Winter, a time many cyclists dread, is here, and it’s time to pull out your winter warmers. There are so many different pieces of clothing on the market these days that it can be challenging to determine what you actually need and what it’s worth your time. We’ve selected our top 5 pieces of winter gear that you should have in your cycling wardrobe this season. From baselayers to overshoes, these are functional pieces of kit that you’ll wear daily when the cold weather hits.
Good quality base layers
A good base layer can make a world of difference when staying warm as the mercury drops. Cycling or sports-specific baselayers have been designed to trap warm air against your body while at the same time wicking sweat away from your body to keep you dry.
Baselayers are usually tight-fitted with moisture-wicking properties. Merino wool is highly regarded as one of the best for keeping you warm while training in cold conditions and is commonly used due to its breathable, warm, and odour-resistant qualities. Avoid wearing layers made from cotton as your base, as it does not have good wicking properties and will most likely leave you feeling sweaty and cold after a few km of riding.
An insulated cycling jacket
An insulated cycling jacket is a must-have for any cyclist heading into the winter months of training. These jackets vary in design, style, and construction; however, they typically do the same thing. The jacket usually forms your mid-layer or outer later in cold conditions and will hold the heat that your baselayer traps. Weather conditions will determine how you wear this jacket, and layers can easily be added over or under it. These jackets offer protection from the wind and rain and have varying levels of toughness. They’re also perfect on their own during the warmer months to protect you from a downpour or in a gale. It’s always important to consider how your jacket/gilet can be carried as sometimes layers need to be stripped off depending on the type of ride you are doing.
Leg warmers/full-length tights
The last thing any cyclist wants is cold legs that feel like blocks of lead while out on a ride. Leg warmers or full-length cycling tights are the answer to all of your problems. Wearing them might feel odd at first if you’re not accustomed to wearing anything other than shorts, but you’ll quickly adjust to the warm brushed fleece that hugs your legs. Despite being warm, cycling leg warmers or tights are also designed using fabrics that will wick sweat while riding to prevent yourself from getting soaked in sweat. Leg warmers are great if the temperature looks set to warm up during the ride, as you can easily pull them off and pack them away. A pair of full-length tights might be a better option if it’s looking cold all ride.
Nobody enjoys cold fingers and riding in winter, yet they are the body parts that often suffer the most. A good pair of insulated gloves is a simple solution to making your winter riding much more comfortable. The gloves should be weatherproof to protect your hands against the wind, rain, and even possibly snow but thin enough to allow you to operate your brakes and gears. These days most good cycling brands make a version of winter gloves but if you’re not a fan of thicker gloves, try the running section for a thinner, lighter version that will work just as well. We also find that using a liner with a thinner glove sometimes works better than a deep winter glove and gives you a better “feel” of the road and good dexterity.
Overshoes or toe covers
Warm toes are a must to provide comfort when out riding; one of the worst feelings is a lack of feeling in one’s toes for hours on end. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution to keeping your digits toasty. Toe covers or overshoes are wonderfully simple pieces of clothing covering half of your shoe or your whole shoe to keep the cold air and rain out. With some affordable options available, they’re a worthwhile investment for your winter cycling wardrobe.
Whilst there are many more pieces of kit that one can add to their wardrobe in winter, these are our favourites and the items that we probably wear most regularly come deep winter. With gloves and booties to keep our digits toasty as well as baselayer and jackets to trap in heat, with these essentials, you’re sure to have a “warmer” winter this season. Pair our essentials with the rest of your winter gear; the cold will seem a little more bearable.