Yanto Barker, Ex-Team GB cyclist and Le Col founder shares advice and tips gained from a career in the professional peloton spanning 20 years, with over 20,000 hours spent in the saddle.
The biggest difference about winter riding from autumn and spring is the range of temperature is smaller, so you can dress with a lower need for flexibility required from your kit. Let me explain, on a cold autumn morning you might need a jacket and tights, but by the afternoon it can be 10 or 15 degrees warmer so a jersey and bibshorts would be suitable. In winter the temperature will only change by a few degrees so your jacket and tights are the right choice all day.
It’s easier to dress for winter and your choice should be a basic combination of undervest, jacket, tights and socks. You should adjust your type of undervest to get the right temperature management and this helps make the jacket appropriate for a wider range of conditions.
When the cold weather really starts to bite arm warmers, thermal hats, buffs, caps and overshoes complement your outfit to get your temperature perfectly right all over. This can be a delicate balance and you’ve got to protect your extremeties.
The head loses a lot of heat and so in really cold conditions a very warm hat or buff worn under your helmet is great to lock in that much needed heat. Hands and feet suffer the most on winter rides. Arm warmers under your jacket can really help keep hands warm without making your core area sweat when the rest of your body is warm enough. Last of all a really good pair of thermal socks and thermal overshoes are an excellent combination to help keep your feet warm. Be sure to also leave your shoe straps loose. Restricting blood flow through over tightening shoe straps is one of the most common mistakes that can make feet feel significantly colder.
Almost all good winter kit should focus on warmth. Staying dry on very wet days is almost impossible but for those rare times that you are caught out far from home in the pouring rain, a seriously good rain jacket is a life saver. This should have taped seams, be fully waterproof and be able to be carried in your pocket just in case it’s needed. Take one on almost all rides just in case but don’t wear it unless it’s seriously wet otherwise it will make you sweat and this can cause a chill.
It takes a bit of trial and error to get your kit combination exactly right and when you do, there’s no excuse to lose fitness through the winter months.
After over 20,000 thousand hours in the saddle as a professional cyclist and rider for team GB, Yanto Barker founded Le Col in 2009. We are a team of performance, design and cycling specialists united by a desire to create a cycling apparel brand with a single-minded focus on performance. We take real pride in what we do and our purpose is simple but enduring: We deliver the best possible technical products to help you to achieve your potential on every ride.
And because it’s aimed at supporting you through toughest hours in the saddle - our brand is named after some of toughest climbs around the world: Le Col.