How To Layer for Riding
May 2014 in St. John’s has been the coldest month of May in about 20 years, with a daily high temperature of only 8.2 degrees Celsius (47 F). This weekend it was actually warmer in both Narsarsuaq, Greenland and Reykjavik, Iceland than it was in St. John’s, so gearing up for a day on the bikes took some thought and planning. You may have heard of “ATGATT”, standing for “all the gear, all the time”. I propose a new acronym, “ATGYOAAO”: “all the gear you own, all at once”.
First, the base layer. I highly recommend SmartWool, it’s 100% wool and amazingly thin and stretchy, not itchy at all. I usually wear Under Armor compression shorts as well, but they were in the wash so I had to settle for bicycle shorts.
I like to wear my heated vest over my base layer so that it’ close to the skin. Over the bicycle shorts I have long johns made from wicking fabric.
Next comes a fleece zip-up of no particular brand. It’s a thin jacket that’s big enough to fit over the previous layers, but small enough to be comfortable under my touring jacket. My pants are Scorpion textile, with the wind liner zipped in.
Lastly is my Tourmaster jacket, a wonderful investment for these cold days. It blocks wind incredibly well!
Rounding out the ensemble are my Icon Elsinore boots and Olympia Thinsulate-lined gloves. This is exactly how I dressed to ride my motorcycle on May 31 and June 1. And I was just barely comfortable with the vest plugged in and heated grips on the highest setting. That being said, it was still great to be able to spend a weekend on two wheels!
We don’t live here for the weather. We live here in spite of it.