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What to Wear for Cool Weather Cycling: 45ºF and Above

Posted by Steve on 10/25/18
Last modified: 01/13/23


Editor’s Note: Spring and fall can be tricky times to ride. Sun and wind exposure can have a dramatic effect on temperature, but you don’t have to worry. Choosing the right kit will keep you comfortable during cool weather cycling around 45ºF. This week, Stephen Wilcox presents his favorite items to get you riding:

We all prepare for what to wear for cool weather cycling differently. Temperatures ranging from 45°F and above can be weird for me. Wind can make it feel a lot colder, and it can feel like a summer day when the sun is shining. Wearing versatile and packable clothes helps me work through the guessing game and allows me to switch layers on the fly if there are big temperature swings.

Cool Weather Cycling Kit

Starting at the feet, temps drop quickly in Minnesota and that’s why I Iove our new Ragnarok boots. I’m finding that these boots are comfortable in a wider range of temperatures than I had originally expected. It’s just a matter of changing up my socks – lightweight, mid-weight or heavy. They feel like a regular cycling shoe, but with weather-resistant superpowers.

If it’s wet and I need to ride on a road or gravel surface, I’m most likely going to be in a bib knicker. If I can ride singletrack, I’ll throw a pair of baggy shorts over knickers or just regular bibs depending on the weather.

The Ketl Overshort is a great option when I’m looking for extra protection in case I go rubber-side up on the ride. The durable, stretchy Schoeller® fabric can take a beating, so I don’t have to worry about tears and repairs. Plus, it’s always great to have extra pockets.

Picking the Right Jacket for Cool Weather Cycling

Up top, I really like our merino t-shirts. They look good with baggy shorts, they’re warm and they wick away moisture well. Over that, I’ll wear the Torvald jacket. It blocks the wind when needed, breathes well through the ventilation in the back and the back pocket doubles as a pouch that the whole jacket can tuck away into if I start to warm up.

It’s also super light, so once it’s packed away, I don’t even notice the weight when carrying it in a short or jersey pocket. If it isn’t wet or windy out, I may run the vest instead.

For my hands and head, I can’t go wrong with the Risor glove/liner and the Stavanger cap. Both are made of lightweight merino wool, but they still do a great job keeping me warm. The glove has an added outer layer of polyester to make it more durable along with some AX Suede padding on the palm. I unpack these gloves in fall as standalone pieces, but they stay in the rotation as liners for the rest of the winter.

Useful Cool Weather Cycling Accessories

Rounding out my cool weather cycling gear, I’ve been a die-hard Smith Optics fan for years. The Attack glasses have tons of coverage and swapping lenses is simple and quick. Recently, I started wearing Smith helmets, too. The Session helmet fits well with the larger lens glasses Smith has to offer, and it fits my dome well.

I usually carry Clif Shot Bloks or fill a water bottle with Berzerk before a ride. I tend to be the weakest link and need all the help I can get! I don’t train or do anything with the data. But I still love looking at my Strava numbers after a ride. So, I always have my Garmin Edge 520 with me. Unfortunately, my average heart rate is about 20 bpm higher than the rest of the group…


45°F is a great temperature to get in a hard ride. With the proper attire and Stephen’s tips, you will never get too cold or too hot. Next up, Garrett will share his favorite riding apparel and accessories for temperatures ranging from 25° - 45°F (-4° to 7°C). Or, you can read our other blogs on what to wear in different temperature ranges: