The Article I Hate to Write: Cold Weather Cycling Tips

Geez. Is it that time of year again? Cold weather is so few and far between in Los Angeles that it’s difficult to really commit to it.

Do you really want to spend hundreds of dollars on clothing for just a few weeks out of the year? That’s about as rhetorical as I can get.

Factor in that by late morning, it gets warm enough you could shed two layers of clothing, finding a happy medium is ColdWeatherCyclingtough since you don’t want to carry all that gear.

Like you, I’m always figuring it out because whatever I learn about handling the cold, I tend to forget ten months later. Here are some notes for the ill prepared:

  • Lay your clothes out the night before. With so many moving pieces, it’s sometimes is hard to keep track of everything, let alone finding it. The added bonus is half my cold weather gear is outside, so leaving it indoors has it warm and ready when I’m good to go.
  • Surgical gloves. I have a set of thermal gloves, but in most of my rides, I’m already dripping halfway in. The trick with the surgical gloves is to double layer them over your regular gloves, as one layer does nothing. Like the thermals, you’ll start to drip in them at some point, so timing it right is a science.
  • When buying a helmet, always make sure there’s room to wear something underneath. My first helmet gave me headaches when I tried wearing a beanie. Lesson learned. In terms of headwear, I tend to go with a cycling cap most of the time because it serves a happy medium to staying warm.
  • Wool socks are great, but I try to avoid them for long rides. My shoes are tight enough that stuffing a little extra sock in there for an extended period starts to foil my mechanics. Investing in toe clips or booties are a wise choice, but I wouldn’t go all out on them. This isn’t Minnesota.
  • When you’re on the fence for picking out your outfit for the day, don’t be afraid to go warmer. Part of the key is to dress in many light layers. Even if you have to shed a good amount of them, there’s always room to stuff them in your shirt if your pockets fill up.
  • Don’t invest in cycling knickers or long pants. It’s functional enough to buy tights to go underneath your regular cycling gear instead of paying $200 for a good pair of pants. Half of my undergarments are from Marshals of the $20 variety. That’s money in MY pocket.

These are some shotgun tips that are my go tos, other than to suggest moving to Australia for this portion of the year. If you have any ideas, share them below.