides! I’ve found a few options that work well for me in varying temps and I often throw a base layer under these as well!
As a person who is ALWAYS cold, I love a good jacket! The key for me when looking for a jacket is not just wind and water protection but no bulk! No one wants to ride around in a coat that weighs 5 pounds. I’ve invested in a few over the past few years and these are the ones I keep coming back to.
There are so many options out there for keeping your head warm and your face protected.
Hands can be such a challenge to keep warm! You want something warm but not bulky and you also don’t want your hands to get all sweaty!
This is where my struggle continues for winter riding. My feet are always the coldest part of my body and as soon as they are cold that’s all I can think about! I’m still working on getting this perfected! Winter cycling shoes can get VERY expensive. I discovered the Northwave brand a few years ago and was not only impressed by the quality but also the price. I know a lot of people who use snow boots and do not clip in. It’s much easier and affordable to find a good pair of winter boots than cycling ones!
I love supporting local bike shops and businesses but all this gear really adds up quickly and can be very expensive! Many items that I have purchased I have simply looked for on eBay. I’ve found so many great deals on used and brand new gear! When manufacturers update their products many shops will sell brand new older versions in their eBay stores for fractions of the original costs! Many items that I’ve purchased as used from individual sellers arrive looking like they have never been worn. This has saved me HUNDREDS of dollars on gear!
I hope you find this post helpful and get outside and enjoy winter riding!