Dedicated cyclists tend to ride in every kind of weather – in snow, rain, extreme heat and everything in between. It can be difficult to know how to dress, though. Cyclists can go full tilt at one moment and putter along at 3 mph the next. If you put on heavy, protective clothing for the times that you cycle slowly, you’ll be steaming hot when you pick up the pace.
The answer to this problem is to layer properly. You need to wear clothing in layers that you can take off or put back on, depending on how warm or cold you feel from one moment to the next. Explore these layering tips for spring cycling.
The basics of proper layering
Your base layer: The base layer is the first article of clothing that you wear over your skin. The base layer needs to be breathable but shouldn’t be cotton. While cotton can feel good when you put it on at home, the material has the tendency to hold sweat in. It doesn’t allow sweat to evaporate easily. With a wet layer next to your skin, you could quickly get cold and ill. It doesn’t matter how high-tech the jacket you wear outside is – if you have cotton next to your skin, you’ll be in bad shape.
The right kind of base layer needs to be breathable and absorbent but shouldn’t hold moisture in. Instead, it should pass it on to the next layer that you wear. Sporting good suppliers offer a number of high-tech base layer shirts for cyclists. Most of these shirts use Merino wool blended with synthetics.
The middle layer: You can choose from a number of different fabric types, thicknesses and sleeve lengths, depending on the weather outside. The job of the middle layer is to work in conjunction with your base layer to absorb its moisture so that the base layer remains dry. It also helps you remain warm. The middle layer shirt should have a full zipper to let you open up as much as you need, depending on how warm you feel. It should look good enough to serve as your outer layer too, should you get too warm for another layer on top.
The outer shell: Effective waterproofing is the first thing that you need to look for in a quality outer shell. Depending on the weather, the jacket can have padding or it can simply protect you from the rain and wind.
Your overshorts and tights
If you plan to do much cycling on mountain trails, you should consider getting a pair of tights to wear next to your skin. You can wear waterproof baggy pants on top. You’ll be much warmer with two layers. If you tend to get cold, you can use three layers – a pair of shorts, tights and baggies on the outside.
Protecting your extremities
You can lose a great deal of heat through your hands and feet. The colder the weather is, the better your gloves, socks and shoes should be. All this equipment needs to be insulated and waterproof. You tend to lose heat through your head too. If you’re cycling in cool weather, wearing some kind of protective headgear is important. Depending on how cool it is, you can choose a skullcap or a Buff-type tube scarf. A helmet on top can offer protection against the wind.
About the Author:
Robert Vincent is a consummate athlete. When not training for competitions, he enjoys blogging about practical ways to stay fit, from nutrition to workout ideas. He blogs on behalf of Visit the SportPursuit, an online portal for sports supplies.