Cycling in the Wind
The Windy Ride - Road Riding Apparel Basics
Part two of our Road Riding Apparel Basics series aims to show you two commonly used upper-body cycle clothing options that are perfect for tackling cool and windy days on the bike. Ride on….
Chilly and damp, a large amount of your rides will probably take place in less than ideal conditions. Ok, these rides demand some forethought, but a pox on the person who says you still can't be comfortable, stylish, and enjoy one hell of a day. The most important thing to remember is that if you feel a little chill (but not cold) starting off, you are probably dressed perfectly. Once you start moving, what was warm off the bike at the start of the ride will quickly become way too hot, so be careful!
Like everything done well in life, preparation is paramount, so let's take a look at some of the key cycle clothing items you'll need in order to cope with the particular demands of hot, long distance riding, and not end up a pile of goo on the valley floor. Here's to a no goo ride!.
started a ride and feel too warm straight away? stop as soon as you can to remove layers, otherwise prepare for a sweat fest of terrible proportions.
Option 1 - Base Layer, Jersey, Gilet and Arm Warmers
It may require four items of apparel, but get this one right, and with very little hassle you have a cycle clothing combination that you can use ride after ride.
First things first, start with a base layer, and here we would recommend something ergonomic like the Craft Zero Extreme Base Layer, or the Hincapie Wickwool Base Layer. Literally a 'base' to build from, it has the hardest job to do, positioned as it is directly next to your skin. Many riders prefer a sleeveless top, so we have included Hincapie's excellent Power Core Base Layer.
Once the first layer is taken care of, grab your favourite jersey, but don't necessarily use anything logo heavy as it won't be seen. Instead, choose something not only comfortable, but with ample rear pocket room for any items your Gilet (we'll get onto that in a minute) can't carry. Good suggestions are Hincapie's Poggio Jersey, the Craft Elite Jersey,
or the Twin Six Argyle Jersey
try and develop a cycling wardrobe that has you covered for all eventualities rather than doubling up on existing pieces, as nothing is more frustrating than not having the right kit to hand for a ride.
For the third item, reach for your arm warmers, whose job is to keep arms warm and allow your skin to breath. Simply pull them up onto the the upper part of your arm, and then adjust the jersey sleeves to sit over them (you can also put them on before the jersey, which can be easier). A good pair will stay up with only the occasional adjustment mid ride, thus avoiding the teasing 1920's debutante look which will occur if the arm warmer separates from the jersey. Take a look at Solo's MAPP Merino Arm Warmers, which have the benefit of offering outer wind and water resistance, or Craft's supremely soft 3D Arm Warmers. For something with more of a 'socky' feel, try DeFeet's ArmSkins, a tactile pro favourite.
The final piece, and the one that will bring everything together is the Gilet, or 'Vest' to our American friends. Never underestimate this most useful piece of clothing, it is far more versatile than a jacket, and inherently more packable. Not only on duty keep your core warm and provide rear pocket space (model depending), but with one quick tug of the zip you can regulate your temperature if the weather improves. We recommend Hincapie's excellent Tour LT Vest, (Editor's Choice in Cycling Plus Magazine), Craft's Performance Light Vest, or the Solo Equipe Gilet as worthy candidates.
Option 2 - Base Layer and Jacket
A pared down classic, this combination relies on the correct choice of both base layer and jacket to ensure that you experience a good level warmth and comfort throughout the ride.
Without a jersey, you have to choose a jacket with enough storage space in the rear for your usual on road supplies, and a base layer that provides enough wind protection to compensate. To this end, we highly recommend the Craft Zero Extreme Wind Stopper Base Layer
. We would err on the side of long sleeve, but whether you choose long or short, the front and shoulders of the Zero Extreme WS are covered with Gore Wind Stopper fabric. Teamed with the wind protecting first layer, the jacket has much less to do, so a slim fitting and non bulky option is best. The Hincapie Tour LT Jacket
is one such option, offering both a great fit (lovely long arms and a fitted body area), clear attention to detail, and 2 rear pockets that offer ample storage. For something a little extra special, try the Hincapie Milano Jacket
, which is made of MAPP Merino fabric and features two large rear button closing pockets.
choose your jacket wisely - think about you local weather and temperature and buy accordingly.
These two apparel options are great starting points, and as you develop as a rider you will undoubtedly find a certain look and style that works for you. Just remember that with a well chosen cycling wardrobe and an eye on the conditions, every ride has the potential to be a great one.
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