Winter Training: Wardrobe Tips

by | Feb 2, 2019 | Blog, Training Tips | 0 comments

Choosing what to wear on the bike during the winter can be an endless conundrum. With all the modern day materials, ideas and versions of the same items, its hard to know whats best to use on what day and if it’s all really worth investing in! So here is my opinion on winter kit…

The essentials

  • Under-helmet hat
  • All weather gloves
    • Wet weather: Castelli Diluvio – £23
      • Unbeatable for wet weather, they soak up a certain amount of water which your hands then warm up.
    • Cold but dry: Pearl Izumi Select – £21
      • Super thick, useful for those sub 0ºC days
  • Snood
  • Windproof jacket and/or gilet
    • Rapha Brevet Gilet – £50
      • Not exactly the same as the Tactic one I use, but on offer now and has pockets which I really rate in a gilet.
    • Rapha Pro Team Soft Shell – £100
      • No need for a gilet on top of this as its windproof – Really warm and also breathable. Expensive but if you’re a small size you can find similar ones on ebay for less than £60.
  • Thick baselayer
  • Heavy duty rain cape
    • Rapha Hardshell – £130
      • Very expensive from Rapha, but if you shop around you can get a deal. I got mine for £45. These aren’t breathable so for those bitterly cold days where its raining or snowing they are perfect.
  • Bib tights (without pad)
    • Rapha Classic Bib tights Without Pad – £40 – £60
      • Can’t seem to find these on Raphas website, but I know you can find them on eBay cheap. I love bib tights without pads in as you can wear them multiple days without having to worry about washing them. 
  • Overshoes

That’s a very breif list, there are so many other brands that do the same jobs so its always great to shop around, but from my experience in the harsh Derbyshire conditions, those are all winners and do the job well. 

Now, the next dialemma is when to wear what! Have you ever been out and ended up massively overdressing and sweating so much up the climbs that you freeze on the way back down? Or underdressed to the point where you have had to stop in a cafe to warm your hands up? We’ve all been there at the end of the day, and to an extent its part of cycling, you can’t always get it right!

But what you can do is have the right combination of gear for most eventualities. Mixing the right stuff together will ensure you’re warm and dry, meaning winter riding will still remain an enjoyable experience despite the weather.

Weather Scenarios

A mild winters day (temp 8deg to 4deg)

  • On a day like this, a hat may not be neccesary, or a snood. Thin gloves will mean you don’t end up melting, a soft shell jacket will ensure breathability. Overshoes are still useful, mostly to protect your beautiful white sidis. TIP: go to decathlon and buy a pair of socks that are 2 sizes too big for your feet. Slide them over your lovely white shoes and hay presto! You’ve got a mud condom which won’t make your feel sweat.

Cold, but dry (temp 4deg to -4deg)

  • Hat, thick gloves, thick overshoes, snood and thick baselayer are all a good pick for today. If its really cold, you may want to dig out that hardshell, but remember, as soon as you start to perspire you’ll know about it!

Wet, but mild (temp 8deg to 5deg)

  • Today is a good day for your Velotoze, and also a lightweight rain cape if you have one (get the Endura pro Adrenaline). I tend to go with the normal mild day set up, but with 1 less layer and the rain cape on top. I usually go short sleeve base if Im wearing a light weight rain cape, as it avoids too much sweat which freezes your skin.

Wet, cold, pure HELL of a day (temp 3deg to -4deg)

  • Today is that day. Its been coming, you look out the window and see puddles being battered by rain drops. Its freezing. You feel like you might die when you walk out the door. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.
    • Pop your kit on the radiator, it gives you 10 minutes of free warmness before you warm up once you venture into the disgusting weather and question your life.
    • Marigolds. Not your usual friend, but today, they will save your hands. Pop these over the top of your thick winter gloves.
    • Thick base layer, short sleeve jersey and then hardshell jacket. This way, your phone, money etc goes in the pockets underneath your hardshell and don’t get wet.
    • Get a shower cap, or one of those velotoze helmet covers. These will really help keeping your head warm. Or wear an aero helmet, or helmet cover. Don’t worry about looking silly.
    • Nanoflex tights. These are a great investment for days like this. They won’t keep you totally dry (nothing will) but they help a lot. Cling film your knees underneath, as thats where you tend to get really cold. 
    • ALL THE OVERSHOES. Having cold, wet feet is probably the worst thing ever, so combat that by wearing your velotoze next to the skin, Castelli Diluvio overshoes on top of those, and you’ll keep warm, dry feet all day long (unless you ride through a waist high puddle).

So thats about it. My tips for what to wear, when. I’ve always prefered riding outside to the turbo, even on gross days. So these weather hacks have really helped me. I hope they help you too, and thanks for reading!