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Cold Weather Cycling Tips

By Laurel-Lea Shannon

 

When you cycle in cold weather your body can lose heat faster than it produces it, putting you at risk for hypothermia. How cold does it have to be? Not very. If you’re improperly dressed, temperatures between 5 to 15° C (40 to 60° F) can lead to hypothermia.

In cool weather the trick is to dress warmly enough to be comfortable without overheating. Always dress in layers. That way if you’re too hot you can remove clothing, if you’re too cold you can add clothing—keeping your core temperature where it should be: 37° C (98.6° F).

Avoid wearing cotton, which traps sweat keeping moisture next to your skin. This sets you up for a chill or, worse, hypothermia. Instead, wear a layer of wicking material next to your skin. As you sweat the moisture will be wicked away from you, keeping your skin dry. Start your ride dressed so you’re a little cool. You’ll warm up in about 10 minutes. Carry an extra layer that you can quickly put on in case you don’t warm up, or for longer stops.

Here’s what you’ll need for cold weather riding in addition to padded shorts, a cycling jersey, and socks:

Basic gear for early fall riding:

Leg warmers, knee warmers, or cycling knickers

Arm warmers

Cycling vest or a cycling jacket with removable sleeves

Skull cap to wear under your helmet

Fingerless gloves

Gear for early winter riding:

Insulated cycling pants

Long-sleeved jersey

Insulated windproof jacket

Insulated full-fingered gloves

Booties

Winter socks

Balaclava

For the brave at heart who want to ride their trusty steeds during the bleak winter months, read Sheila Ascroft’s article, Snow Biking.

This video puts it all together:


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