Surviving the cold


Senior Member
I know there have been a few threads on this subject so forgive me for going over old ground. I went out the other day in the beautiful sunshine :tongue:, but it was so so cold:sad:.I worry about making excuses not to go out over the coming months so I really need to get kitted out, but on a budget!
I firstly had to wear leather gloves under my fingerless, it was OK but not ideal. Recent postings about gloves had some people recomending what seem to be thick gloves. I have fleece walking gloves but they are too thick to manouver the gears.
I bought some thermal leggins which were quite pricy but my quads still seemed to be tightning with the cold.
On top I do have a cycling fleece with short sleeve jersey under but I only wore my shower jacket, I do have a warmer rain jacket which probably would have been better. To be honest I expected that once I got going I would warm up and be fine. This took longer than usual (to be expected) but it was short lived and soon the cold was seizing up my muscles and seemed to be sapping my energy. Is this normal or is it down to fittness as I really struggled? I only ended up doing 20 miles as I had to head home I was so cold.
Any advice on surviving the cold please!!!:blush:


nothing in moderation
the short answer is that it's horses for courses. i can get away with aldi's winter gloves whereas a pal has to wear the sort of mitt one might see on the end of the arm of a skier. conversely, i need overshoes to keep my feet warm but he doesn't.

your best bet is to work out what bits get cold, and see what advice other people on here can give you on the stuff available to keep you warm.


Married to Night Train
Salford, UK
I can't help much, as I'm the sort to wimp out of long rides in the cold.

You might find that thick cycling gloves are not like fleece gloves - they often have grippy bits on the palms to help with gear shifting (what sort of shifters do you have?) And they will probably be more windproof - as your hands are at the front of the bike, they get windchilled just from you moving along. I find fleece gloves OK down to a certain temp, but then I need the windproof winter ones. Try to keep ypur hands moving about as well, if you find you're doing a stretch with no braking or gearshifting, wiggle your fingers to keep the circulation going. Same goes for toes.

To go out for a ride in the sort of cold snap we've had recently (assuming you could promise a big enough mug of tea and pub lunch at the end of it to get me out), I expect I'd wear my padded shorts with Bikesters over them (the shorts for the padding, the bikesters for warmth, so I get a double layer on my thighs), a t-shirt or cycling top, a fleece jumper (probably not even a cycle specific one, just a thinish one I have), and my waterproof (which is on the thicker side). I might be tempted to wear a thin longsleeved top under the t-shirt as well, but I'd want to be able to take a layer off when I warmed up, hence the fleece jumper. Oh, in fact that's pretty much what Mr Paul has just said...

Cycling Naturalist

Legendary Member
Having cycled into work with a hard frost on the ground on Monday, I can tell you that the answer is layers and zips. Unzip when you start to sweat and zip up when it feels cold. Headbands are ideal for keeping your forehead and ears warm.


New Member
Bury, Lancashire
Just to agree with above really - depends on how long you are going to be out, at what intensity you are riding and how much discomfort you are willing to put up with. I need full-on winter cycling specific tights, jackets, gloves and socks but that;s cos I'll still be cycling 70+ miles most weekends and you really need to wrap up if you're out for more than a couple of hours. I would recommend some kind of wind proofing on your top, jacket or gilet, windproof gloves and some windproofing on the fronts of tights/trousers. Wind proofs really make a big difference, more so than thickness of material. If cold air is not blowing though your clothes you will be a lot warmer for wearing this windproof but relatively low bulk/light weight clothing. I would also recommend warm and if possible wind proof covering for extremities - so hands (gloves) and feet (overshoes or toe covers) and also a hat or headband for your head.


cycled home from WC1 to E4 at 8pm in a long sleeve top and longs, any colder would have been too cold granted but I was ok

it is going to get colder, worry about that

point being that I suspect a good quality top is important, the Izumi long sleeve I paid £40 is very impressive, light as you want but really seem to handle wind proof but breathing as well

those Decathalon prices are well cheap though


Senior Member
Thanks for these responses, alot to think about as I suspected

Mr Paul, tried to pedal faster but find I just couldn't keep up the pace and found I was getting tired quicker than usual. I haven't cycled as much as I would have liked in the last few weeks but I don't think my fitness has dropped that much, my legs just started to feel tight and very heavy though I've been fine in the gym!. Will look to see if there is a Decathlon nearby though.:biggrin:

Arch, I had my new padded leggins that are supposed to be thermal espacially the thighs, but it was at the latter end of the ride I was feeling the cold there. I was told I wouldn't need thermals under them but maybe I do. As for the padding, they seem really thick yet on the 2 occasions I have worn them now I get bum ache (or cyclebum!:blush:) by about 12-15 miles which I find odd, even my old shorts don't do that. Like the idea of the pub lunch though!:sad:

Patrick, having already suffered from brain freeze once I had luckily resorted to a bandana which after a short distance pulled down over the top of my ears so that was about the only bit that wasn't suffering too much, relatively speaking.:smile:

Blonde, distances are what I am trying to build up in preparation for India in Feb. My longest to date is around 45 miles and I need to get that up further and get more long runs in, which is what I planned monday but had to cut it short. This is why I am asking for help, otherwise I would probably just make the most of any fairweather and await the spring with bated breathe.

I suppose with my waterproof jacket and maybe a longer sleeve shirt I can cope with the top, so it comes down to my fingers which I will look at some new gloves. So it's waist down I suppose, especially thighs and feet.:tongue:


Brain freeze! Get a Buff. They can double up as a close fitting scarf as well if it really gets cold.

Base layer is a must, especially with a waterproof jacket. You need to get the moisture away from your skin to keep you warm. I break my own rules by wearing a shortsleeved cycling jersey under mine because it keeps my chest warmer. I've got some Specialized Sub Zero gloves which are actually two gloves in one. They are into their third winter so are hardwearing. Despite the thickness they're still flexible. Some Japanese company brought out a 'lobster glove' a year or so ago and that might be a better idea for people with small hands because they don't have as much cloth as normal gloves so you get more flex with them.

I tend to think of my legs as radiators because they're always a bit chilly. This is my way of not overheating. If I put too many layers on them then it feels odd behind the knees and the inner thigh chafes. Padded shorts and bikesters are as much as I wear even in the worst weather. Overshoes are a must. I shelled out £40 for some Gore ones and they are great. I wouldn't walk in them because of the cloth getting destroyed by the ground but for cycling they are great. Silk socks from Patra are a good buy as well. I wear them under normal socks with the overshoes and they make a good insulating layer. Feet don't sweat and so stay warm.

From a cost point of view I've learned my lesson of buying cheap and regretting it later. I buy one bit of kit at a time and do as much research as I can before opening the wallet.


I bought some new gloves last night, Altura Thermastretch (in bright yellow!). My hands were toasty warm this morning at 6:00. They are wind proof with a thinnish fleece inner, I think the wind not getting through was what made the difference.

I wear a Helly Hanson long sleeve base layer top and longjohn type things (Helly Hanson have an outlet at the discount village near us). Cycling shorts over the longjohns, normal socks and an Altura all weather jacket. I have recently added a thinsulate balaclava to keep the old bald patch warm.


New Member
I just got in from my dailey loop of 25 miles. The sun was shining but it was bloody cold with a north easterly wind. This is what I wore:

Running shorts (no pad)
Dhb Base layer (long sleeved)
x3 pairs wooly socks
Nike wicking T shirt (short sleeved)
Merino wool jerset (long sleeved)
Specialized arm warmers
Aldi cycle gloves
Endura night vision (black) water proof jacket
Gore full windstopper bib tights
DHB waterproof over trousers
Nike neoprene overshoes
Nikewalkable roadshoes
Bayern Munchen wooly hat
Giro helmet
Cycle shades
Hi vis vest

...all that and I was still cold out of the sun.


dear god that's a lot of clothes, I'm surprised you could move

and still cold?

not looking good for the proper winter is it, I think you're cosseted your body to the point that it doesn't know how to keep itself warm

John the Monkey

Frivolous Cyclist
Does seem like a lot to me too BTFB - the most I've worn so far this year (on Monday, when we got a groundfrost for the first time this year) is dhb bib 3/4s, L/S cheap brand base layer (thanks TK Maxx) Gill Urban s/s jersey, windproof top, aldi winter cycling socks, and altura glove liners under my mitts.

I guess everyone has a different level of comfort/heat output though. As I've mentioned before, I get very hot on my commute, and sweat a lot, so I try not to overdo it with the layers.

To the OP - Patrick's advice about having stuff you can zip up/down to regulate temperature is excellent. At least that way if you find you have overdressed, you can alter the degree of cold protection you have a bit.


Ride It Like You Stole It!
South Manchester

You have a Decathlon in Stockport - see you are 'Cheshire' based.

For commuting I use:-

DeFeet l/s baselayer
Decathlon Thermal/windproof top

Trackie Bottoms (Commute) or Thermal or Windproof Bib Tights (Training)
Socks - standard

Gloves - either thin"ish" pair or Altura Night Vision for cold days
Windproof Skull Cap - for under the well vented skid lid

That's it....


I've tried one day with a light showerproof over the long sleeved and got too hot quickly, still on longs and LS top

granted it's only London


Senior Member
Hi Frog, The buff has been mentioned on a previous thread I had on the subject. I went to get one but they only had the winter thermal ones which look too thick to go under my helmet. As I want a summer one anyway to protect my neck in India I am aiming for that but will probably have to get one on line now, just haven't got round to doing it yet. The cotton bandana seemed to be fine for the time being though.:blush:
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