There are two types of weather in cycling circles. Good cycling weather and bad cycling weather. In this article, I would like to say a few words about the last one.
For many, cycling is a good old-fashioned sport or a great mode of transportation. But there is a thin layer of people, who do not let the bike rest with the arrival of the first autumn storm. They also drive through the beautiful autumn and winter seasons.
Whether it is fanaticism, addiction, or even the love of nature, doing sports or freedom, it does not matter in this case. The line between madness and genius is usually very thin.
As the summer sunlight fades away, the cyclist´s clothing grows longer and thicker like the duration of the night time changes.
Dressing mostly depends on the person, I just only want to share my own experiences.
As a rule of thumb at a temperature drop of 5 °C one extra layer should be calculated.
We take 20 °C as a starting point. General summer set contains short cycling jersey, shorts, summer shoes, and short gloves.
At 15 ° C the arm warmer and the knee / foot warmer are coming handy. These are very useful accessories. For example the arm warmer can replace a long-sleeved jersey. And if you feel yourself too warm, you can take it off with a few moves. The same is true for the knee / leg warmer.
At 10 ° C the arm warmer alone is not enough. In this case, you should dig out the thicker cloths from the deepest sides of the cabinet. As the wind blows colder and colder, a wind vest / jacket can be a kidney / other organ saver. Depending on your individual blood temperature, the scarf / cap will be placed also on the head. To mention the bottom body, a legwarmer will be placed above the first layer. The overshoes help to maintain the temprature in your foot area longer.
5 ° C requires a dress that is strongly winterlike. Wearing a winter windbreaker (albeit less ventilated) jacket is already required. Underneath it is advisable to wear a thicker short / long-sleeved undergarment for the sweat. The purpose of these is not to warm you up, but to avoid the cold caused by the sauna effect. The underwears on the legs is now covered with long-legged winter cycling shorts. The shoes have also changed. Instead of filigree summer shoes, the winter shoes also protect the ankles. Due to the lenght of days, you should wear more reflective clothes. Helmet cover, visibility vest, different lamps, etc.
The frost limit is not only indicates the freezing point of water. This is pretty much the point where the enjoyment value of cycling also reduces.
Of course this does not scares our persistent cyclist from training away. The kilometers are passing slower, the summer strength is only an old memory somewhere in the mind. The sun does not show itself for weeks. The living space of the cyclist narrows, the landscape disappears in the endless darkness. It is only the plume of a lamp that accompanies the cyclist. At the end of the road, he gets off the bike with frozen limbs and frozen hams. He had left only one motivation: a hot shower. And after the thawing time, his mind already plans the next cycling route.
Below 5 ° C wearing a face mask is highly recommended. It’s not a pleasant feeling when a person’s facial muscles thaw for hours after a ride. All wrapped up, you can’t breathe and see at the same time. Due to the cold air, goggles with clear lenses should be worn to protect the eyes. Unfortunately the nose has to tolerate cold air.
Below 0 ° C the answer to the question of what to wear is pretty straightforward. Earlier I went for a ride in 4 layers of clothes from top to bottom. That amount of clothes prevent you to cycle efficiently, but you can´t really do anything with it. Difficult movement or knee surgery in the future. Which one sounds better? In my topform of 2016 I started cycling on a cold Saturday morning and after 10 min I came to the conclusion that the ice on the road does not allow cycling. I went back, changed clothes, pulled up running shoes, and did a running workout instead of cycling.
Winter cycling not only covers a person’s daily need for exercise, but also helps the body to self-cleanse / detoxify. Go for a ride under 5 °C. So many snot will come out of you body like you would have got a cold. Sweating during movements can be used for health purposes too. If you just want to take a sauna, it is enough to put on 1-2 extra clothes and choose a sunny afternoon for a ride. You can experience the effects of sauna completely free of charge.
It follows from the above that the costs of winter cycling is high. Bicycle parts suffer more in winterlike conditions. Gears wear out faster, bowden housings get rusty, the chain stretches, brake pads run out, and punctures are more common. A good mud guard can help keep the frame and your clothing clean. Washing cycles are also more common at home. Often a bike workout doesn’t end with parking your bike. Work continues in the apartment. Washing, cleaning, drying. After a muddy entertainment, the cleaning procedure often lasts longer than the actual ride.
In addition to the increased costs of maintaining the bike, the cost of winter clothing should sum up too. Winter shoes 100 / pair, underwear 17 / pc, winter jacket 70 / pc, long-sleeved polar jersey 70 / pc, hat / scarf 10 / pc, gloves 10 / pc, winter pants 10-100 / pc, knee / foot warmer 17 / pc pcs, lamp 25 / pcs. The price of a set is 170-400 $. And it is better to have at least 2 sets… And these clothes will wear out in a few years and you need to buy new ones.
It is certainly much cheaper to buy an exercise bike and train at home. No extra clothes needed, just a few accessories. You will have more safety (no ice, cars, or darkness). It is harder to catch a cold. On the other hand, if anyone ever had an indoor training knows that the feeling is not the same. The environment does not change, there is no wind. You don’t have the feeling of freedom that you have on a countryside road.