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.
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.
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