You can however minimise the effect of weather by choosing the right clothing combinations. When I first got going with cycling, I got some bits from the dealer where I bought the bike, some bib shorts, a top, some shoes, some fingerless gloves. Comparing that to what lives in my wardrobe/kit bag today is a different story.
Of course, much of it is "nice to haves," how many cycling tops do you need? Answer = never enough. However, when I really scrutinise the differing types of clothing I now own, it's clear that you can "dress for success" on the bike in the winter. Here's my Top 10 list of the differing types of winter cycling clothing, primarily to mix and match to get the optimum clothing combinations regardless of what the elements are throwing at you (in no particular order).
- Base layer. Essential as the first layer in your get up to wick away sweat from the body.
- Thermal vest. They don't have to be expensive, I picked mine up for two or three quid.
- Windtex long sleeved jacket. For cold, more than wet days. Keeps the chill off and the warmth in.
- Windcheater. Some days the wind can just cut through you. I keep a windcheater stuffed into a spare cycling bottle to whip out when needed and protect from quick showers.
- Gloves. I own three pairs of long fingered gloves. A heavy, thick waterproof set, with thick insulation. A mid-duty set which aren't waterproof but keep the cold out and a lighter pair.
- A neck warmer. You can often see these being given away on the magazine fronts. Whip it over your head and it will keep your neck warm or pull it up over your mouth on those really cold days.
- Waterproof jacket. I went for an Altura waterproof winter jacket.
- Overshoes. Just buy some. They keep your feet warm and the bulk of the wet out. Make sure you get some which are appropriate for winter as some are quite then and not designed for the bad days, get them waterproof if you can.
- Arm warmers. Merino arm warmers are only about fifteen quid and give you the option to put on/peel off as the weather dictates, really handy.
- Beanie hat. Keep the warmth in, a thin woollen hat is a good buy. Pull it down over your ears and feel warmer instantly.