cold weather clothing guide
Winter is coming! But that doesn’t mean you have to pack away your bicycle and wait for the better weather to appear. Making the right clothing and equipment choices will keep you riding through autumn, winter and spring in total comfort. Here is our checklist to make the cold and rainy weather much more enjoyable.
Look after your feet
Cold toes are the worst! We would strongly suggest a good pair of winter socks for the cold weather or if you are planning on riding all through winter, a specific winter shoe. A good idea is to experiment with different combinations to find what works best for you and the temperature.
- Endura Baa Baa merino 2 winter sock – warm and breathable to keep your feet comfortable on colder days.
- Assos Winter Socks – Light, warm and very breathable – the ultimate in winter foot comfort.
- Shimano MW7 Gore-Tex SPD shoe – For those serious enough to brave the heavy rain, snow and sub zero temperatures and want their feet as warm and comfortable as possible.
- Overshoes – a cheaper alternative to keep your feet warm and dry if the full boot seems a bit much. Available in waterproof and thermal versions depending on the weather you plan to cycle in.
Choose the right shorts/tights
If you are planning to ride in cold but not too extreme weather (0-8 degrees C) then a bib knicker (normally ¾ length) might be a better choice to prevent overheating. The Endura FS-260 Pro Thermo have a range of male, female, full length or knickers (3/4) available. There are also a wide range of thermal undergarments here for under your shorts or trousers.
Keep your core warm
If you are new to cold weather cycling, then the key is to have flexibility to cater for a range of temperatures. This would usually involve a few different items so you can combine them in different ways to deal with the temperature/conditions accordingly.
Buying a waterproof outer layer that can be worn on its own or over a light top is the first step. A great example would be the Endura Hummvee waterproof jacket or the Endura Women’s Urban Luminite Jacket which are warm and breathable on their own and can be combined with base layers dependent on temperature.
Base layers are the unsung heroes of winter cycling. They can be combined with your outer layer to take you into sub zero temperatures with ease and provide a wicking, breathable barrier to take the sweat away from your skin and prevent damp chill. We have found that the more you spend on a base layer, the wider the range of temperatures they will keep you comfortable in.
Cold hands are almost as bad as cold feet
Choosing the right set of gloves will depend on how deep into winter you are planning to ride. If it’s all the way, then a full-on thermal pair is the only way to go. The Endura MT500 Freezing Point glove or the Assos Ultraz Winter gloves are the ones to go for. If it’s cold, but not too cold, weather you are planning to ride in, then gloves such as the Endura Strike gloves, for male or female, may be for you. Of course, if you naturally get cold hands then level up.
From the neck up
Face and head are very important especially when cycling into that cold, driving wind and rain/sleet/snow. We would recommend a good thermal hat and a buff to cover your nose and mouth. The buff is often the forgotten item in winter, but it protects your face from the elements and when it is really cold, sleeting, snowing or raining, it also takes the edge off breathing in the really cold air.
Look after your clothes
Something that is often forgotten about when washing your cycling clothes is where DWR or Durable Water Repellency or the equivalent is concerned where the fabrics are coated with an agent that will help bead water and flow off your garment keeping you drier for longer. If you clean these garments in your regular wash then the DWR will just wash off. It is important, therefore, to wash the DWR garments (usually your bib-tights, bib-knickers, jackets and jerseys) with a specific cleaner such as Nikwax Tech Wash to extend the life of your garments.