Cycling in winter is a perilous activity. If you’re not battling snow and ice, you’re likely battling wind, rain and freezing temperature, so being prepared is vital to keep you comfortable and safe.
Although nobody will be setting any personal bests in winter – even on a fancy new carbon road bike – you still need to get the base miles in so you can maintain some fitness for summer. Here are our five most important pieces of winter road cycling clothing.
Gloves are vital for cycling in wintery conditions, because they keep your hands warm and protected from the weather. The warmer your hands are, the more dexterous they are, meaning that you can change gear better and feel the brakes better.
A decent pair of gloves is a solid investment if you intend to go out on the bike in winter, as cold fingers on the bike are extremely uncomfortable and numb fingers are downright dangerous.
Even the best winter road cycling shoes become almost useless when they get soaked, so a decent pair of overshoes is a sound purchase for your winter rides.
The majority of overshoes available fit over all kinds of road cycling shoes, and they can be essential for those rides where it’s pouring it down and you still have miles left to get home. They will keep your feet dry – important for keeping them healthy and working well – and will also protect your shiny road cycle shoes from getting dirty.
Nobody is foolish enough to go out on rides in winter without a jacket. Even though some cyclists ride hot and often end up taking the jacket off once they are warmed up, it would be folly to set off on a ride without one.
Many of them are windproof or even hydrophobic, so they will shrug off a slight shower and protect you from the cold wind. The wind can often be the worst part about winter riding, with arctic blasts cutting through you and chilling your body if you don’t have adequate protection.
4. Base Layer
Whether you ride hot and go out with a thin jacket and jersey, or layer up for your winter rides, a good base layer is a great purchase to help you retain body heat.
Most of them are moisture wicking to allow your skin to breathe whilst also keeping in your body heat to protect you against the elements. They are light and generally thin unless you go for thermal options, so they can be warm under a jersey easily to keep you warm on the club run or on individual rides.
5. Skull Cap / Headband
There are a variety of headwear products for cyclists out there, all of them designed to prevent your head from losing too much heat.
The ears are usually the first thing to go and with modern helmets having many vents the wind and rain can really affect your temperature unless you wrap up your head. These range from bands that go around your forehead to cover your ears to full skull caps that will give your head total protection.
All of them are wearable under your helmet, so you don’t’ have to compromise on the safety of your attire for the sake of comfort.