Adventures in Cycling Part VI: What to Wear When it’s Cold

I know we’re heading into spring in the Northern Hemisphere, but around here, it’s still pretty cold in the mornings, usually around 40. (Before you make fun of my definition of cold, keep in mind I’m a Southern girl transplanted in California, just to give you more ammunition.) I’m sure at those temperatures, rational people would choose a warmer way to commute, but I’ve never claimed normality. And honestly, with the proper layers, once I get going I’m not cold at all and enjoy the refreshing air. Plus I get to feel tough, which is not a common sensation for a petite, girly, science geek.

Let’s start with the toes and move our way up. Not surprisingly, socks are pretty important. I go with synthetic socks that cover my ankles. Not the coolest look ever, but warmer. If it’s really cold, I go with two pairs of thin synthetic socks.

As for the legs, the bike shorts are still a very important base layer for the cushion effect. I usually wear my running tights over the bike shorts for the extra-spandex-y look, but my usual buddy wears sweats over hers.

For my torso, I start with a fitted synthetic tea, topped with a synthetic long sleeve shirt. If it’s around 50 to 60 and not too windy, I top that with a lightweight fleece, preferably one that can be unzipped if I start to warm up.  Below 50, or with considerable wind, I replace the fleece or even top it with a windproof jacket. I invested in a $25 waterproof, windproof jacket from the cycling shop that has mesh under the arms so I don’t get too warm. Plus it closes in the front with Velcro, so I can unfasten it with a minimum of fuss.

I typically stick with fingerless cycling gloves. If it’s 40 or windy, I might top them with a loose fleece pair of gloves, but after 20 minutes, I usually take them off because my hands get too hot.

Finally, for my head, I go with a fleece headband that covers my ears, and doesn’t interfere with the fit of my helmet. I know some people prefer thin fleece or wool ski caps, but my head gets too warm, and that’s saying a lot for this cold-phobic girl.

Next week, I’ll face another favorite cycling challenge: what to do when it’s raining. Super fun!



Filed under Cycling

2 responses to “Adventures in Cycling Part VI: What to Wear When it’s Cold

  1. 40 degrees is a virtual heat wave! Hope you get used to milder temperatures real soon. I don’t really call it “cold” until the temperature is in the negative numbers (Fahrenheit).

  2. Pingback: Adventures in Cycling VII: Riding in the Rain | budgetgradstudent

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