By Andrew Brown, February 2021
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Not when it's just cold, but when it's properly in minus figures, and you still want to ride, what could you wear? Andy gives us his 2021 version.
What’s the right winter layer combination?
It’s the morning. You’ve agreed to meet a friend and go for a bike ride. So far, so good. But it is already -5C and the wind is building to around 10-15 mph and wind chill has been mentioned in the weather forecast. Do you cancel and opt for rollers, turbo or some domestic chores? Or do you select more clothes, layers and brave the elements.
There’s no wrong answer. You can do what you like – the main guide being to stay safe and do what feels right.
But if you chose the ride option then what do you wear? How do you keep warm? It is not about being a hardman, it is not about rule five. It is however, more akin to the old adage – “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor gear.” However, one man’s gear is not the same as another’s.
I have all manner of different thermal layers, tops, gloves and windproof tops and hats and I often struggle to find the right combination. Today wasn’t perfect. On the initial ride out my hands felt so cold they almost felt like they were on fire. The wind in my face was like a blunt razor over stubble. But the first small sharp hill focused the mind, my hands warmed up and I adjusted to the wind. Everything else was great. Had I hit the winning cold weather clothing ticket? It worked for me – but maybe not the same for you. Take a look at my gear (most of which I’ve been using for years now) and let us know what works for you.
Sealskinz waterproof all weather mid-length socks Santini Tono bib-shorts
Caratti thermal bib-tights
Mons-Royale long sleeve thermal top
O’Neil thermal ski top
Santini Colore long sleeve jersey Galibier Izoard quilted gilet
Gore rain jacket
Specialized defroster boots
Cotton neck buff
credits: JRtB 2021, Jim Bartholomew, 2019