Dressing to ride during Indian Summer

It’s not Indian Summer in Texas yet — we haven’t had our first frost, although we’ve come close. But it’s in the low 60s now when I start my morning weekend rides, and it will warm up to the 80s for the rest of the week.

This is the beginning of the time of year when dressing for my rides becomes a guessing game. It starts cool, then warms up. This morning, I wore a long sleeved jersey and a base layer, along with my bibs. A stiff breeze from the southeast made going south difficult. The part of the route that heads east is mostly downhill, so it’s not too bad.

Usually, on a cool morning that promises to warm up, I’ll wear arm warmers, which I like a lot. They give you a lot more adjustability as conditions change than a long-sleeved jersey.

I have a rule of thumb for dressing, which I violate with frequency. If it’s above 65 degrees, I just wear a short sleeved jersey and shorts.  If 55-65, I wear arm warmers, or maybe a long-sleeved jersey.  Below 55, I’ll wear the long-sleeved jersey, and add tights.  Below 50, I add a windbreaker with zip-off arms.  I don’t bike when temperatures are below 45 degrees (Hey, this is the South!).

My clothing today erred on the warm side. I really worked up a sweat, but still remained comfortable throughout the ride. The wind countered the warming temperatures.  Still, if I had thought about it more, I probably would have gone with just the arm warmers.

Do you have a formula for dressing for the weather?


  1. Bob says

    It was 44F last evening with rain and I only had shorts and a T-shirt — no problem at all (it was a short ride home). No need for tights until it gets at least 40. Put on the winter jacket around 30 degrees.

  2. says

    I’ll put on long sleeves and possible knee warmers when it’s 45F or below. I just recently purchased some warmer cycling gear a Perl Izumi jacket and a performance wind breaker. I might try to pick up a cycling beanie as my touques don’t fit under my helmet very well.

    The coldest I’ve ever ridden was in Wyoming during the winter anywhere from single digits to below 0. I wore my winter coat and gloves for that.

  3. says

    I run pretty hot in the first place…I don’t break out the arm warmers until it gets in the 40s. I’ve never used my leg warmers but on my commute I have warn long pants (twice…ever.) The coldest I’ve ever ridden was around freezing. I started off with pants and a jacket. I tossed the jacket around mile 5 and just had on a short sleeve shirt…probably an excellent way to get pneumonia, but like I said…I run HOT! I don’t own a long sleeve jersey…I just use arm warmers and they’ve always been more than enough…actually I think my arm warmers are considerably warmer than my jersey!

  4. says

    For those of us that live in the Northeast (Maine in particular) the temps can get pretty cool. It was 40 when I started out Sunday but warmed to the mid 40’s mid-day. My rule of thumb: be a little chilled when you start out – your workout will eventually warm you up to the point where you’ll be too hot if you start your ride feeling comfortable. Right now a layer or two will do here in Maine. Later it will be three.

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