Everyone of us knows, that in cycling, layering your clothing is key. In Germany this is called the “onion-principle”.
What to wear is as much a personal thing as your maximum heart rate. You have to find it out yourself. But there are a few key rules that apply to every cyclist.
1. Pay attention to your core
If your core stays warm, everything else on your body will be warm too. Your blood get’s heated in your core and when it comes cold out there, it will also be cold in your feet.
2. Always have a layer in reserve
Yeah, on a hot 35°C summer day, you might break this rule. But, if the temperature goes down under 20°C it’s easier to get too cold than too warm.
3. If you get wet substract 10°C
Wetness is the worst enemy fo a cyclist. Together with wind, it will cool your body so much down, that it needs way more energy to heaten up again. Energy, which you can not use for riding. I experienced, that in wet weather my clothing should meet conditions for a 10°C cooler day. So if it’s 8°C outside, but it’s raining, I dress for cycling in -2°C.
4. Windproof beats waterproof
To say it simple: Windproof is still a breathable garment, whereas waterproof most of the time is not. So when it rains you will get wet, if not from the rain, then from your own sweat inside your waterproof. If you take into account that rainshowers usually doesn’t last that long, you will be far more comfy with a windproof layer. The principle here is: You won’t get cold from the rain. It’s the wind, that cools you down.
5. The “boil in the bag” is your emergency exit
This is somewhat of an emergency trick: I usually have a thin plastic trash bag and also thin plastic gloves in my bag. You get these on a gas station. If the weather gets to the extremes – and I mean really hefty rain in temperatures round about 6°C – I pull the bag over my core and get into the gloves. This traps air around my body, which will heat up after a few moments and at least gets me home. To put that into perspective: This only happend once in the last five years.
How do you stay warm in winter?