I’ve had quite a few requests for some posts about bike clothing so I thought I’d start today with what I was wearing for the weekend Pugsley ride in Canmore. Air temps were around 0 deg C [32 deg F] and we were being “snowed” on while riding the trails as every tree we touched dumped fresh powder on us.
- Helmet: I generally don’t wear a helmet for casual city riding or touring, but bombing around in the trees is dangerous work so I put on my bike lid with a tight fitting helmet liner that blocks the wind as well as some moisture while still being breatheable. The liner covers my ears which is critical.
- Torso: I wore a mid-weight base layer directly against my skin so it can easily wick moisture away keeping me dry and warm. It was enough to stay warm while biking without over heating or getting too sweaty. On top I wore a light soft shell which blocks the wind, sheds snow and light rain while allowing lots of moisture to get out – key for hard biking efforts.
- Legs: wicking boxers under biking tights that are mid-weight with a windproof front and a breathable back. Over top some climbing capris for a bit of extra warmth, but mostly to cover the tights.
- Feet: mid-weight wool socks inside some Keen light hikers with mini-gaiters on top to keep the snow out.
- Hands: mid-weight XC ski gloves – windproof with a very light fleece insulation.
- Face: I carried a Buff neck gator, but didn’t use it. Sunglasses for the sun and to keep my eyes safe from snow/ice/branches.
Some things to keep in mind:
- dress so you are a bit chilly when starting at your car or you’ll over heat in the first 20mins
- put a good wicking layer right against your skin to get the sweat away
- consider how that sweat is going to get out of your clothes – pit zips, open main zip, highly breathable shell, etc…
- carry some extra clothes if you’ll be far from your vehicle and/or out for a long time as conditions change
- prioritize your face, ears, hands and feet – if they are comfortable you’ll feel better than a warm torso and cold extremities.
- invest in clothing that’s versatile and buy quality pieces that fit you well – they’ll pay for themselves many times over.