Cycling winter wear

Last year I saw the brill video made by Dottie on LGRAB about cycling winter wear – Chicago style. The winters here in Manchester aren’t as bad, but her video was a little light bulb moment that yes, you can cycle in winter too.

Perhaps more from a woman’s point of view, but I really thought winter cycling would have meant having to give in to specialised cycling gear…

… wrong!

As I have been cycling regularly and made the transition from summer, autumn and now winter, I am appreciating more and more it’s all about layers! And certain materials are better than others… i.e. wool primarily, but I also appreciate fleece.

Now, excuse my voice (which always sounds different to me) and the very amateurish video with my lil’ camera, but I thought sharing what I have been wearing in Manchester this winter may be useful to others out there (obviously geared up towards women), who are thinking of trying cycling through the winter, just like Dottie’s video was to me!

You’ll find huge similarities to her explanation set up – minus her gorgeous cat.

And my memory card run out… making me look rather odd… but I think what I was trying to say still makes sense 😉

I’d love to hear from the guys too, on what your advices are… as I have a feeling you may opt out of dresses and tights… although, you know?! Tights keep you reeeeeeally warm 🙂

PS – Helmet use is optional!
PPS – Hoping to not have made any free advertisement, if I accidentally did… any clothing/label/brand will do!
PPPS – I had few “Lost in Translation” moments, so be kind =)

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15 responses to “Cycling winter wear

  1. Love your accent – how beautiful and melodic!

    This is an excellent video that shows how easy dressing for winter cycling is, once you know what works best. Well done!

    • Hi Steven! Are they that thick, merino wool tights? If so, they look super warm… Manchester’s winter weather is not that bad (for short rides though), so I’ve never worn them… but I keep telling my other half to try them, as seeing him riding to work in the freezing mornings with just jeans and socks for ‘warmth’ makes me shiver 😉

  2. If Steven means what Ron Hills used to sell – Tracksters – then I’ll second his recommendation. Haven’t had any for years but they are thin enough to be a bottom layer & loop under your feet to stay in place. Not as thin as 20 denier opaque tights (probably) are (apparently), but will keep the wind out & some heat in.

    I find that my hands stay warmer on the Wimmins bike, probably because I’m not leaning & putting any pressure on them, and thus a pair of mainly rough leather road-bike gloves I have – of the full fingered kind – are warm enough for a mile or so, and okay for a bit further with a pair of woolly gloves over the top.

    I wore a woolly scarf today which was fine, but am also a fan of the Buff, a really versatile ‘ickle garment that can be worn around the neck or on the head in all weathers. (Many cheapo copies are also available & just as good)

    Nice vid btw – very pro ;>)

    • Now that I ride Barolo as well as Vita, I have definitely realised my hands and feet stay warmer on Vita, as I cycle muuuuch slower… on Barolo no matter how many layers I wear, my feet always go numb.

      *cough* pro? me? of course *cough* 😉

      PS – have you given Wimmins a name? Or is Wimmins the name? 😀

      • Did toy with calling it Gladys…but no – the Wimmin’s Bike it is :>)

        I’ve ridden down a few icy streets on it (her?) today & last Friday, and have found it an effort looking down at the road surface – whereas on my other bicycles it takes more effort to look up – bizarre but on balance a revelation when the going isn’t slippy.

        It’s been one of those ‘should’ve got one years ago’ things – the upright posture has been a real bonus both in comfort & seeing a heck of a lot more around me.

  3. My biggest problem with winter gear isn’t so much being too cold (with the exceptions being my face and hands) but keeping warm whilst limiting the amount I sweat. I have a 6.5mile cycle commute at the moment so for me that’s long enough to raise my body temp quite high. At the moment I wear a long sleeve cycle shirt with a insulating vest on top, I’m wearing two pairs of gloves just some wool ones and a windcutting pair on top but these aren’t great to be honest so I’m thinking aout buying some cycle specific sealskinz. On the bottom I’m just wearing lycra cycle shorts with wet weather over-trousers on top but again I want to buy some cycle baggies or something because the over trousers don’t breathe much. I usually wear double socks with at least one of them being merino wool & usually the other being hiking socks (because they are pretty warm, thin and usually have wicking properties). I’m wearing some cheap cycling glasses so my eyes don’t water too much (for some reason they always do in the cold) and I bought an awesome buff & a thin cycling headband, biggest problem I’ve found with my buff is I steam up the glasses terribly when I stop moving so I think I need to buy some defogging spray to treat them.
    Overall this is quite a good set up, with my hands being the exception. Most annoying thing is I do need a complete change of clothes at the work end, but it’s been so wet & mucky recently that I’d rather this than mess up my day clothes which I did do the first day of snow.

    Any help from some other guys would be welcome. I too am adverse to wearing cycle tights exposed 😉

    • MrC left some more advice below, but I was wondering if you wear perhaps too much on your torso area? Especially if you wear a warm jacket? I learnt though few ‘experiments’ (i.e. trial and error to see what worked best for me) that, for example, I actually need less layers on my body when I cycle than, say, when I walk or use public transport (aka waiting long times at the bus stop), while I need serious insulating layers on hands and feet (otherwise the cold wind generated while a cycle makes them go numb).

      I know women’s physiology is different from men’s, but in principle I think the way we overheat is similar, i.e. torso first (aka sweat) while the extremities remain cold. If I wear too many layers plus my warm jacket then I sweat too, even though I am quite petite and I cycle really slowly (around 10mph or less). Re: gloves, my other half just got some winter cycling (thick) gloves from that big cycle shop (name beginning with E) in Manchester and he says they really make a difference. I’ll ask what brand they are and report back 🙂

    • Now I must confess, on a non-normal clothes slant, I have a pair of winter cycle tights from Aldi which have thin fleece panels sewn into the front that have kept me warm & fairly dry in both cold & wet weather (best worn with a long top though for modesty reasons!). For a longish ride, cycle specific clothing is quite sensible unless you are taking it really easy, because it can be really comfortable & cheats the wind pretty well too.

      For a short trip though it just isn’t worth the effort – or the funny looks. I’ve seen a bloke I know togged up in those long legged bib tights to ride a mile to a supermarket. Why? I’ve no idea!

  4. Congratulations for this video LC!
    I’ve enjoyed it very much. I agree with Dottie: your accent is very nice 🙂
    I wear mostly the same as you except for the mittens (I have enough with a pair of globes).

  5. Everyone has unique bodily properties. In summer the main limit to my cycling speed/distance is my tendency to overheat, dehydrate and get tired. In winter I add an extra layer on top, some gloves and I tend to cycle at a faster rate to keep warm. Dehydration is less of a problem when it is too cold to sweat, so I don’t get as tired when travelling at a given speed as I would in spring/summer/autumn. On average in the dead of winter I probably add another 3-4 km/h to my cruising speed compared to summer. It seems to work well for me.

    @Muldydoona Do you wear enough to be warm at the start of the ride or to be warm when up to speed? Other than the times spent stationary, it probably wouldn’t be so bad cycling in jeans and a t-shirt at the moment once you got moving. Maybe the fewer layers, more speed approach could work for you too?

    • yes, I didn’t mean to say ‘I want to share what TO wear in winter’ I was meant to say ‘I want to share what I wear in winter’… as I said… few “Lost in Translation” moments 😉

    • I’m not freezing when I walk out but I’m comfortable so maybe I just need to wear less than I already do, lol which isn’t much. I honestly think with the right socks and gloves I could simply wear the cycle shirt [& trousers obviously ;)] I find the insulating vest is possibly even too much. I rode home tonight with just a t-shirt and light jumper on under a reflective vest and I was still hot when I got home and it was about -4c when I left work.

  6. Nice Video, for winter cycling do have a ventile jacket that I wear may be bit old fashion but anything make from ventile does keep you warm through the winter months.

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