While winter cycling has its upsides (Fresh air! The wind on your face! Getting back before the sun rises!), it isn’t for the faint of heart — or the ill-prepared. The best way to enjoy the fresh air and wind in your face is to layer up, efficiently. You can’t just throw on a puffy jacket like you can with running (if you’re desperate) or hiking. Winter cycling requires clothing that is thin and flexible, yet warm and insulating.
The concept of layering for winter cycling is not unlike layering for nordic skiing or winter running. You need a foundation — a sweat-wicking base layer. It’s inevitable you’re going to sweat, no matter how cold it is outside. And because of the wind and freezing temps, as soon as you start to sweat, you’ll get cold. Look for something that’s going to dry fast so you can take the downhills like a champ and not end up with chattering teeth. From there, add layers — a jersey, winter jacket and fleece-lined bibs.
Next come the accessories: gloves, neck buff, hat and winter booties. The thin gloves you’ve used all fall likely need to be upgraded to something more suitable for deep winter riding conditions — insulated but flexible. Keeping your extremities warm will make braking and pedaling feel almost as good as it does in spring. For your feet, invest in a solid pair of winter booties. Your feet will be the first to go cold in freezing temps, so make sure you pair them with a warm pair of socks.
Once you’re all bundled up, head out and revel in the emptiness of the roads. It’s worth it. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.
Pro Team Long Sleeve Thermal Jersey by Rapha $205
Pro Team Winter Tights with Pad II by Rapha $285
Pro Team Insulated Gilet by Rapha $190
Pro Team Winter Hat by Rapha $65
Deep Winter Gloves by Rapha $190
Deep Winter Overshoes by Rapha $100
CHPT3 x POC Devesa Ventral SPIN Helmet by CHPT3 ~$341
Tarmac Disc Pro by Specialized $6,700
Recon Thermal Long Sleeve by Velocio $199
Thermal Bib Tight by Velocio $249
Winter Wool Socks by Velocio $28
Zero+ Bootie by Velocio $89
Zero+ Glove by Velocio $79
Zero Cycling Cap by Velocio $79
Savant MIPS by Giro $120
Synapse Disc 105 (2018) by Cannondale $1,500
Heavy Jersey Black by Pas Normal Studios ~$262
Heavy Long Sleeve Base Layer White by Pas Normal Studios ~112
Long Tight Bronze by Pas Normal Studios ~$250
Winter Neck Tube by Pas Normal Studios ~$52
Navy Cap by Pas Normal Studios ~$29
Winter Glove by Pas Normal Studios ~$103
Northwave by Pas Normal Studios $379
Aether MIPS Custom by Giro $400
Endurace CF SLX by Canyon $3,999+