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Friday, December 12, 2014

Staying Warm Distance Biking | What to Pack and Wear on a Bike Trip

By Megan Maxwell

Having proper clothing and staying warm is very important while biking for long distances. While you will likely be biking in the sun a decent amount, it will also be cold, cloudy, and raining fairly regularly. It’s essential to bring lightweight clothing that is functional.  By wearing layers, you can regulate your body temperature by adding or removing layers as needed.

Here’s some clothing items that are important to have while biking: 
  • Rain jacket. This will be a key item for biking. Not only will you wear it while it’s raining, but also when the weather is cold or windy. Get a jacket that is reflective because drivers will have trouble seeing you on cloudy days. If you don’t want to splurge on a nice jacket, you can always put reflective tape on a cheaper rain jacket.
  • Buff / hat. You need something to cover your ears on a cold day. I like Buffs because you can wear them quite a few different ways. A hat that covers your ears will work too. Just make sure your helmet fits over it.
  • Fleece. I liked to keep my fleece towards the top of my gear, so I could put it on whenever I stopped for breaks. I would get cold quickly as soon as I stopped biking.
  • Long-sleeve shirt. On chilly mornings, I usually biked in my long-sleeve shirt. It was just warm enough that I wouldn’t be too cold, but it was also breathable enough that I wouldn’t get too hot. On the coldest, rainiest of days, I would layer my long-sleeve, fleece, and rain jacket together.
  • Gloves. I had a pair of padded, biking gloves that I wore regularly. Holding onto the handlebars all day can make your hands ache, and padded gloves will help. They also block the wind from your hands.
  • Padded bike shorts. I usually just wore shorts while biking, even on cold days. I move enough that my legs don’t get too cold. Definitely splurge on a pair of padded shorts because sitting on a bike seat all day hurts.
  • Pants/ running tights. Although I usually just wore my bike shorts, there were a few rainy days that I needed full length pants. I preferred running tights, but your favorite pair of lightweight, outdoor pants will work. A pair of rain pants might be useful to have as well. Plus, even if you don’t wear them while biking, you will probably want to change out of your bike shorts as soon as you stop for the day. 
  • Socks. Bring at least three pairs of synthetic or wool socks. Always keep one pair dry, so you can have something to sleep in on cold nights after you have parked your bike in your bike rack.