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Cycling winter clothing elena martinello
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Winter cycling clothing… How to dress when it’s cold?

An eternal dilemma to understand how to dress to ride the bike in winter… But with the proper winter clothing, the cold will no longer be a problem.

Winter is a season that tends to force us to leave the bike in the garage and makes us to prefer indoor training like at gym or on the rollers.

The 5 alternatives to winter cycling training recommended by Laura are great ideas to don’t stop, but if the sun shines, despite the harsh temperatures, we are definitely enticed to go out and pedal a few hours outside.

All day closed at work and at home, for us that love outdoor sport, it is definitely a situation that creates a little stress since we can not make “our small daily endorphins amount”. 😉

With the right winter clothing I am sure that the cold will no longer be a big problem and we can enjoy our air hours even this season.

So let’s see what to wear: every layer is important and not to be underestimated…

Rule number one… always choose quality clothes and check the outdoor temperature. 😉

Elena Martinello in winter bike

Winter clothing: Let’s start with the underwear

According to my experience as a cyclist “without seasons” base layer is the important in every month of the year.

I recommend you always choose high quality garments, a bit more expensive for sure, but with a really good yield.

The fabric that will be in contact with our skin has to let the sweat to dry quickly because don’t forget that we sweat even in winter and, if we are too dressed or we haven’t got breathable clothings, we risk to stay wet and freeze fast.

Among the most performing technical fabrics that allow you to feel good on the bike there is merino wool, the oldest fiber used, excellent insulation from the cold, dries quickly maintaining a constant temperature of our body.

Instead, there is an embarrassment of choice when look to synthetic fabric. You can find on the market, in the most provided bicycle shops, a wide range of brands that produce underwear clothings.

Some companies such as SIX2, X-Bionic or Nexttoskin are leaders in the development and production of specific fabrics for this type of sportswear.

Among the important things to be considered immediately at the touch is that the underwear does not create unpleasant irritations to the skin while wearing it and that does not generate bad odors…

That some of the reasons why to choose quality products.

Polartec Bike Winter Clothing

Stay warm on the bike: the jacket

If the underwear is good, it is not necessary to dress with too many layers, risking to block you on the movements while cycling. We try to feel comfortable always, even if the temperatures are low.

The jacket is an element also to don’t underestimate and better will be it quality and better will be the protection from the cold air.

I recommend you to buy few pieces of this garment which can isolate you perfectly from the atmospheric agents: air, cold, humidity.

An example can be a jacket made with Polartec NeoShell, a fabric that protects against the wind, is waterproof and at the same time is breathable and stretch. A set elements together in a single jacket.

If we ride the road bike we will be more exposed to the cold air and therefore better if we dress an windproof clothing, possibly with thermo-welded seams which don’t let the wind pass thru.

On the market we can find really beautiful and feminine ones. In the recent years, companies are creating collections dedicated to women cyclists.

Some of the brands that I recommend you to take a look there are: Santini Cycling Wear, Maloja, Karpos, Rapha, Gore.

Always carry an anti-wind jacket or vest with you, in case of descent can save you from further risk to be cold.

Elena Martinello on Cyclo-cross bike in winter

How to protect your legs from the cold?

Cycling includes different disciplines such as mountain biking and road biking. In the first one the speed is less and often the effort is shorter but intense, while the second one normally the ride is a longer distances and faster.

The legs are ones of the most exposed body parts and tend to cool down in a shorter time especially if they are not covered very well.

I prefer the full body bib but if you didn’t purchase it yet long winter bib shorts, you can use the leggings on the uniform that you usually wear.

But they are not so comfortable and may not be warm enough to protect you properly from cold.

The long trousers or better called bib shorts with braces is definitely essential as winter clothing to ride the bike.

So the winter bib shorts are something that has to be in every cyclist closet not afraid of the cold.

Polartec Winter Cycling Gloves

Gloves, socks and caps… essential accessories!

Other items not to be underestimated are accessories such as cap, neck warmer, shoe covers, socks and of course gloves. These will allow us to keep our extremities as hot as possible.

Good to own some wind stopper gloves to block the cold air and for who suffer the cold most, I suggest to match some silk or merino under gloves to don’t risk to get too much cold.

Even for the feet you can choose warm merino wool socks, but I recommed some not too tight which could make the opposite effect by blocking the circulation.

To keep the head warm the choice is really varied: you can wear a trendy cap (but it doesn’t keep so warm), colored elastic bands or fleece hat that cover your ears too.

Giula on the snow with the Fatbike

Winter shoes

Unlike of the bike shoes we use in the other seasons, the winter ones are built with waterproof and windproof material to block the air.

Some models besides not having the classic net on the toe which let the air get in, are completely closed and higher on the ankle to repair as much as possible from the cold. This way you won’t need the shoe covers.

If you do not have a pair of winter shoes and normally you pedal a road bike, use a neoprene shoe cover which will help to isolate your feet from the icy air.

If winter clothing is not enough…

If you feel very cold after all, go to a sporting goods store and get some hands/feet warmers, perfect in case of a frosty emergency.

Remember to stop at the bar halfway of the ride for a nice hot tea or a warm cappuccino that also the real pros of cycling do… and why not to have a nice hot bath after which will make you forget all the cold that you have taken on the bike…

Otherwise take the opportunity to spend a nice day at the SPA! 😉

Have a good winter rides to everyone.

Elena Martinello
Nata a Vicenza sono arrivata a un punto della vita in cui faccio ciò che amo: vado in bicicletta... scrivo, racconto e condivido il mondo del ciclismo femminile. Co-fondatrice della community Ride Like a Girl project, ho l'obiettivo di coinvolgere più donne ad avvicinarsi a questo mondo a due ruote. Social media manager, fotografa e viaggiatrice, sempre alla ricerca di emozioni che arricchiscono il mio modo di vedere le cose.