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How should you layer up for winter cycling? Top tips for riding in cold weather

Knowing what to look for in a new winter cycling kit can be tricky - so Becca spoke to CAMS-Basso's Megan Barker to talk through some of the most important features of her winter cycling wardrobe

Cold weather is all about getting the right winter cycling clothing to allow you to enjoy your ride... but knowing what to look for in new kit can be tricky. What should you do and not to before you head out the door and during your ride, and what are the essentials to make sure you're comfortable throughout? Becca met up with CAMS-Basso's Megan Barker, star of road and track, to talk through some of the most important features of her winter cycling wardrobe.

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Fingers and toes

2021 ale winter gloves

Megan says that having a good emergency waterproof and keeping your fingers and toes warm are her main winter essential tips when it comes to what to wear. 

"Once your toes get cold that's when your whole body starts to feel really cold, so I think keeping your fingers and toes warm with nice gloves socks and overshoes, and keeping that emergency waterproof in your pocket at all times." 

Layer up

2021 Al Womens PRR Amazzonia Long Sleeved Jersey

Megan says only very cold and wet weather would stop her from making cafe breaks on winter rides: "I think when it's a fresh day you just need to have layers, you might be fine setting off in just a base layer and your long sleeve, but if you've got your gloves and gilet and your waterproofs in your pocket, so if you stop and go to set off again you can just layer up. 

"They [gilets] fold away quite nicely so you can always have that in your back pocket, I also quite like using a handlebar bag now." 

Getting it right in the rain

ale video screenshot - jacket.PNG

"In the winter you definitely need a waterproof jacket," says Megan. 

"Something where you can see the rain just dripping off you rather than soaking through, because when your chest gets wet, that's when it's bad and you can get ill or just really cold. You need to make sure the jacket is waterproof, not just showerproof. 

"You want something that's breathable, something that doesn't let the rain in but let's the sweat out. Otherwise you're just going to get wet inside anyway." 

Get your kit ready the day before 

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Motivation to ride can often be tough through the colder months; and according to Megan, it's all about organising your kit and bike so you can just head out the door, and thinking of the rewards afterwards... 

"It is hard, I think a lot of the time the hardest bit is just setting off. Once you set off normally your fine, as long as you're wearing the right clothing and you've not gone out in shorts and jersey in the winter and you've layered up properly. Once you're out you'll be committed. 

"There's nothing better than getting back from a cold, wet ride, showering, pyjamas, with a cup of tea on the sofa. Just wait for that moment and it'll be worth it!

"I love the feeling of getting back and thinking "I've done it." 

"You feel so proud of yourself, you've worked hard and you can just chill for the rest of the day. 

"The night before, having your kit out ready, having your bike ready, your bottle ready... check the weather and check what you're going to wear. Then you just have to put it on and go. Don't let your brain tell you not to go because it's cold!" 

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wtjs | 2 years ago

I never understand the problems such topics are attempting to solve. If it's just the cold: no problem at all, any old kit will do for the body and some reasonable gloves and maybe waterproof socks for puddles, spray etc. If it's so cold that these don't do the trick, then the roads are going to be icy (in Lancashire anyway) and you can only cycle on very busy roads- back roads will be unusable because of the sudden icy sections around the next corner. Despite being very careful, I hit the deck hard last Christmas Eve with massive impact on right hip and shoulder, up on Beacon Fell. I only recently and co-incidentally spoke to a rider half my age who broke his hip in a similar fall the same afternoon. The real problem is 'a bit cold and very wet and a long way' when the waterproof socks will easily sort the feet but at least 2 pairs of gloves will likely be necessary- in sequence, not together, for when the first pair gradually gets wetter and the dreaded hot-aches are in prospect when you have to stop in a bus shelter to revive your fingers.

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