As the weather starts to cool down and light disappears earlier each day, I start getting questions from new cyclists (and new to cold weather cyclists) about what to wear. Here is a primer and a few links to get you started.
I’ll start with the most versatile and lower cost things to add to your cycling bag as we ease into the fall and winter.
- Long fingered gloves. Keeping those fingers protected goes a long way toward comfort on a chilly day
- Arm warmers. Great for those days when the ride starts chilly but ends warmer.
- Wind breaker. One with detachable sleeves gives you even more flexibility
- Wool socks. Keep those feet warm.
- Toe covers. Those fancy cycling shoes are well ventilated, but that means they’re not warm!
- Knee warmers. Warm knees are happy knees!
- Grocery bags. It sounds crazy. If it’s cold and you don’t have anything to protect your feet, grocery bags over your socks (but under the shoes) will keep that cold wind from freezing your tootsies!
Bicycling Magazine has a pretty cool “What should I wear” tool here. It is a good guide for those days you just aren’t sure what to pull out of the cold weather stash.
I recommend taking more clothing than you think you’ll need to ride start. I keep a box with cold weather essentials in my car all fall and winter long. Not only has this saved my bacon a few times, it has also allowed me to help out a fellow cyclist.