If you’re in Alaska, and it’s minus 22 outside right now, please pile your bike back into your Subaru Outback and turn the heater on. If you’re in most of California, prepare for some advice on layering up for the cold weather. Over here, we’re complaining about goose bumps and the frigid tundra of our 45-degree roads.
So, with the help of our local to SLO manufacturer of cycling clothing, Voler, we’ve got a list of some essential cold weather gear for your next 40 to 50 degree bike ride. Hopefully, these warm layers should help you say, “Courage,” as you click-clack your way out the door, bike at your side.
5 COLD WEATHER CYCLING ESSENTIALS FROM VOLER
1. BLACK LABEL WOOL LONG SLEEVED JERSEY
Not only does this look cool–deep gray on accented red–it feels cool. In a good way. The quality that Voler is known for shines in their signature line, and this long sleeved version continues the legacy.
Now, if you’re not used to wool, it might feel itchy to you at first. But Voler has trimmed and manufactured this soft Merino Sport Wool to minimize the usual itch you get with other wools. Wearing it and washing it will help it to soften even further. So, while I did feel some minor itchiness at first, it disappeared after just one wash. But different people have different sensitivities. You may or may not experience the same thing.
The fit is quite true to size. I got a medium, and it was form fitting, but not too tight. The 3-pocket back sport red accents, and the bonus zippered pocket is large enough to fit an iPhone 7 plus securely. These are definitely a huge plus for the jersey overall–setting this offering apart from other, similarly priced tops on the market.
Heat transfer is peerless. Wool has that uncanny ability to keep you warm while you’re hammering without making you feel that you’re baking. Voler recommends wearing this for weather in the 45-55 degree range, but I found it comfortable even into the mid-60s. With a baselayer or jacket, you can likely layer this for much colder days and be warm.
I tested it into the high 40s, and it definitely does its job. Though not as much can be said for my resolve.
Sizes: S-XL | Price: $149 | Coolness Factor: Extremely High | Get More Info at Voler’s Site
2. CALIBER THERMAL MARIPOSA KNICKERS
If your legs have never met with the luxury of thermal knickers, be prepared for them to compliment you on your decision making. These hold up to brisk rides on chilled mornings without leaving you feeling over-layered like full-length tights often do.
A soft, thermal interior keeps you from that cold-soaked skin effect, which often marks the difference between a miserable ride and feeling good enough to hammer out a few extra miles. Since you still have a portion of your leg exposed, knickers tend to regulate your temperature better on moderately cold rides.
Fit & Feel
Voler’s Caliber knickers couple technical fabrics with great fit to make sure you can get out in the chilly tundra of a 40-degree day. The thermal fabric is plush and quite warm without being bulky. Great compression factors and a muffin-top resistant waist band make for a comfortable fit. Plus, no elastic or silicone grippers keep these exceptionally in place without pulling.
While the waist band had a slight tendency to roll down while riding in the drops, it stays relatively secure. The Elan chamois does its job well, and surprisingly at that. Originally, I thought it would be too thin, but it has padding where it counts and holds up to multiple hours in the saddle.
Classic black goes great with the gray and red of the Black Label jersey. Lookin’ spiffy and staying quick. You’ve got step two covered.
3. DRYTECH TANK UNDERSHIRT
Before you throw on your woolen jersey, you’ll want a layer that helps you to not only retain extra warmth, but transfers any moisture (that’s a nice word for sweat) away from your body quickly. Cold weather can do weird things to us, and a good baselayer will help create and maintain that dry barrier you need between your skin and jersey.
Voler’s DryTech matches up perfectly with the wool of the Black Label for excellent warmth plus moisture transfer. They work well to keep you from overheating. Like crazy well. For really cold rides, you might want an outer shell to peel off as you get warmed up.
The match with the DryTech and long-sleeved jersey kept my temperature just about right in temperatures in the high 40s, low 50s. I never once felt overdressed. Plus, the fabric is ultra soft (I feel like the word luxurious was dropped a few times).
This undershirt is, finally, versatile. You can definitely wear it through the summer months as well. I, for one, never ride without a great tech tank. And ladies can pair it with Voler’s sport top for serious comfort.
4. ARTICO THERMAL BEANIE
It’s the simple things in life that make me happy. Like a toasty beanie on a frosty day. It’s just a little extra impressive how thin this one is. Sits easily under a helmet without adding much height or messing with the fit (of course, you’ll always want to follow your helmet manufacturer’s specifications for proper helmet fit and adjustment guidelines).
On me, the beanie fully covers my ears and sits just above my eyebrows. Great for mitigating heat loss on really cold days. Plus, it stows in a jersey pocket quite easily when the sun decides to get serious. Black goes with any helmet color, and won’t throw off the coordination of the rest of your kits. And it looks extra good with this ensemble we’ve almost completed for you here.
Price: $19 | One Size | More Info at Voler’s Site
5. BLACK LABEL THERMAL BIKELAVA
So you’re basically dressed, but now you need something to keep throat, nose maybe, head, ears warm. The Bikelava is a simple thermal sleeve-like wrap that can be configured in several ways. Pop it over your head for a neck-warmer that can be pulled up to cover the back of your neck, ears, nose, and mouth.
Super breathable, this helps keep cold air out of your lungs and stops painful ear chill. It also pairs perfectly with the aforementioned Artico Thermal Beanie to keep you from exposing extra skin to the weather. Sitting over the back of the beanie, it sits under helmet straps without adding much bulk.
The coolest thing about the Bikelava is its applications for other types of exercise as well. Roll it up into a headband, use it like a scarf; basically, its strength is in its versatility.
Price: $19 | One Size | More info at Voler’s Website
NOW GO RIDE!
This list gives you the basics for feeling comfortable out on a chilly ride, but you’ll also want a pair of full-fingered gloves. Hey, and if your toes get cold? Wrap aluminum foil over your socks. Yah, it works. If that’s not enough, you can also get some booties like these ones here.
And finally, Voler is hooking you up with a free $10 in Voler Bucks just because you’re reading SLO Cyclist.
All right. You’re warm. Go ride!