I live on a hill. Which is great for the view but not so great for riding in the colder months. Why is that? Well it’s straight out the driveway and down a pretty steep hill… no warming up and there is immediate cold air flow. To follow are some things you can do to keep warm on a bike so that any drop in temperature doesn’t put you off riding.
What are the challenges to feeling comfortable when riding in cooler weather?
To be comfortable riding in cooler weather you need to keep dry, protect yourself from cold wind drafts, keep your core and chest warm and make sure your extremities are getting the insulation they need (hands, feet, ears). The trick is doing all this to maintain a warm body temperature without overheating or trapping sweat.
Some days you might need all of these things and wonder if it’s worth the effort?? Most times you will arrive at your destination with a smile and happily beating heart because riding just does that, it makes us feel better.
Things you can do
- Stay dry by managing rain use waterproof or a water resistant jacket. If you are not wearing one make sure your are at least carrying one.
- Stay dry by managing sweat. Use performance fabrics that wick moisture pulling it off your skin.
Keep your core and chest warm
The best way to keep your chest and core warm is to use layers. We recommend starting wth 3 layers in cold temperatures. Layers trap air and warm this air up keeping you toasty. Once riding, you can adjust your temperature by adding or removing a layer
- A base layer that wicks away moisture and keeps you warm. A merino/thermal base layer, usually a singlet/tank or tee. Merino will always be warmer
- A long sleeve mid layer with thermal properties to retain heat. This layer could be a thermal jacket
- An outer layer with wind stopper fabric to block cold air such as a thermal jacket or a waterproof jacket or vest to protect your upper body/chest area
Keep your extremities covered and insulated
Cold extremities can make your time on the bike very uncomfortable.
- Wear a headband or beanie to keep you ears & head warm under your helmet
- Winter gloves are ideal or at least a full finger glove
- A neck warmer or scarf to reduce the cold drafts around you neck & upper chest
- Thermal socks – a merino sock is a good option, if you have problems with cold feet, try two layers!
- Wear full length thermal tights or warm tapered trousers. goRide goUnders (Padded Bike Underwear) offer the flexibility to maintain comfort on the saddle and adjust what you wear on your legs to suit the conditions
Choose the time of day to ride
Now I understand this is not practical for everyone but if you are able to alter your schedule or have the ability to control when in a day you can ride then choosing the warmest part of the day is a great way to keep you riding through the cooler months of the year.