Cold Weather Clothing

It’s that time of year again. Cold weather is coming and is here to stay. To some the choice of commuting by bike or driving to work is starting to become a harder choice.

Dressing appropriately may help persuade you to continue riding and assist to make your commute more enjoyable. I found an ARTICLE that might lend a hand on what to wear on your next bike ride.

Layers, layers, and more layers. The best way to prepare yourself for the weather is to wear it all in layers. You can peel off layers as the weather (or yourself) warms up. Another advantage – wicking. The layers closest to your skin can be made of your favorite wicking material: Coolma. ®, polypropylene, even wool. It’s best to keep your skin as dry as possible in the cold, or you’ll get clammy and miserably cold.

For a more specific list of items on what to wear, check THIS out.

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0 thoughts on “Cold Weather Clothing”

  1. Nick says:

    I rode all last winter through sub-freezing temperatures, and did so without any cycling-specific clothing. I came up with a system, where below 50 required a sweatshirt, earwarmers and full-finger gloves, below 40 required long-johns under my pants, a vest and an extra pair of socks, and below 30 required a face warmer, neoprene gloves and possibly goggles. I never needed more clothing than that. Even when the temperature was in the low 20s, I found that a long-sleeve thermal, a windbreaker and light vest were enough to keep my torso warm. Anything more than that, and I was arriving too sweaty. Windbreakers are crucial, because they keep the cold wind out and keep a good deal of body heat in, while still allowing for some ventilation.

    The most important thing was keeping all skin covered, but it didn’t need to be covered by all that much.

  2. I went out for a ride with Eri this morning and the weather channel said it was 30 degrees. I had long sleeve body armor, a jersey, full fingered gloves, and a light wind breaker top and bottoms and was still cold. I’ll have to try using some thermals. I have to give you props Nick, having to ride in the bitter cold is not easy at all.

  3. Nick says:

    I’ve actually come to love riding in cold weather. It’s all about the thermals – I don’t trust polyester jerseys to keep me warm. There’s something I like about being in touch with the seasons – makes me feel like a human being.

    Also, last winter was the first in quite a while that I didn’t get sick, even when my wife did. I attribute that to an immune system bolstered by constant exercise and to staying away from subway cars full of hot, tired, coughing, sneezing commuters.

    But yeah, everyone I worked with thought I was insane. I expect the same this winter.

  4. Richard says:

    I bike all year round in Halifax,NS. It gets fairly cold here, but not too bad (at coldest maybe -20degC in the morning), but it is often wet. Wet and cold is the worst, and there is nothing worse than having layers that are wet and won’t dry. I found the best solution is to build up a layer, but always plan to have a water resistant or water proof outer layer, especially on the upper body where the most wind cooling occurs.

    Neoprene foot covers are also useful, but can get heavy with water and slush, so I have nice waterproof covers that also (obviously) block wind and while not that fashionable work like a charm and quite inexpensive (roughly 25CDN).

    Keeping the top of my head warm enough was my biggest problem, the helmet air vents that are so nice for summer riding are quite bad for winter riding.

  5. Nick says:

    Richard: There are lots of tight-fitting helmet liners made for bike helmets, but construction helmet liners are easier to find and will fit under most helmets just as well. Also, balaclavas are great for extreme cold.

  6. Richard says:

    Construction helmet liners is a great idea, I hadn’t thought of that. I already use insulated work gloves with the chemical protection on them (for water/wind proofing), as they are designed for finger mobility and for keeping your fingers from falling off.

    Thanks for the tip!

  7. JiMCi says:

    I am based in Montreal, Canada, and commute (25km each way) from early spring to late fall, that is as long as temperatures are above freezing. Here is what works best for me, even when it’s raining:
    -Head: a thin toque made out of polar fleece under my helmet. I tried a windstopper headband but found the windnoise annoying; besides I couldn’t ear the cars coming.
    -Base layer. Polypropylene underwear (e.g. LIFA).
    -Upper body. My favorite is the whoosh jacket at It is a rain jacket but works great as a wind barrier.
    -Gloves. Cross-country ski gloves, the thin ones for racing, not the bulky stuff. They have an excellent palm grip and they do keep my fingers warm. For very cold days, I may slip thin polypropylene glove liners inside.
    -Lower body. Cycling shorts plus, when it’s cool, cross-country ski thighs only; when it’s cold, I add polypropylene underwear; when it’s very cold, the whoosh pants, again from Mountain Coop, over polypropylene.
    -Booties. Warmest ones are the neoprene models. Yes, they do soak up the rain but they stay warm when wet. Your shoes will also get wet. Stuff old newsprint in them for a couple hours, this will soak up the water and leave your shoes nearly dry.
    -Socks. Same as base layer: Polypropylene.

    A few notes:
    – When you walk out of your place, if you already feel warm, you are overdressed. You should feel cool for the first 5 to 10 minutes, after that time, you won’t even know it’s cold out there.
    – Since it is usually warmer on the return trip, I always have my daypack to carry the extra stuff. My DEUTER Race EXP AIR is made for cycling and does a great job.
    – If you cross-country ski, you already have most of the gear you need to ride in the cold!

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  9. Charles says:

    I am not sure how good a prom dress is for wet/cold weather riding but I am willing to give anything a try once.
    The other information on this page for wet/cold weather riding is great!
    I am a new(er) bike commuter and am getting ready for fall and winter both of which tend to be wet and cold in these parts (Nebraska).

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