Cold Riding Layering Basics

Layering Basics

Keeping dry and staying warm is essential. Layering ensures you can stay confident and focus on the ride ahead.

The layering system is generally thought about in 3 parts:

1. Base Layers

Base layers move perspiration away from the skin. Some would think this is only valuable for warm weather riding, and it is, but it is also valuable for cooler weather, keeping as dry as possible is a very important part of staying warm and comfortable. Any moisture wicking base layer will do the trick here, but a snug-fitting top is ideal for bike riding. When in doubt, we recommend anything made with merino wool.

Shop Base Layers

2. Mid layers

Mid layers do the job of actually keeping you warm. Depending how cold it is, this can come in the form of a short-sleeved jersey, a long sleeve jersey or some sort of soft-faced jacket or jersey. Wear whatever keeps you comfortable! This layer will most likely stay on at all times.

3. Insulated OUter Layer

Your shell is your shield from the climate around you. Shells can have insulating properties, but their main purpose is to not let wind or water in while allowing water vapor from sweat to exit. Shells usually are made of a material that is not as comfortable against your skin as many fabrics, so keep this in mind (think sticky rain jackets).


Neck gaiters, gloves, shoe covers, headwear, warmers, winter shorts, bibs, and tights are all good extra cover for those winter rides ahead. Don’t let the cold stop you from getting out there.

*Pro Tips:

  1. If you are headed out on an especially cold morning, some of our staff has been known to shower before a ride. They will take a short shower with the water temperature as hot as they can handle. The idea is that you can raise your surface temp and even your core temp slightly. This can make that first 15-30 minutes more comfortable while you get warmed up. Of course, this really only works if you are riding from your house, not driving to the start of a ride.

  2. Off-season riding means less daylight hour, more cloud cover and mixed conditions that can mean rain and fog. Choose clothing that is brightly colored so that you are more visible to drivers or get caught our later than you intended. Bright colors don’t have to just mean high-vis yellow – orange, red and bright blue are also highly visible colors.

  3. Check the weather where you are riding to, not just where you live. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it happens all too often that someone looks out the window to make their clothing choices without checking the weather, only to be caught off guard by a storm or to discover it is much colder/windier/wetter at the location they are riding to.