Joking about the weather might be a British national pastime, but the unique nature of these islands is that we really do have some of the most consistently inconsistent weather in the world. So while it’s all very well having kit created by keen folk in California or Catalonia, nobody knows what British cyclists need better than other British cyclists. And that means nobody knows better than Altura.
With decades of experience making the most considered cycling products and all of it designed in the UK, the factors that inform Altura’s products are exactly the same factors that British riders face on their bikes. Altura says that every one of its products is born out of some specific necessities: flawless function in a way that encourages riders to push themselves further, in greater comfort and enhanced safety.
Once the fundamentals are in place, Altura’s designers then use their own experience to tweak and refine the details, whether it’s fitting an extra pocket for convenience, adding an alternative fastening design for improved comfort, going with a proprietary weave to offer more breathability or a better fit, or even approaching a specific garment design from an entirely new direction.
This philosophy has produced some market-leading garments and with 2022 heralding the brand’s 25th anniversary, it has put Altura products on the feet, hands, arms, legs and backs of hundreds of thousands of British riders. So, whatever type of cycling you do, Altura has the perfect kit for you – and with colder days nipping at our heels, you’ll find it’s never been more welcome.
When it comes to effective clothing choices on a bike, one word sums up the perfect approach: layering. By adding and removing layers, you can adjust for freezing mornings, warmed-up afternoons, spells of wind and rain, and even self-generated heat and dampness.
1. Let’s start with base layers. For winter rides, a long-sleeve thermal base layer – such as Altura's Merino 50 Unisex Baselayer – is a great option. Then you can add layers on top to suit.
2. For legs, full-length tights – preferably thermal options such as Altura’s Icon or Progel Plus tights – will deal with ultra-low temperatures. For milder, more changeable weather, leg warmers give the flexibility to add or remove protection.
3. Similarly, arm warmers are good on days that are cold to start but certain to warm up later. On chillier days, a long-sleeve jersey, such as the Icon long sleeve jersey will add another effective barrier to the cold.
4. An insulating but breathable softshell jacket like the Endurance Mistral offers the most significant defence to cold temperatures for the entire upper body.
5. Even if you’ve set out on a nice day, it’s wise to take a lightweight, packable waterproof and windproof jacket in case conditions change for the worse.
6. If the weather is poor from the start, or you know it’s due to deteriorate, a more substantial winter jacket would be better. Remember to ensure it offers maximum breathability so you don’t cause self-generated overheating or dampness!
7. Modern cycling helmets offer very efficient airflow, which is great in summer but not so welcome on a chilly winter morning. Keep your head warm with a skull cap.
8. Don’t forget your neck and the area around your collar – a snood will offer good protection.
9. There’s no pain on a bike quite like cold, freezing feet. You can buy special winter cycling boots, although most riders use overshoes. But for the ultimate in dry feet, wear waterproof socks.
10. Wear full finger, insulated gloves – such as Altura’s Polartec glove – in the coldest temperatures.
11. Finally, protect your eyes. Low sun height and stinging winds and rain can affect eye comfort, while sprayed road wash can contain grit, salt and splinters, so cycling glasses often prove even more important now than during summer.
Getting wet, soggy and cold feet is one of the most miserable experiences you can have on the bike. However, Altura has the toe-tal answer. No matter how effective your shoes or overshoes are, these soft and seamless waterproof socks – with their Rainguard membrane – will keep your toes comfortable and dry when the heavens open.
Altura’s Polartec Waterproof glove can do it all. It’ll keep the rain at bay; it’ll keep your hands warm; it’ll keep your hands securely on the bars with a silicone palm print; it’ll even keep your hands sweat-free thanks to impressive breathability. Simply put: there’s no need to worry about your hands again this winter.
If you find a chill breeze sneaking its way under your helmet, there’s no better solution than a skull cap. Altura’s Skull Cap has been purposely designed with a windproof front panel and a DWR (durable water repellent) coating, especially to deal with winter problems. Add in reflective details and thermal brushed back fabric, and you’ve got a little winter wardrobe hero.
The neck and upper chest area is a prime site for cold conditions to make their presence felt, but there is a super-simple answer. Altura’s Merino Blend Neck Warmer Snood offers extensive coverage to keep out the cold, while its merino wool element provides enhanced comfort and will help to wick away sweat.
For high-performance riders who want to push themselves to the limit, but who don’t want winter weather imposing the limit upon them, Altura’s Icon Thermal Bib Tights are the ideal answer. Every winter riding element is covered: thermal fabric for warmth; DWR coating for rain; there are even zipped ankles and a side stash pocket. And the headline feature – the Icon pad – truly maximises long-ride comfort.
Offering all the same benefits as the Icon tights (above) but in a female-friendly form, these Progel Plus bibs will have women riders taking to winter roads in warmth, comfort and safety. The 3D Progel pad offers superb in-saddle cushioning, while the thermal and water-repelling construction is ready for any weather.
Winter kit might need to be practical, but it doesn’t have to be boring. The Icon Long Sleeve Jersey is available for both male and female riders with both versions sharing a semi-fitted design ethos, insulating Polartec Powergrid fleece, reflective detailing, convenient pocket provisions and excitingly bold styling.
For when the mercury drops just a little further and an effective outer layer is required, turn to Altura’s stylish, semi-fitted Mistral Softshell Jacket. It features a high-loft inner fleece and a sculpted wind-protective collar to retain heat, three rear pockets to retain ride essentials, and a water-repellent coating to cope with showers.
When the cold starts to bite, it’s time to turn to the Twister. With casual styling that’s perfect for determined winter commuters, this cosy option features a 9.5 Tog warmth rating, a nylon ripstop outer shell and a water-repellent finish. Despite the fulsome recycled insulation, articulated stitching and a double front zip make for easy movement on the bike, too.
Take a look at the entire range at www.altura.co.uk.