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A Cycling Clothing Log

by on November 4, 2013

The past week or so has demonstrated the value of having a “clothing log” for cycling.  Morning temperatures ranged from 30° – 70°F in just this week.  There were days when some riders were too cold and some when riders were wearing too much.

The clothing log I keep uses a simple Excel spreadsheet with temperatures across the top and articles of clothing down the left side.  An “X” marks the intersection where that item of clothing is appropriate for that temperature.  A “C” indicates that a choice can be made, because there is variability in types of rides and the choices that are made.

Bicycling Magazine has a “What to Wear” feature where one inputs 4 key items (temperature, wind, conditions, & desired comfort level) and it generates suggestions for cycling clothing.  I find that it is a good starting place.  But nothing beats your own personal chart.

Making one is simple.  When a temperature and clothing combination works well for you, mark the grid.  Within a short period of time, you will have some good guidance about what to wear.

Practical Suggestions:

  1. I find that as the temperatures drop, every 5 degrees makes a difference.  Be sure to mark temperatures 5 degrees apart.
  2. Finding the top and bottom temperature range for each item of clothing makes a huge difference.  I have gloves that work between 40-50° only.  It is good to know that on a longer ride where there may be temperature swings.
  3. You may need to adjust from fall to spring.  50° in the spring feels a lot warmer than 50° in the fall.
  4. Sunshine makes a difference, as does wind.  I don’t account for those on my chart, I simply mentally adjust.  Most of my fall/winter/spring riding is in the dark anyway.
  5. Proper cycling clothing for conditions will feel chilly to start.  If you are not chilled for the first few miles, you’ve over dressed.
  6. Layers are always your friend.

Now, get started on that cycling clothing log!  You will be a happier rider.

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