7 Tips to Pick the Perfect Winter Cycling Clothes

Tights Are Better Than Leg Warmers

Leg warmers will keep your legs warm, but they won't provide heat to the rest of your lower half. Since most cycling shorts provide little to no protection against the elements, using full-length tights without the pad are your best option. And you can wear them directly over your regular cycling shorts, which gives you multiple layers to keep your lower-half warm.

Keep Your Head Warm

Keeping your head warm goes a long way toward keeping your body warm too.

If it's cold and raining, you have two options. You can buy a waterproof helmet cover or use a traditional cycling cap. The helmet cover will keep you drier in wet conditions, but a cap can also be a useful alternative. The visor will keep water from dripping into your eyes, and the cotton layer under the helmet will help to keep you from losing too much heat.

If it's really cold but dry, a skullcap with a fleece lining that covers the ears is the best option.

More: 4 Winter Riding Tips

Gloves Can Be Tricky

Because your upper body isn't moving and your hands stay still for long periods of time on the handlebars, choosing the right glove to stay warm can be tricky. A good rule of thumb is to make sure your base is warm first. A warm body will help blood flow to the extremities.

The key to choosing the right glove is to find the right amount of warmth without adding bulk. With the latest technology, you can find a nice pair of wind-stopping gloves that are thin enough to allow you to feel the handlebars and use the shifters without getting in the way. If it's really cold, put a thin pair of gloves under your wind stopper gloves. Layers are always a good idea because they can be removed if you get too hot.

If it's raining, try a pair of modern diving gloves. The neoprene material is warm and can be used effectively in conjunction with a thin pair of cycling gloves.

More: How to Stay Warm on the Bike

Heat for the Feet

If you've ever ridden in temperatures below freezing, you probably know how uncomfortable it is to lose feeling in your feet. Cyclists often make the common mistake of using thicker socks to keep their feet warm, but this can limit your circulation.

Instead, use layers to cover up the outside of the shoe and trap the heat inside. A neoprene sleeve with a separate waterproof shoe cover should be plenty to keep you nice and toasty, no matter what the conditions.

Don't Forget Your Eyes

Even if it's not sunny, cyclists still need to protect their eyes from the wind, debris and cold temperatures. Use a clear lens when it's overcast, or if you commute to work in the early morning or evening hours when it's dark.

Remember, it's always better to have too many options than not enough. Layering gives you the most flexibility and allows you to adjust to the conditions when needed.

More: Embrace the Season: 5 Tips for Winter Cycling

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About the Author

Marc Bio

Marc Lindsay

Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.
Marc Lindsay is the Cycling Editor at Active.com. When he's not at work, you can find him riding his bike. That is seriously all he does.

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