Winter cycling on a budget

My ride in this morning was proper freezing! It was 3 degrees outside and I wasn't prepared. I didn't realise it was that cold and only checked the forecast the night before to see if it was going to rain or not. All I was wearing was my lycra undershorts, a pair of shorts, a cycling jersey, arm warmers, a high viz vest and fingerless gloves.

Once I got up to speed, I realised I didn't have enough layers on. I thought to myself, once I've been cycling for 10 minutes I'll warm up. As it happens I sort of did, but not enough. My upper body and fingers warmed up as did my face and neck but my nose, ears, legs and feet all stayed cold. By the time I got to work, 37 minutes later I had to warm up, rather than the usual cool down.

Having looked at winter cycling gear, it all seems expensive. Money I just don't have. I have an idea of what I need but I don't know what the best bargains/alternatives are to the big brand cycling items.

Here's my challenge to you. Give me your suggestions for cheap branded and cheap alternative items, I (and others in the same situation) might need.


  1. A few thoughts....

    1) Leg warmers will extend your shorts in to knickers for very modest cost. Use long socks and your lower leg is nearly covered with out expensive tights or bib knickers.

    2) A couple of base layers under a jersey are more effective for me than a thick, expensive jacket. They should be breathable material that wicks perspiration. Wool is ideal, but cold gear garments from Underarmour, Nike and other sports manufacturers that are not bike specific work well, they are versatile for other activities and a little less expensive than wool from Icebreaker or other manufactures.

    In the U.S. you can get good wool socks at Walmart, not sure where to suggest shopping in the U.K. but they shouldn't be too expensive.

    Sealskinz makes some great high viz yellow gloves that weren't too expensive and appear to be quite warm, though I haven't had a good test in near freezing conditions yet, I got those on Shipping back to the U.S. took a while but didn't cost much.

  2. try decathlon if you have one near you, lots of cycle stuff at very reasonable prices.

    I got some real bargains at aldi recently, really nice jwindproof jacket for £12.99 and over boots and a cap fro under your helmet both windproof for £6.99. don't know if they'll still have them. With Aldi when its gone its gone. They had gloves and merino socks too. All great value.

  3. Wow this is a good question. One that i have no idea how to answer. I will think about it meanwhile. I guess living in Africa I dont need to cover up even in our winter. Although our winters are bloody freezing, yet dry. It never ever gets wet here in winter. I will take a look around for you, perhaps when i come over next i can bring you a few items as things are generally much cheaper here. Good question, one i am going to ponder.

  4. Aldi is good but have not long had their winter sale but they may have some stuff left, also Sports direct if you have one near you have started doing some cycling stuff not a lot of choice but reasonable prices

  5. There are some good base layers at Aldi from the running gear that was in on Thursday.
    Also those headbands that keep your ears warm (and make you look like a fule.... but hey! Warm ears). is also pretty reasonable.
    A buff is brilliant for keeping your face warm.
    The cheapest way round this is to layer up and wear as much wool as you have without getting too bulky.
    Wool socks - expensive but you'll love them.

  6. Keep your ideas coming guys.

    As it happens, I got my arm warmers from Aldi but I find their clothes a little on the tight side.

    I've managed to get thermal base layers from Sports direct and they're not too expensive.

    Tonight I went back to my local Sports Direct store and tried on some padded tights. About three weeks ago I tried them on and they didn't fit. They didn't fit today either. However, I noticed some that looked the same but had a different code. They were different and I managed to get the XXL ones to fit. Result! I also bought a long sleeved cycling top and it was only a LARGE! Another result.

    I still need some overshoes and long fingered gloves.

    Also on the winter theme, I need some budget lights that are top notch. I also need some winter tyres. Please continue with your suggestions.

  7. Try wool gloves that you can get from Tesco for < £5 over your fingerless cycling gloves.

    Definitely get a buff - seems v expensive for a small piece of material but I can't do without mine (don't bother with the extra warm one, too warm for me above around -5*C).

    I prefer manmade base layers to merino - cheaper and better at handling sweat.

    Decent socks and kneewarmers should sort out your lower half, look after your knees - they're v important.

  8. Buff buff buff, all the way. Never leave home without mine except in the proper summer. From just a neck thing to full over-ears comfort, it's brilliant.

    Aldi gloves, they do a waterproof if you can pick some up. About £6 full finger. Decathlon base layers or the dhb stuff from wiggle is cheap - my dhb was £10, use it every week. Gets smelly though, it's manmade fibres. Wash it a lot but it dries in no time at all - can wash & dry in an evening.

  9. Some interesting tips there guys. Keep them coming people.

  10. I am also following this with interest! Some great tips here, thanks!


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