There is nothing like riding a crisp trail early in the year to shrug off any winter blues. However, crucial to the experience is correct clothing. How many times have you walked out the door dressed for the Arctic only to peel off layers as you warm up at the top of the first hill?
This guide is aimed at riding at a moderate pace in temperatures in the low thirties but can be adapted to slightly warmer or colder days (or nights) by amping up or downsizing the layers.
A key aim with all my riding gear is for it to be multi-seasonal. As a mountain bike guide, I don’t want to have different sets of gear for different conditions or I end up with a huge closet and associated credit card bill. I prefer to layer with a core set of gear that I know works and that I just add to as the temperatures drop. It also helps if it is multifunctional — not just for the bike!
Columbia Omni-Heat Heavyweight Long Sleeve Base-layer
For true winter weather when the temperature plummets you want a base-layer. Columbia is an outdoors company who are largely reinventing themselves thanks to a huge investment in R&D.
Omni-Heat is one of those why didn’t someone think of this earlier developments, whereby they attached silver reflective dots to the inside of the fabric to reflect your heat back to your body. They look like tin foil but without the noise or feel. The result is a base-layer that the company claim is apparently 20% warmer than the competition.
While the percentage may be hard to pinpoint, it certainly feels warm. An anti-microbial finish also helps to keep away the stench associated with synthetic base-layers.
The extra-long sleeves on this garment help too when it comes to reach on the bike. There is nothing worse than a top which pulls up to expose your arms when in the riding position because it wasn’t designed for it.