FLAB'S GUIDE TO WINTER LAYERING.
Different layers give you multiple options and more flexibility across different weathers and
temperatures and good layering is the key to keeping your core warm and dry.
Our guide will help you stay comfortable and look stealth like without feeling like you’re geared up for a polar expedition. Remember this is a`guide’ and it will probably take a couple of rides to get it right not least because we all feel the cold and regulate our body temperature differently
Upper body - The three essentials
1: Base layer
A base layer goes between your skin and your jersey. You can get light weight ones that help keep you cool in the summer or if you're hot stuff and don't really feel the cold, and thicker ones for when the temperature plunges or if you really feel the cold. They also come in a multitude of designs, sleeve lengths, high or low cut necks and in many different materials and weights.
The best base layers are made from technical fabrics which allow sweat to wick away from your skin so you don’t get wet, which in turn helps you stay comfortable and helps avoid you
getting chilly on your ride.
Base layers function better if they are close fitting so avoid baggy garments which will bunch up and the excess material will probably end up as an uncomfortable damp lump as moisture will not be able to wick away properly.
Once you are wet, you are more likely to feel cold, especially if you are not exerting yourself, for example on down hills or when you stop for cake – and anything that interferes with the enjoyment of cake is unacceptable.
2: The Mid Layer-Long Sleeve Jersey
A long sleeve jersey is an essential piece of kit and can be layered up in multiple ways to get you through the different seasons. Once again there are a multitude of different fabrics and different weights of long sleeve jerseys, though at this time of year ‘Roubaix’ fabric which has a warm fleece lining is a popular solution to beating off the chill. The Roubaix fabric creates a microclimate against the skin, trapping warm air and keeping you snuggly. It is also very breathable and wicks moisture away from the skin, ensuring that you stay dry and comfortable.
If you find you are sweating in a long sleeve jersey, then you have too many layers on, un zip and think about shedding long sleeve base layers next time. Alternatively go for a different fabric – the FLAB Jacksey is a great option, as it has fleece on the back and a windproof membrane front.
HIGH VIS BEACON GREEN LONG SLEEVE REFLECTIVE CYCLING JACKSEY
3: Top Coat - Winter Jacket
Your first line of winter defence against the elements, a decent winter jacket offers two core functions, water and/wind resistance.
It’s important to remember that there’s always a trade off between waterproof and breathability and if you wear too many layers (a common problem) you can easily end up wetter on the inside than on the outside.
The best waterproof fabrics are made of membranes which allow smaller sweat molecules out, but not the larger water molecules in. These fabrics also have the advantage of not requiring ‘re-waterproofing’ treatments as the waterproof feature is created in the fabric construction, rather than by a waterproof covering on top of the fabric.
You can get very lightweight wind/shower resistant jackets that fold up and fit nicely in the pocket of your cycling jersey which are perfect for showers or those changeable weather days when you get all four seasons in one ride.
If you’re a hardy FLAB and are still happy to throw your leg over the stead no matter what the forecast, a good quality wind and water resistant jacket is a great investment. The gaffer FLAB jacket is the ideal winter jacket as it’s made from the latest innovative membrane and provides an insulated wind and waterproof layer, yet it’s fully breathable, lightweight and has stretch to ensure comfortable riding.
Although some FLABs have a tendency to still get their knees out until it snows (see FLABinati rule#22) once the temperature drops you might want to hibernate the shorts for a few months and get some long cycling tights to keep your legs nice and toasty.
LADS ANATOMICAL REFLECTIVE THERMAL CYCLING BIB TIGHTS
You can get lighter weight ones for those transitional days but you can’t beat a warm pair of thermal Roubaix (fleece lined) tights or bibs when the temperature drops below 10 degrees. Bibs and high back leggings will keep your kidneys and back warm and will keep your muscles warm and supple on those cold winter rides. Reflectivity is also a great additional feature on Winter leggings as moving reflective details or hi vis are much more likely to catch the eye of a motorist than the equivalent that’s fixed to your back or you bike.
Head and neck
A neck doo dah can be popped over your head to keep your neck warm, pull it up over your chin, nose and mouth to keep you warm and it also helps take the biting edge off the cold air when you’re breathing hard or can be worn as a hat.
Cycling specific head bands can keep the ears warm and light weight hats and skull caps are great for popping on under your helmet.
Gloves are a winter essential and don’t need to be cycling specific, as long as you can use your brakes and gears okay, a good pair of wind and water proof gloves will see you through all weathers.
A combination of wet and cold feet can make for a very unpleasant ride, slip on a pair of overshoes on top of your usual cycling footwear to help keep your tootsies warm and dry. You can also purchase waterproof socks which are easier to get on especially if you cycle in trainers.
Arm and leg warmers are also useful especially in the Spring and autumn and can be easily removed and popped in your pocket.