Winter weather wear

by Verita Stewart


I’ve found myself compulsively checking my weather app lately. Melbourne has been less than impressive in the weather department – rainy, cold and generally just miserable. But, we still have to go out and get our training done, right?

Generally if it is raining when I’m supposed to leave the house, I get on the trainer instead. But, for those cold and miserable mornings when I don’t have rain as an excuse, I subscribe to the “there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” camp. If you are wearing the right clothing for the weather conditions, you should never be too cold or too wet or (subsequently) too grumpy.

The trick is to wear layers. Here are some of my top clothing combos for different weather scenarios:

1. It is raining, but you are going to tough it out.

You are committed to your training, and you won’t let a little rain get you down. You have decided to adopt the “skin is waterproof” philosophy.

What to wear:

  • Cap
  • Waterproof shoe covers
  • Merino socks
  • Knicks and leg warmers OR long (roubaix) knicks
  • Long sleeve jersey
  • Rain jacket
  • Waterproof gloves.

2. It is not raining yet, but there’s a 95 percent chance of rain in the next two hours. You may get wet.

You’re rolling the dice, let’s hope the meteorologists have got it wrong. It has happened once before.

What to wear:

  • Cap
  • Waterproof shoe covers
  • Merino socks
  • Knicks and leg warmers OR long (roubaix) knicks,
  • Long sleeve jersey
  • Waterproof gloves
  • In your pocket: rain jacket

3. It is freaking cold. We’re talking in the minus degrees.

It’s time to have some concrete for breakfast and put on everything you own.

What to wear:

  • Over socks
  • Merino socks
  • Buff and/or head band
  • Thick gloves
  • Merino undershirt
  • Long (roubaix) knicks OR knicks and leg warmers
  • Long sleeve jersey OR a jersey and arm warmers
  • Winter jacket
  • In your pocket: extra set of gloves or liners, extra wind jacket for the cafe

4. It is cold now, but the temperature will warm up (relatively) while you are out riding.

Don’t let the initial cold shock deter you, the weather gods are on your side and you have warmth to look forward to.

What to wear:

  • Over socks
  • Socks (merino optional)
  • Knicks with knee warmers or embo (just knicks if you’re tough)
  • Merino undershirt
  • Short sleeve jersey with arm warmers
  • Gilet
  • Light gloves
  • Option: carry a think wind jacket for the cafe or easy spin home

5. It is going to be a cold day, and you will be climbing and descending.

If your program says “eat hills for breakfast,” be prepared to alternate between overheating and being cold, which means adding and removing layers regularly.

What to wear:

  • Buff
  • Over socks
  • Merino socks
  • Knicks with knee warmers or embo (just knicks if you’re tough)
  • Merino undershirt
  • Short sleeve jersey with arm warmers
  • Gilet
  • Light gloves
  • In your pocket: wind jacket for descending.

6. It is cold, and you will be doing efforts or a hard ride where you will heat up.

Don’t panic when you check the weather app and overdress because you will be regretting your clothing choices when you’re rolling turns in a fast bunch.

What to wear:

  • Over socks
  • Regular socks
  • Light gloves
  • Long sleeve jersey
  • Gilet
  • Knicks and knee warmers.

7. It is cold, and you are doing a group recovery ride where you may get cold sitting in.

This is for the easy days when you know you won’t be working hard and likely to be sitting at the cafe for an extended period of time.

What to wear:

  • Over socks
  • Knicks with knee warmers or embo (just knicks if you’re tough)
  • Merino undershirt
  • Long sleeve jersey OR short sleeve jersey with arm warmers
  • Gilet
  • Light gloves
  • Rain/wind jacket in your pocket for the cafe.

8. It’s going to hail, snow, thunderstorm.

Dust off the indoor trainer, do a session, then huddle by the open fire with a recovery drink of choice.

Bonus! – Pro Tips

  1. If it is really cold, put embrocation on your toes and fingers. Remember to do this after applying chamois cream and remove before you get in the shower.
  2. Attach an Ass Saver or fender to your road bike to prevent splash back.
  3. If you don’t have glove liners, use a pair of dishwashing/rubber gloves underneath your regular gloves to make them waterproof.
  4. Put hot water in your bidon.
  5. You can use a newspaper as a wind stopper. Buy it out on the road so you don’t have to carry it for your entire ride, and shove it down your jersey as you are about to descend.

If you are wearing the right gear for the conditions, you shouldn’t come unstuck. Go out and invest in some high quality gear. There is nothing better than putting on a brand new long sleeve jersey, merino socks and undershirt or roubaix-lined knicks to give you some winter motivation.

Warning: These combos may not stop the “I can’t feel my hands/toes/nose” but are simply a preventative suggestion. These are cured by wrapping your hands around hot coffee and then a hot shower.

About the author

The tagline to Verita Stewart’s personal blog reads: “Not a professional cyclist, yet” and it’s the “yet” that’s most telling. Verita is a Melbourne-based cyclist riding for Specialized Securitor. New to the sport, she’s quickly made the jump from commuting to recreational riding to racing.

She now juggles full-time work with full-time NRS racing and hopes to make the leap to the big-leagues sometime soon. Verita is full of stories and smiles and snark – and will bring all three to you on Ella. Follow Verita on twitter and instagram and strava.

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