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PRO INSIGHT

What to Wear In The Coldest Conditions

Pro Insight - What to Wear In The Coldest Conditions


Winter means many things to the cyclist. It can mean dark commutes. It can mean mudguards on wet rides. It can mean waterproofs. With a little adaptation though, it’s possible to overcome - and riding in extreme cold is no different.


Winter means many things to the cyclist. It can mean dark commutes. It can mean mudguards on wet rides. It can mean waterproofs. With a little adaptation though, it’s possible to overcome - and riding in extreme cold is no different.

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One thing you’ll hear everywhere is the importance of layering, but it’s not as simple as you might think. Chucking on 7 layers simply isn’t the right approach - it’s about selecting the layers that offer the most protection and wearing them in the right order to help them perform at their best.

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One thing you’ll hear everywhere is the importance of layering, but it’s not as simple as you might think. Chucking on 7 layers simply isn’t the right approach - it’s about selecting the layers that offer the most protection and wearing them in the right order to help them perform at their best.

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Keeping your core warm

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That first layer sits next to your skin, and this should provide you with the immediate insulative protection in cold weather. Most commonly, this means a thermal base layer - designed to trap heat generated by the body, it is this element that actually keeps you warm. A quality base layer should be able to keep that warm air next to your skin, whilst offering breathability, allowing you to put down winning efforts in sprints and intense bursts.

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Keeping your core warm

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That first layer sits next to your skin, and this should provide you with the immediate insulative protection in cold weather. Most commonly, this means a thermal base layer - designed to trap heat generated by the body, it is this element that actually keeps you warm. A quality base layer should be able to keep that warm air next to your skin, whilst offering breathability, allowing you to put down winning efforts in sprints and intense bursts.

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If you’re venturing out in temperatures hovering around 0 or even dipping below, the next layer will still need some thermal backing to make sure that there’s a sufficient level of insulation. Within the Le Col Range, this is where we would often refer you to a Jacket such as our HC or Sport offerings.

With Windproof fronts, you can ride into a chill easterly with confidence that you won’t be cold. Coupled with a base layer beneath, extremities like your arms don’t need to do much to maintain their temperature whilst you’re moving. Final touches like a high collar keep out bluster and help you stay warm.

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If you’re venturing out in temperatures hovering around 0 or even dipping below, the next layer will still need some thermal backing to make sure that there’s a sufficient level of insulation. Within the Le Col Range, this is where we would often refer you to a Jacket such as our HC or Sport offerings.

With Windproof fronts, you can ride into a chill easterly with confidence that you won’t be cold. Coupled with a base layer beneath, extremities like your arms don’t need to do much to maintain their temperature whilst you’re moving. Final touches like a high collar keep out bluster and help you stay warm.
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Legs in motion save you commotion

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For cold weather on a bike, it’s generally considered that in the coldest temperatures, you’re best off opting for Bib Tights. The best offer windproofing and even a little water repellency, helping keep freezing rain at bay.

Alternatively, another consideration to make are thermally lined bib shorts paired with leg warmers. Our own Therma Bib Shorts were made for combating extreme cold on the bike, and when paired with our Leg Warmers provide a level of protection equal to that of our bib tights.

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Legs in motion save you commotion

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For cold weather on a bike, it’s generally considered that in the coldest temperatures, you’re best off opting for Bib Tights. The best offer windproofing and even a little water repellency, helping keep freezing rain at bay.

Alternatively, another consideration to make are thermally lined bib shorts paired with leg warmers. Our own Therma Bib Shorts were made for combating extreme cold on the bike, and when paired with our Leg Warmers provide a level of protection equal to that of our bib tights.

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Protect your toes or ask for tows

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With regards to feet, unless you’re going to resort to a pair of winter specific cycling shoes, you’re going to need to invest in a pair of woolly socks. These will work well within the shoe to keep you warm, but the real winning move is to cover them with a windproof overshoe.

This helps plug the ventilation channels in your shoes, whilst also allowing you to trap a layer of warm air around your feet. Our Windtex Overshoes are ideal in this instance as they’re also water repellent, allowing you to blast through puddles without too much concern.

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Protect your toes or ask for tows

Good gloves help
you stay in touch

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You’ll hear much about gloves among cyclists. The broad consensus is that a thin liner glove matched with a thicker glove with greater protection is a winning combination, and whilst that does work, it does leave you with little in the way of dexterity.

The wisdom on this is gradually evolving. Yes - the double glove option is still a winner, but increasingly there’s a move towards keeping your hands warm by keeping them wet. This is what Neoprene Gloves do. They trap your heat and insulate to such a degree that there’s very little breathability - meaning that you have an entirely sealed experience. This is not something commonly touted as a positive in cycling, but in deep winter conditions, this design allows you to ride onwards in downpours as well as big chills with minimal disruption to your feel and control on the handlebars.

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With regards to feet, unless you’re going to resort to a pair of winter specific cycling shoes, you’re going to need to invest in a pair of woolly socks. These will work well within the shoe to keep you warm, but the real winning move is to cover them with a windproof overshoe.

This helps plug the ventilation channels in your shoes, whilst also allowing you to trap a layer of warm air around your feet. Our Windtex Overshoes are ideal in this instance as they’re also water repellent, allowing you to blast through puddles without too much concern.

_

Good gloves help
you stay in touch

_

You’ll hear much about gloves among cyclists. The broad consensus is that a thin liner glove matched with a thicker glove with greater protection is a winning combination, and whilst that does work, it does leave you with little in the way of dexterity.

The wisdom on this is gradually evolving. Yes - the double glove option is still a winner, but increasingly there’s a move towards keeping your hands warm by keeping them wet. This is what Neoprene Gloves do. They trap your heat and insulate to such a degree that there’s very little breathability - meaning that you have an entirely sealed experience. This is not something commonly touted as a positive in cycling, but in deep winter conditions, this design allows you to ride onwards in downpours as well as big chills with minimal disruption to your feel and control on the handlebars.

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Heading out?

Rounding Up?

In summary, goal setting should be taken seriously, it is not just about cycling or sport, it is about your relationship with your potential in any walk of life and how much you really want to reach. It is a personal journey framed by markers, some intentional and other random and out of your control. All sit within a structure for you to get to know yourself better and ultimately work towards what you really want.

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To get the best out of yourself, every single session is important. When I was goal setting, I used to view early season training as the training that meant when the time came to train hard, I was fit enough to assimilate as much as possible. In short, the goal of my early season training was to allow my body to take all that work load on and move me forward.

 

A long way out from our objectives it is easy to be more relaxed about what we are doing like it is less important. This just isn't true. It is all equally important! A little more emphasis on early season training will help you counter the a more complacent approach in those training rides and help you meet your goals later in the season.

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No extreme cold kit list is complete without a skull cap. We often buy our helmets on the merit of their ventilation or breathability, yet we often fail to consider that in winter, this just sees us channel cold air straight to our heads. A skull cap is that critical layer that stops that chill factor. Tucking your ears away from the air and keeping a low profile under your helmet, this is a technical item in the cyclist’s arsenal.

Matched with, or often replacing the need for a skull cap, a Neck Warmer if folded correctly can offer similar protection, but is largely used to border the area between the Jersey collar and your Skull Cap. Often thin, but fantastic protection for your face against the cold, we’d strongly recommend one on any winter ride.

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Heading Out...

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No extreme cold kit list is complete without a skull cap. We often buy our helmets on the merit of their ventilation or breathability, yet we often fail to consider that in winter, this just sees us channel cold air straight to our heads. A skull cap is that critical layer that stops that chill factor. Tucking your ears away from the air and keeping a low profile under your helmet, this is a technical item in the cyclist’s arsenal.

Matched with, or often replacing the need for a skull cap, a Neck Warmer if folded correctly can offer similar protection, but is largely used to border the area between the Jersey collar and your Skull Cap. Often thin, but fantastic protection for your face against the cold, we’d strongly recommend one on any winter ride.

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So, if you're planning a ride in the depths of winter, there's no reason to suffer through it. With the right kit, riding in the harshest of conditions can offer you some of the most rewarding views and quietest roads of the entire year, and will set you in good stead for when the summer finally rolls around.

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Thanks for reading
and enjoy the ride...

Thanks for reading

and enjoy the ride,

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To stay motivated and committed it is important to recognize progress. Sometimes this takes a bit of discipline - it's easy to get carried away on the next goal or target, but to create sustainable progress, you need to take a deep breath sometimes and let yourself feel good about how far you've come.

If you don’t recognize how far you've come it is possible to over-reach psychologically. Equally try to avoid rewards that counter the progress you have made, like too much cake. Set markers and accept failures as lessons and opportunities that instigate a better understanding.

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"Recognise your progress, and relish it..."