What to wear on outdoor rides

If you are a cyclist you are also an “expert” in reading detailed weather forecasts (wind speed, direction, chill, temperature, dew point…) However, it is not always easy or intuitive to decide what to wear for a ride. Very often I see athletes dressing too warmly in gear that cannot be easily shed as the temperature rises. Or maybe not dressing warmly enough.

Layers are the way to go

It can be a lot of pieces to put on, but wearing layers will guarantee a quick change as the temperature changes. Unless it is very cold (35F and below), and you know the temperature won’t go up much during your ride, you should opt for arm warmers and leg/knee warmers instead of full length jerseys and tights.

Invest in a windbreaker, rain coat/shell, and a vest that can be folded into a small “ball” that you can carry in your jersey pocket. That way you can take it off/put it on as needed. Even gloves can be layered. Assos makes an outer shell, lobster-claw glove that is perfect to wear over long or even short fingered gloves and won’t take much space in your pocket. Thick wool socks are very important for cold weather, and won’t overheat your feet if the temperature rises a little.

Summer gear

In the summer you won’t be wearing much more than a thin baselayer (maybe), short sleeves jersey and cycling shorts or bibs. You might still need to bring along a waterproof shell in case it rains or you need extra warmth during a long descent.

Be careful with the very thin summer jerseys – you can can still get sun burn when wearing them! It’s a good idea to wear sunscreen underneath those.

What to Wear Table

The “cheat sheet” below provides suggestions of what to wear depending on a range of temperatures and weather conditions. It is not meant to be perfect for everyone, but it should work for most people.

[table id=2 /]

What to Wear Cycling App

There is a great iPhone app I use when in doubt.  It’s called “What to Wear Cycling” and can be found by going to this link:  http://www.whattowearcycling.com/ Check our their FAQ’s before downloading.

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Theia is a licensed professional USA Cycling Level 3 coach with Vision Quest, and coaches athletes from all over the country. A life-long lover of all forms of exercise and dance, she became a certified ballet instructor shortly before entering law school, and discovered her passion for cycling when she got her first road bike from her husband Drew on their wedding anniversary. Theia is also an active member of the cycling community in Zwift, and leads a ladies’ race series for Team ODZ and weekly workouts for Zwift Academy. In addition to coaching, Theia can be found enjoying daily rides and participating in races, long endurance events, and cycling camps.