Swim, bike, run – fun!

Here is a post from one of our members detailing how he rides comfortably in the cold weather.

With colder temperatures settling in it is time to start hitting the treadmill and indoor trainer, right? Not necessarily! With the right gear you can avoid becoming an icicle and enjoy your outdoor rides and runs. The key to heading out during the winter is to dress in layers. Here is a list of the cycling gear I use on the coldest days I go outdoors, which is around 30 degrees, plus or minus a few.

1. Cycling specific winter cap. These are designed to keep you warm, while allowing your helmet to fit properly, something that is difficult with a regular knit cap.

2. Buff/balaclava to cover your face, neck, and ears. Make sure whichever you prefer that you can hear what’s going on around you, like other riders or cars.

3. Underarmour cold gear long sleeve shirt under a Gore-tex cycling jacket. The undershirt helps to keep your core warm. The jacket has a windproof front while the back is breathable. Gear that isn’t windproof will let that cold outside air steal away all the warm air you’re trying to keep near your body with your layers.

4. Thin smart wool gloves under windproof winter cycling gloves. Windproof is the key feature again. I like the lobster style gloves, but 5 finger gloves are fine. Avoid mittens as they make it difficult to brake/shift.

5. Bib shorts with winter running tights. I don’t use any long-legged bibs for riding. Good ones tend to be expensive so I stick to a budget option here. I simply wear my warm weather bib shorts, and toss running tights over top. These aren’t windproof either. My legs are doing all the work while riding, and so usually aren’t very cold.

6. Two pairs of smart wool socks, one thinner, one thicker. Over these I wear windproof winter shoe covers.

If you haven’t caught on, windproof(yness) is the key to comfortable winter riding. You can get by with a lower quality, and less expensive, windbreaker for your core, but don’t skimp on your shoe covers and gloves. In the cold your body shunts blood from the limbs to the core, so it’s much harder to keep fingers and toes warm. This is just meant as a guideline. As the temperature goes up, I peel layers off. Play around with it and see what works for you. Tomorrow I’ll put up my winter running gear.
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I’ve gotten to where I ride down to about 40 degrees with a similar kit. It’s worth the extra trouble to get out in the fresh air.

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