Keep in mind, when you are determining what to wear for a ride, there are a few more factors than just temperature. Is the sun shining? Is it windy? Is it misting rain? It is also important to know what you personally consider “cold.” A gal from Southern California might have a very different perception of the temperature than say… a woman who is used to riding in Quebec, Canada!
Alright, so it’s a little chilly… but you are going to warm up, fast! Start with your favorite sports bra, short-sleeve jersey, shorts, baggies (for mtb), arm warmers (super easy to take off when you warm up), short-finger gloves for road and thin, full finger gloves for mtb, and wool socks (warm, but also moisture wicking). When the temps start to drop, it is even more important to have a great set of cycling glasses, since the cold always seems to make your eyes water!
Brisk, but a totally doable! Add a few more layers that are easily removed, should you get toasty mid-ride. Throw on a base layer under your short-sleeve jersey for a little more core warmth, bibs keep in the heat in your mid-section, a windbreaker vest, a headband that covers your ears, scarf, and knee warmers. If you have sensitive hands, you may want to switch to full finger gloves, even for your road ride.
Brrr, time to cover-up a little more! Switch out for a long-sleeve jersey, thicker gloves, winter headband, windbreaker, and another sock layer or toe covers.
Alright, so now that you are riding when it is literally freezing, you need to cover all the exposed skin. Bring on the tights, heavy gloves, shoe covers, add a wool long sleeve over your short-sleeve jersey and cover it all up with a wind-breaker.
You are one badass! Better get yourself some very warm gloves, hand and toe warmers, double up on your long-sleeve jerseys, trade your winter headband out for a full-fledged hat, layer knee warmers and arm warmers under tights and jerseys, and pull that scarf up around your face!
Another pro tip is to wrap your toes in aluminum foil as this helps to keep the warmth in for a little longer.
25° F and below…
Personally, I’d be happy with the trainer or spin class! But, if you have the urge to brave the elements, all power to you! Strap on some goggles and tuck your scarf in, so your face is not exposed, then take all the layers from above and pile them on! More layers are always better than adding in a puffy jacket that restricts movement and could cause you to sweat and actually get colder!
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