– By Charles Bryer
Triathletes in Canada don’t need to stick to the trainer all winter. With some simple tips, heading out for a winter ride doesn’t have to be miserable — dressing properly is the key to staying warm. Here are six tips to keep you comfortable in the foul weather.
The tried-and-true method of layering is the best way to stay comfortable. A layer in reserve can help when the temperature drops, and something waterproof will keep the wet stuff at bay.
Don’t sweat it
Sweat can reduce a cyclist’s core temperature rapidly, even on the warmest winter days. You need to strike the balance of keeping your core warm and dry. Again, the layered approach is best. It takes a little more preparation; however, it works.
Winter-specific cycling shoes are better than regular road shoes, which are designed to keep your feet cool in the summer. Although winter-riding shoes are more cumbersome, they are well-insulated and waterproof. Another option is winter booties or overshoes. A proper winter bootie is thick and water-resistant. Bigger is usually better. Remember, warmth trumps speed in the winter. For even more protection, especially against the wet, pull out the plastic. Wrap each shoe with a plastic bag, then put a bootie overtop. It’s not waterproof, but it does delay the cold water from reaching your feet.
When buying clothes, think of space. Cycling clothes are typically streamlined and tight. Winter clothing should be bought to fit a little bigger. The extra space ensures better blood circulation, which means a warmer body. The same principle can be applied to glove and sock choice. For example, thicker wool socks can actually make your feet colder if they are too tight.
The double-jersey trick
Out of undershirts? Put on two summer jerseys. A second jersey can serve the purpose of an undershirt. You can also resort to three layers: two jerseys and a lighter jacket. With numerous thinner layers it is easier to adapt to changing temperatures.
On very cold days, exposed skin on the face is susceptible to frostbite. Rub some petroleum jelly on your nose and cheeks, which will takes the sting out of the cold and protects your face.