November 30, 2023
Building From a Strong Base Layer
By Matt C. - Bike Poloist and Long Time Cyclist
My first winter as a commuter in college up north had a lot of trials and tribulations. There were a few sub-twenty days I look back on and laugh at what I was willing to pedal through with a mish-mash of gear. This was even before I had taken the first steps into my career in the cycling industry. Fortunately, time and experience has helped me assemble a solid array of gear for getting through the cold.
What is important is helping your body stay warm without getting too sweaty over the miles. A base layer is vital, because it insulates the body while helping to move moisture away from your skin during rides. I personally love starting with a merino wool top like the Grunnur Wool Base Layer for a couple of reasons.
Base layers made of other materials often take on odor over time. Wool, being antimicrobial, remains neutral. The fabric blend is lightweight and is a good fit beneath a short or long sleeve jersey on milder days. It also does a great job of transferring sweat and moisture away from your core to keep you comfortable throughout the ride. With the proper care a good wool base layer can last you five or more winters.
Now, how about your legs? Wool tights are an option, but I have found that those do not work as well for me. They move around and can bunch over time in the saddle. I much prefer a bib tight that is designed for cooler weather. My recommendation is Garneau Providence 2 Bib Tights. The added insulation and leg coverage is plenty warm for virtually anything that a Charlotte winter will toss your way.
As a final note, knowing what kind of weather you will or will not ride in is a great place to start thinking about riding clothes. Wherever your bike takes you this winter, you will have more fun with gear that fits your needs.