How to dress for cold weather road rides

Whether it’s Bike Depot Sufferfests, trainer sessions at home, bulking at the gym, or marathoning Netflix, winter training (or a lack thereof) will soon come to an end. When you see people beginning to post outdoor Strava rides again don’t let yourself be deterred from joining based on the cold weather. Follow these tips and you’ll be the warmest cyclist in the GTA.


In cold weather cycling your extremities (hands, feet, and head) will become cold the fastest. Your shoes are likely made to be extremely breathable. In this summer this is great, it keeps you cool and ensures that your shoes are marginally less fetid. Unfortunately, this is not an advantage in cold weather. If your shoes are vented on the bottom, slap on a square of duct tape to keep the frigid air out. Some shoes have breathable soles, these can easily be replaced with warmer, thicker soles to keep the warmth your body generates trapped inside your shoes.

Warm socks, particularly merino wool, are your best friend. On extremely cold days we like to layer two pairs of socks, one thin and one thick.

On top of your shoes, throw on a winter shoe cover to avoid letting any heat escape. There are two types of shoe covers, make sure the shoe cover you’re buying is made for cold weather and not for aerodynamic gains.

If you’ve tried all this and are still suffering from cold feet on winter rides (metaphorically or physically) grab yourself a pair of Specialized Defroster Trail Mountain Bike Shoes and some mountain bike pedals. Your feet will thank you.


Similar to feet, being able to trap and conserve natural body heat is extremely important in maintaining hand warmth. Gloves aren’t as effective as mittens in conserving body heat as they isolate every finger, yet mittens aren’t ideal when cycling due to dexterity loss while shifting and breaking. WHAT IS A COLD CYCLIST TO DO???

In the best collaboration since Castelli X Supreme, mittens and gloves come together to form LOBSTER GLOVES, THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS:

Grab a pair! If your hands are colder than a white walker and you’re still not warm (are you getting enough iron?) try adding these bad boys underneath the lobsters.


A well designed balaclava should be able to warm all of your head/face/neck areas. Be sure you are able to easily pull up and down the mouth area, you don’t want to fumble with it every time you drink, snack, or try and have a windy conversation with a teammate. It’s also important to make sure it doesn’t interfere with how your helmet fits on your head - safety first!


Although ski goggles can look really cool We generally advise against them for road cycling. Most don’t offer very good peripheral vision, something that is very important when cycling on a road with cars.


A secret from UTRR: No-one has to know how many layers you’re wearing underneath your jacket. Get a nice jacket to shield you from the cold/wind but go crazy underneath it. It’s always better to be a bit warm than to be shivering with a cold torso. We suggest looking into cross-country skiing base layers, they’re generally light-weight, build for extreme cold, and won’t look bulky under your cycling jacket.


Investing in a pair of winter bibs is a surefire way to keep the most important part of your body warm. Alternatively, transform your regular bibs into pants by adding leg warmers.

Sometimes you aren’t prepared in advance for how cold it will be. Obviously you will learn your lesson and always dress appropriately for the weather thereafter… But for now here are some emergency tips.

  • Stuff the front of your jersey with free news papers from a cafe. These can also be used in your crotch area if you’re feeling particularly chilly down there.
  • Often corner stores will sell hand and foot warmers, these can be very useful in de-thawing the icicles you used to call your hands/feet.
  • Stop and have a warm drink.
  • Do a couple of hard efforts and get your blood pumping.
  • Bike as hard as you can all the way home and sit in a warm shower slowly thawing yourself.

This year reject the temptation of your warm bed and remember, not only are you harder than everyone who stayed home, you also get the right to brag about it on social media!

By Lily - Posted on March 26, 2019