You don’t have to suffer through miles and miles of freezing temperatures to ride your bike this winter. With a little preparation and the right clothing, you can enjoy cycling just as much as you do during the warmer months of the year.
Use this guide to dress appropriately from head to toe for the harshest conditions winter might throw your way.
UA ColdGear® Armour Crew
A base layer is an essential piece of gear for winter cycling. Not only will it keep your core warm, but it’ll also help to wick moisture from your skin as you start to sweat. Keeping dry is just as important to warmth as protection from the wind.
The Armour Crew form-fitting compression shirt fits like a second skin, and is ideal as a fast-drying ultra warm base layer. Four-way stretch provides unrestricted movement.
Cannondale Cypher Aero Road Helmet
Wind and rain can quickly make you miserable. To keep your head warm and dry, the new Cypher helmet from Cannondale is a top pick because of its versatility. Unlike other aero helmets, the Cypher has a snap-on outer shell, which covers the open vents.
The shell also prevents heat loss and provides protection from the elements just as well as a more traditional helmet cover.
Gore Universal Windstopper Softshell Beany
A fair amount of your body’s heat is lost through the head. For the coldest days, you’ll need to cover the head, ears and neck to stay warm. What we like about the Gore Universal Softshell is that it can do all three, and it can convert from a beanie to a headband or scarf with ease. The Windstopper fabric is thin enough to fit easily beneath your helmet while providing plenty of protection when temperatures dip below freezing.
Castelli Flanders Wool Long Sleeve Base Layer
While synthetic fabrics are all the rage these days, this merino wool base layer from Castelli is a natural alternative that works as well as any on the market. It’s also less irritating to the skin and evaporates moisture more quickly than most other materials.
Sugoi RSE Alpha Bike Jacket
A good winter cycling jacket needs to be a lot of things: waterproof, warm, breathable and flexible enough not to restrict your movement.
For an outer shell, the Sugoi RSE Alpha is an excellent buy. By itself it’ll keep you warm in temperatures nearing freezing. For colder days, you can wear it with a thermal layer all the way down into the teens. While the Polartec® Alpha material is thin, flexible and waterproof, the best feature of the Alpha is its breathability, which releases excess heat while maintaining warmth as well as any jacket we’ve ever tested.
Mavic Inferno Extreme Gloves
Frozen fingers can make cycling pure misery. While there are plenty of bulky lobster gloves that will keep your hands nice and toasty, dexterity can be an issue when it comes to shifting and braking.
The Mavic Inferno Extreme Gloves are among the warmest gloves on the market and can be worn in temperatures below freezing. They’re also thinner than most other options, which will allow you to maintain dexterity so you can retrieve water bottles and food or operate your GPS with ease. The Inferno Extreme also has a built-in liner that can be removed when it’s not quite so chilly out.
Craft PXC Storm Tights W
On really cold days, you might want to consider layering your legs just as your core. What we like most about the Storm tights from Craft is that they’re easy to take on and off and less restrictive than many of the other options available. This makes it easier to layer, and — should you decide to take off a pair of leg warmers worn underneath — you won’t have a problem removing them out on the road.
Along with the windproof and waterproof fabric, Craft incorporates reflective strips on the back near the ankle to keep you visible when it’s dark out, and there’s an ergonomically designed seam pattern at the knees for optimal range of motion.
UA ColdGear® Armour Leggings
For those frigid days when you want to wear two layers on your legs, the Armour Leggings provide an ultra-tight, second-skin fit that keeps you comfortably warm — stretch-mesh gusset and inseam panels provide strategic ventilation. Chafe-free seam construction and fast-drying material keep you
Giro Proof Winter Shoe Covers
Instead of layering your feet with multiple pairs of socks, it’s a better idea to keep your feet warm with a good pair (or two) of shoe covers.
These neoprene shoe covers from Giro are one of the warmest pairs we’ve found. And if you’re living in an area that gets lots of rain and snow, they’re also among the best at keeping you dry. They’re easy to take on and off, extremely thin and have walking pads on the bottom to minimize wear and increase durability.
CamelBak Podium Big Chill
Drinking cold liquids isn’t a good idea when temperatures drop. Instead, warm tea or even hot cocoa can be a good way to keep your body temperature up.
The Podium Big Chill from CamelBak not only keeps your liquids cold during the summer, but it also keeps them warm during the winter.