8 Essential Cold Weather Cycling Clothing Tips

8 Essential Cold Weather Cycling Clothing Tips


as a lifelong cyclist an ex-professional
I’ve ridden in literally every single type of weather that you can possibly
imagine sometimes for hours on end and I’m not gonna lie it was pretty grim but
it’s left me with a wealth of experience that I can share some tips and tricks
from with you in today’s video now you’re gonna notice I’m wearing a
lot of Assos in this video and that’s because they are our clothing partner at
gzn but all of these tips and tricks can be applied to any brand of clothing or
any type of clothing that you may have at home Rylan first things first your
hands and your feet these bear the brunt of all the cold weather so investing in
a good quality pair of OB shoes or gloves should be an essential item on
your winter wardrobe let’s start with your shoes and your feet these are
closest to the ground well they’ll be bearing the brunt of all the spray
coming off the road and all the cold wind as they’re being propelled through
the air by taping over the vents in your shoes and then purchasing a pair of good
quality over shoes you’ll turn your summer shoes into an adequate pair of a
winter cycling shoes keeping your extremities toasty and warm in the
winter will do more for your comfort on the bike than almost anything else you
can try however simply focusing on your hands and feet is not going to keep you
warm while start and your bike think about all those large muscle groups
think about all the areas in the wind so the front of your thighs even your
glutes as they pick up the spray from the road your shoulders your arms your
chest wearing a wind proof layer on any of these or as I’m wearing double
layered tights all those tights that you can get without a chamois that’s gonna
help keep those muscle groups warm because as soon as any of these start to
feel cold all that cold blood is gonna start flowing down to your hands and
it’s gonna start restricting circulation as well as your body tries to keep the
warmth in by its organs now there’s one vital piece of kit here which will do
more than any other piece of kit that you could possibly own to help keep you
warm by keeping your core warm with a really high-quality thick thermal under
vest you’ll be able to wear almost your summer wardrobe over the top of it maybe
an extra layer or so but it will do more to keep you warm in the depths of winter
than anything else you can possibly buy so the first part of buying your winter
cycling wardrobe should be a good quality on the vest I mentioned that I
want double layered tights instead of wind proof ones these come with two
layers of thick Roubaix material but there’s a cheap alternative as well and
that’s buying a pair of tights without a chamois now you should still wash these
as frequently as you wash a pair of tights with a chamois but because you’ve
got two layers over you glutes your size it’s gonna keep you that
little bit warmer night for two out of four UK seasons
you’ll probably get away with just wearing a cast get underneath your
helmet but when the temperature really plummets you don’t want to keep your
head warm and your ears covered as well this is because it’s an ideal place to
lose a lot of heat and also these days helmets are purposefully ventilated to
cool our heads so perhaps wearing a more Arahama is a
good place to start as these do traditionally have few events if you’re
somewhere really cool though wearing a proper fleece-lined skullcap it’s gonna
be a really effective and cost-effective way of keeping your head cool because
they’re cheap items to buy although it’s not that cold today so I’m just wearing
an ear warmer it’s just somewhere really cold a nice neck buff is also gonna
really help you keep a lot of warmth in because a lot of blood flows close to
the surface there which will kill you down now if you do live in Canada or
Russia you might want to consider wearing a proper balaclava because we
know you guys do you like to ride properly cold
carry on the ride under vests are amazing have already
mentioned that yeah okay I have but they’re so good I actually think they’re
worth mentioning twice especially if you’re planning on doing a long hard
ride but you still want to stop at the cafe halfway through if you sweat
anything like as much as I do you’re going to get to that cafe with a pretty
wet on the vest and that is going to chill you to the bone pretty quickly so
by carrying a spare in your pocket and swapping over before you sit down to
enjoy your second or third cup of coffee as I now am you’ll also avoid alienating
yourself from the rest of the group because under bursts when they get wet
and sweaty they’ve got this habit of basically they kind of start to smell since we’re still at the cafe let’s talk
about taking an emergency extra shell something that’s easy stable packs up
nice and small it’s nice and light you can store it in your back pocket just
for those emergencies if the weather was to take a turn for the worse out choice
I would always take a waterproof over a windproof just because they’re a little
bit more substantial and it is the winter plus let’s not neglect the fact
that I do live in the UK and the chance of rain is never really that far away
now even if you know that you’re not likely to need an extra layer because
the weather is set to stay the same kind of looks like it will today taking one
is still incredibly useful because imagine it’s five degrees outside and
you puncture or you have a mechanical throwing on an extra layer it’s gonna
make all that difference or those first few minutes when you leave the cafe and
then if you’re on a group ride taking an extra layer even if it’s just for the
intention of lending it for someone else and completely transform someone’s day
and if you are taking that extra emergency layer you may as well make
sure it’s nice and bright and vibrant meaning you’ll be spotted if you are at
for that little bit longer than you intended or if the cards do suddenly
appear and it starts to get that little bit darker I quite like this hive is
orange that this stone prints one comes in in a video about clothing you might be
more than just a little bit surprised to hear me talking about training but there
are some types of weather which you simply can’t go outside in and no we’re
not talking about you Canadians out there we know that you guys are hardcore
and we’ll ride no matter what the weather is even when it’s minus 40 you
guys are just a different breed I’m talking about the UK winters where it’s
I don’t know minus 2 to 2 degrees and it’s chucking it down moraine it’s
simply unbearable to go outside and ride in that sort of weather so instead of
doing that for our ride with a planned cafe stop why not just shorten it why
not make it an hour and a half ride extra hard that way you’ll be staying
warm you’ll be getting a great training benefit and you’ll be home that a little
bit sooner for a warm drink and a nice hot shower set off cold now that does sound a
little bit counterintuitive and you may well be picturing getting hypothermia in
those first few moments but it’s going to keep you more comfortable for the
rest of the ride if you do so this is because it takes your body time to get
up to operating temperature if you say fully dressed and you’re warm the second
you leave the door within the first 10 minutes as your temperature increases
through the workload you’re going to be dripping all over your bike at a hot
sweaty mess which is gonna make you really cold later in the ride
if you go down any of the scents so instead of doing that you want to set
off and feel a little bit of a chill in those first few moments warm your body
up through intensity of the ride and then you’ll be comfortable for the rest
of it alternatively if you really don’t want to feel cold those first few
moments you could take that spare layer and remove it after five to ten minutes dress for the types of rides you’re
going to be doing and the types of surfaces that you’re going to be on if
you’re doing a harder ride you can probably get away with wearing a little
bit less clothing and it also help keep the air circulating you just not be
getting too wet as well if you’re gonna be riding off-road though you could
probably get away with wearing quite a bit less clothing and this is because
there’s much less wind chill and you’re gonna be working quite hard to get
anywhere near the same sort of speed you’d be doing on the road in fact in
years gone by I’d do almost all of my training exclusively off road when the
weather was bad just because I knew you’ll be working
that bit harder and staying that little bit warmer if you enjoyed this video
give it a like or a thumbs up or whatever it is you like to call it and
if you think of something we’ve missed drop it in the comments below and I
leave me you get on with my twins ride

About the Author: Michael Flood

100 Comments

  1. If your using just random layers to warm, i would suggest dedicated cycling thermals as they improve your mobility over normal clothing

  2. It would be nice to speak a little bit slower, clearer and with less regional phrases – so that the international viewers can understand you better.

  3. I literally cycled home tonight and wondered what advice was out there for commuting in the cold or as we enter into winter here in the UK. I had finger less gloves no hat or balaclava or proper shoes or tights. I was so thankful I had my under layer or base layer and my high visibility waterproof though as i literally felt like stopping and calling a cab at one point. #commuter

  4. I make fleece Skully caps and you can get the pattern online for free I think fun for fleas. There's also a Scully that has like ear covers that go all the way down around your chin and then you can use like some string to tie it together but I don't add the string. And the curvature of the ear part of the pattern instead of making it like a big oblong you wear your face and the pattern meet up together take the pattern instead of making the oblong you keep going all the way around the neck and come down maybe 2 in so we can cover more of your neck and ears and will not catch wind. If that makes sense. I also on days when it's not too cold I will and I made a 4-way stretch fabric sculling and I took a piece of fleece fabric cut it like in an oblong shape that was just good enough for the top part of the cranium of the head and put that on top and then I put my helmet on which will also keep the heat from escaping the top part of your head. I have also gone to like a clothing bank place and found like a hoodie fleece garment and took the hoodie off and use the hoodie to put on top of my helmet because it has a drawstring and then you can just take the flaps took them into each other and with some simple thread just make some whip Stitch and it works just fine. That's how I keep the top part of my head warm

  5. No mention of leg or arm warmers? I think they can be great in weather that's not soooper cold but still offering a bit of chill. Also much easier to shed as you ride.

  6. Thanks for mentioning us Canadians; yes, we are a little more used to cold weather, otherwise we wouldn't ride all that much.

  7. My number rule for cold weather riding, is do not stop unless absolutely necessary. If some things a little out of adj. it'll make home. If I stop I get hot and sweat. And freeze when I start moving again.

  8. Haha, you make it sound like all of Canada is a frozen wasteland, but not all of Canada is super cold. Winter weather in Vancouver and costal BC is similar to the southern UK… being more wet than particular cold.

  9. My winters ride are about 25F and above in dry weather (I stay indoor if snowing or the roads are wet) I use:
    Liner wool gloves with a pearl izumi winter gloves, i also use chemical warmers on my wrists,
    MTB shoes to accommodate midweight wool hiking socks, and chemical warmers on top of my toes and winter overshoes. Sometime also toe warmers.
    Balaclava,
    Rest as per the video

  10. One word: wintershoes ! (still not enough though for those long rides for my feet, but it's a whole lot better than overshoes)

  11. The most difficult thing is to understand how cold it actually is. Seems that -2C cold and -2C cold can be totally different. Sometime it feels so nice and gentle on your skin, but other day it's cutting through to the bone. Why is that I never understand.. Most logical would be that it's about humidity, but not sure. Maybe it's my own body that's different? But I think it's humidity. If air is dry then the wind is drying also me more rapidly which makes me cool down more. But if air is too wet, then my clothes get damp and then they won't insulate so well.. So I guess there's some comfort zone between extremes that feel pleasant?

  12. GCN, this video made me unsubscribe. There are lot of sponsored filler videos as of late without any soul, but this one takes the cake. You baited me with a thumbnail of Si in the snowy winter, and instead we get Chris trying to get through his script as fast as possible, looking like he's wishing to be anywhere else but on camera. Come on!

  13. I rode my travel bike in Kyzgystan's 4000 meter elevation snow white glacial mountain passes in 2017. I applied most of these tips and even there I did not go for the Siberian approach: overdressing and sweating is really annoying. That said, it was a dry and hyper cold day. If it gets wet, your finger tops and toes are the first to crumble. Riding hours on end in glacial rain is not feasible

  14. take a trip to you local tack/horsey shop they usually have a larger more varied selection of Gloves head neck warmers etc than you local bike shop will carry, (riders are bit like Canadian cyclists ! )

  15. The UK winters might not be that cold, but in reality are mostly grim. Grey, wet & windy = miserable cycling weather. I actually prefer it when it's colder & drier. Once warmed up it can be as good as a nice summer ride.

  16. Wearing my cycling balaclava is how I keep my head, ears, nose warm on cold comments to and from work. The cycling balaclava dose not interfere with the fit of my helmet so warmth, comfort and can still wear my perfectly fitted helmet. It is now my favourite item of winter clothing.

  17. a few things that were missed.
    1.The feet recommendation is completely inadequate in truly cold weather.
    2.Nirtile gloves under all gloves complete wind resistance and extend warmth substantially.
    3. Do not go fast, this increases wind chill and makes you cool quickly.
    There is more, come spend a winter in Canada…

  18. You say you've ridden in literally every kind of weather but have you ridden in a Canadian winter yet, Chris? Come over here in january and I'll take you on a fave route to the Red Bulb Espresso bar. Might even get lucky and get a snowstorm enroute. 🙂

  19. That waterproof jacket a) looks like it won't easily fit in his rear pocket and b) if it does is going to be pretty annoying and bulky. It is a good tip to have one with you, but maybe put in a decent sized saddle bag?

  20. -2 degrees in UK is a normal commute in Spring/Fall. -40 is to be tried once but not too often. Totally agree with hi-vis and rain jacket as a must. Everthing else is negotiable. Riding hard as possible and not sweating is an experience and my favourite type of weather.

  21. I have never tried it myself, but I knew someone who swore by wearing sandal type cycling shoes (slightly too big) over thick wool hiking socks. Over the sandals/socks he would wear waterproof overshoes.

  22. If you don't have toe warmers or shoe covers (or forgot to start your ride with them), you can use a piece of a plastic bag, cover your toes and slip your feet into your shoes. Should help for rides under 3-4 hours.

  23. Idea for a video: Could you perhaps do a vid on when is the road temperature definitely not good to ride on and we can expect black ice? Even though the temp outside is 3 degrees, the weather says feels like 1, there still might be chance of ice!! it's a tricky one that keeps me indoors sometimes even though I might be ok! Having come off on Black Ice, it's not something I like to chance but if we had some good info on road temperatures during winter it might help when making that choice. Thanks in advance 🙂

  24. NorthFace inner layers do not stink 🙂
    Also: when you ride in the winter beware of the route you are taking. If you have to do long climbs followed by long descents its better to take a backpack with some windproof gear for the descents. Especially for the head, foot and hands.

  25. You mention the frontal assault of cold conditions on the big muscle groups, but those areas that get less circulation of blood to stay warm are the ones that have me calling it a day, early… nose and ears, lips and cheeks are so susceptible to wind chill and it is important to keep them warm… merino buff, merino balaclava…
    Also, don't forget your eyes… clear glasses or a light yellow tint are highly recommended, firstly for the obvious impact / foreign body protection, but also, the wind chill factor… they are balls of fluid, and fluid can drop in temperature…
    A bit of chapstick or Vaseline on the lips before the ride can prevent to blistering from cold and the chaffing from licking cold dry lips to try and keep them moist / warm. I have not tried it myself, but one of those face masks for pollution might also work for keeping the cold off lips, and pre-heating the air you breath a little bit…

  26. Thin pair of gloves under a thicker pair works well on the colder rides. I get better results from that combination than just a pair extra thick winter gloves – and it's more cost-effective as you can mix and match to the suit the weather conditions.

  27. I have these neoprene socks that work really well. Another trick I learned awhile back for really cold temps is to wrap my socks somewhat tightly in clear cellophane to provide even more insulation.

  28. How do you guys keep your eyes warm? Normal summer cycling glasses don't protect my eyes from wind, so when I come back from a ride I look like I smoked something funny.

  29. Totally disagree about the booties! Used to have a single pair of shoes for the road and would use a pair of neoprene shoe covers all winter. When trying to buy a replacement pair, a bike shop clerk suggested I forget the booties and get a good pair of winter shoes. Way better: warmer, dryer and more comfortable. Avoid the booties!

  30. Base layers are stupid, especially if they get all sweaty and you have to change them at a cafe stop. Instead, carry a vest (a wind vest, or something insulated like a Castelli Fawesome or Perfetto) that you can remove on climbs so you don't get all sweaty. Honestly, I don't understand why people keep wearing base layers unless all they do in winter is long endurance-pace rides.

  31. To add to your excellent comments, in very cold weather, plan your route into the wind first and coming home with the wind (as much as possible) and avoid long uphills (you'll get hot) and then seriously cold when you have to descend. Flatter rides, sheltered from the wind (think urban roads, hedges, woods) are good options in very cold weather – certainly better than indoor training! Finally, a Dutch friend taught me that there is no bad weather, just poor clothing choices. Enjoy your ride!

  32. The one thing that has puzzled me is how my power seems to dramatically drop off when it is below -25C. I don't have a power meter, so this is somewhat ancedotal, but my ability to go as fast as usual is distinctly missing. My body isn't particularly cold in these conditions, though the air is cold to breathe in and below -30 hands and feet can't last much longer than an hour before cold really sets in.

    Perhaps someone here is aware of this phenomena and can point me to some information and strategies on how to best combat this. FYI – I'm 52 and I live in the very high (1045m) and dry climate of Calgary Canada.

  33. You only lose appropriately 7% of body temperature through the head the head represents about 7% of the bodies surface.
    The huge lose of temperature myth through the head was created in the 50/60 in American arctic warfare training. Where the head was the only part of the anatomy not covered with any clothing and not surprisingly that's where the heat loss was

  34. Overshoes or Winter shoes?

    Winter gloves or Bike bar gloves?

    Rain Jacket or waterproof jersey?

    I’m struggling with this due to the cost. I planning to be delivering by bike this winter.

  35. Invest in rechargeable hand warmers, instead of chemical warmers, no waste as they are reusable. Just sew an extra layer on the outside of your gloves, making a pocket for the warmers. You can turn the warmer on or off as needed, and the extra layer of the pocket will add more wind protection. The warmer can also be used to preheat your gloves before you put them on.
    Option 2 wear a second pair of gloves and place the warmer between the gloves. The second pair of gloves has to be oversized and will require an adjustable wrist strap, preferably Velcro, to hold the warmer in. Waterproof outer layer gloves are preferable as they are more wind resistant. Something like ski gloves for example if it is cold enough where you ride.
    Option 3, not one I recommend. You can keep the hand warmers in place with elastics, rubber bands in the USA, wrapped around the palm of the gloves / hands. It will work in a pinch, but it is not very secure. Place the warmer in a small bag and then use the elastics to hold the bag to the back side of the palm as above with 2 elastics one on each end of the bag.

    Buy a slightly larger pair of unvented cycling shoes for winter, and add a second pair of thicker knee high socks over merino wool inner socks. The longer socks can then be held up under your tights / pants, keeping your calves warm. Warmer calves will keep your feet warmer as well. Your feet and legs will thank you. If you can find the extra thick hunter's socks made from wool that is what I recommend. I purchased mine from a vendor at a gun show, and they work really well.
    If your tights / pants are not skin tight, and pressed against your skin, it also helps you stay warmer in winter. The extra layer of knee high socks will keep the cold outer layer off the skin allowing you to stay warmer as well as dryer.

  36. When the air is really cold, a nice woolly hat is great. Screw the helmet. Any old woollen hat will do, but you can also get cycling specific winter woollen hats with a peak.

  37. Any tips on how to prevent rain from flowing down soaked leg warmers and under your overshoes into your shoes?

    This gets me every time I get caught in rain – despite excellent, thick neoprene Endura overshoes (best I've ever had), my shoes end up sloshing full with water, cause it wicks down the leg warmers.

  38. Water? I’m sorry if there is water it’s not winter.
    I’ve never wished for an English winter until now.
    Maurice
    Vermont, USA
    ( -6 Celsius today, and it’s still not winter)

  39. What kind of jacket are you wearing? Assos have a fair few different options, but yours looks perfect for my type of weather conditions

  40. At What Temp Do You Reccomend Not Riding In. It's 15 Degrees Here Now In Colorado And I've Been Driving Instead Of Cycling

  41. In inclement weather I'll use a pair of insulated full latex gardening gloves ($6.99 USD) vs clapping out my $$$ fingers.

  42. That's not cold weather. THIS is cold weather (actually, it was colder in 2019 – about 5F/15C): https://youtu.be/oevRigc6UxY

  43. Thermo long baselayer,
    thermo jacked,
    waterproof, windproof jacked,
    windproof Balaclava,
    fog resistant glasses,
    waterproof cap,
    waterproof, windproof thermo gloves,
    thermo water repellent windproof bib thighs,
    long thermo socks,
    waterproof windproof thermo shoes,
    waterproof windproof thermo overshoes.

    If you want to get from A to B and you don't go hard it will be warm and cosy ride since most of the gear will have ventilation.

    I recommend at least anasssaver or mud guards.

    Yes, almost everything of it would be Gore. Except for the Fizik Artica X5.

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