I’m ready to go out cycling one February morning in the Mar Menor region of Murcia, Spain. As always, just before choosing what to wear, I check the thermometer. It reads 6 degrees Celsius. The skies are clear but I notice that the streets are wet, probably due to last night’s rainfall. I think about the route I’ll take, most of which will be mere meters from the coastline. I know what I’m going to wear: as a first layer, it’ll be my Fall Interactive long-sleeve shirt, which has a thermal range of 8–16 degrees. Over this, an ij.haBu5 jacket, ideal for a temperature range hovering between 6 and 12 degrees. The choice of cycling shorts is the ll.607_S5, also designed for temperatures between 6 and 12 degrees. For socks, it’s my fuguShocks_S7, which have a range of 0 to 8 degrees.
I eye the thermometer again, look out the window and notice the trees swaying to and fro with moderate frequency, which makes me think of the fallen rain and wind and lead me to conclude that the thermal sensation must be lower than my initial temperature reading. I debate whether to don my iJ.Bonka.6, perhaps more suitable for the cold I am likely to face, keeping in mind that it’s indicated range is 0 to 8 degrees. On the other hand, I say to myself: there isn’t a cloud in the sky and as we get deeper into the day, it will no doubt get warmer, thereby obviating the need for excessive thermal protection during ascents and the pedaling I’ve mapped out for myself along the route, especially if one considers the favorable climes normally found in this southeastern part of Spain.
I make a decision: I’ll wear the iJ.haBu5 and wear a third layer, an Assos shell, the Climajet, which Assos no longer has in stock by the way, but has replaced with the sJ.climaschutz or the sJ.blitzfeder, both perfect for combating early morning humidity and which offer protection against water splashing on me from the ground. As a complementary accessory, I choose the rainBootie_S7 for water and air protection of my feet and my footwear which happen to be Sidi Ergo 2’s. For my hands, there’s the earlyWinterGlove_S7 and under my helmet, a green-colored Stinger Cap to give my entire outfit a new, distinctive hue. For eye wear, there’s a pair of Oakley Radars, with VR28 Black Iridium Polarized lenses.
Once underway, and having completed my first 10 kilometers – always the coldest part of a ride because the body begins heating up to a “working” temperature – I begin to feel more comfortable. The Climajet shell performs its function as a “wind-stopper” superbly, as do the rainBootie over-boots. In addition to featuring a smart look, they keep one’s footwear and feet dry at all times, especially during descents, with its airtight design. As the kilometers pass and the road
becomes steeper, I elect to remove my Climajet, rolling it up and tuck it away in the rear pouch-pocket of my iJ.haBu5. Once I finish my climb, I put it on anew for the descent, removing it again once the descent has been completed and wear the iJ.haBu5 for the rest of the route as my thermal protection.
I’ve recounted the above to call attention to the need to observe weather conditions before choosing which clothes to wear and the importance of contemplating the various options available to us. In winter, we are especially inclined to overdress, a decision which we then regret kilometers later, due to the amount of sweating most of us produce. Thus, it is wiser to travel “light” and choose clothes that we can put on, remove easily and which can be comfortably disposed of in a jersey or rucksack, if we mountain bike. As a final word of advice, the first layer is fundamental, because it is the one closest to the skin, and the one which determines body temperature. So, remember: choose your first layer according to the prevailing conditions and circumstances in order to maximize breathability and protection.