Now the temperature is dropping below freezing and the winter nights draw in earlier and earlier each day, it’s that time of year to pull out your winter clothing. Or if you’re totally unprepared, and have no clue on what to look for then this little guide should help you out. From waterproof jackets to mudguards and fancy bike lights, we’ve got you covered from head to toe.
The key to keeping warm this winter is to layer up, and you’ve got to do this smartly! The most obvious one to start with (especially with the English weather’s reputation) is your outer layer. You want a breathable waterproof/windproof jacket that you can slip on and not only feel comfortable but dry. One important aspect to keep in mind is being seen! We’ll go into more details about the obvious ways of doing this (lights), but remember to get a jacket that either has reflective patches or is fluorescent yellow!
Our pick: Altura Attack 360 Waterproof Jacket (£152.99) – This jacket is waterproof (tick), breathable (double tick) and is durable (tick tick tick). Made with Altura’s Shield Technology, offering 3 layers of breathability that maintain your core temperature, and water/wind protection that bounces water right back at the clouds.
More importantly or at least equally as important, is your base layer. Don’t go throwing on any old t-shirt under your jacket as this is going to end in disaster (or at least a runny nose and feeling like pants). T-shirts are generally a bad idea, as they collect sweat and in sub-zero conditions, you will feel the cold way more, as you’re constantly in contact with freezing sweat. There are base layers that wick away sweat from your body keeping you dry and keeping the warmth in.
Our pick: Specialized 1st Layer Seamless Base Layer (£49.99) – this is perfect for keeping you warm and dry. Transporting moisture away from the skin and creating the perfect microclimate between your skin and jersey. Incredibly comfortable, and is stretchy enough not to cause chafing.
For added warmth, add in a jersey to your layers to make sure your upper body doesn’t lose any heat. There are plenty around that can work in unison with your base layer, getting that sweat away from your body and making sure the micro-climate within your layers stays the same. Again, they are breathable and lightweight allowing protection and comfort.
Our pick: Castelli Potenza Grey Jersey (£174.99) – With reflective piping around the waistband and down the zips, this has you covered for visibility. Not only that, it manoeuvres sweat away from your body and onto the outside layer of the jersey. Combine this with a base layer, you’ll have a train of sweat working its way through the layers of your clothes.
Much like heads, shoulders, knees and toes, you cannot forget about your head, hands and feet! Hats, gloves and overshoes are just a few important accessories to keeping yourself warm when cycling this winter. You lose a lot of heat from your head, so you want to lock that down asap. Obviously keeping your fingers warm is a no brainer, most gloves nowadays are wind/waterproof and some even have reflective strips! Overshoes might not be for every cyclist, but they do keep your feet dry, however. Other good options are the classic thermal socks for warmth and comfort.
Our picks: Castelli Narcisista 2 Shoecover (£54.99) – This reduces cold feet dramatically, lined with fleece to keep the heat in.
Gore Bike Wear ROAD GTX-1 Gloves (£59.99) – Easy to adjust and a perfect fit. These gloves are made from Gore-Tex and even has absorbent material on the thumb to wipe away that sweaty brow.
Altura Windproof Skullcap (£17.09) – A lovely insulated cap, that’ll keep your noggin’ cosy, with bonus reflective trim!
To keep those legs pedalling during the winter months bib tights are probably the way to go. Most offer to windproof to keep out those nasty bone-chilling winds, but waterproof tights seem to be few and far between. Not to say that the bib tights do not have any water protection, most brands have a waterproof finish, enabling water to slip off effortlessly. If you want full waterproof protection, the best product for you is a pair of waterproof trousers, that can easily slip on over your normal pair (if you’re commuting that is)!
Our picks: Castelli Nanoflex 2 Bibtights (£109.99) – Padded in all the right places, with the lower inner leg being completely waterproof! The fabric is stretchy, warm and comfortable. Perfect for those longer rides.
Altura Nightvision Overtrousers (£61.19) – Easy to pull over your everyday clothes, reflective trim to keep you seen and a breathable waterproof fabric that will keep you dry. What more could you want?
Last but not least is a couple of accessories that are going to keep you safe and dry (to an extent). Mudguards are perfect for keeping that muddy water from splashing in your face, or worse, up your bum where it might look like you’ve had an accident or two. There is a huge range of lights available, and for the most part, they all do their job quite well. Just make sure you have enough lumens to light up what’s in front of you and a strong rear light.
Our picks: Mucky Nutz Butt Fender (£7.50) – In Mucky Nutz’s own words “It prevents soggy arse syndrome”. What more can I say?
Cateye Volt 200 Xc/Rapid Mini Set (£53.99) – This front/rear set is perfect to illuminate those dark country lanes. USB rechargeable and at least 3 hours’ worth of light, will get you to and from work (or out for a nice evening ride).
Hopefully, all this gear will keep you riding even in the sub-zero temperatures. Let us know what keeps you warm whilst out and about!