Winter riding in Texas is a pretty hilarious ordeal. No one I ride with has matching winter gear, and practically every ride consists of items pieced together in a sort of Texas winter hodge-podge. The fact is, we don’t have a ton of bitter cold days here, so few people are willing to invest in proper winter gear. We’d rather use Ziploc bags over our socks and newspaper beneath our jerseys.
“I mean, it’s gonna be like 70 degrees tomorrow.”
I can certainly relate. Cycling is an expensive hobby to begin with and it’s hard to justify a $280 jacket that will be worn 5-10 times a year. That’s what makes winter gear such a great gift. It fits perfectly into the, something that I could really use but can’t completely justify category.
Listed below are a few key pieces of kit to keep you on the road in style this winter. Almost all of these pieces are packable, which is a great feature for the mid ride temperature swings Texas is infamous for. These are all proven best sellers that we currently stock and will last for years.
Winter Base Layer: We think that Craft makes the best winter base layer. The Active Extreme Top hits that perfect balance of warmth and wicking.
Long Sleeve Jersey: Of course I’m partially to our MJ branded long sleeve jersey, but any fleece lined jersey with a heavy duty zipper will work really well.
Windproof Vest: A wind vest is such a versatile piece of winter gear. Make sure to get something that features a windproof front and three pocket rear. I also look for a heavy duty zipper and a bit of fleece. If it gets too warm, simply unzip or stow in your cycling jersey
Leg or knee warmers: Again, a great piece for Texas. It doesn’t make sense to invest in $200 knickers or bib tights when a high quality pair of leg or knee warmers will fit beneath your existing shorts and will cost around $50
Gloves: Don’t underestimate the power of the lobster claw! The Louis Garneau Super Prestige glove can convert from a regular 5 finger glove to a lobster claw while on the bike. This is a great, versatile piece of kit. It’s the contact points that can ruin your day and a nice glove can actually make winter riding enjoyable.
Shoe Covers: Just like gloves, shoe covers are so important. The extremities get the least amount of blood flow and always seem to get cold first. I recently discovered these water and windproof shoecovers from Pearl (pictured below) and am a big fan. This is a great product.
Hat: They say something like 70% of your body heat is lost from your head. What they don’t mention is that 100% of the pain you feel while riding is cold weather comes from your ears. Look for a hat that will cover these, yet is thin enough to fit beneath your helmet.
Embro: Not for everyone, but I believe that a thin layer of embrocation (essentially a topical warming rub) is the best part of winter riding. A high quality embro, like our custom stuff made by Mad Alchemy can protect the skin from the wind and provide a gentle heat while you ride. Rule of thumb with this stuff is to start with the mild and work your way up. Embro can be fairly unforgiving if it’s too hot.