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Comfort in Cold or Hot Weather
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Free Form Fashions

This article appeared in the 1990 Silicon Valley and 1991 Wine Country Cycle America Regional Directory's

1) Available at bike shops in very light wools, polypropylene or lycras, a "WICK" transports the perspiration that your body generates to the next layer.

2) Cycling Jerseys which can layer onto the wick or be worn by themselves serve many functions in addition to cold weather protection. When it is hot out they help to prevent valuable moisture from leaving your body while keeping you cool. They are usually made very colorful so you are highly visible to motor traffic. They run lower down the back than regular shirts because the rider's position would otherwise expose a gap of bare skin. And most have big pockets in back so that you can carry food, sunglasses, maps, etc..., without disturbing your legs as you pedal.

3) And if it is really cold, a windbreaker will keep the wind from cooling you. It will also keep the inside layers of clothing a little drier if it rains. Like jerseys, the windbreakers sold at bike shops run longer in the back and can even be stuffed into the back pocket of your jersey when not in use.

4) Wear a Bike Hat or ski cap under your helmet to stay warm. A lot of the heat your body generates escapes through the head.

5) Cycling gloves are especially padded so that your hands don't get sore or numb The gloves intended for cold weather riding usually have a gauntlet (an extension that runs up your forearm) to keep the wind out of your sleeves. They are usually insulated and can be worn over your padded handlebar gloves.

6) Cycling shorts work great in hot weather or cold. Because they have to be durable, they are usually made of a heavy wool or synthetic blend. And like most bike clothes, they keep you warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot. A chamois, made of an absorbent leather or terry cloth, is sewn into the seat of many shorts to soak up perspiration. The chamois also helps to prevent chafing on the inside of your thighs. Cycling shorts are generally black to hide the dirt from the dyes that rub off from your leather seat (no kidding).

7) Knee warmers: Some bike shops and specialty stores sell a pad that looks like it belongs on a roller skater for the express purpose of keeping your knees warm.

8) Cycling tights: Keeping your legs covered and warm is crucial to cold free cycling. Bike shops carry tights that provide varying degrees of warmth, some even have a zipper that runs up the side so you can leave your shoes on when you take your tights off or put them on.

9) Leg warmers/Arm warmers offer you an option. If you know it is going to warm up or cool down, you simply roll these warmers up or down your arm or leg as the conditions may require.

10) Rain gear: In wet weather, most cyclists are comfortable with a bicyclist's rain poncho.  They run long in the back and can be draped over the brake levers to keep your hands warm and the handlebar pack dry. Gaiters,  water proof nylon that attaches to your ankles and just below the knees with elastic, can also be worn to keep your legs dry.

11) Helmets: Yes, besides the obvious protection they provide in the event of a fall, helmets are helpful when it comes to the weather. It is a little harder for the rain to get through a helmet. On a hot day, helmets, which are made with vents, keep your head from baking in the sun unmercifully. They are also a good place for rear view mirrors. When you wear a helmet motorists usually give you more RESPECT, too.

12) Eye protection: You want to protect your eyes from bugs and the harmful rays of the sun. Some shops sell glasses which don't fall off when you turn your head and have lenses which can be changed for all types of riding, night or day.

13) Cuff guards: To keep your pants from getting greasy from the chain or caught in it.


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