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As we swing closer to spring here are some cycling clothes for bike riding comfortably in fluctuating temperatures.

Cycling Clothes: Bike Comfortably in Fluctuating Temperatures

by John Brown,

With on the downswing of winter, roads beginning to clear of snow and ice, we all look forward to venturing out into the world on two wheels once again. But even though the weather is improving, true summer temps are still a ways off. So why not take a look at this overview, that may help you find the right cycling clothes for a comfortable ride?

Layering Up with Cycling Clothes

As we swing closer into spring finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

As we swing closer into spring, finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

Your perceived temperature as well as the actual ambient temperature can change while you ride. In order to get the most flexibility, and stay comfortable, layered clothing offer the most options. Listed below are the many items that make up a complete wardrobe of cycling clothes. You may find that your geography or personal preferences, don’t require all these items.


A cycling jersey isn’t a necessity for riding, but it sure does make things comfortable. Jerseys come in lightweight sleeveless versions for the hottest summer days, or insulated long sleeve versions for cold weather riding.

     -Base Layers

They come in short and long sleeve versions. They’re usually made of a polypropylene material that keeps you dry by moving moisture off your skin quickly.


Cycling shorts are the most important piece of clothing when it comes to comfort. There are tight versions as well as baggy ones, but all have a pad to help make your saddle more comfortable.

     -Arm Warmers

Arm warmers fit snugly from your wrist to just below your shoulder. The ability to roll them up or down while you ride makes them ideal for rides that have a large change in temperature.

     -Knee Warmers

Like arm warmers, knee warmers offer great flexibility on days with a large shift in temperature. They can be easily packed in a jersey pocket for use when needed.


Gloves range from half fingered summer versions to heavy, windproof, winter versions and everything in between. The most important thing about glove is to find something that fits comfortably.


Tights are an essential piece if you want to be comfortable riding as the temperature drops. They help you retain body heat while not being bulky and interrupting your ability to ride comfortably.


Cycling jackets are noticeably thinner than a standard winter jacket. The reason is they don’t need as much loft as a normal jacket because as you exercise, you create enough heat. Most good cycling jackets have a windproof material that stops heat from being pulled off your body by the air moving around you as you ride. Some higher end versions are windproof as well as waterproof.

     -Wind Breaker

As it sounds, this jacket or vest’s main job is to stop the wind from pulling heat away from your body. They are usually lightweight and pack-able.


Cycling caps are usually thin enough to fit under a helmet and vary in insulation depending on the material used. Warmer caps are usually made from fleece with a windproof membrane, while summer caps are made of nylon.


Booties are thick neoprene covers designed to fit around your shoe. They do a great job of insulating while still allowing you to wear you comfortable cycling shoes. If you plan to do a lot of winter riding, you may want to invest in a dedicated winter shoe, rather than booties.

What to Wear

Now that we know about cycling clothes, let’s talk about how they fit into the game. Everyone’s temperature threshold is different, so you may find it comfortable to wear slightly more or less clothing than recommended below. After a spring season of riding, you will figure out exactly what works for you and where you may need some more clothing options.

Above 65 Degrees

Winter riding above 65

Jersey, shorts, gloves, and socks should be comfortable.

65 Degrees

Winter riding at 60

Add knee warmers, arm warmers, base layer, and light full finger gloves.

55 Degrees

winter riding 55

The addition of a vest keeps your core warm.

50 Degrees

Winter riding 45

Trade the arm warmers for a long sleeve jersey and swap out to thicker socks and gloves.

45 Degrees

winter riding 45

Swap knee warmers for light tights, short sleeve base layer for long sleeve, and add a hat.

40 Degrees

Winter riding 45

A wind breaking coat and booties keep you toasty.

35 Degrees

Winter riding 35

Trade light tights for winter tights, light hat for winter cap, and full finger gloves for winter gloves.

30 Degrees

Winter Riding 30

A heavy winter coat replaces the windbreaker and long sleeve jersey.

Stay Dry

With the simple breakdown of cycling clothes above you should be able to comfortably ride throughout the spring and deep into next winter, unless it rains. If it rains, all bets are off. With rain on top of cold, the most important thing is to stay dry. Most synthetic insulating fabrics will still work when wet, but the wet greatly diminishes their ability to keep you warm.

In the rains of the fall and early spring staying dry can be a difficult task. The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. Before you go out and just buy anything labeled “waterproof”, understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

In their most basic form, a lot of materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. On top of the issue with letting water in, basic waterproof materials don’t let water vapor out. It’s just as bad to get soaked through with sweat as with rain as far as insulation is concerned.

     -Keep Water Out

To keep water out, look for waterproof cycling clothes that have sealed seams or welded seams (see image). Pay close attention to the zipper. Look for waterproof zippers (pictured) or large flaps that prevent water from driving through the zipper. Make sure all the cuffs are adjustable enough to be snugged against your skin.

Examples of cycling clothes with taped seams (Left), welded seams (Center), and a waterproof zipper (Right)

     -Let Sweat Out

To let the sweat out, waterproof materials should also be breathable. Breathable means that water from the outside cannot penetrate the fabric, but that any water vapor (sweat) being produced by your body, can escape through the fabric. Breathable fabrics work because water vapor is smaller than water droplets. To breath, the material will be perforated with holes small enough to stop water droplets from getting in, but large enough to allow water vapor to escape. Using a breathable material in tandem with base layers designed to pull moisture off your skin is a sure fire way to stay dry and warm.

You cannot beat the changing scenery of fall riding or the feeling of rediscovering riding in the spring. Hopefully, with these tips and a little experimentation, you will find comfort and enjoyment riding outside, even when the weather is cool.





How to Pick the Right Bike Seat for Comfort and a Memorable Experience

John Brown, HaveFunBiking

The right bike seat is essential to enjoying your next bike ride. Finding the right one that allows spend more time in the saddle can be easy with the following tips!

Find Your fit with the Right Bike Seat

Before you get too far into determining what the right bike seat for you is, make sure your bicycle fits properly. Having a professional ensure your fit is correct, or checking it yourself (Bike fit) will make the process of finding the right seat a lot easier.

Bigger isn’t Always Better

A bigger saddle is not always more comfortable. A saddle’s shape determines how comfortable a saddle is. The ideal saddle shape depends on where a pelvis contacts the saddle. Typically, riders sit on either their sit bones (Ischial Tuberosity) or pubic arch (see diagram).

      – Sit Bones

Your sit bones are the pointy ends of your pelvis. They rest just below your gluteal muscles while riding. If you have an upright seating position, your pelvis is positioned so that your weight is placed on those sit bones. For a sit bone rider, a saddle with a flat profile from left to right typically ends up being more comfortable.

      – Pubic Arch

Riders who lean forward toward the bars and rotate their hips forward usually rest on their pubic arch. For these riders, a saddle that is curved from right to left offer a more comfortable perch on which to sit.

How do You Tell the Difference??

The easiest way to figure out which saddle might work for you is to view the saddle from behind (if it were on the bike you could look down the length of the saddle and see the handlebar). Is the saddle shaped in a constant curve from right to left, with no flat sections, or flat? (see pictures)

The right seat curved the right seat flat

More Shapes

Saddles will also have other shapes that contribute to the comfort. Lots of saddles will have holes or depressions down the center of them. These shapes are designed to relieve pressure on areas with both nerve clusters and sensitive arteries. For some riders, these shapes make all the difference, while for others, there is no difference.

The right seat with cutout

Time for a Test Drive

Once you find a few saddles that match your riding position, try them out (most local bike shops offer some sort of service for saddle fitting). Install the saddle on your bike for a short test ride and focus on how you are resting on the saddle. It’s a good sign if you can rest in one spot comfortably. Keep in mind, although the new saddle may feel unfamiliar, you should feel evenly supported without any one localized point of pressure. If you find yourself shifting around frequently to find a good spot, that saddle probably doesn’t fit too well.

A Proper Bike Fit is Key for Your Next Great Bike Adventure

John Brown, HaveFunBiking

Riding a bicycle is one of the most enjoyable hobbies available when you have your bike fit to your body. Don’t let little nagging annoyances take away from your great ride. Learn the causes and fixes to cycling’s most basic discomforts.

Before You Ride, Visit Your Local Bicycle Shop for a Bike Fit

A proper bike fit can alleviate most common discomforts. To set up your bicycle, I encourage you to find a friend to help look at you on your bicycle and adjust your bike fit. If no one is available, use your phone and take video of you sitting and riding your bicycle.

Bike Fit explained

The left rider’s position is safe and comfortable while the rider on the right is in for some sore days

Saddle Height

Look at the two riders above. The rider on the right is in for some sore days. The excessive amount of bend to his legs is making his knee support all his effort at a very acute angle, which puts excess strain on the joint when pedaling. His low saddle overworks his quadriceps and doesn’t engage his gluteal or calf muscles. The rider on the left is bending his leg at a wider angle which results in proper leg extension while pedaling, and incorporates all his muscles (helps with efficiency).

To set saddle height: Sit on your bike, place your heel on your pedal, and rotate the pedals backward (see below). You want your leg completely extended while keeping your hips level (at the bottom of the pedal stroke your leg should be just barely locked out with your heel touching the pedal). If you find you aren’t getting complete extension raise your saddle, but lower it if you’re tilting your hip to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke. Once you begin pedaling naturally (with the ball of your foot on your pedal, rather than your heel), you will have the proper amount of bend to your knee.

Don’t Lean Too Much

The rider on the right above is leaning over drastically, which means his upper body weight is supported only by his lower back and arms. This position will results in a sore back, shoulder, arms, and painful hands. His head is positioned so low he must crane his neck up aggressively just to see. This will also result in a sore neck.

The rider on the left has more support. By sitting a bit more upright he is using his bone structure to support his upper body. Adjust your handlebar so that your back is at an angle over 45-degrees from the ground. Your arms should extend at a 90-degree angle from his back with a very small bend to the elbow. Adjust your grips and controls to be in place when you reach out to take the bar. If you need to turn your wrist up or down to shift or brake you should re-adjust the controls.

Look Around

The rider on the left also has a very comfortable position for his head. He can see around and in front naturally without needing to stretch.

Once you have a comfortable setup, you should experience hours upon hours of painless riding. If discomfort continues, then consult with your local bike shop. They are trained in advanced personal fitting techniques and can offer insights into potential causes of discomfort.