What gear’s best for cycling in freezing temps?
I looking for some really good cold/freezing-weather cycling gear. All the gear makers have clothing that is supposed to be super warm, but which one's garments are the warmest and most affordable? I heard Pearl Izumi makes some of the best cold-weather gear. Is that true? What actual bib/tights and jacket would you suggest? Ian Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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You’re right, Ian—lots of makers turn out good, warm clothing that works well for cold-weather bicycling. So it’s really a matter of trying several combinations to see what works. Plus there’s this: Cycling is really hard to dress for in cold weather, particularly if you’re riding hilly terrain. Because you’re working hard going uphill and then easing off as you descend at high speed, the wind chill is a factor with which you’ll have to contend.
So the key component to any cold-weather get up is a wicking layer that’ll keep the sweat off your skin, then a wind shell that can offer ventilation as needed. Pearl Izumi does indeed make very good stuff, but there are plenty of other options.
For a day around freezing, here’s what I’ll typically wear:
Naturally, you’ll also need good gloves, a pair like Cannondale’s Wind Shredders ($40; www.cannondale.com); shoe covers, such as Descente Element shoe covers ($40; www.performancebike.com); and perhaps a hat to wear under your helmet, such as a Garneau Thermo Fusion Hat ($20).
Read “The Essential Road Cyclist” from Outside‘s 2004 Buyer’s Guide for more top-of-the-line biking threads.