Bicycling in the cooler months is great fun. The key is staying comfortable, which is all about choosing and wearing the right apparel.
To help, here are some useful tips on what works for each temperature range. Follow these guidelines and then layer up, with heavier outer layers for rain, cold or high winds.
60 and Below
For this temperature range you want light protection that packs easily and/or unzips to let excess heat out.
A base layer is where you start. The layer next to your skin — an essential piece for cooler days. This light, thin undershirt wicks to keep you dry, warm and comfortable.
Arm and knee warmers add protection for your limbs. Some have insulated linings, and they help prevent cold exposure of the joints. Warmers are easy to pull on and off, and pack, so they're ideal if you're unsure about the weather.
Long sleeve jerseys are perfect for consistently cold days. Their combination of technical wicking, breathability and insulation makes them a great outer or inner layer. You can always combine with arm warmers
Wind vests keep your core warm thanks to technical wind-proof material that blocks cold and wind. These vests are small and lightweight, so you can stuff jersey pocket as the temperature or weather change. Some "convertible" jackets have removable sleeves to create a vest.
Full gloves block the wind and keep the fingers warm. And don’t forget an ear-warming headband that easily fits into your pocket and can save you.
50 and Below
At this point, you need more protection. For example, cold feet can ruin a ride quickly. Wool socks, which are warm when dry or wet, are perfect for winter warriors. They're not only incredibly warm and breathable, but they wick to keep you dry, too. For your upper body.
Light jackets are great for cool and changing weather. Jackets provide wind protection, breathability and water-resistant or waterproof fabric. Plus they're easy to get on and off and stow easily in a jersey pocket.
Lightweight Lycra tights are another piece perfect for this temperature. There are some with padding and some without. Thin and durable, they protect your skin from the wind and elements while never overheating you.
40 and Below
Most people, including myself, would advise to stay in bed, but if you still feel like you need to get out and ride, keep on reading. Riding in these temperatures, it’s important to protect your head, hands and toes even more. There's nothing like a warm hat, booties, and lined gloves to keep Old Man Winter at bay.
Lined gloves are ready to take on the combination of cold, wet and wind-chill that ends many rides. They have a water-and wind-resistant outer layer with a warm, wicking, (sometimes) removable liner (for easy washing). Plus the flexible, five-finger design prevents numb digits without bulk that would limit shifting and braking. You'll also want shoe covers that slip over your cycling shoes to block the wind, water and frigid temps too.
Fleece-lined vests will optimize your layering. Like their lighter wind-stopping cousins, these block breezes but they use heavier fabrics and a warm fleece lining for moisture transfer and maximum comfort when temperatures drop.
All-weather jackets and rain pants give you even more protection if you need it. With water resistance, wind proofing and added warmth, they are perfect to keep you commuting and training strong all winter. Features, such as sealed seams, elastic bottoms, weatherproof collars and extended cuffs keep you comfortable. Plus, breathable materials, fleece lining and dexterity-friendly designs make these jackets and pants just right for all your winter riding.