Cool weather gear, or, the wuss factor

LSIt’s that time of the year again — fall. When days are warm, almost, and nights are cool — or downright chilly. For cyclists, it’s time to dig into the jersey drawer to see what new stuff we need, and reacquaint ourselves with our old standbys from last year.

Friday evening, after I got home from work, I decided to head out for a ride. Mrs. Noob said she wanted to come, too, so we figured we’d do a trip to the Veloway, and I’d do my usual three laps, while she did her two.

She was astride her bike, waiting for me, when I came into the garage to put on my shoes and helmet. “What?” she asked, in amazement. “Long sleeves?”

“Hey,” I replied, a little miffed. “It’s getting cool, and the shadows are long.”

I think  I heard her say, “Wuss,” under her breath. We headed out.

I’ve got two long sleeved jerseys that I use a lot come this time of year. One I’ve had for nearly two years. It’s the basic long sleeve model by Performance, and the inside is slightly brushed to trap heat. I love to wear it by itself when the temps are down around 50-60, or 10-16C. The one I was wearing this time is a summer weight jersey with no brushed fabric. It’s light, but it covers my arms.

I don’t react well to wind when riding, and my arms are the main protesters. I learned two years ago when I started riding that if my arms are warm, I’m good for the ride. If a cool wind blows on them, I’ll be uncomfortable. So I’ll go with the summer weight long sleeved jersey any time the temperature gets below 70 (21C). Besides, it has black panels on the sides, which I’m certain have  a slimming effect.

My arm warmers are another option, that are an even better choice because they’re more flexible. I can wear them when the weather is cool at the start of a ride, and pull them off when it warms up. Lots of the riders in my club showed up on a recent cool morning ride with arm warmers, a base layer, and wind vests, which looks like a nifty way to layer for the chill. Wind vests are small and thin, and easily stashed in a jersey pocket when they’re no longer needed. The arm warmers can join them there when it warms up even more.

When we got home from our ride, I mentioned to my wife that I was right to wear the long sleeves. The long shadows mixed with the cool breeze did chill the arms, and the sleeves mitigated the discomfort.

“I don’t think so,” she said, as she walked by in her sleeveless jersey. “I was very comfortable out there tonight.”

I unzipped to reveal my base layer and my bibs.

“Wuss,” she said, as she headed to the shower.


  1. Pam says

    At our house the hubby is always hot and I’m always cold. But, on the bik I tend to get by with wearing less than he does. He gets cold fast when we ride and has a terrible time with hands and feet. My explanation has been that I commute every day and my body adapts whereas he is a weekend warrior so his body never adapts.

  2. mildstallion says

    Below 70, long sleeves.

    Below 65, long sleeves, long pants/tights.

    Below 55, add a vest.

    Below 50, Trainer.

    This is October 2009 in the northeast.

  3. says

    It’s surprising how much covering your arms makes you feel warmer. I like to buy long-sleeved jerseys that allow me to push up the sleeves … and not all of them do.

    I say wear whatever makes you comfortable. That’s what the clothes are for. But I did get a chuckle out of the “wuss” comments.

  4. says

    I tend to bundle up like an Eskimo anytime the temps dip below 70 degrees.. call me a wuss if you like, but at least I’m warm. I personally favor the heat and am very happy riding on 100+ degree days. Last weekend when it was cloudy & 56 degrees I wore long tights, bike shorts over them (it’s a mountain biker thing), long sleeved shirt and a thicker long sleeved jersey (like the one you mentioned). For me the biggest concern was to wear long fingered gloves and beanie or not.. I chose “not”. I’ve actually seen guys out on 40-50 degree days wearing only shorts and short sleeved jerseys and I think “those dudes MUST be freezing their butts off”, but alas, to each his own.

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