Veloviews for January 13, 2023 – Winter Cycling Apparel Choices

Cyclist Riding in Winter by Pasja1000 from

We’re almost three weeks into January of the new year and the weather so far has been an odd mix. Some days are mild with lows in the 40s and others exhibit highs in the 50s. That means it is possible to get off the trainer and get outside for a ride.

On the other hand, who knows what the rest of January will bring or even February and March for that matter. Temperatures are bound to shift downward as winter goes on, so be prepared with the right apparel if you want to ride outside.

Make the Right Apparel Choice

We all know winter weather is mutable. And the conditions you’ll face on a winter ride are also changeable. That said, if you want to brave the elements, you want to make good apparel choices.

Those choices should allow you to move freely without restricting your mobility on the bike. However, they should be insulated enough so sweat is wicked away from your body while keeping you warm.

Winter Apparel Options

Winter riding presents a level of complexity when it comes to choosing what to wear on a ride. It’s not like during the summer months when all you have to worry about is slipping on a jersey, a pair of bib shorts, and socks.

Temperature, wind, and potential precipitation are all factors. There’s a plethora of apparel options available, so if you want to ride in the winter, these items (or at least some of them) should be part of your overall cycling wardrobe.

  • Long finger gloves or lobster mitt
  • Arm warmers (use in Spring/ Fall)
  • Leg Warmers (use in Spring/ Fall)
  • Knee warmers (use in Spring/ Fall)
  • Thermal tights
  • Bib Tights
  • Short sleeve base layers (use in Spring/ Fall)
  • Long sleeve base layers
  • Wool socks
  • Toe and shoe covers
  • Riding vest (use in Spring/ Fall)
  • Jacket
  • Skull cap or balaclava

Depending on where you live, you might not need all these items. Your choices may also be influenced by your personal tolerance to cold weather conditions. Keep in mind that I’ve noted that some of the items listed can be used for fall and spring riding.

Bicyclist on a mountain road by Pasja1000 from

Where to Find Winter Cycling Apparel

Prices for these items can vary based on where you buy them and the brands. Keep in mind that functionality and comfort should always be prioritized over price.

That said, everything on this list should be easily available at your local bike shop. If you can’t find these items there, you can try a national sporting goods chain store like Dick’s or an outdoor apparel store like REI.

While an online cycling retailer, such as Competitive Cyclist or Performance Bike may have more extensive choices available, you might pay more. And that’s in addition to shipping costs. Plus, unless you know your size, you are mostly taking a guess, although most online retailers offer size charts.

Weather Influences Cycling Apparel Choice

As mentioned earlier, temperature, sun or lack of it, wind, the potential for precipitation, and your own tolerance to the cold can influence apparel choices. Thankfully, (and other places online) offers a helpful guide so cyclists can attempt to choose the right riding apparel based on temperature.

Winter Layering Done Right: How to
Dress for Cycling in Cold Weather

An arm warmer 55°–60°

Winter Layering Done Right: How to
Dress for Cycling in Cold Weather

55°–60° — Arm warmers and knee warmers; thicker socks
50°–55° — Swap in leg warmers; Add a vest
45°–50° — Swap in thicker gloves; a long-sleeved jersey; Add toe covers; a
sock layer; ear covers (if you prize comfort over style)

40°–45° — Swap in tights; a long-sleeved base layer; a thin hat (you may need
to loosen your helmet) Tip: Bring rain gear: Forty degrees and
drizzle will chill you faster than 15 degrees and snow.

35°–40° — Swap in shoe covers or winter shoes; thick hat or balaclava
30°–35° — Swap in heavier tights; lobster gloves or mittens
25°–30° — Add a second long-sleeved jersey; a mid-layer sock
25°and below — Add base-layer short and/or knee warmers under tights (TIP: Be creative: Wrap your feet in plastic bags before putting on your shoes; drop hand warmers into mitten).

Keep in mind this is just a guide. The more winter riding you do, the more your own comfort level and cold tolerance will inform you about what to wear on a ride.

Last Thoughts

Let’s be honest, riding the trainer for two or three months can be exceedingly boring. And some winter days, of course, are worse than others in terms of the conditions. Plus, winter riding can be invigorating (sometimes).

So, if you want to get off the trainer during the winter months, invest in some apparel and get out there. After all, it might help you think about spring and make January, February, and early March less dreary.

Have a good weekend everyone, and if the weather is okay and you’ve got the gear, I hope you can get out for a winter ride.

Author: Doug McNamee

Freelance Content Writer, Travel Writer, Editor, and poet.

3 thoughts on “Veloviews for January 13, 2023 – Winter Cycling Apparel Choices”

  1. As a short story writer and avid cyclist, reading this blog post on winter cycling apparel choices has me feeling both excited and a little intimidated. On one hand, the thought of being able to brave the elements and hit the road during the winter months is invigorating. On the other hand, the idea of layering up and finding the right gear to keep me warm and comfortable can be overwhelming. But the bottom line is that with the right apparel, I know I’ll be able to enjoy my winter rides to the fullest.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Sebastian: Thanks for reading my post and commenting. And by the way, I think you pretty much synthesized the dilemma all cyclists face in the winter about gearing up and going out or staying glued to the trainer. That was sort of, indirectly, the point I was trying to make. I also meant to talk about the importance of layering, but I figured I could just get another post from that topic. By the way, I wanted to put like on your post, but didn’t see the button. And do plan to come back and read some of your stories,although I know you said you won’t be posting them as much.


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