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Getting dressed for cold weather cycling

Cold weather is here, but that is no reason to park your bike until Spring. With the proper gear riding all winter long can be a comfortable, fun reality.

Cycling presents a unique set of requirements for staying warm and dry when the temperatures plummet. Perspiration on a long climb can leave you damp which combined with wind chill on a descent will have you shivering. Winter cycling clothing needs to be chosen with these potential temperature swings and management of moisture in mind. Winter cycling apparel from Bontrager and Pearl Izumi utilize high tech fabrics to wick moisture away from your skin, water and wind blocking outer layers to protect you from the elements, and lots of zippered venting options to release excess heat during periods of exertion.

As with other outside activities, cold weather cycling apparel depends on layering for maximum effectiveness. A good pair of cycling shorts is still the foundation of your cycling clothing regardless of weather conditions. Next add a pair of full length “tights”. Cycling tights are available in a variety of weights and materials. For moderately cool days check out Pearl Izumi Select Tights. For truly cold, windy, and/or wet days check out the Pearl Izumi Amfib Tights with Softshell wind/water protection and Thermal Fleece insulation. If conditions merit, or you’re more cold natured, consider adding Bontrager Kneewarmers to the mix. These add extra insulation at the pedaling critical knee joint and can be worn under, over, or without tights entirely when things warm up.

Pearl Izumi Thermal Tights

For your torso, begin with a good baselayer such as the Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Transfer Zip Neck Long Sleeve Baselayer. The baselayer adds insulation but also promotes comfort essential moisture transfer when you sweat. Next add a jersey such as the Bontrager Sport long sleeve jersey. For cooler conditions the Pearl Izumi Elite Thermal Jersey fits the bill with more insulation and a “draft flap” sealed zipper. To top things off on your upper body, add a jacket. For moderate conditions a light windbreaker like the Pearl Elite Barrier Jacket (with zip off sleeves) works well. If you need more insulation, the Pearl Elite Thermal Barrier Jacket is a popular option. For rain, wet snow and wind protection try the Select Barrier WXB Jacket for a wind and water proof, yet breathable outer layer.

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Jacket

Finally, take care of your temperature sensitive extremities. Head covers such as the Bontrager Skull cap or Bontrager Balaclava fit under your helmet and keep your noggin toasty. Gloves are available as systems with an inner liner (Bontrager Race Thermal Fleece Glove) which can be worn alone or with an outer wind/water resistant shell (Bontrager Race Midweight Windshell). For your feet check out insulated socks (Pearl Elite Thermal Wool) and insulated over shoes (Pearl Elite Barrier Booties) to keep your toes comfy.

Attired properly, you too can brave the elements this season and ride year-round!