An outfit for all seasons

By the Bicycle Times staff

How do you dress for a ride? This question is more complex than it may seem at first. But with the aim of helping you answer it for yourself, here we present a collection of clothing reviews, along with some advice on how to combine pieces for different outfits to match different conditions. The reviews are loosely arranged in outfits according to the weather in which you’d wear them, going from warmer to cooler. We also present some “Extras to Consider” with each outfit, things you may want to bring along in a bag to be prepared for changes in temperature or to accommodate different needs.

First off, it must be said that dressing to ride, even aside from taste in fashion, is a highly personal matter. Your comfort zone in terms of temperature can vary quite a bit. You also may have certain preferences that others don’t share. For instance, anytime it gets below 60°, Justin likes to protect his knees from getting chilled, while for me, it’s my ears that need to be covered to prevent a headache. Some prefer padded shorts anytime they sit on a saddle, while for others, padding is optional for shorter rides.

These preferences can take quite a while to sort out, and can change as your riding style changes. Your best bet is to experiment and see what works for you. In any case, one bit of advice that holds true for most people is that it’s a good idea to dress to be slightly on the chilly side when you start out (if possible), as you’ll warm up some once you get going. How much you warm up depends greatly on how hard you’ll be working and how far you’ll be traveling. It’s also generally a good idea to dress in layers to allow for adjustments—it may get warmer as the sun rises, or you may find yourself climbing up into colder altitudes, or you might catch up to a much faster buddy and sweat more than you intended.

One thing you’ll notice is that wool is featured prominently in these reviews. As we’ve gained experience dressing for different riding situations, so too have we gained an appreciation for this natural wonder material in all conditions. Why? There are a multitude of reasons: wool is naturally anti-bacterial, so that it doesn’t hold stink as much as synthetics, and in fact can go quite a while between washings. The crinkly structure of wool fiber holds heat in better than most materials, even when wet, yet wool breathes well and wicks sweat away from your skin, keeping you comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. Wool used to have an itchy, scratchy reputation, but modern fabrics, in particular those using wool from the Merino variety of sheep, have a fine fiber structure that feels soft against your skin. Sheep know—they can wear their wool from the hot, dry desert to the wet, cold mountains and stay comfortable. Just be sure to care for your wool garments according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and they should last you for many happy years of pedaling.

Above all, the next time you look out your window and see weather that makes you think twice before getting on your bike, remember the Scandinavian proverb: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”

What we’re wearing

Click on each outfit to read about it as it becomes available.

Outfit #1

For the ladies

Outfit #2

Lookin’ sharp

Outfit #3

Cool and comfortable

Outfit #4

Cool days, hot looks

Outfit #5

Warm and dry

Outfit #6

Winter Wonderland

Keep reading

This article originally appeared in Bicycle Times Issue #10. You can purchase a copy of this issue in our online store, or order a subscription and never miss an issue.

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