As Shrek was finally able to convince Donkey, Ogres are like onions, because they both have layers. What you see on the outside is not all there is to them. When gearing up for outdoor riding in the cold, you also want to be like an onion by dressing in layers.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be discussing winter riding gear categorically. I’ll discuss base layers, outerwear, and covers for your extremities. Though somewhat subjective, I’ll also break these down into various temperature ranges demonstrating the versatility that can come from a minimum amount of gear purchases. With the right base layers, you can actually make your favorite summer jersey last well into the cool-weather days. A light long-sleeve jersey by itself can be perfect for 40 to 50 degree rides, but paired with the right base layer it can keep you comfortable to near freezing conditions or just below. Also you’ll learn how, by shopping around, you can find a single pair of gloves good for 30 to 50 degree days and also for days with the temperature well below freezing. Have a favorite pair of summer bibs? Don’t put them away this winter. Cover them with the right pair of non-padded tights and keep riding with them.
When I decided to supplement my winter riding gear last year, I was overwhelmed by the amount of gear out there. I saw light base layers, medium base layers, heavy base layers, wind-proof base layers, light gloves, wind and water-proof gloves, expedition gloves, beanies, ear covers, full face masks, toe covers, shoe covers, winter specific shoes, wool socks, synthetic socks, windblock socks, tights, thermal bibs, thermal jerseys, windstopper jerseys, jerseys that seemed to really be jackets, rain jackets, wind jackets, thermal jackets, an so on. With several brands and varieties of each of these types, the options were innumerable. Because of this dizzying array of choices, it took me months to finally decide what I wanted. Therefore, I really want to at least provide a starting point for you based on my experience. In addition, because there is just so much out there, it would be impossible for me to even discuss a small percentage of what’s available. To help us all out, I encourage these gear discussions to be an open forum where you can comment below the postings on your gear and what you’ve found that works for you and what doesn’t. Together, we can all help each other make informed purchases and hopefully prevent one another from wasting our time and, more importantly, our money.
I look forward to it.