Cyclist’s Guide to Layering

Holowesko Citadel Racing Team

Choosing the best garments to dress for the weather

Dressing appropriately for the weather can sometimes be a guessing game—especially if it’s anything like this current winter, when temperatures fluctuate 20 degrees or more from day to day. That’s where layers can help. The beauty of layers is that you can start heavy and peel off pieces as your body—or the weather—warms up. Or, when it’s especially cold, layers are beneficial for keeping the body heat in. Rainy day? Well-made layers will keep the rain from reaching your skin and can also pull moisture away from your body.

Base layers

A Baselayer is arguably the most important layer, as it can wick moisture away from your body and ensure you stay warm.

The best baselayers are made of merino wool, which is naturally anti-bacterial and odor resistant (baselayers can get pretty gross pretty quickly). Wool baselayers are also softer on the skin than polyester blends. But worse than polyester is cotton, which will simply soak up your sweat and then remain cold and wet against your torso.

Base layers

Then comes your jersey, which will insulate your body and wick away moisture. Depending upon the temperature, you may prefer arm warmers paired with a short-sleeved jersey or leg warmers with your bib shorts, which allow you the option of peeling off the warmers if the weather gets warmer. On colder days, go with a long-sleeved jersey for the added warmth.

Base layers

Last, if the clouds are hovering or the wind is blowing, you’ll want to add an outer shell in the form of a jacket or vest that will resist the wind and water. It’s most helpful if these outer layers are easily packable so you can put them in the back pocket of your jersey, should the sun come out in full force.

If you’re still unsure about how to dress, the best rule of thumb is to wear more than you think you’ll need. You can always take off layers along the ride, but no amount of deep breathing or positive thinking will help you if your arms are uncovered and the rain clouds pour down on you.