Dressing For Cycling In Cold Weather

Dressing To Ride

Cycling In The Cold

Dressing to Cycle In Cold Weather

There are ways to dress for the cold for maximum comfort and warmth. You can be warm, feel good, and look good. Don’t make a fashion faux pas that could result in loss of anatomy.

Dress in layers so that the thinnest layers are closest to the body. Right next to your skin put thin natural fibers such as silk, wool, or the synthetics such as poly-pro, coolmax, or whatever the new wonder-moisture-wicking fabric may be called today. Put on one to several layers as needed. Put the thinnest next to your skin. You can always take layers off. Being thin layers, they can be put in one of the jersey/jacket pockets. Most of the new materials are “wicking” in that they push the moisture away from your skin.

Cotton is my favorite material in the warmer temperatures and every day relaxing. Cotton is my least favorite when trying to stay warm.

Over one or more layers of the natural or synthetic layers, put on a jersey of the latest warming formula. The names of the fabrics can change. I will always prefer three pockets in a jersey or outer garment. The pockets will carry your food, extra clothing, or whatever this special ride needs.

Note: the three pocket jersey will allow the heaviest object to be centered in the back. With two pocket jerseys, a heavy object can pull to one side and be uncomfortably annoying.

You should already have a tool bag with spare tube, tire tools, an inflating device, if not a pump mounted on the bike. Try not to weigh yourself down with unnecessary equipment.

When really cold I have preferred “tights” over my cycling shorts. Often, “tights” with a good chamois, is enough. Sometimes “tights” without a chamois over shorts is not enough. The worse the wind, the more this discomfort sets in.

New innovations lately have added knickers instead of the longer ankle length “tights” for those days that aren’t so brutal.

I may wear knee covers and arm warmers instead of full length jerseys and tights. This will allow you to pull off layers quickly as the sun warms the day. The knee covers will usually slide underneath your shorts. The arm warmers will do the same under the jersey sleeves. Get a snug fit so that these items don’t slide down easily.

For really, really cold weather a jacket may be a must. This would be on days when the temperature will not vary up and down to any degree. If you start out with a heavy jacket and the temperature climbs, you will sweat. This moisture will chill you terribly if the temp drops. This is where layers, arm, and leg warmers work best. For really cold situations, the outer layer might be looser fitting to create "loft". It's not aerodynamic but can be warmer.

There are nice light jackets and long sleeve jerseys with warmer linings for cycling in cold. You might keep a wind breaking shell folded in one of your pockets for a turn for the worse. These are very good for putting on at the top of a mountain pass for the fast cold descent. When climbing, you may open your outer coverings or adjust to avoid perspiring and creating too much cold moisture for later. When stopping on a ride, you may even take off layers temporarily to allow them to dry and shed moisture.

Socks should again be thinner next to the skin and heavier on the outside of those. You’ll need bigger shoes to wear many socks or some thick socks. An alternative to more socks can be “toe covers” for the outside of the shoe or full “shoe covers” or “booties”. These can be made thin out of lycra, thicker neoprene, hollofill, etc.

Chemical hand or toe "warming" products can be found in bike stores or hiking/camping stores. These dandy little packages can be activated by easily bursting a seal inside the pack or bending the package a few times.

Sandals can actually be used in winter with neoprene socks and “chemical warming products”. Be careful that your ride doesn’t outlast your “chemical warming products”.

You might use thin glove liners under your regular cycling gloves or fingered gloves. The warmest practical glove is sometimes referred to as the “lobster claw”. This glove holds the thumb separate, two fingers together, and two fingers together. This is warmer than having fingers separate and more practical than mittens.

Cover your head and neck well. The loss of warmth for your head will result in loss of blood to the extremities. This means- cover your head well or your hands and feet will get colder. Use a thin or thicker cover under the helmet and/or a full helmet cover.


Always wear a helmet.

Always wear eye protection.

After you put all this clothing on- you’ll have to use the restroom!

Seven Pounds of Clothing

Try an ode to the frozen chamois?

Dressing To Impress- In The Cold 48 comments

Jane 7 years ago

This is great! :)

funride profile image

funride 7 years ago from Portugal

Great advises... but what I love the most it`s the conclusion: "After you put all this clothing on- you’ll have to use the restroom!"

So true, so true... LOL

Drwibble profile image

Drwibble 7 years ago from UK

Good reading, I always find it hard to get the right amount of clothing when cycling in cold weather. As I find that at the start of the ride, I am really cold but after 15 minutes cycling I am roasting hot.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 7 years ago from US

nice instructions and I wish all of the bikers out there read this, protection is a must and the right clothings too, How are you today? Maita

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 7 years ago Author

Howdy prettydarkhorse.

Things are okay and I hope with you. Heading out right now for a spin on the bike. I've waited almost too long. It will get colder now. Thank you for your kind words.

Take care.

ccycle profile image

ccycle 7 years ago from beijing

In China there are also many people who love cycling

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 7 years ago Author

Thank you Ccycle for stopping by. I'll drop into your place very soon.

china ccycle profile image

china ccycle 7 years ago from beijing

In winter, for those who likes playing with cars which have not received that. Our spring, summer, autumn fishing, winter hiking, which is a few years ago. In recent years, more riding, but also regardless of the season.

In winter, not always to go out riding, and travel before promising weather forecast, travel dates to ensure that there is no snow. There is no snow after snowfall before the road trip to be.

In winter, riding on the road is not cold, and the more riding on the more heat, not too thick dressing. Gloves, scarf will bring. But the cold weather upon arrival, so we must bring along the Fanghan Yi.

In winter, to bring enough food, not bad. Have to wear a skin-care products, emergency medicine, to be essential.

In winter, riding on the road to observe the road with the road to get off the ice introduced downhill slower line, turning an unknown road conditions due to the front lines more slowly.

In winter, many stay small camping, traveling on the road and the destination hotel to make it clear. Try not to select too remote mountain areas (with the exception of reception capacity).

In winter, the road though somewhat deserted, but there are an infinite scenery, wide vision, blanketed by Su-wrapped Needless to say, see the crystal clear icefall and ice hanging, makes you excited.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 7 years ago Author

Thank you Ccycle for visiting my hub. I hope the cycling tourism improves where you are. I really believe in the bicycle.

brianorson profile image

brianorson 7 years ago

Very interesting article. I couldn't agree more.


Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 7 years ago Author

Thanks for dropping by Brian. Keep it between the ditches!

Weather in Lapland, finland 7 years ago

Your clothing from my point of view seems to be suitable for slalom in -10F and wind speed 10m/s. Of course you will need to add different outer layer, but not more than that.

My favourite ski resort: www.levi.fi

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 7 years ago Author

Hi Weather in Lapland, Finland. Yes- sometimes we'll just add another or a better layer. Skiing can require a little more moisture repelling. Sometimes a neoprene face mask. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Stay warm!

Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

by the gods, do you wear all that seven pounds at once? great hub, did some dancing there. :D

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yes Ma'am. On a day requiring that and sometimes more. Lots' of laundry! OvO

Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

by golly hope you a washer and dryer;

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

.. o




Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

LOL don't let me keep running you around my Dear LOL

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

You're the cat's meow! I'll work a bit! Later my Dear!

Sa`ge profile image

Sa`ge 6 years ago from Barefoot Island

purrrrrr! morning! ;D

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Good morning!

Triple Play 6 years ago

I guess we are lucky here in Australia, as Cyclists can get away with just wearing a Cycle Jersey in winter. If it is an especially cold morning, they can throw on Arm or Leg Warmers, but the temps usually only get as low as 8-10 degrees celcius. Being in QLD means we are closer to the equator and no snow :-) Now we are hitting summer, so temps of the morning can be 15-20 degrees celcius which is nice and warm.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo! I want to live there! I don't guess there's US-VA hospital around there? Dang! That's where I want to be!

Triple Play 6 years ago

Unfortunately not. We are actually in Brisbane which is the major city of QLD. It is very nice here and a great place to Cycle. Can be quite busy on the roads of a morning so always watching our backs.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

I have friends that ride across Australia right about this time of year. Be careful. God bless!

nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 6 years ago from scotland

Another hub which has given me confidence- i have bought some of those warmy up thingies( you mantioned) as most of next trip will be at or just above zero until i get over the Pyrenees, what's this wicking stuff- is it a brand or a generic name- if it bleeds sweat away-i need it, i seem to sweat in rain, wind and even on the flat, twas not a prob in the spring/summer but it will be not nice in the cold for a lot of consecutive days- just cant wait to ride and rough it for a month-only learning about everything i should have researched before my last trips now. -wicking/ wicker/wacky wicker man- yes the wicker man- I knew there was something familier about that word and strange about him- the wicker man that is!I am beginning to use a notepad whilst reading your older bikey hubs. You are a deep sage, thank you for your God given wisdom- the long distance guys dont believe i am serious about day after day distance, a lot of 'em spend months talking about 'building up to the Century'- its all in the mind i reckon mickey- im off to get some wicking.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

God bless you nomoretrucks! I really like silk too. Silk socks under wool if you have room. Keep the head warm first, then the extremities! I take it you have shoe covers and good gloves. God bless the long distance man! Ride on Brotherman nomoretrucks!

nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 6 years ago from scotland

Ok MD ive asked my Scots lass to get me some silk socks for Xmas- Time for a spin i reckon, its still white here but the tarmac beckons. Ride on Mickey D.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo Bro! I'm dressing up in funny clothes and lots of them now. I'll be on the black-top in an hour or so. It's cold!

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Great tips, here in Ohio I'll see you that seven pounds and raise you three more, a solid ten is the measure it takes to keep this red head fired up. Whew it gets cold. I'm often made fun of for the multiple layers it takes me to stay warm. Is is we vegetarians... Peace :)

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Katie, it's been awful here too. I have cycling friends all over Ohio though and I know you're right! Ohio is cold! I'm veggie too my Dear!

theherbivorehippi profile image

theherbivorehippi 6 years ago from Holly, MI

Great information Micky Dee! I must admit...I am a runner but I am a baby and just cannot bring myself to run in the cold. I'll run in the pouring rain the summer but I just cannot breathe in the cold. I admire people that can continue with their training all year. My dogs are happy...they get longer walks in the cold though. lol

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

Yo theherivorehippi! You're already "winter training". You're walking those dogs! God bless Dear!

ktowers profile image

ktowers 6 years ago from England

great hub

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

God bless you ktowers! Be safe!

Cycling Guy 6 years ago

The difficulty with cycling in cold weather, is unlike, jogging, it's tricky to peel off layers as you get warmer. You pretty much need to pick your armor and stick with it. Part of the fun I guess too. :-)

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

You're right Cycling Guy! At some point we always "stew in our own juices". Well- if we get reasonably comfortable, anyway. Beats that freezing, eh! Thank you for your comment!

AndrewGee profile image

AndrewGee 6 years ago

I just bought my first base layer. I can only wish that I had done so sooner. I went out running (usually I cycle but the days are too short at the moment) yesterday in a cycling short sleeved tee and long sleeved base layer. it was only 5 degrees and I was worried I would get cold, but I was just right after only a couple of minutes out. Drags the sweat away just like its supposed to. i do wear the top and my tights as underwear though, rather than on the top. Cycling shorts over tights out of preference, and when running I will wear long shorts - I can't get out of my head otherwise that i look like i forgot to get dressed otherwise. And it's all so tight it leaves little to the imagination. Not sure how superman ever made it!

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 6 years ago Author

AndrewGee! Sounds like you have a handle on it. You'd definitely need something else for the crotch so if you don't have the "under-alls then what you've done is pretty good.

During these cold months, I will wear- maybe - two pair of shorts.

Tights can come with a chamois to act as a pair of shorts. I want two pair of shorts often with this cold weather. But cycling may dictate that you have a 20 mph frontal wind and more. Thanks for posting!

ChrisTan 5 years ago

Very good article, well written and punctuated and so, so true! I find that when i come back from biking in the cold I have a chesty cough that lasts for about half an hour after the ride :(

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago Author

That cold air can really mess with the lungs. Be safe Chris!

drpastorcarlotta profile image

drpastorcarlotta 5 years ago from BREAKOUT MINISTRIES, INC. KC

So true about after putting on all them clothes, now you have to go to the restroom! lol, lol, GREAT info here. I always wondered how you guys keep warm! Your GREAT Micky Dee, God Bless You!!!!!! Much love..

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 5 years ago Author

Thank you dear drpastorcarlotta!

timmathisen profile image

timmathisen 5 years ago from the Land of Lincoln

Great info about keeping warm, especially right now in the middle of January. After the ride, laundry must be the 1st thing on your mind.

chas 4 years ago

I ride in a road club in Sweden quite long into late October. Cykling tights are great for really cold weather, especially the ones with windproof front panels. In cool weather I always wear support pantyhose under regular bike shorts.

Micky Dee profile image

Micky Dee 4 years ago Author

Yo chas,

Back in the 70s we wore pantyhose and ballerina tights. Stay warm brother man.

Yemin 2 years ago

This sounds like such a woenurfdl cause! Helping others out and getting great exercise at the same time. I had no idea Santa Barbara was so involved, this makes visiting this already amazing city that much more fulfilling. Cycling in SB is the only way to go-healthy, green and fun! You really can't beat it. I was just in town and it was a great time being under the sun biking the path ways along the beach and exploring the city the proper way. Stayed at the Sandman Inn (www.thesandmaninn.com). Downtown and affordable.

Emine 2 years ago

Thanks Anne, I look forward to hreaing from you. To let you know I love the OMA and feel it offers all that I want in a bike. My husband is concerned with the high cost (I can't blame him. The price is high and something we don't want to do without doing our research first). Here is my list of what I want out of a bike and this may help you when shooting me an email.1. alternative transportation for my son and me (we want to get out of our car. he's 17 months old, he doesn't need to be trapped in a car. )2. safety3. use of bike for hauling my son, errand running, grocery shopping etc4. low maintenanceI think my two big questions are; Is this bike worth the cost? And, what about hills? I understand the breaks are not designed for steep hills especially when hauling cargo or people. I then have to ask myself am I approaching this like I did when I had my road bike and needed to conquer hills or is it all about an easy life style and if I need to get off my bike to walk up or down a hill then that is what I need to do? This is why I am looking for someone with a similar lifestyle and someone that lives in this city with the OMA to assist me in answering these questions.Take care and thank you for your time!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.

    More by this Author

    Click to Rate This Article