Clothing essentials for winter cycling
Having just passed the September equinox in the southern hemisphere, temperatures will quickly start to dip. Colder and darker mornings and evenings, as well as chilly autumn and winter days can put you off going outdoors, especially on your bike. But there are lots of benefits to cycling in the cooler seasons including general physical fitness – think how much better it will be to arrive in spring with your cycling legs up to scratch – and chasing away the winter blues. Regular exercise outdoor is especially good for mental health in the winter when there is less natural light around. Even just a 20 to 30-minute session of cycling will help to boost those feel-good hormones.
Winter warmer cycle clothingThe key to staying warm is layers, long-sleeved jerseys, cycle tights and all the brilliant accessories you can now buy, including buffs (for neck and head), arm warmers, leg warmers, gloves and covers for your shoes. If all this sounds like an expensive initial outlay choose a few essential items and mix-and-match with summer cycling kit, such as a short-sleeved jersey, gilet and cycle shorts.
Key winter cycling itemsWarm outer layer: For days when it is dry but chilly, a long-sleeved cycling jersey is essential. Look for fabrics that are warm but still breathable because even in winter you will sweat and you need that vapour to evaporate through the material. Back pockets will allow you to easily carry bike spares and a waterproof jacket, arm warmers and other bits and pieces. Also look for a gripper – usually silicone – at the base hem of the jacket. This keeps the jacket in place while in your cycling position. A good quality and affordable option is the dhb Blok Softshell Roubaix Jacket for women and men. It is £61.75 and comes in a range of designs that feature dhb’s “plus” logo. Waterproof jacket: The chances are you will already have a waterproof jacket if you cycle in the UK. But it might be showerproof rather than waterproof. If you have the budget it is worth thinking about investing in a jacket made with a high quality waterproof and breathable fabric, such as Gore-Tex. Make sure the jacket that is designed to suit cyclists, with longer arms and a longer back and lots of bright hues or reflective detailing. Gore Bike Wear Element Gore-Tex Active jackets offer wind and waterproofing. Winter cycling tights: For a more affordable choice of tights choose those that have no padding. You can simply wear them over padded Lycra summer shorts. Add bibs for greater comfort when cycling in the winter. These usually cost a bit more than waist high tights but they will keep your back and waist area warm. A pair of padded bibbed tights will be the priciest option but check out dhb Roubaix Vaeon bib tights for a shade over £50 at £52.25. Men’s and women’s versions include soft Lombardia Roubaix Lycra and a comfortable Giro Air cycling pad insert. The pad is designed in male and female fit and is aimed at cyclists who plan to be in the saddle for an upper limit of three to five hours. Long-fingered gloves: Fingers and hands are prone to the cold because they stay fairly still on the handlebars while you ride. Choose long-fingered gloves that are not too tight (if they are too tight or short on the fingers they might cut off the circulation). Pay more if you can for waterproof gloves. Sealskinz do a good range of winter cycling gloves. Shoe covers: Cover cycling shoes in a waterproof outer to keep them warm and dry in the winter. There are lots of options including Endura Luminite II Overshoes and SealSkinz Neoprene Overshoes. An even better way to keep out the cold and rain from your feet while winter cycling is to swap to a mountain bike style winter boot. See Specialized BG Defroster Trail Winter boot. Added extras: Arm warmers are a good way to convert a short-sleeved summer jersey into a winter warmer. Add a waterproof or a long-sleeved jersey on top for more warmth. Try the new and fleece lined dhb Blok Arm Warmers. A tube of fabric, such as a buff, will keep the wind off your neck, head or ears. Where tow for maximum winter warmth. The new dhb Blok Meso Neck Tubes are made from a lovely silky fabric but, really, any buff will do. What do you choose to wear for winter cycling warmth?
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