Cycle Winter Clothing – Too Hot?

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    Wear What you Like!

    Perhaps one of the most daunting aspects of cycling is the “uniform” that goes with it. By looking at most people on Bicycles you may think that plenty of Lycra is required, or that a bright yellow jacket is required. The fact is you can wear what you like, you can cycle for a 50 miles in normal clothes, quite comfortably, which is much further than most go for a trip to the shops!

    Too Hot or Too Cold

    There is a balance to be had between being too hot and too cold. This is particularly true on a bike, and is exaggerated by uphills and downhills.  A warm coat and a uphill ride will result in a lot of sweating, followed by cooling on a downhill, with a chill wind making things uncomfortable.

    The key is not to over dress. Wear a thin jumper, wear a hat, gloves and a neck warmer (or snood) to keep you extremities warm, whilst allowing your core to cool and heat as required.  A scarf may look sweet, but may get tangled in the front wheel.

    In the dead of winter (even in a blizzard) I do not wear anything more than a fleece top and windproof layer. For the rest of the time a thin jumper and a t-shirt is normally sufficient, so long as you are pedalling fairly hard.

    Types of Clothing

    I typically wear “normal” clothes on by bike. I often take a clean t-shirt to put on when I arrive, if I am dining out or attending a meeting. Just allow time to take it easy for the last mile of your ide, so you can cool down a bit. Unfortunately owing to poor facilities on my trips, I normally end up getting changed in the toilets, or behind a hedge. This is often the reality of practical cycling.


    OK not the greatest of subjects, but this is a problem in the winter, perhaps more so than in the summer. Funnily enough sweat is one of the main problems for polar explorers, it soaks in to their clothes, and sleeping bags and causes all sorts of problems.

    So the aim is to minimise sweating by not overdressing. Wear thin “body” clothing and “top-up” with hats and gloves. Try to avoid wearing waterproof tops where possible, as these trap moisture. “Breathable” waterproof tops are often little better.


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