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Get Dressed!
By Marc Liljgren, Kim Ross, Sarah,
Mike Aderhold, DAve Koesel, and Tom Demerly

Perhaps more than any other sport cycling is a rolling runway of functional fashion built for a purpose. Nothing can enhance your enjoyment of cool weather spring riding more than the right clothing used correctly.

Get dressed with Sarah, rising duathlon/triathlon star and personal trainer, while we walk you through the essentials of learning to dress for spring time riding and versatile cool weather comfort.

You already know layering the right fabrics is the key to staying comfortable, warm and dry for hours in cool temperatures. Sarah dresses for a cold 30 degree ride on a damp, overcast day. She starts with a Pearl Izumi wicking base layer fitted closely to the skin to maximize insulation and moisture transmission. The high tech Poly-SENTRIC fabric actually pulls perspiration off your skin keeping you dry. Fit in base layers is critical: They have to be snug to keep you dry. The Pearl Izumi 3D liner shorts with their advanced 3D chamois pad are made to wear under heavy, insulated tight and provide all-day saddle comfort while you stay dry and warm.
Spring time is “knee-season”, when cyclist’s knees start to act up. To avoid knee problems Sarah adds heavy Pearl Izumi stretch Therma-Fleece tights as her main insulation layer on the bottom. The soft, warm hand of the fuzzy interior serves double duty for moisture management and insulation as well as keeping the cold wind off delicate knees. This extra layer of insulation surrounds large, hard working gluteal and hamstring muscles to maintain flexibility in cold weather and prevent injuries.
The second top layer provides insulation and also helps manage moisture. Pearl Izumi’s Kodiak fabric is form-fitted into a compressed, moisture management fleece that traps a layer of dry, warm air between the fabric and the body even at cycling speeds over 15 mph. You’ll wear a heavy insulation layer anytime the temperature is below 40 degrees. This layer works with your base layer to keep you dry, wick perspiration away and provide dead air space for warmth.
On really chilly, damp days the shell layer is the difference between misery and comfort. Shell layers are a must have item. They fold small and compact and stuff easily into a jersey pocket. As the day warms up, you can peel this layer off and shove it in your back jersey pocket. This simple Zephyr fabric shell is inexpensive, lightweight but entirely windproof and will even shed light drizzle on a cold, damp day. When the sun comes out an hour into your early morning ride, stuff it into your jersey pocket. You’ve heard that 33% of your head loss is from your head, so Sarah looks cosmonaut-chic in her helmet liner that shuts off the helmet vents and covers her ears. Her windproof, insulated RAV-X cycling gloves cost less than $40 and keep hands warm all the way down to 22 degrees. Add insulated overshoes and you are ready to ride into the 20’s!
Groundhog or not, sooner or later it does get warm out. The secret to dressing for early spring rides is a flexible wardrobe that can temperature adjust on the fly as the day gets warmer. Starting out at 8:00 AM it may be 35 degrees but by 1 PM your return trip may be in the lower 60’s. Sarah starts layering for a wide and changing temperature range by wearing a wicking, crop top base layer, therma-fleece arm warmers that pull off easily on the bike as the sun rises and her favorite Pearl Izumi short-cut shorts with wicking Ultra-Sensor fabric. Always put your arm warmers on first, before your main base layer and jersey, so your jersey and base layer sleeves lay flat over the top of your arm warmers.
Its no wonder cyclists complain of knee pain when we see so many riders in 40, 50 and 60 degree temperatures with bare legs. Nothing screams “novice” like bare legs in cool temperatures. When it is cool, shorts are not cool. If it is below 70 degrees, keep your knees covered. Delicate patellar tendons surrounding your knee cap have no blood supply to protect them from chilly winds, stiffness and injury. Keep them warm by tucking a pair of knee-warmers under your shorts and prevent sore spring-time knees. Never ride with bare knees below 70 degrees!
No one makes base layers like Craft of Scandinavia. Craft has been known in the Nordic ski world since 1977 but really got their start in cycling when Tour de France riders like the CSC Team starting using their base layers on cold, damp mountain stages. The Pro Short sleeve fits snug and uses a fitted, channel weave of high tech, moisture management fabric to trap warm, dry air against the skin and slide perspiration off the skin and to the outside off the garment where it evaporates, keeping you dry and comfortable. The $34.99 Craft Pro Short sleeve goes from 35 degrees to 70 degrees and is the most important layering piece in your spring wardrobe. Craft is the big gun in base layers for cycling.
One last check of the weather before she joins her riding buddies for two hours on Sunday morning and Sarah decides its cold enough to trade her knee warmers for full length, Therma-Fleece leg warmers. Sugoi and Pearl Izumi both make leg warmers in different weights but the heavy ones are the most popular. These cover your calf muscles and prevent cramping. Sarah adds a Pearl Izumi Podium Jersey of Ultra-Sensor moisture management fabric over her Craft base layer and arm warmers. It’s 42 degrees out and the high is predicted to be 61 by 2 PM. This is the perfect all-day, in between short sleeve jersey to wear over a base layer and with arm warmers for versatile comfort in changing temperatures.
It is the first 30 minutes when you are always the coldest. Like Michael R. Rabe used to say, “Any fool can be cold”. Since Sarah isn’t fooling around she goes out the door with a Craft windproof vest over her base layer, Ultra-Sensor jersey and Therma-Fleece arm warmers. The vest keeps the chilly morning air away and folds neatly into a back jersey pocket after the first hour of the ride. These lightweight, windproof vests are the difference between relative comfort and absolute misery during a sudden downpour on cool days.

For the cyclist more than almost any other sport clothing is equipment. The right clothing will keep you comfortable and in the saddle through a wide range of temperatures and seasons. A few key pieces of the right cycling clothing make all the difference between long hours on the indoor trainer, too much time on the couch or some enjoyable spring rides.

-Thanks to Marc Liljgren and Kim Ross of Intuitive Business Solutions, Sarah, our model, Mike Aderhold for his help with wardrobe and Dave Koesel at Craft as well as our friends at Pearl Izumi in Boulder, Colorado.



© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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