Our Florida-based guest poster Jeff Hemmel is going to tell us how to dress for chilly weather.
The mercury finally dipped in Florida this past week, leaving me to once again ponder the question of what to wear when it gets cold. Sure, that term is relative — the cold I’m talking about is weather in the low 50s during the early morning hours. But often coupled with high winds coming off the water, it can feel downright chilly. Definitely not shorts and short-sleeve jersey weather.
But after years of riding through varying Florida winters, I’m still not quite sure what the appropriate outfit is. This past Sunday, with temps around 56 and winds gusting as high as 30 mph, I rode in a wicking base layer shirt, long-sleeve jersey, lightweight jacket and tights, and half-finger gloves…and was cold almost the entire way. Those high winds felt brutal, and got only worse as my entry-level name-brand jacket, not exactly the most breathable garment, just seemed to trap in the sweat and chill me to the core.
My legs never really seem to be the problem. It’s my core. In really cold conditions a thermal base layer, long-sleeve jersey and that very same jacket seem to do the trick. But in these middle temperatures I’m lost. That’s why I’ve spent a lot of time the last few days looking through the mail-order catalogs and perusing the clothing company websites.
Part of me thinks a good thermal jersey is what I need, eliminating the nylon jacket altogether, as it’s usually dry and sunny. Another part of me wonders if I just need a better, more breathable jacket, one that wouldn’t build up the moisture within, but instead vent it out. And then there are those that would say, in such temperatures, I should be able to get by with just arm warmers and a wind vest.
Or maybe it’s my hands and feet. Maybe I need full-finger gloves and wool socks to warm my extremities. After all, didn’t our moms all say that if we were cold to put on a hat? (Speaking of the head, I often wear a headband in the cold to protect my ears, which seem particularly vulnerable on cool, windy days.)
So I’m tossing it out for discussion. What have other riders found to be the best combination of clothing for such weather conditions? Obviously I don’t care to be cold, but I also don’t want to overdress and get chilled from the sweat.
Have you found a good combination of clothing that works for you?