How to dress for Winter Cycling

It is once again that time of year when the clocks have “Fall Back” and the weather has turned from cool to cold seemingly overnight, or you don’t know what to expect from 1 week to the next.

During this time of year, it is important to remember that if you are riding in the afternoons, you must expect that towards the end of your ride, as the sunsets, it is going to get much cooler than when you started.

This early sunset also means that it maybe necessary to have a tail-light. It is challenging for motorists to see into the setting sun – a tail-light will help you be seen. This past weekend we were out a bit longer than anticipated, unfortunately the short route had a quarter mile of a busy road – although have a RoadID is a good idea, a tail-light is more of a preventative measure.

Dressing in layers may mean that you carry extra clothing that you can put on or zip up towards the end of the ride.

Of course, The core or trunk of you body is the main area that you need to keep warm. Dressing in layers is 1 of the best ways to do this. A big thing that I like about layering is that you can adjust how much or how little air you gets to your body. My way of doing this is to have a moisture-wicking base layer. Then I usually add a jersey. Now depending on the temperatures, I will either put on the wind-breaker or vest. The great thing about wind-breakers and vests is that either one can be worn on the outside. I have found that sometimes the warmth from the wind-breaker or winter jacket is too warm, but the air flow is too cold – put the vest on the inside and you can keep cooler, yet still keep the cold air from direct contact to the body.

Another thing that I like to do is where a hat or skull cap under my helmet. Most of the bodies heat loss is through the head – so keeping your head covered slows this loss of heat.

If it is below freezing then I like covering my face and nose. This keeps the cold breeze off and allows me to warm-up the air just a little bit more before breathing it in.

The other 2 main body parts are the furthest points from the trunk of the body – the fingers and the toes. Try to Never start a ride when your fingers or toes are already cold. If those get cold, then it is tough to ever get them warmed back up.

A great tip that I learned is that once you get inside to a heated area, loose the outer layers of clothing. The warm air will get to your body easier and warm you up quicker. Also, just before you go back outside you want to trap that warmer air and keep out the cooler air by adding the layers back on. By taking off your jacket while inside, it allows your jacket to better do it’s job of keeping you warm once you go outside.

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