If you overdress than you get way too hot and you don’t have fun. If you don’t have enough and something is cold, than you don’t have fun. So here it is, start with a base layer. Some good base layers are Under Armor and if you want to save a buck, Starter from Walmart. Keep in mind that if the mercury is going to rise throughout the ride, you want to be able to shed clothes without stopping. The short sleeve version will do if it is only moderately cold and the temperature is going to rise during the ride. So a short sleeve jersey, bibs/shorts, and maybe arm warmers will complete what you need for that day.
So let’s say it is a bit chillier and the temperature is going to rise. You have a few options. You will need to add knee warmers and a vest. The vest will keep your core warm and the tights will take care of your legs. You may also want to add woolen socks at that point. You can still take off a vest, arm warmers, and knee warmers. You may also put on the long finger gloves (bring the short ones in your pocket), a hat to keep you head warm from the vents in your helmet, and shoe covers to keep the toes warm.
Finally, if it is just super cold and it won’t get warmer all day. This is cut and dry. You need tights, knee warmers. Woolen socks, plastic over your feet to protect your toes from the wind cutting through the shoes, and shoe covers. Bib tights or tights, and“under armor” base pants under them. An “under armor” base shirt, long sleeve jersey, cycling jacket, are all imperative. Your gloves can be thicker at that point. You also need to protect your ears and head. They make several products to do that with.
So this all can be a bit expensive, but know that if you’re cold you won’t enjoy the sport and you may stop riding for the winter. Then when spring comes, all your buddies are stronger and faster, and you’re just fat. Know that your body is different than your buddy’s. He may not need knee warmers on a certain day, and you do. I hope this will help you be able to make decisions on your purchases for cold weather cycling.
Lead Pack Cycling Head Coach