As we pedal rapidly through early Spring, we caught up with the stolen goat team to pick their brains on the best kit for Spring rides - and particularly how to tackle the sort of early season outing that starts out bitingly cold but soon warms up.
In this article, stolen goat’s (now former) product manager, David Law, shares his tips on the must-have items for your Spring cycling wardrobe.
This post is sponsored by stolen goat
Choosing the right kit to keep you perfectly warm (but not too warm) can be tricky in Spring. It can be tempting to stick on all your deep Winter kit just to be on the safe side - but you know you'll be cursing when you're sweating away in warm sunshine a few hours later. Conversely, it’s no good dressing for Mediterranean conditions if you leave the house at 7am and it’s been a cloudless April night in northern Europe. You’ll freeze! Think of Arctic explorers you see in the pictures: it’s often bright and sunny, but about minus 50 degrees…
To my mind, there are two important tips for ensuring you’re not overly cold (or hot) on the bike in Spring.
The two things you need to know for optimum Spring cycling comfort
When you know you’re going to experience a wide range of temperatures, these are my suggestions:
1. The Golden Rule: load up on clothing that folds down well. If you take it off, you will need to store it in a pocket.
2. Buy yourself a seat pack/saddlebag and store all your tools and spare tubes in it. Then you’ve got your pockets for stashing those removable layers as it warms up
What to wear: the best road cycling clothing for Spring
Fortunately, lots of easily stashed clothing also gives a great warmth vs. weight trade-off and doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Onto the clothing itself:
1. Buff (like John Wayne)
Yes, a small neck warmer, known in cycling as a buff, will do wonders at keeping out an early morning draught, regardless of the height of your jersey collar. If it’s really biting, you can also pull it up around your face. You may not actually look as buff as John Wayne (if you excuse the pun) but you will retain important heat around an otherwise exposed area.
The best £10 you will ever spend: why not choose something funky like these.
2. Springtime cap
Now the traditional cotton cycling cap is great, but why not go for something more sophisticated, like a wind and waterproof cycling cap? These will keep your head a bit warmer in the early hours with zero excess bulk.
You don’t find these everywhere, with only a select few apparel brands offering them, but Stolen Goat have a new one here.
3. Arm warmers
Everybody’s classic Spring piece of road bike apparel, arm warmers never tire of being useful. Not only will they add significant warmth, they can also be rolled down without the need to remove them, saving pocket space.
Black matches with everything, but you can also get bright options like these.
4. Windproof gloves
There’s nothing worse than cold hands. It sometimes seems like frozen fingers are where the cold starts to permeate your whole body. If it’s really crisp in the morning, leave the mitts at home and get some full-finger, non-bulky, windproof gloves.
Again, there aren’t masses of these around, because we are not talking about your traditional, bulky winter gloves. But a pair like these will keep your hands nice and toasty as you set out but can be easily packed away later on.
(Oh, and read this for our top tips on keeping warm in cold weather!)
Now this is a super useful piece of road cycling gear for rides which go from cold to hot in a shot space of time.
Offering full windproof protection over the core of your body, they really combat the wind which is the number one element in cycling that leaves you shivering. As soon as it warms up, simply remove and fold into your pocket. Make sure you don’t buy a heavy, older-style gilet that is too bulky: the key to a high performing gilet lies in its ability to go in your pocket when required.
A bright block colour matches everything and helps you be seen at dawn as well.
How about this beauty?
6. Short sleeve, Windproof jersey
If you want to go the whole hog, you can get yourself a windproof/thermal short sleeve jersey and then just undo the zip when it gets warmer.
These jerseys mean you don’t have to bring a gilet, because essentially the windproof element of your gilet is integrated into the front panel of your jersey.
Castelli famously “invented” these but almost everybody now makes one, such is their appeal.
Some, like Stolen Goat’s Orkaan range, also have additional safety features like pixelated panels on the rear pockets. This makes you more visible as the sun is getting up. Check out Stolen Goat's jersey, here.
So there you have it: if you want to know the best kit for Spring cycling, then there are some inexpensive, highly effective clothing options out there, that can make a big difference to the comfort of your ride without breaking the bank.
You could feasibly fit all of the first five items listed above into three empty jersey pockets - just make sure your tools are stashed elsewhere when you start the ride!
Big thanks to David for his tips on what to wear for Spring cycling.
If you fancy a new kit day, you know we wholeheartedly endorse stolen goat kit which we’ve found unfailingly good quality and beautifully designed (check our reviews here and there's more information on our relationship with stolen goat, here).
Also remember our partnership with stolen goat gives you 20% off their kit - join our email list for details (sign up boxes above or below) or check out our Instagram. We don’t publish the code here as bots sweep websites for voucher codes.