When you commit to cycling to work during the winter months, you need to make sure you can ride in comfort, whatever the weather throws at you. So, come rain, sleet or snow, get prepared and stay as comfortable as you can with some well-designed cycling kit that will take you from bike to desk whether it’s blowing a gale or pelting it down with rain.
- Breathable materials will keep you dry and free from perspiration
- Waterproof and windproof materials keep the bad weather out
- Long tails keep your lower back and bum warm and dry
- Extra long sleeves ensure your wrists are covered even with your arms outstretched to the handlebars
- High visibility colourways and reflective panels help you to be seen on the road both during the day and at night
- Some cycling clothing is specially designed to be very light and will pack down very small to make them easy to carry
- Tailored commuter cycle clothing looks fantastic and won’t look out of place in the city
The key to staying warm and dry whilst commuting by bike in the winter is to layer up. Follow these basic rules of layering and you’ll feel comfortable all year round.
Choose a good quality thermal base layer that will wick sweat away from your skin. It may be cold out there but if you’re pedaling with any effort you’ll soon be breaking a sweat and this moisture will feel cold against your skin if it can’t escape. High tech synthetic fibres can offer good wicking qualities but look out for natural fibres such as Merino Wool for odour resistant protection; your colleagues will thank you for it!
The middle layer should provide you with good insulation to keep you warm. Go for lightweight jerseys with breathable fabrics and long sleeves, high collars and a long tail to keep your lower back and kidneys well covered.
Look for a high quality waterproof and windproof cycling jacket to see you right through the chilly winter mornings and nights. The best cycling jackets are of a 3 layer construction with fully breathable fabrics and good ventilation flaps and zips. Look out for a DWR (Durable Water Repellant) coating to make sure your coat will dry quickly ready for your journey home, even after a full soaking, and always go for a bright coloured or highly reflective jacket for good visibility on the roads. A more relaxed fit will allow you to add more layers underneath or look for a fully tailored style that won’t look out of place on public transport or when walking into the office. Last but not least, look for a cycling jacket which can pack down into a small and handy size that you can keep in your bag ready for any unexpected downpours or frosty nights.
For optimal comfort, winter cycling tights are not only stretchy and give you lots of free movement, but they are warm and cosy too. Look for fleece lined Roubaix fabric for the ultimate in winter warmth and opt for a pair with a water repellent coating to stop the rain soaking in.
Don't want to wear lycra? No problem, it’s not essential. If you’re not cycling very far, a simple pair of waterproof over trousers might suffice. Slip them on over your normal shorts or trousers and they will help to keep the wind and rain out. Just make sure that they are large enough to wear over your clothes without restricting your movement on the bike and choose styles with reflective panels to help you to be seen on the roads at night.
Chilly fingers is enough to put anyone off riding into work in the depths of winter so make sure you have a good pair of thermal cycling gloves at the ready. There are plenty of different styles to choose from including ones with waterproof and windproof fabrics and reflective panels. Another good feature to look out for is touchscreen friendly fingertips so you can still operate your phone without taking them off.
A helmet will go some way to keeping your head warm but if you’re still feeling the chill, pop on a thin thermal hat underneath or wear a good fleece headband to protect your ears from the elements.
Your feet will be one of the first parts of your body to feel the cold, especially if you’re riding on wet roads and through large puddles. If you are on a road bike and wearing road cycling footwear, a high quality pair of cycling overshoes will protect your feet from getting soaked and stop the wind too. For everyone else, waterproof socks will keep your toes warm and dry so you can arrive at the office with happy feet.