Seven Tips to Stay Warm and Dry for Cold Weather Cycling

article from the Garneau Cycling Blog


The thermometer will tell you the basics—but don’t forget to factor in windchill. Got it? Now head to your closet.Over time, you’ll determine what works best for you. At the very least, it should help alleviate some pre-trip anxiety about what to pack for your next bike tour.


First of all, you never need to wear underwear with bike shorts. That’s what chamois are made for! But for women, choosing the right bra to wear can often be a make-or-break factor of a chilly fall ride. A cotton bra will soak through as soon as you start to build someheat—then turn into a cold and soggy band wrapped around your core on the first descent.(There’s a reason mountaineers use the phrase, “cotton kills.”) Instead, choose a bra madeof a moisture-wicking synthetic material, such as Carbon X-Mesh

The same theory applies for your feet: Choose cycling socks made of wicking material, such as Primaloft®, which helps keep your feet dry and warm. On cooler days, reach for socks with merino wool. Softer and finer than the sweaters your grandmother used to make foryou, top-quality merino is a natural material that wicks sweat and retains warmth—even while wet.


First question: shorts, knickers, or long pants? (Not sure? We can help with that.) But if yougo for shorts, here’s a little advice: if it’s colder than 60° (15.5°C) outside, consider covering your knees. The synovial fluid that keeps your joints lubricated and moving smoothly doesn’t work as well when it’s cold out. So when in doubt, throw on a pair of kneewarmers—preferably, ones with wind-blocking technology to keep the breeze off your knees.


Most cyclists find that bibs—versus shorts—provide a little extra protection from chilly breezes. So if you want to keep your core warm but your legs uncovered, consider a heavier-weight pair of cycling bibs. A unique combination of water- and wind-proofing with a brushed interior make the Course Thermal Bib a great choice for foul-weather riding when you don’t want the weight of long pants.

Knickers, which fall just below the knee, are another excellent option for transitional temps. For the smoothest look and feel, choose a pair of knickers with a built-in chamois and a brushed fabric. Or, if you’re looking for multi-sport functionality, consider a pair without a chamois that you can layer over top of cycling shorts, or wear on their own for yoga or running.

Finally, long pants/tights are your best option for days when you don’t expect the temps torise much during your ride. Look for cycling tights with strategically placed fabric panels that shed water and wind, yet allow for breathability in key areas, such as behind the knees or at the lower back.


Arm warmers were made for shoulder seasons (even though they stop just short of yours!).Give yourself plenty of options by pairing cycling arm warmers with a short-sleeve jersey and a lightweight cycling vest on a cold morning. If you heat up, you can tuck the warmers in your vest pocket, or shove the vest in your jersey pocket (or do both!). Options are key for comfort. 

Merino wool cycling jerseys have made a comeback in the cycling and running world inrecent years, and for good reason. Combined with polyester, our Polartec® Power Wool jersey is designed to keep you warm and dry even in damp conditions.  On a windy day, though, nothing beats our Course Wind Pro® long-sleeve jersey, with a brushed back to let heat escape and serious wind protection in the front.


lightweight cycling jacket repels wind and keeps the heat in, yet lets you vent when needed. You’ll likely use this layer often during the short days of autumn, so consider a color that’s as bright as your retinas can handle—or explore our HiViz360 line, which lights up in headlights for maximum visibility. Headed out when it’s pouring down rain? (We salute you Flahute.) Top things off with our 4 Seasons jacket, designed for the rider who’s not afraid of getting a little wet—but who would prefer not to.  


You can often combat the chill of a fall ride with just a light pair of cycling gloves. For fall,look for a glove that’s breathable and transfers moistures efficiently. Garneau Ergo Air®technology will evacuate moisture and keep your hands dry. Softshell gloves are often a good way to bridge the gap between your mesh gloves and winter hardshells. Same goes with a pair of toe covers; you might not need the protection of a full pair of booties quite yet, but prefer an extra layer over your toes. Still chilly? Go for a pair of lightweight cycling shoe cover designed to block the wind and some water. You’ll get protection without risking overheated, sweaty feet.

All geared up and ready to hit the road? Good. Now get out there AND DON’T HESITATE TO REMOVE EXTRA LAYERS AS NEEDED !


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