Winter cycling in the city is possible. And it is correct to say that it is not only for the bravest or for those who practice cycling and are used to enduring cold temperatures. With winter cycling clothing and some proper precautions it is in fact possible to bike even in winter, and arrive at your destination in total comfort and safety.
Winter clothing will be your greatest ally to avoid suffering from the low temperature of the freezing winter days, as well to be well equipped in case of wind and rain. Yes, it is true that the climate is not exactly pleasant at this time of the year, but being stuck in the car in urban traffic is no exception. And no, you won’t have to wear layer upon layer of clothing to warm up, struggling to move around as bulky as you will be. Let’s face it, despite the crisp air, winter is also a season with a magical atmosphere: the contrasts of nature, the blue sky, the snowy leaves, make winter days something special. So, let’s see what are the must-have cycling clothes for the urban cyclist who does not fear the cold!
Let’s start with the first layer of our clothing: the base layer shirt. Being in contact with the skin, the base layer shirt has the function of allowing transpiration of the moisture produced by sweating to the outside, so as to leave us dry and warm. To do this, it must be breathable and dry quickly. The choice is between thermal shirt in synthetic fibers or in natural fibers. Let’s find out together what are the characteristics of both.
Thermal underwear in synthetic fibers is very popular in cycling and sports in general. Depending on the season we can decide to wear long-sleeved shirts, or opt for short-sleeved shirts or tank tops. Being quite tight garments, they adapt to be worn under any garment, behaving like an actual second skin.
The thermal layer is able to regulate body temperature and expel sweating, keeping the body dry even during high-energy impact activities. The downside is that these garments tend to absorb the person’s odor, resulting in a not very pleasant result. In fact, synthetic fibers are smooth, and as such allow bacteria to adhere more easily, causing bad odors.
A valid alternative to synthetic garments as those made of natural fibers, such as cotton, linen, or wool, which are able to offer freshness and regulate body temperature, while tending to absorb sweat more. In particular, merino wool is ideal for low energy impact activities, such as commuting with bike, because it gives warmth but is light, breathable, and has a high resistance to wear. Thanks to its flake structure, merino wool ensures that bacteria from bad odors do not get trapped in our garments.
Of course, it is never a good choice to ride without a jacket! Thermal, insulating, waterproof, or water repellent, the cycling jacket is the first must-have garment to fight the bad weather that you will naturally encounter during the journey. You can wear your technical jacket over the clothes you will normally wear to work, to run errands, or even just for a walk around town.
We recommend that you choose a good quality softshell jacket that protects you from the cold in an optimal way, but without giving up good breathability. The softshell is in fact a particular fabric formed by three layers, which together constitute the particular characteristic of the fabric:
- an outer polyester layer is resistant, elastic, and windproof;
- a breathable intermediate membrane, which keeps the body dry;
- an internal layer of soft microfleece, which keeps you warm and makes contact with the skin pleasant.
On the market, there are plenty of them, of every style and color. Some models also come with a hood which is usually waterproof. But for greater safety, it is better to always carry a rain cape with you, one of the easily packable ones.
If your weak point is the neck, to avoid disturbances right around the neck and in the surrounding areas, an excellent solution is to wear a neck warmer or a scarf. In this way, since there are no more uncovered points, the neck warmer will also prevent cold air from entering the jacket. In addition, wearing it above the nose can also act as a barrier, protecting your face from the bitter cold.
Helmet and under-helmet cap
The helmet, which must never be forgotten during a bike ride, protects the head from bumps and falls. In winter it also helps to shelter us from the cold, but on its own, depending on the temperature it might not be enough. Our advice is to wear it together with an under-helmet cap which will act as an insulating layer, block the passage of cold air, and protect the head from various atmospheric agents such as wind and rain.
The winter under-helmet cap should be padded and designed to protect the ears and part of the temples. This will prevent us from running into annoying headaches, not very pleasant to endure during the day, especially when commuting towards work in the morning.
Let’s not forget to protect our hands from the cold with a pair of gloves or mittens. In fact, with the cold we tend to lose the sensibility of our hands if not properly covered, resulting usage of the gear and brake levers could become difficult. This is why it is essential to wear gloves that can keep your hands warm and which, of course, allow freedom of movement. It is advisable to opt for waterproof gloves with inserts that ensure a good grip on the handlebars and levers.
By following our tips regarding the importance of winter clothing for urban cycling, you will no longer be forced to put your beloved bike in the garage during the cold seasons! Of course, the choice of clothing to wear is subjective, each of us has different needs and knows what is best for us. However, our advice is to rely on objective data and not on the perceived cold, covering up too much may not prove to be an excellent move.
You just have to choose the combinations you like best from the different models and colors available, and you will be ready to get back on the saddle of your faithful companion!
What do you think is the essential garment that cannot be missing your urban cyclist outfit? Tell us by writing an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.