Spring is here, but does this mean you immediately switch to wearing summer cycle shorts or continue to wear long winter tights? Obviously this depends on where you live on the globe, but if it’s neither too hot nor too cold, here’s some beginner spring cycling clothing tips to help you out:
I continue to wear my base layers well into early summer, although it’s about now I start looking around for a short-sleeved base layer, as opposed to a long sleeved.
The advantages are your torso is kept dry and warm, but your arms are uncovered, keeping you cooler and ready for warmer days arriving.
The base layer is the first layer of clothing I wear on these cooler days. The advantage is the material is good enough at wicking sweat away from the skin and then drying off as quickly as possible!
Shorts or Tights?
In spring time I usually move from long fleeced-lined tights to thinner full legged tights. These protect the entire leg with a little warmth, even though they are like lycra leggings, not thicker "tights". I really like the full leg protection from the cool mornings, yet allows me not to overheat when I start climbing.
However, on warmer days approaching summer, I use short leg warmers. Short leg warmers basically cover the upper thigh (where your bike shorts end) down to just under the knee. They protect your upper legs and knees from getting too cold. They grip with anti-slip hems - although you have to watch these are not too tight a grip on the upper thigh.
Short leg warmers are perfect for spring days when the early morning air temps are cool. Once the temperature warms up or you start climbing, you can quickly take them off and pop the in your back jersey pocket!
Long sleeved jersey:
Over my base layer I simply wear a long sleeved cycling jersey. If you are coming out of winter, then you may still need a long sleeved jersey that has windproof properties on the front with a light fleece inside. This isn't a jacket but a jersey...as it's nearly all soft-shell and appropriate for this time of year.
As the mornings start to get a little warmer, you'll still need a long sleeve jersey in late spring time but you can opt for a long jersey without fleece or any windproof properties. These are your standard cycling long sleeve jerseys. Material is specialist cooling materials to help wick sweat away fast and dry out quickly on a long bike ride.
And, whilst you’re looking for long sleeved jerseys, keep in mind summer is only around the corner. Short sleeve jerseys are your choice from end of Spring through until Autumn, when the long sleeve jersey and tights are useful again.
A gilet is perfect for spring. It’s a versatile sleeveless garment and goes over your long or short sleeved jersey to keep the wind-chill off your front. Make sure that the gilet isn’t too big and baggy – you’re looking for a snug fit over your jersey.
The advantage over the long sleeve jersey with windproof, is you can take it off when you wish or put it on for extra wind protection on descents...The garment is also very useful for summertime rides too.
Outer garments like a Gilet should ideally be of a high visibility colour. This is because I ride with a gilet early mornings (or bike commuting back in early evening) when the light may still be relatively low...you want to be seen!
You may have only seen these used on the Tour de France, but arm warmers are really useful when it’s changeable weather. If you plan to wear a jersey but just don’t know if you should wear a long sleeve or not, then simply wear a short sleeved jersey with a short sleeved base layer underneath – and wear arm warmers.
With arm warmers, you can slide them down to your wrists when you get hot, then push them back up again when it’s getting cool. Or, you can easily take them off completely and stuff them in your back pocket.
I believe every cyclist should have a pair of arms warmers for spring and summer time. You are looking for non-silky material, lightly fleeced inside, because the idea is to keep your arms warm.
You might think overshoes are finished with at this time of year but think again! You can wear lightweight overshoes which protect your feet from cooler air (but don’t protect you from really cold air). These are not waterproof, just ‘sock-like’ covers you pull over your cycle shoes – low maintenance and very light, but work well. You can also choose different colours to match your spring summer outfit!
There are other things you can change at this time of year too, like gloves. In early spring, I like to wear a lightweight pair of full length gloves, rather than continue wearing thick winter gloves. These are made of thin stretchy material that simply keeps the cool air off my fingers, but no more...
If you’re not sure how to transition your cycling clothes from winter to summer or you are a beginner starting in springtime, - know there’s always specialist cycling clothing to meet your needs. All it takes is realising what’s out there for you 🙂 and making a few adjustments to ‘lighten your load’ and give it a try. Once you know what works here you’ll never look back - I promise!
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