Keeping dry and staying warm is essential. Layering ensures you can stay confident and focus on the ride ahead.
Layering is generally thought about in 3 parts that make up a layering system: 1) a base layer designed to wick perspiration away from your skin, 2) a mid-layer and 3) an insulated outer layer or shell to keep moisture and/or wind out.
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.
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.
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 isn’t as comfortable against your skin as many fabrics, so keep this in mind (think sticky rain jackets).
Neck Gaiters can be very comfy for a little extra insulation and can be pulled up over the chin or nose to keep your face warmer.
Gloves sometime take some time to figure out what you need. Most veteran cyclist own multiple pairs for a variety of conditions, but one thing is for sure, you will want full finger gloves!
Shoe covers made for cycling slip over the outside of your shoes to insulate and keep wind off your feet. Warm socks are great, but there is nothing as good as a nice shoe cover to keep your feet cozy.
Cycling headwear is designed to fit under your helmet. Its sometime forgotten as that helmet can make it feel like you already have something on your head (because you do!), but with all the venting in a modern helmet, cold air passes through easily. Additionally, that headwear can help keep cold wind off your ears.
Warmers are fantastic modular pieces and are fairly unique to cycling. You can remove and re-fit them easily if need be.
If you live in a very cold climate, you may want to consider a pair of winter shorts, bibs or tights that are extra insulated. These do a much better job of keeping sensitive areas warmer.