A cold morning ride on Keepers Tour 2013. Photo: Brett Kennedy

Look Pro: Dress for Success

Look Pro: Dress for Success

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I recently overheard someone say that there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. This is the kind of statement that makes me want to hate people as a species a little bit. Of course there such a thing as bad weather. There are also bad people (loads of them), bad ideas (even bigger loads of them), bad advice (especially on the internet) and, despite what your mother told you, there certainly are stupid questions.

Despite being so clever as to render itself useless, there is a sentiment behind the claim that should be taken seriously, and that is the notion that if one is to venture out in bad weather, one should give some consideration to dressing appropriately for it. For example, I routinely see photos of Spanish Pros riding the trainer indoors in wooly hats and leggings. I would never ride indoors with leggings because the most redeeming quality of riding indoors is that you get to stare at your guns shamelessly without worry of being spotted doing so.

A Velominatus should take care to ensure they have a complete wardrobe of kit for different kinds of weather; bibs and jerseys, of course, but also arm and knee warmers, gilets, long sleeve jerseys, overshoes, gloves, caps, winter caps, knee warmers and leggings, and even jackets or rain coats depending on where you live and what kind of weather you encounter.

Always remember that the more you’re wearing, the worse you look. That’s not an opinion – that’s science. Perfection starts with bibs and a jersey, tanned guns, and a sweet set of shades. Next in line is the Flandrian Best, but after that, it’s all downhill, ending with the unfortunate invention of thermal bibs. They may be a necessity under some circumstances, just know they look complete crap, so you will too.

Still, its better than not riding, so as you’re getting ready to kit up for the day, I advise you take into account the following considerations.

  • Overdressing is as bad as under dressing. Getting too hot is just as miserable as being too cold, so unless you’re deliberately overdressing in order to lose weight, dress like Goldilocks, not too hot and not too cold.
  • Start out cold. Dress for how hard you’ll be riding that day; I like to dress such that I am chilly for the first 15 minutes of the ride because after the blood starts pumping or you hit the first hill, your core temp will rise and you’ll be perfectly dressed.
  • Choose layers over bulk. Layers have the advantage that they can be combined in different ways to tune their effect. For example, a jersey with arm warmers and a gilet can be as warm as a long sleeve jersey, but allow you to shed the gilet and arm warmers if you get too warm.
  • Windproof is more important than waterproof. If it keeps the water out, it will keep your sweat in as well, no matter what the label says about breathability. Which means you’re getting wet anyway. Windproof layers, on the other hand, will keep the wind from getting through to those wet fabrics so you can stay warm, and breathe much better than do waterproof materials. Unless its the kind of downpour that starts the animals lining up in twos, you won’t find me in a rain jacket.
  • No ear muffs. If your ears get cold, get a proper winter cycling cap. We’re not savages after all.

// Accessories and Gear // Look Pro

  1. @mrs engine

    On the subject of your husband: I’ve met him, and he is indeed a total ponce, if a funny one. On that basis, I would like to point out quietly (I would whisper this if we were in a room):

    He chose us and keeps coming back and we do little more than tolerate him.

    You, on the other hand, chose to marry the big Jessie.

    Says more about you than us, doesn’t it?

  2. @Mike_P

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    No excuse at any time of the year to look shit.

    This. Also, the skinnier you get, the harder it is to dial in your temperature. Small drops seem to matter a lot more.

    @Chris

    @Mike_P

    …I don’t give a crap what my base layers look like, but everything above that needs to be just so…

    Nope. It needs to start with the base layer. The process of building up the feeling of awesomeness is a complex one requiring that each layer is just so. Any weak link in the process and the illusion might crumble at the first turn of the pedal.

    I think this depends on your level of OCD. I’m with you, but I can understand @Mike_P’s position if he’s less gifted in in obsessive behavior.

    Your obsessive behaviour is starting to rub off on me, if you’ll pardon the expression!

    I’m fine with any rubbing expression so long as it doesn’t end with “one out”.

    @Ron

    On topic – I received an Icebreaker fine Merino wool base layer/t-shirt for a holiday gift. Very darn nice. Worn with a Craft LS zip neck top, thin LS jersey and I’ve been good down to freezing. The feel is much nicer than wearing a jacket, in my opinion. Even a nice cycling-specific winter jacket.

    How’s that? I’ll try and behave between now and March 23.

    I have that top; I use it for skiing. Its never occurred to me to try it on the really fucking cold days.

  3. @Robert

    So I wanted to ask how people handle bibs in their Flandrian Best? My bib shorts are pretty thin so should I get insulated bib shorts or add a layer underneath?

    I handle it with Rule V. We are having insulated bibs made for next year, however.

    My wool DeFeet Kneekers come up pretty high, so there is only a relatively small amount of my legs that have one layer of spandex and it seems like that part stays warm enough; I’ve never really had an issue with it.

  4. @Mike_P

    @Robert

    So I wanted to ask how people handle bibs in their Flandrian Best? My bib shorts are pretty thin so should I get insulated bib shorts or add a layer underneath?

    With good layering on top and knee warmers or leg warmers there really should no need for much else. I’m kinda hoping you aren’t thinking of two pairs of bibs .

    Yes, I think any plan to add a layer anywhere between taint and saddle that isn’t just one layer of lycra and a chammy is an idea that will lead to tears. I’m not really speaking from experience except if you count a quarter-cup of clay slurry as “a layer”. That was unpleasant.

  5. @HMBSteve

    @Ron

    On topic – I received an Icebreaker fine Merino wool base layer/t-shirt for a holiday gift. Very darn nice. Worn with a Craft LS zip neck top, thin LS jersey and I’ve been good down to freezing. The feel is much nicer than wearing a jacket, in my opinion. Even a nice cycling-specific winter jacket.

    How’s that? I’ll try and behave between now and March 23.

    Never worn base layers. What do you recommend, short sleeve, no sleeve?

    I go sleeveless whenever I can because I can’t get the sleeves to play nice with each other. I have a t-shirt wool undershirt (Defeet) that I use, but its only when its so cold I really need it.

    @Ron’s idea of the Icebreaker is fine as it has a thumb loop and you can get it to play nice with whatever you have over it, but it will be very warm.

  6. @frank

    @HMBSteve

    @Ron

    On topic – I received an Icebreaker fine Merino wool base layer/t-shirt for a holiday gift. Very darn nice. Worn with a Craft LS zip neck top, thin LS jersey and I’ve been good down to freezing. The feel is much nicer than wearing a jacket, in my opinion. Even a nice cycling-specific winter jacket.

    How’s that? I’ll try and behave between now and March 23.

    Never worn base layers. What do you recommend, short sleeve, no sleeve?

    I go sleeveless whenever I can because I can’t get the sleeves to play nice with each other. I have a t-shirt wool undershirt (Defeet) that I use, but its only when its so cold I really need it.

    @Ron’s idea of the Icebreaker is fine as it has a thumb loop and you can get it to play nice with whatever you have over it, but it will be very warm.

    Thanks, Frank – helpful

  7. @ChrissyOne

    @Jamie

    I’m planning to do the Seattle Randonneur training ride from the Auburn Fred Meyer parking lot up to Carbonado and back, rolling at 09:00 (we can start at V after if you prefer).

    106km, 900 meters climbing, -4c in the morning up to maybe 3c by afternoon.

    I’m open to a different route if you have one in mind.

    I do that ride a lot, but I start from the River Road in Puyallup

    http://www.strava.com/activities/93089504

    You are on the path, Pedalwan.

  8. All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

  9. @frank

    @ChrissyOne

    @Jamie

    I’m planning to do the Seattle Randonneur training ride from the Auburn Fred Meyer parking lot up to Carbonado and back, rolling at 09:00 (we can start at V after if you prefer).

    106km, 900 meters climbing, -4c in the morning up to maybe 3c by afternoon.

    I’m open to a different route if you have one in mind.

    I do that ride a lot, but I start from the River Road in Puyallup

    http://www.strava.com/activities/93089504

    You are on the path, Pedalwan.

    So, does that mean you’re in Frank?

  10. @roger

    All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

    Perhaps application as well.

  11. @ChrisO I hate you…. in the nicest possible way!

  12. @frank

    @Robert

    So I wanted to ask how people handle bibs in their Flandrian Best? My bib shorts are pretty thin so should I get insulated bib shorts or add a layer underneath?

    I handle it with Rule V. We are having insulated bibs made for next year, however.

    My wool DeFeet Kneekers come up pretty high, so there is only a relatively small amount of my legs that have one layer of spandex and it seems like that part stays warm enough; I’ve never really had an issue with it.

    So with the anticipation of insulated bibs next year, and your suggestion of a “proper winter cycling cap”, does that protend a V-Cog clad winter cap is in the offing?

  13. @Mikael Liddy

    @Robert at what point does the article mention wearing team gear? Have a quick look over at the Rules & you’ll notice numbers 16 & 17 are pretty clear about that kind of stuff…

    @Jon and @Robert (same person ?)  maybe you took a left turn instead of right turn at the intersection of Cycling news forum and Velominati.  Its a common mistake made in the early hours of the morning.    Easily fixed though, Ive included the link below for your future reference.

    http://forum.cyclingnews.com/forumdisplay.php?f=20

    Back to the article – layering, once tried especially with windproof gear, is indeed better than looking and feeling like the goodyear blimp.

    Decent embrocation is a great way to kickstart the minimalist attire.

  14. @HMBSteve

    @roger

    All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

    Perhaps application as well.

    With a paint ball gun. If I can just figure out how to get the chamois creme in da balls. As it were.

  15. Ahhh…Let the slathering begin!!

  16. @Gianni

    @HMBSteve

    @roger

    All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

    Perhaps application as well.

    With a paint ball gun. If I can just figure out how to get the chamois creme in da balls. As it were.

    Some people might pay good money for that particular scenario . . .

  17. Personally, I use generic Vitamin A&D ointment from the drug store. Works a charm and way cheaper than that expensive stuff.

  18. @HMBSteve

    @roger

    All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

    Perhaps application as well.

    It’s rare that something I read on the interwebs actually makes me snort coffee out of my nose.

  19. @wiscot

    Personally, I use generic Vitamin A&D ointment from the drug store. Works a charm and way cheaper than that expensive stuff.

    But does it have the essence of the herbs and flora of Mont Ventoux? No prizes for guessing where my lsat tub of embro came from.

  20. @frank

    @Mike_P

    @frank

    @Mike_P

    No excuse at any time of the year to look shit.

    This. Also, the skinnier you get, the harder it is to dial in your temperature. Small drops seem to matter a lot more.

    @Chris

    @Mike_P

    …I don’t give a crap what my base layers look like, but everything above that needs to be just so…

    Nope. It needs to start with the base layer. The process of building up the feeling of awesomeness is a complex one requiring that each layer is just so. Any weak link in the process and the illusion might crumble at the first turn of the pedal.

    I think this depends on your level of OCD. I’m with you, but I can understand @Mike_P’s position if he’s less gifted in in obsessive behavior.

    Your obsessive behaviour is starting to rub off on me, if you’ll pardon the expression!

    I’m fine with any rubbing expression so long as it doesn’t end with “one out”.

    Coffeespit !

  21. @Mike_P

    @wiscot

    Personally, I use generic Vitamin A&D ointment from the drug store. Works a charm and way cheaper than that expensive stuff.

    But does it have the essence of the herbs and flora of Mont Ventoux? No prizes for guessing where my lsat tub of embro came from.

    The packaging says “smells like a baby’s ass.”

  22. @Jamie

    @frank

    @ChrissyOne

    @Jamie

    I’m planning to do the Seattle Randonneur training ride from the Auburn Fred Meyer parking lot up to Carbonado and back, rolling at 09:00 (we can start at V after if you prefer).

    106km, 900 meters climbing, -4c in the morning up to maybe 3c by afternoon.

    I’m open to a different route if you have one in mind.

    I do that ride a lot, but I start from the River Road in Puyallup

    http://www.strava.com/activities/93089504

    You are on the path, Pedalwan.

    So, does that mean you’re in Frank?

    No, I’ve got the weekend booked up pretty solid. Thanks though!

  23. @Gianni

    @HMBSteve

    @roger

    All this “how do i dress myself” talk…you bastards cant be serious. Will gianni have to start measuring out your chamois cream next?

    Perhaps application as well.

    With a paint ball gun. If I can just figure out how to get the chamois creme in da balls. As it were.

    I am envisioning an inverted sort of William Tell thing……or maybe the knife thrower at the circus

  24. Speaking of looking pro ….   Great pic this one.  Any non-compliances?  Can’t see any

    http://instagram.com/p/kFGTN3ILDJ/

  25. @Robert

    So I wanted to ask how people handle bibs in their Flandrian Best? My bib shorts are pretty thin so should I get insulated bib shorts or add a layer underneath?

    I’ve had some fairly terrible experiences where I was kitted out with a base layer on top and knee warmers, but just my bibs covering the area in between. Having the area from mid-thigh to your waist be the only part of your anatomy that is freezing is extremely unpleasant sensation.

    I used to wear a pair of running tights under my bibs. I am pretty sure that would not fly with the rules, but they were thin enough that it was reasonably comfortable and warm.

  26. I don’t know, something about that photo makes him look like a child on a bike that is too big. The helmet? The huge feet and boney legs? Not sure.

  27. @HMBSteve

    Never worn base layers. What do you recommend, short sleeve, no sleeve?

    I’m with Frank on this one. I generally prefer the sleeveless baselayers to avoid the jersey/BL sleeves not getting along.

    I use three baselayers, sometimes paired together depending on the temps.

    Warm/cool – Craft baselayer. I have two that are like gauzy mesh and one that is plain ol’ mesh. I can’t find it in stock anywhere though. Sleeveless. At this point I don’t like the feeling of bib straps right on my skin. I go for small, you want it to fit very snugly. I’m 171 cm, 65 kgs, a bit thicker than cyclo-build from lots of other sports.

    Cold – Just got the Icebreaker 150 g Merino wool baselayer. It’s a wool t-shirt, seems like nothing, but when paired with a Craft zip neck mid layer top, it’s very warm, requiring only a LS jersey even down to freezing. I used to opt for a jacket, but this year I like this pairing a lot more.

    I really like baselayers. Some think they’re just useless crap sold to ya by the industry. I wear mine year-round though and never ride without one. I think many of them are likely very similar, as most of the big sellers now offer them. I say find one of the mesh-y ones on sale somewhere and try that. The summer ones help, even in winter.

  28. It also seems like no one has taken the opportunity to mention the family jewel pouch. I’ve seen them made for surfers for cold/chaffing protection.

    I’ve had friends say they’ve doubled up bibs in really cold weather. I can’t imagine the double chamois effect.

    In really cold weather I’ll either pair regular bibs with non-chamois tights. Or, I’ll just wear some winter knickers with long wool socks or leg warmers + socks.

    If it’s cold enough for the nether regions to freeze, normally my feet or hands or face hurts worse.

  29. @Ron

    @HMBSteve

    Never worn base layers. What do you recommend, short sleeve, no sleeve?

    I’m with Frank on this one. I generally prefer the sleeveless baselayers to avoid the jersey/BL sleeves not getting along.

    I use three baselayers, sometimes paired together depending on the temps.

    Warm/cool – Craft baselayer. I have two that are like gauzy mesh and one that is plain ol’ mesh. I can’t find it in stock anywhere though. Sleeveless. At this point I don’t like the feeling of bib straps right on my skin. I go for small, you want it to fit very snugly. I’m 171 cm, 65 kgs, a bit thicker than cyclo-build from lots of other sports.

    Cold – Just got the Icebreaker 150 g Merino wool baselayer. It’s a wool t-shirt, seems like nothing, but when paired with a Craft zip neck mid layer top, it’s very warm, requiring only a LS jersey even down to freezing. I used to opt for a jacket, but this year I like this pairing a lot more.

    I really like baselayers. Some think they’re just useless crap sold to ya by the industry. I wear mine year-round though and never ride without one. I think many of them are likely very similar, as most of the big sellers now offer them. I say find one of the mesh-y ones on sale somewhere and try that. The summer ones help, even in winter.

    Thanks very much – sounds like a good plan

  30. @GogglesPizano

    Speaking of looking pro …. Great pic this one. Any non-compliances? Can’t see any

    http://instagram.com/p/kFGTN3ILDJ/

    Certainly that is a good looking kit and helmet (at least from this angle), but I’m amazed at how arched his back is.

    The thing I hate the most about Cervelo (besides their tall head tube) is their move to such a high bottom bracket. He looks like he’s riding a Penny-farthing.

    (That’s Alex from of Pavé Cycling Classics fame, by the way.)

    @Ron

    I don’t know, something about that photo makes him look like a child on a bike that is too big. The helmet? The huge feet and boney legs? Not sure.

     

    Bah, you’re just jealous of us long-legged, flipper-footed folk.

  31. Ha. I spent most of my life being jealous of you tall lads, but now that I’ve replaced bahlsportz with cycling, I’m happy being Medium Sized*.

    He does look more normal in the full-sized photo, I was looking at the teeny one.

    *Gianni confirmed 172 cms is Medium Sized just last week. I’ve been feelin’ good since!

  32. @frank

    It is because of the longer head tube he can run a frame two sizes too small and still get his position as low as he wants. I doubt you understand this geometry concept.

    That’s the same reason J. Van Summeren downsized from 61 to 58. I ride old geometry in size 54 and the new in 51. The idea you have that somehow longer head tube is for people without any flexibility is wrong.

    If anybody however is less flexible or require lots of spacers for a bike to fit longer head tube still looks better and improves frame’s front end stiffness over a stack of spacers.

  33. @TommyTubolare

    @frank

    It is because of the longer head tube he can run a frame two sizes too small and still get his position as low as he wants. I doubt you understand this geometry concept.

    That’s the same reason J. Van Summeren downsized from 61 to 58. I ride old geometry in size 54 and the new in 51. The idea you have that somehow longer head tube is for people without any flexibility is wrong.

    If anybody however is less flexible or require lots of spacers for a bike to fit longer head tube still looks better and improves frame’s front end stiffness over a stack of spacers.

    I understand perfectly; I understand that on the old geo I have to ride a frame two sizes too small just to get my bars low enough already.

    Tall head tubes aren’t for inflexible people, tall head tubes generally for recreational cyclists. My beef with the tall head tube is 100% based on the fact that I could never get enough reach out of a 58cm and the new 61cm will never be low enough for me. So it all comes down to myopic heartbreak.

    My Veloforma has a 19.5cm ht vs the 22cm ht on the R5ca. Lovies.

  34. @frank

    -17 stem would put you  probably 16-18 mm lower and 2 mm longer for a 61 R3/R5 comparing to your -10 stem.

    Going with 58 R3 and using 140 mm -17 stem would put in the same position or very close. 3T 140 mm measures nearly 150 mm c-c so it’s enough. Plus matching 3T stem to rotundo bars. I can see only benefits.

    Anyway you’re riding it so you know what’s best for you. I just think it’s more about cervelo vs Veloforma rather than what fits and what not.

  35. @frank

    @ChrissyOne

    I do that ride a lot, but I start from the River Road in Puyallup

    http://www.strava.com/activities/93089504

    You are on the path, Pedalwan.

    Should I mention is was in the pouring ass rain as well?

  36. @Robert

    So I wanted to ask how people handle bibs in their Flandrian Best? My bib shorts are pretty thin so should I get insulated bib shorts or add a layer underneath?

    Never add anything under. Simply get a thicker pair of bibs – I’ve found bliss with the Assos T607 – same cut as my summer Assos, but extra warm.

  37. “There are no such things as stupid questions, just curious idiots” – discuss.

    Meanwhile, I have discovered the answer to looking pro whilst not wearing 18 layers of kit courtesy of those nice garment manufacturers at Castelli. The finest piece of kit I own currently is a Gabba jersey – the one all the teams were using unbadged at the Rule #9 heavy 2013 MSR. I can get away with just a base layer underneath in pretty miserable conditions, although admittedly it’s regular cold here rather than oh-my-fucking-word-my-eyes-have-frozen-shut cold like you’ve had Stateside this winter. The only time I need anything more is during a deluge when the Pocket Liner jacket goes on. its proved completely waterproof so far and they’ve actually made it fit you rather than flap about. I tell you, they know some shit those Italians.

  38. Those Brits make good stuff too. Their DHB Gilet over Belgian Vermarc jersey (Flanders Classics) over London Rapha wool base layer — arm covers of course. These works for me just a few degrees below freezing.

  39. Or could be Portland Rapha wool base layer?

  40. @ChrisO @The Oracle can’t have been all that hot, Marcel’s wearing sleeves…

  41. @Mikael Liddy Follower response; “No, you actually look like a pro triathlete.”

  42. @Mikael Liddy I’m afraid there are numerous pictures of pros in Dubai going sleeveless – they seem to think it is OK out here. Thor Hushovd is another violator.

    I have refrained from posting them here, so as not to shatter any illusions.

    And to be honest, Kittel could go on a Tweed Ride and still look completely awesome.

    Come to think of it, how did he not get rated in the top 10 of that survey of good looking Tour riders  ?

  43. @ChrisO did he race in 2012? Also they were looking at overall & TT placings, not sprints.

  44. @Mikael Liddy Ah I didn’t realise it was 2012.

    Kittel raced in 2012, but I think he pulled out with a stomach virus pretty early on, so that would explain why he wasn’t in the list.

    That would mean Cipo would never have got a rating – it probably would have motivated him to finish for once.

    From a scientific point of view I think it skews the results somewhat – would be interested to see what difference it makes if you include DNFs.

  45. @cyclebrarian

    @frank

    Our small town/country doctor told us that you lose 80% of your body heat out of your head and would chastise people at church who did not wear a hat in the winter. I’ll always remember that.

    This is only true if your head is uncovered while the rest of your body is properly protected.

  46. As further evidence that looking pro makes you go faster, we have the Norwegian winner from the Olympic Women’s Cross Country 30km in very pro looking 3/4 length sleeves:

    And an American who went sleeveless and thus finished too far back in the pack to count.

  47. ^Plus, she didn’t have the sense to flip her number upside down.

  48. @G’rilla

    As further evidence that looking pro makes you go faster, we have the Norwegian winner from the Olympic Women’s Cross Country 30km in very pro looking 3/4 length sleeves:

    And an American who went sleeveless and thus finished too far back in the pack to count.

    Amongst other things, wouldn’t you want to keep your working muscles covered and somewhat warm?

    I have to say, I loved watching the cross country skiing at Sochi – kinda the closest thing to cycling in terms of effort and strategy.

  49. @wiscot

    @G’rilla

    As further evidence that looking pro makes you go faster, we have the Norwegian winner from the Olympic Women’s Cross Country 30km in very pro looking 3/4 length sleeves:

    And an American who went sleeveless and thus finished too far back in the pack to count.

    Amongst other things, wouldn’t you want to keep your working muscles covered and somewhat warm?

    I have to say, I loved watching the cross country skiing at Sochi – kinda the closest thing to cycling in terms of effort and strategy.

    Did you see the avg speed in the men’s 50km? Around 29kmh!

  50. Itsa quiet day today, thunderstorms on radar and woman’s national streaming in a moment, so pulled up a recent photo at starting line of local crit race. My daughter in middle, with the classic Brooklyn design of our team kit looking pro and standing out in black and yellow. And jersey looks perfect, with BLACK SHORTS the way is meant to be. Its a great kit. Anyways, after race the local university TV sportscaster i’viewed the young lady and asked her what she like most about racing. “Winning!”, she said, She did win this Jr’s crit. Cheers all,

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