As the cold weather has arrived, it’s important to take some precautions. Should we put the bike away? Obviously not.
When spending many hours in the saddle, it is good to wear practical, breathable garments that make our rides more enjoyable, helping to keep the body dry and protecting those parts that are most exposed and/or in contact with the bike.
Some extra care is needed in winter, starting with the extremities. It is necessary to keep our body extremities warm, otherwise they will become less sensitive and it will be difficult to use them. In fact, when the outside temperature is excessively low, our brain implements a series of blood circulation restrictions to prevent damage to internal organs (heart, liver, intestines). Basically, blood flow is reduced to the extremities of our body to keep vital organs warm, which results in loss of feeling in the hands and feet.
Let’s make a list of what we should not miss during a winter cycling vacation.
Protect hands and feet
They are bicycle shoes that protect against wind and water. Outside, they have a water-repelling material, usually goretex, which makes them like a warm shell that does not let the wind through. Inside, they are breathable, so the heat comes out but the cold stays out.
Cycling socks compress certain points of the foot and ankle to improve circulation. They are made of merino wool and synthetic materials. When it is very cold, knee-high socks are the best choice.
Winter gloves protect fingers from cold and are important for operating the brakes while driving in winter. Like the shoes, they have a warm and breathable lining on the inside and windproof and waterproof protection on the outside. When it is very cold, it is useful to wear fleece undergloves, such as those used by skiers.
Warm hat or balaclava
Protect the forehead and head with a cap lined with windproof material and with a warm interior covering the ears. Avoid woolen hats, which can be bulky and not wind-resistant. Make sure the hat is made of breathable fabric.
The rest of the wardrobe
Padded long pants
A nice pair of long, padded, technical-fabric pants— they are a versatile piece of clothing that can be used both for pedaling (wearing a cycling pad underneath) and for sightseeing once off the bike. Better to have them black or dark: they mask dirt better and can be washed less often.
Winter shirts / fleece
Indispensable in cold weather, but let them be breathable! Long-sleeved and zippered so that they can be opened to better thermoregulate when the temperature rises (pedaling uphill, for example).
Waterproof, insulated but breathable jacket
One essential garment you can’t do without in rainy and cold weather is a good waterproof and breathable jacket, ensuring you can ride dry and warm.
Windproof k-way jacket
A compressible windproof jacket to keep in the back pocket of the jersey or in the handlebar bag on the bike is useful on descents, where it helps avoid cold snaps when picking up speed.
Neck gaiter or scarf
To avoid cold blows, it is good to protect your throat while riding in the fall and winter: a Neck gaiter made of technical fabric is just what you need.
Ready to pack your bags?