Appropriate dress...wear? I guess?

With the colder weather coming and this being my first time actually cycling in it, I was wondering what people suggest to wear while riding. Late spring and Summer is easy, but I am not sure about what to wear as we dip below 10c. I know layers are a good thing, but what are we talking about here? Pants, short sleeve and a sweater? Is that good enough for most of the year? Obviously in the winter when it is in the negatives it is as much as you can wear haha

Thanks everyone :slight_smile:

Layers are key, thin stuff you can take off an put back on as needed to prevent over heating. With some experimenting you’ll figure out what is going to work for you in what conditions. You may have to suffer being cold a few times to know.

For me around 10c is shorts, short sleeve base layer, long sleeve jersey. Possibly a thin shell depending on wind and humidity conditions.

One rule of thumb is if you’re just slightly cold at the car, you’ll be perfect on the trail, because you tend to heat up once you’ve been riding for a while. If you’re warm at the car, you’ll be too hot on trail.

I usually wear shin pads on technical trail rides, which give warmth to the front of the legs as well. I usually can get away with shorts to around zero degrees, and even a little lower. Without shin pads, maybe 5 degrees. Below those temperatures, time for the cycling tights. I’m not a spandex kind of guy, so I usually wear baggy shorts with a padded liner over my tights.

I switch from a short sleeve to long sleever jersey at around ten degrees. If I’m not sure, I may use a 3/4 length.

Below 5-7 degrees, I’ll normally throw a windbreaker-type jacket over my long sleeve jersey. This combo takes me down to some surprisingly low temperatures. I’m good to well below zero (once I heat up on trail), but I have a lot of natural insulation.

Below -5, I throw on a thin fleece between my long sleeve jersey and windbreaker. This combo usually is all I need probably to -15. Below that, I need another fleece layer.

I run a helmet liner or balaclava below about -5.

Regular full finger cycling gloves take me to about zero, maybe a bit lower. Below that, I switch to a winter cycling glove. Below about -5, I throw hand warmers into the winter gloves. I picked up some heated grips last winter, which worked amazingly well. Janet uses heated gloves, which also work well, especially with a shell glove. Without the extra heat, my hands get pretty cold for about the first 15 minutes of the ride. After that, supplemental heat isn’t usually necessary.

I still haven’t got my feet feeling comfortable yet. Cycling shoes are often designed to be ventilated, and the cleat for clip-in shoes acts like a big heat sink. I usually wear a couple of layers of socks below about zero. have neoprene booties that go over my cycling shoes which work pretty well below -5, but are a pain to get over my shoes. I usually switch to hiking shoes and flat pedals, when the snow hits, and they are warmer than my clip-in shoes. My feet still get cold below -10 though. I tried some thermal insoles last winter. They would probably work, if my shoes were oversize, but they’re not, and just made my feet feel squeezed, which made them even colder. I may bite the bullet for this season and pay the big bucks for some winter cycling shoes.

I often bring an extra thin fleece layer in my pack in winter. It’s there in case I misjudge and find I need an extra layer, which is pretty rare, since I generate a lot of internal heat when riding. Another reason to have it is in case of a breakdown. Once I stop moving, I can cool down rapidly, so if I have to change a tube, or fix a chain, or walk the bike out of the trail, I may need the extra insulation.

Everything I mentioned applies for me for trail riding, which is generally out of the wind. There’s a lot more exposure and wind when road riding, and more protection needed.

Biggest revelation for me that allowed me to ride outside nearly every day last winter was heated rechargeable insoles. I wear mitts in sub zero weather if it all possible, usually with a glove liner. I rode in the mid minus teens last winter. Have to check my strava to find out how often!

Where did you get the heated insoles?

Canadian Tire. They were about 120 on sale. The brand is Thermacell and they lasted about 3h on low heat (which was sufficient for me). Unfortunately I stupidly wore them in a rainy ride and ruined them. So if you invest in them learn from my mistake.

Last night on the group ride, which was about 10C, I wore my normal gear: Jersey, baggy shorts, road shorts underneath, my Fox Dirtpaw gloves (which seem to be a bit warm for summer use), merino wool socks (medium thickness). I also added in a shell windproof jacket. I could probably wear all of that down to 5C. 5C to -5, maybe even -10, I would add my wool leggings, some sort of hat under my helmet, a layer over my jersey and under my shell, or my thermal long sleeve jersey, and possibly warmer gloves.

I figured that out mostly by trial and error. If you want I can find links for my gear later tonight