What to Wear on the Routes

What to Wear on the Routes BASC 2022


How do you dress when it will be under 50 at the start and 70 by the finish?Boyd Johnson of Boyd cycling takes us through how he prepares for a long day on the bike and the notoriously ever changing weather we have here in South Carolina.

Welcome to October in the Southeast! The daily afternoon thunderstorms have been replaced by temperature swings where you’ll want to run your heat in the morning, and AC in the afternoon. For some of us, this is the best riding weather of the year. However, it does present some challenges of what to wear.


Are you a warm rider or cold?

The first question you’ll need to answer is “Would you rather be too warm or too cold?”. If you don’t mind being cold for 30-40 minutes, you can avoid stuffing your jersey pockets full of extra clothing as the temperatures warm up. However, if the colder weather really bothers you, then being a little too warm for the last hour and a half of riding may not be that bad.


Layering is going to be key to dressing comfortably in changing temperatures. You may feel like you’ll want thermal tights when you get out of your tent to 45 degrees. However if 3 miles into your ride you are already overheating, it’s going to be a long day.


Looking at the temperatures, each day you will see temperature swings from the upper 40’s at the start to right around 70 degrees for the finish (bonus: sun every day!)


Lower Body

Planning what to wear on your lower half is arguable more tricky than what goes up top as these items are harder to remove while riding and are tougher to take off. Have you ever tried taking off your jeans before removing your sneakers?Imagine this ten times worse with your compression cycling gear.


If you get cold feet (literally, I’m not trying to be a therapist), you’ll want to wear shoe covers. This will protect your feet from the wind and will help insulate them. If you do not have shoe covers you can wear thicker wool socks, although you’ll want to make sure those do not interfere with the fit of your shoe. My favorite shoe covers are from Defeet, and they look like socks that pull over your shoes. They do just enough to keep your feet warm, but won’t overheat when the temperatures rise throughout the day. If you do need to remove them, they are very compact.


With the temperature max for each day of riding getting to 70 degrees, having leg warmers is nice compared to full tights. Knee or leg warmers can be removed once your legs start to warm up and are very compact.


Also, plan on bringing a pair of cycling shorts for each day you’re riding. If you do not have access to cleaning your shorts, you don’t want to ride in them multiple days in a row, so plan accordingly.


Upper Body

Moving to the upper body, the trick is to find a way not to become a camel as you shed your layers and begin carrying a ton of extra gear. If you can, avoid bringing big bulky jackets. They may be nice and warm when you’re at the start line, but will be miserable to carry when you need to remove them.


The first thing that helps a lot is a base layer. This is usually a thin wool undershirt that goes underneath your cycling jersey. The base layer helps to keep heat on your body, but will wick and allow sweat to leave.


To go over top of the base layer, depending on your tolerance for cold, you can choose two options – Arm warmers with a short sleeve jersey, or a long sleeve jersey. Typically, long sleeve jerseys will be more insulated compared to short sleeve jerseys, however it’s much harder to remove a long sleeve jersey if you’re warming up. Need a new jersey for the ride? Check out the BASC 2022 jerseys here! You can purchase online and pick up this weekend or purchase one on-site.


For even more warmth, consider a vest or windbreaker. If you wear a cycling vest (or a very thin windbreaker cycling jacket) over top of your jersey, this will help with stopping the wind from hitting your core. Cycling vests are typically very thin and compact. They don’t offer much in terms of insulation, but stopping the wind is a huge key in keeping warm. Best of all, they can easily be removed and stored once it starts to warm up.


So What do I Reccommend?

After all of this consideration, my clothing of choice is:

Baselayer, short sleeve jersey, arm warmers, and a cycling vest on top. As it warms up throughout the day I will remove the vest, and may even push the arm warmers down to my wrist (instead of completely removing them). As for the bottoms, I recommend sticking to cycling shorts and feet covers.

However, if you’re a rider who does not handle the cold well, I would suggest the following:

Baselayer, short sleeve jersey, long sleeve jersey over top of the short sleeve jersey. This will double up the layers, but will still add breathability so you won’t have sweat trapped against your body. And for the bottom, cycling shorts, leg warmers, and feet covers should do the trick.


Finishing Touches

For your hands, a nice pair of long finger gloves will be good for keeping your hands warm. For those who get very cold hands you may need a more insulated pair of gloves for the start and then remove them later. Gloves are so compact that it doesn’t make sense to suffer with frozen fingers for half the ride.


While balancing the changing weather may seem intimidating, if you are riding multiple days, this is a good opportunity to learn what works for you given a certain temperature. With the weather being almost identical for all three days, you can learn if something did or didn’t work and adjust on future days.


Boyd Cycling is a craft wheel manufacturer based in Greenville, SC. All wheels are built in house to exacting standards and are found in bike shops and bike brands throughout the world. Boyd Cycling is proud to partner with the BASC and will be giving away two sets of GVL gravel wheelsets to two participants in the 3 day event (one male and one female).


Join the Adventure

As the event continues to evolve over the next few months, we want to hear what you’d like to see at BASC. Post-ride yoga? Football on a big screen? Email me here and we’ll see what we can do!

Interested in being a sponsor? Email Alison at awarburton@postandcourier.com.

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