Well, it’s cold alright! I did my first cold weather ride. I think it might have been 40 degrees F. As we know what cycling is like in the warm weather, with the normal pair of shorts and shirt, there are a lot more things to think about in the cold. First? It costs A LOT more money to ride in the cold if anyone plans on making it part of their training a few days a week. The clothes have to work. Secondly you need to bundle up a bit with that money converted into clothes. Firstly, nothing HAS to be cycling specific Lycra stuff, it can be what works and keeps you warm, but you do need to manage the sweat or you will get hypothermic and sick quickly. So, shirts become long sleeved and of a thermal fabric. The shorts stay put but now there are these things called ‘leg warmers’. Let’s not fool anybody, it’s really a pair of footless thigh-highs. Yeah. I put those on but they go under the shorts and as long as it’s sunny outside, the dark colors will keep me warm. I learned that as I rode into a very strong headwind and my average speed was kept around 9 mph that whole way. It was quite a while but I was still warm, until I hit the shady areas that felt riding into a kitchen refrigerator! Turning around brought me up to 30mph the whole way back. wow. Fast is fun. It takes one trip into the weather to know what else I should have put on. This weather was perhaps 40. What I was wearing is good enough for the upper 50’s but once the temperature touched 40, and being windy like it was, a base layer should have gone on, with the tights over the shorts instead of the leg warmers. That would have insulated me against more wind and some colder shade. If the conditions were overcast, then definitely the base layer and tights and probably the leg warmers also under all that should go on. There are some elastic boots over the shoes to keep the cold off the toes I have yet to get. I deliberated for a long time over what I needed to get for the cold weather and had to sort through all sorts of internet bits to really figure out the basics. Here is what I learned:
65 and up in the sun? A normal outfit. Below 65 to mid 50’s go long sleeve, possibly thermal long sleeve if it’s windy. Consider the leg warmers or knee warmers if it feels like it. If Below 55 start with the leg warmers with the thermal long sleeve and if it’s overcast into the 40’s or upper 30’s hit up the insulating base layer and thermal tights possibly ones with wind blocking construction. Into the 30’s by much near freezing? Definitely a warm wind blocking jacket or a fleece top layer and those shoe bootie things.
All of this costs several hundred dollars, and that’s buying the cheaper stuff off of Amazon. I will say though, that the Performance Bike stores quality is taken a huge jump up in quality of product…but plan a size up in the pants department, it’s just built a bit small.