When you’re equipped for the cold and wet, fall/winter is one of the most rewarding times of the year to be out on the bike. Yes, it requires a little extra motivation in the morning. And yes, things can get a little spicy out there, but as everyone who has returned rosy-cheeked and revitalized from a morning’s road or trail session knows, it’s worth paying the price to feel alive.
You’ve got the bike (and if you don’t, we’re here to help), now all you need is the clothing to keep you comfy during those deep winter miles. So let’s get your season started with an edit of our top women’s bike clothing layering options from our Italian partners, Q36.5.
Option 1: Baselayer and Long Sleeve Jersey (+ Windshell)
Even in a lot of layers, it’s normal to feel cool, even cold, when you first step out of the door. That’s because you’re not warmed up. Once you are, you’ll feel just right. The mistake most riders make is dressing to feel warm before they’ve even started riding. And if you do that, pretty soon, what felt warm at the door will feel way too much, and you’ll be disrobing by the roadside, cursing yourself for not predicting the future.
To avoid unscheduled pitstops, many experienced riders wear baselayers and long-sleeved jerseys in early to mid-fall. That might sound like too little clothing, but rest assured, you’ll be quite warm once you’re rolling. But if conditions change or a fast descent beckons, stowing a windshell in a rear pocket is all the insurance you need to keep comfortable.
Try the Q36.5 Base Layer 3 with the Long Sleeve Jersey, or L1 Pinstripe X Jersey. And as your emergency friend, stash away the unisex Air Shell Jacket.
Option 2: Baselayer and Jacket (+ Windshell)
From late fall through winter, a jacket is de rigueur on the road or trail. But you still don’t need to go crazy. Pair a thermal jacket with a warm winter base layer, and you’ll be set for success even when conditions get icy.
For the road, try the Q36.5 Hybrid Jacket, paired with the Q36.5 base Layer 4, the Italian brand’s warmest base layer. The Hybrid boasts a cosy fleece inner and a high-density woven fabric face that does a great job of keeping the wind at bay. Its stylish fit-enhancing asymmetric zipper is worth the price of entry alone. And if temps drop, reach for that windshell as an added layer of protection.
Away from the asphalt, the Q36.5 Adventure Winter Jacket is an excellent option for those seeking a more relaxed fit, in keeping with the bike / hike-a-bike nature of gravel riding. Plus, it’s waterproof to boot and very breathable.
Option 3: Long Sleeve Jersey and Vest
We covered long-sleeved jerseys earlier, so we’ll go straight to vests. In mixed conditions, a vest helps keep your core warm and your arms better able to assist with temperature regulation. However, you can still get nicely warm in a jersey/vest combo, so it shouldn’t be seen as just a go-to for early to mid-season rides. Put a baselayer underneath, and you’ll be set for even the coldest rides of the season.
Our pick of the bunch is Q36.5’s Adventure Insulation Vest. Like its jacket stablemate, the Adventure Vest boasts a beautifully cosy inner, as well as a windproof front and a durable water repellant treatment.
Don’t Forget the Legs
It’s easy to forget the lower half when prepping for the season ahead. That being said, deciding what to wear below the waist is pretty simple. Depending on the conditions, the usual route is bib shorts and knee/leg warmers for milder rides and bib tights for colder ones.
Try the Q36.5 Unique, Dottore or Gregarius bib shorts, and Woolf knee or leg warmers. For bib tights, our top choice is the L1 Bib Tight, a wind-protective, warming bib tailored with soft tubular straps and, like all Q36.5 bottoms, a supportive chamois designed to carry you in comfort over even the longest rides of the season.