No matter where you live, winter will without doubt bring cooler and wetter temperatures than the summer months when you get 12 hours of daylight and our daily rides can happen before or after work. Dressing for the winter months varies wildly and as someone once said, “there’s no such thing as poor weather, just poor clothing”.
This article will break down 3 different weather conditions and how to dress for each.
Moderate and Wet Riding Conditions
This is one of the hardest weather conditions to know how to dress properly for. I start out with the Eliel T2 Thermal Bib Tights as my base. They are great in varying conditions from 50 degrees all the way down to below freezing. The biggest thing with riding in wet conditions is to know you are going to get wet no matter what, but it’s important to stay warm while you are wet.
From there, a long sleeve base layer is followed by the Eliel El Niño Long Sleeve Jersey. Is it a jacket, or is it a jersey? To me, it is both. This is quickly becoming my favorite jacket. The material is waterproof while also controlling temperatures well. I don’t get too hot or too cold when wearing this jacket. The long drop tail keeps your backside dry from road spray and the stretch woven aero fit keeps the jersey close to your body and not flapping around in the wind.Moderate and Dry Riding Conditions
How I dress for this can vary wildly. If it’s slightly cooler or windy, maybe I throw on a bit thicker more thermal base layer, you can also change between the T1 and T2 Long Sleeve Jerseys based on how you personally ride or your terrain. Layers are important when your winter riding contains a lot of climbing. You get hot going uphill and then cold descending. When your winter riding is mainly flat roads, you don’t need as many layers. For moderate riding conditions, from 45-60 degrees I start out with a sleeveless bayer layer and then arm warmers for an extra thermal layer. I prefer to run a short sleeve jersey under a long sleeve jersey. The extra layer provides more insulation plus 3 more pockets. When winter training, especially long days when weather can vary, extra pockets are always welcome for more gloves, food, or a vest.
Lastly, depending on the weather I will either run a T1 or T2 jersey. T1 jerseys I have worn upwards of 60+ degrees, where a T2 jersey I can run down to 40 degrees with proper layers. For bibs, this will be personal preference. Above 50 degrees wearing a standard (non-thermal) bib like the Laguna Seca Performance Bibs with knee or leg warmers is going to be great. Below 50 degrees, looking at a thermal bib short like the T2 short with leg or knee warmers will provide a bit more warmth without going overboard with a full tight.Dry and Cold Riding Conditions
Dry and cold conditions are some of the easiest weather conditions to dress for. A good thermal bib tight, thick base layer, and then thermal jacket is going to get you through long winter base miles feeling great. I have worn the T2 Bib Tights down to around freezing without any issues, especially if it’s sunny without wind. If it’s windy or much below freezing, the Thermal Wind Stop Tights are going to be the way to go. If you are still cold when riding in the wind stop tights, maybe it’s a day to ride the trainer…
My jacket of choice when it’s cold and dry is the Whitney Jacket. I have put it through its paces down to below freezing temperatures and it works flawlessly. The pockets are massive to haul extra gloves or food and the front zipper pocket is perfect to store a phone for easy access while riding. The Whitney Jacket isn’t something to wear in a full rain storm, but it is water resistant and will keep you dry from road spray. The Palomar Jacket is also a great option for dry and cold conditions. Layering a Palomar jacket with a long sleeve base layer gives you a kit that will keep you warm down to freezing and the extra layers mean you can change what you are wearing when conditions change. Sometimes, I will throw a brightly colored vest over the top of the jacket to provide more insulation or add some color if you are riding in low light conditions for extra visibility.
Winter riding doesn’t have to be something you dread, find some kit that properly deals with the conditions you are riding in, and those long, cold base miles rides will be fun and you will stay warm (but not too warm). The Eliel thermal kit has been put through its paces by cyclists all over the country. Hopefully, picking up some new winter gear will make you put away Zwift for the day and head outside.