A popular saying among cyclists who brave the cold winter conditions on their bikes is, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing decisions." Instead of shying away from riding outdoors when the temperature drops, you can learn to dress smarter and enjoy cycling the way you're supposed to—outside.
Choosing the right winter gear for the conditions is a challenge, but you can make riding outside in the harshest conditions a more pleasant experience with just a few simple tricks. Keep these tips in mind before you head outdoors this winter.
Always Use a Base Layer
If the temperature is above freezing, a good long sleeve base layer and a thin-thermal jersey or jacket is probably all you'll need. A base layer that breathes well will keep you from overheating on climbs by keeping the sweat off your body and releasing heat. It will also keep you warm on long descents by keeping moisture off the body.
There are plenty of options for base layers. If you live somewhere with a cold wind chill, use a base layer that has a protective windshield on the chest. It won't breath as easily as other base layers, but it will keep you warm without having to use a bulky jacket that will restrict your movements.
Buy Gear That Fits Properly
Most bad clothing decisions can be avoided by using only items that fits you perfectly. With the growing number of online retailers, it's easy to settle for a jacket that you received in the mail that doesn't fit exactly right.
If a jacket is too big, the wind will blow in through the space between the collar and the neck. And if the sleeves are baggy, wind will enter through the opening at the wrists, making that expensive jacket you just purchased useless.
Likewise, clothing that's too small can restrict circulation and breathing, and limit movement on the bike. Sleeves that are too short create a space between your gloves and jacket when your arms extend to the handlebars, which will expose your skin to the conditions.
For this reason, try on new clothing before you purchase it or buy a brand you know fits you well.