With Hurricane Earl bringing a taste of fall, it made me contemplate my current cycling wardrobe setup… Because you know, cyclists don’t think about these kinds of things… It’s not like we’re overly self-conscious or anything…
I have a basic formula that I can work with that covers a 25*c temperature variance. This can be accomplished with only six pieces of cycling clothes, excluding gloves/head & face warmers.
- Warm Weather 21*C+
- Cool Weather 15 – 21*C
- Cooler Weather 12 – 15*C
- Cold Weather 7 – 12*C
- Why are you outside? -1 – 7*C
- Below Freezing, you won’t see me on a bike very often. I don’t even really have a plan for this…
Warm Weather gear is pretty obvious, and everyone has it. Bibs, Jersey, Gloves. What else do you need?
Cool Weather clothes are what I tend to use right before I pull out the tights. Typically, you can go 2-3*C cooler with this setup, but your knees may or may not like you. Use some embro while you are at it. The underarmour/base layer is key in keeping you warm, while still not getting super-sweaty. I found some base layers at Wal-Mart/Target that were under $15, and work just as well as anything else.
My Cooler Weather kit is nearly the same as the Cool Weather setup, but now that it is below 15*C, the padded bib tights come are used. These will keep the chill out of your legs, if they do not… you are not pedaling hard enough/need to HTFU. At this temperature, you are probably going to want to bust out a pair of long fingered gloves.
The Cold Weather gear is when things get real. It is cold outside; cross riders are questioning whether it is worth being outside or not… heck… the trainer/rollers are starting to look nice at this temperature. Time to bust out the ear warmers, the gloves, the shoe covers/toe covers, and maybe even embrocate while wearing tights… Sounds crazy, but I have heard of people doing such things… The wind vest is essential at this temperature. Layering gives you the option to zip articles up and down, or take things off if the weather changes mid-ride… Having something protect your chest from all of that cold wind really gives you an edge, as compared to wearing a second jersey or something. Maneuverability is not yet compromised.
Do I even need to tell you what to wear if it gets any colder than 7*C outside? Why would you even want to ride in this kind of weather when you could be on the Kreitler, watching Scrubs, or American Idol, or whatever people watch these days… What I suggest you to do is take an arm load of your cycling clothes, and throw them, one by one into a basket. Whatever lands in it; you wear it. Simple as that. I really have no suggestions for below freezing, or nearly freezing weather. I seldom ride in these conditions, since I am from the beach originally, and would be a hypocrite to suggest you to.
What provoked me to start posting about clothing? Mostly the side effects of Hurricane Earl. Cool weather from the West was pulled to the East, and we caught a lot of it. I think it was 18*C when I left my house for a MTB ride, and was 15*C by the time I got back.
Summer has ended. Earl has shown me what is in our immediate future, in terms of weather…. 😦