Even though I woke up to 4" of fresh snow this morning I am still holding out hope that Spring is right around the corner. And with Spring comes road rides in various temperature ranges. The best way to handle these ranges is to layer - but what is the best way to layer?
To start with - I understand we are all different and have different reactions at various temperatures and you might have to adjust your layering to fit your specific reaction to temperature ranges.
The most important aspect of layering is the base layer. There are so many different wicking shirt manufacturers out there and that means you can pay as little as $10 and as much as $150 for a base layer. The important part of this is that you realize that sweat = cold if you have to stop and fix a mechanical while you are out on the road. If it is really cold out (20 degrees or colder) I will go with a long sleeve thermal wicking shirt, but generally will use a light-weight long sleeve or short sleeve for most temperatures.
My next layer is dependent upon the wind factor. The great thing about cycling in the summer time is that we create our own wind chill and keep cooler riding than you would running because of moving even if there is not a strong wind out. Well the opposite of that is that in the winter you automatically create a bigger windchill factor than Mother Nature provides so you need to prepare for that. If the temperatures are low and there is a 10+ mph wind out there I will put a light-weight fleece layer on next.
For most temperature ranges I will now throw a long sleeve jersey or a light weight shell on at this point. Tom's Pro Bike has a great selection of many long sleeve jerseys or shells to choose from and we have highlighted many of them on Wednesday in the past.
Here are a couple of images of some of the long sleeve jerseys we stock from Specialized, Castelli, and Pearl Izumi.
I try and focus on two things as I prepare to leave. If I am outside and getting set and I feel comfortable, I know I overdressed and will take off a layer automatically. This is a sure sign that I will be "sweating out" very soon into the ride and if there are any issues that I have to stop for an extended period of time, trouble can occur. I read a race report recently from the Arrowhead 135 and his main point was that people die of hypothermia in 20-30 degree temps when they are wet. People don't die when it is below zero because they are generally dressed and prepared for the extreme cold temperatures. You might not die of hypothermia but pneumonia or bronchitis is a very real danger if you do not dress properly.
For more ideas on layering or to get some new long sleeve jerseys or shells, stop by the shop and check out our inventory.