As the vibrant autumn hues unfold, cyclists eagerly embrace the crisp air and scenic beauty that fall brings. However, mastering the art of layering is essential for an enjoyable and comfortable biking experience during this season. Fall weather can be unpredictable, with chilly mornings giving way to warmer afternoons (and back to chilly evenings). To ensure you’re prepared for the elements, here’s a guide on how to layer your clothing for fall bike rides.
Note: Preferences will vary and you may need to experiment before landing on what works best for you.
Start with a good pair of pants suitable for riding – not too baggy, a couple pockets, and durable material. Next, wear a moisture-wicking base layer to keep sweat at bay. This is essential as materials like cotton will trap moisture and can keep you feeling cold. As the temperature fluctuates, add a long-sleeved jersey or lightweight flannel shirt for extra warmth. The next layer is crucial—a wind vest. Wind vests provide an effective barrier against the brisk autumn winds without causing overheating. Opt for a lightweight and breathable vest that can be easily packed away when not needed.
When the temperature drops further, introduce a packable jacket into your ensemble. These jackets are designed to be compact and lightweight, making them easy to stow in your backpack or fanny pack when not in use. Look for jackets with insulating properties to trap heat close to your body.
Don’t underestimate the warming power of something as small as a neck gaiter or bandana to keep your neck/face shielded from the cold or wind, and don’t forget your gloves. Heading into winter, you might be interested in a pair of wind-resistant leg and arm warmers for added protection. This strategic layering approach ensures that you stay warm during the early morning chill while allowing you to adapt as the day progresses.
How do you store all these things? Consider riding with a small backpack like this one, or using a fanny pack like this one. Frame bags are also great options. Remember the saying, “it’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!”
When winter hits, you’ll want to consider having:
- Thick wool socks
- Thicker gloves or hand warming packets to go inside gloves
- Thicker base layers meant for cold weather
- A heavier jacket
- Ear warmers/lined neck buff
By mastering the art of layering with base shirts, vests, and jackets, you can enjoy the beauty of fall on your bike without compromising comfort.