Riding in the COLD (It’s more fun than it sounds).
It’s easy, just hop onto the trainer or rollers!  Well sometimes getting outside, even when it’s cold is very healthy for us both mentally and physically but the health benefits of riding outside when it’s cold are a topic we can get into at another time.

Today, let’s focus on being comfortable and safe while having fun in temperatures drops and the days get shorter.

First for safety, I do two simple and inexpensive things:  1) Wear bright colors.  Even if its just my socks, shoe covers, or gloves.  I try to have some piece of clothing that is bright.  Also, these items are great because they move around more than your torso and therefore more likely to picked up by the eyes of a driver  2) Lights.  I use front and rear lights all year long now but they are especially helpful during the colder months when drivers think that it’s far to cold rot ride a bike.  Multiple companies make lights that are small yet bright and have wide range of blinking patterns (more attention grabbing) but I like light from Knog, Specialized, and Light & Motion.

The last thing I do for safety, again all year long, is my no ear buds policy.  Having ear buds in removes one of you important senses that can help you stay safe.

Now onto staying warm.  Just like cold, warm is a relative term that means different things to different people.  The first step is to buy the proper clothing for your climate and your level of comfort.  These days most clothing companies will list a temperature range for their cool weather clothing and they tend to be pretty spot on.

Below are few temperature ranges and the clothing combinations that I will usually (there are always exceptions and changes based upon things like precipitation and humidity).  Also, the longer, I am riding in cooler temps the more I tend to wear as the intensity will be lower.

60 – 70F
Arm Warmers
Knee Warmers
Short Sleeve Jersey
Bibs
Regular Socks
Summer Gloves/No Glovers

50 – 60F
Vest
Arm Warmers
Knee Warmers
Short Sleeve Jersey
Bibs
Regular Socks
Summer Gloves/No Glovers

45 – 50F
Vest
Arm Warmers
Leg Warmers
Short Sleeve Jersey
Bibs
Wool Socks
Lightly Insulated Gloves
Buff/Neck Gaitor (Merino Wool)

38 – 45F
Uninsulated Jacket
Long Sleeve Jersey
Merino Wool Base Layer
Leg Warmers
Bibs
Wool Socks
Lightly Insulated Gloves
Buff/Neck Gaitor (Merino Wool)
Cycling Cap
Booties/Shoe Covers

30 – 38F
Insulated Jacket
Long Sleeve Jersey
Merino Wool Base Layer
Insulated Bibs
Leg Warmers
Wool Socks
Insulated Gloves (if I’m on the MTB, I still got with light gloves)
Buff/Neck Gaitor (Merino Wool)
Winter Cycling Cap (Merino Wool/Covers Ears)
Winter Cycling Shoes

20 – 30F
Insulated Jacket
Long Sleeve Jersey
Merino Wool Base Layer
Insulated Tights (Preferably Wind Blocking)
Wool Socks
Lobster Mitts
Buff/Neck Gaitor (Merino Wool)
Winter Cycling Cap (Merino Wool/Covers Ears)
Winter Cycling Shoes

Now some thoughts on hydrating and fueling:

  1. You still need to hydrate, maybe not as much, but as the air gets colder it gets dryer so probably more than you think.  Additionally, water is a good conductor of heat, and therefore if you get dehydrated you will get cold faster.
  2. Below 50F, I start with warm water in my bottles and below 35F, I start with hot water.  It won’t stay that way long.
  3. Keep food inside your jacket below 45F otherwise it gets pretty hard to chew.

Other Thoughts:

  1. Embrocation, this is warming lotion that comes in a variety of strengths and is amazing to use.  I use embro anytime the weather will be wet as it creates a second insulating layer between your leg warmers, bibs and skin with it is cold and wet.  Also, if it is really rainy, I extend the embro up my low back.
  2. NO COTTON.  In the mountains, even in summer time, we say that “Cotton Kills.”  Cotton, does not dry fast, doesn’t insulate well, and when wet pulls heat from your body.
  3. Embrace the challenge.  Riding in the cold is great, it makes you feel alive and like you’ve earned a beer, a hot shower, and the title of “HARD.”

Get outside and get it done!
​- Coach Mike