Stay warm with Aero Tech Designs' cold-weather cycling apparel! Riding in any temperature range and conditions is possible with the correct layers. Our windbreakers, rain jackets, and softshell jackets provide options to ride in all weather. We have cycling tights and pants that are windproof, thermal, and fleece-backed to keep you warm. All these items are designed specifically for bicycle riding comfortably. Winter brings new challenges -- keeping hands and feet warm while not overheating elsewhere. One technique is wearing layers of clothing, like a breathable wind shell over a wicking base layer and fleece long sleeve jersey.
Quick Tips for Winter Biking:
1. Keep your fingers warm with a windproof glove and liner gloves for extra insulation
2. Insulate your toes with toe warmers or wear shoe covers.
3. Use a base layer next to the skin to vent and insulate with thermal fleece.
4. Use a variety of winter cycling jackets for wind-blocking, rain protection, and reflective for visibility
5. In freezing weather, add leg and knee warmers to give an extra layer of warmth.
Whether you are a seasoned cold-weather rider or want to extend your riding season farther than last year, proper layering of your cycling clothing is essential. Here is a complete guide to riding warm and comfortable in the wintertime. Aero Tech offers cold-weather cycling gear for men and women. The art of properly layering your clothing takes some practice to perfect your approach, but you will be thankful once you understand what works best for your body. Everyone's cold tolerance, perspiration levels, and specific needs are different. For example, "My hands are always cold," "Cold wind gives me headaches," and "I sweat so much that riding in the winter just makes my whole body cold," so learning how to listen to your body and how to be prepared for a range of temperature levels will go a long way in helping you ride comfortably year-round. We're all familiar with the idea of layering clothes to prepare for cold weather. As temperatures drop around the country, we thought it would be helpful to lay out a couple of cycling-specific fundamentals on layering. Certain things are essential to keep in mind when preparing for an activity like cycling, where varying perspiration levels, temperature changes, and the other effects of a cold-weather climate can conspire to make your ride miserable
Things to Consider: As you ride, you are likely to go through stages that require more exertion at times, and, in turn, this will cause you to sweat more during some stretches than you will during others. It is crucial to be prepared for this because the sweat generated and not removed from your body will chill and ultimately bring your body temperature down. It is essential to consider as many variables as possible, including your cold tolerance: How long will you be riding? Will the sun be coming out mid-ride?
Picture this; the terrain ahead is primarily flat, with several hill climbs and multiple descents. Each variable can impact the ride differently, and the best you can do is be prepared. You will expend energy (and, in turn, create body heat and sweat) to climb, and you will chill down quickly on the upcoming descent. If your route includes these types of extremes, be prepared with a full-zip outer layer that blocks wind. A wind block jacket is lightweight and easily packable. These jackets are great when the temperatures are around the 60-degree mark. This way, you can unzip it for the climb and vent out as much sweat as you can before you zip it up partially or entirely on the downhill to keep yourself from chilling down too much. If the temperature is near freezing, you will have to reconsider the proper jacket to wear. We recommend a softshell-style jacket for an outer layer in these colder temperatures. Jackets and windbreakers work great to repel water and block wind, though they may not breathe as well as a mid-weight jersey.
An excellent foundation to layering is a moisture-wicking base-layer or long-sleeved jersey. The generated moisture will move away from the body, where it will have a chance to evaporate or vent rather than cool down against your skin. On top of this layer, you have a few options. Mid-weight long sleeve jerseys can be used as your outermost layer, depending on the conditions of the ride. To counteract this, make sure you choose a jacket with plenty of ventilation options, including a full-length front zipper and additional options like zippered armpits or a shoulder ventilation slot. These things give you more control over how much airflow you want to allow. Mid-weight jerseys generally aren't as strong against rain and wind, but they insulate and breathe exceptionally well. Pairing a long sleeve jersey with a base layer that is equally effective at moisture transport can be a good solution if you're not going to be in too much wind or rain.
We've all heard that so much heat loss occurs through our heads in cold weather, so it only makes sense to first target the area above the shoulders. Helmet liners and knitted beanies act as a soft, fleece barrier underneath your helmet that insulates your head and wicks away moisture that can then escape through your helmet vents. Alternatively, helmet covers add an extra layer outside your helmet to block wind and serve as a protective shell against cold air. There are various configurations of thermal headcovers that vary in the added warmth. We have neck warmers, headbands, balaclavas, and face protection. Neck warmers insulate from the wind and can be pulled up over the nose and face for added protection in icy cold weather. A commonly known myth is that you lose 40% of your heat through your head (quoted by the US Army based on research in the 1950s). The reality is that the most recent research-based analysis by the British Medical Journal is approximately 8% heat rate loss through the head. The ears, nose, and skin on the face cause the most discomfort in frigid conditions.
Additionally, balaclavas, ear covers, and other accessories can also simultaneously cover your face, nose, and mouth. Plus, balaclavas provide some additional flexibility and can expose your mouth and nose if you need some extra ventilation or if the temperature ticks up a bit mid-ride. Leg warmers are an excellent option for several reasons. The fleece inside line the leg warmers and block the wind, fold up easy mid-ride as the temperature warms, and, of course, they span the gap between your quads and your ankles to convert your favorite warm-weather shorts into a viable cold-weather option. Leg warmers accomplish all of this while also adding a welcome element of muscle compression to your extremities. Additional features like ankle zippers make putting the warmers on and taking them off easier. Other standard features include tag-less labels and silicone leg grippers that keep the warmers from sliding down during each pedal stroke. The wicking polyester/spandex blend transports moisture away from your body while insulating your skin. Whether you're bombing down a descent or fighting a headwind on level ground, your hands are front and center in the path of the wind and cold. Full finger gloves with windproof shells and fleece liners are helpful because they block the wind from the outside while also working to wick moisture and insulate from the inside. Depending on your climate and sensitivity, there are different styles to choose from that vary in thickness and insulation level. Cycling naturally relies on your bottom half for most of your power, but your feet don't necessarily benefit from that heat-generating motion the same way that your quads and calves do. If your feet get cold, wear shoe covers outside of the shoe and toe covers.
If you know that you'll be riding in cold weather, make sure to choose a pair of winter cycling gloves that will keep you warm and in control. Often these cycling gloves include fleece linings and insulating materials. There are a few cycling gloves choices, depending on how cold it is. Liner gloves insulate and wick moisture making liners a great first layer. The thermal gloves are often fleece and ideal for chilly weather. The warmest gloves have insulation and a windbreaker surface. In frigid weather, the entire glove needs to be windproof. The area around the thumb used for a wiper can leak cold air in freezing temperatures. When the weather is frigid, as soon as your fingers get cold, you might want to end your ride. To keep riding longer and feeling stronger, you will need the right winter glove for the outside temperature. Please make no mistake about it; a good pair of cycling gloves will undoubtedly give you a better biking experience and keep you safe, whether you're riding miles on paved roads or splashing through the mud on the side of a mountain.
Aero Tech Designs Shoe Covers worn inside the shoe, and your socks seek to ward off numbing chills and uncomfortable feet. Often made of neoprene or a polyester/spandex blend for insulation, they work to block wind and keep your feet warm. Additional elements like reflective features and easy on/off ankle zippers are standard features. To be most effective, you'll find that your combination of clothing may change somewhat from ride to ride, so be prepared for a bit of trial and error. The important thing is to listen to your body and be prepared to add and remove layers as you ride. Many items (gloves, warmers, shoe covers, some windbreakers) can be packed small enough to fit in a rear jersey pocket. If you don't like that approach, small panniers, rear rack bags, and handlebar bags are unobtrusive and can be used to stash away some of your "just in case" items. We also recommend keeping the "10 Minute Rule" in mind while riding in the cold. It's no surprise that your system can get quite a shock from stepping outside decked out in technical fabrics like polyester, nylon, and spandex, but do yourself a favor and ride for 10 minutes before adding any layers. You don't want to be overdressed to the point that you start sweating quickly into your ride. Try dressing in a way that will be comfortable after that initial shock wears off. You may feel slightly under-dressed at first, but don't forget that you're going from zero movement indoors to exertion outside in the cold. If you still feel cold and under-dressed after 10 minutes, re-evaluate your clothing and stop for a minute to add the necessary items. Perhaps something as simple as a helmet liner or thicker glove is all you need.
Don't tuck the bike away just yet. Here are some tips and tricks from our wintertime riding expert at Aero Tech Designs. Hopefully, you can get out this winter and have some fun on two wheels!
These are the best way to keep the training in your comfort zone. With a trainer (sometimes called a turbo trainer) or rollers, you can set up your favorite movie or cycling video. We like to watch cycling events on the trainer. It helps to stoke the fire for the next season, and you can pick up great tips. Deciding between rollers or riding the trainer is a personal preference. Some riders prefer the read road feel of the rollers and the mental engagement required. Rollers can be harder to perform sprints or hard force efforts unless you have a unit that offers resistance or a fork stand. On the other hand, the turbo trainer requires little mental concentration but can lack the feel of riding a bicycle. The trainer allows you to zone out and get a good workout while watching a show or listening to music. Another benefit is the stability and resistance of most trainers. This stability is excellent for sprints and strenuous efforts. The rider can concentrate on the workout instead of staying on the rollers.
We've all seen it; an instructor with a headset on barking orders at sweating, pain-faced riders. Welcome to spin class. A spin class is a perfect way to keep your riding fitness through the winter and work different muscle groups. The condensed format of a spin class makes it ideal for someone who wants to get a great workout in a small amount of time. Spin classes mimic the efforts of cycling and even offer the feeling of real-world riding. SPD compatible pedals help with adding to the real-world effect. If you haven't tried a spin class, we highly recommend it. Just come prepared with some water, a towel, and be ready to work out!
It's not like we stay inside our houses all winter, right? So why can't we add some extra layers and get outside and ride? Right! Having the correct gear can turn your winter frown upside-down. Remember to layer appropriately and dress for the occasion; wear windproof garments if you're hitting the road for a ride. Headwinds on the road can be downright painful without ear and face protection. If you're in the woods, you will be ready for slush and mud. Wearing waterproof shoe covers and gaiters is a great way to keep your feet warm and dry. Fleece can be better than windproof gear in the woods because you're not encountering many headwinds, and you can overheat quickly on climbs and hike-a-bike sections. Always remember to carry chemical hand warmers just in case!
A Fat Bike is an excellent choice for enjoying the winter weather. Fat bikes, for those unfamiliar, are bicycles with 4-5 inch tires designed for snow and sand. Fat bikes can be seen all over the trails, not just in the wintertime, and that's what is so great about riding one. Just take a few pedal strokes, and we guarantee you'll have a smile on your face. You'll be looking for the closest trails. Be prepared for a workout since fat bikes can tip the scales at 20-30 plus pounds.