Riding a bike in the mountains is a bit like playing roulette with the weather gods. Sometimes you get lucky: you ride light and fast, in blue skies and sunshine. The inevitable will come though… at some point you will be struck a blow: rain, sleet, wind, and snow.
The answer is protection. More specifically, layers of protection. To stay comfortable and safe cycling in the mountains you need to build a layering system of adaptable insulation and waterproofing. This is your shield against the power of the weather.
Windproof Cycling Base Layers
It begins with a base… The foundation of any cycle clothing layering system starts with a base layer.
The GripGrab Windbreaking Base Layer takes things one step further though—shielding your front-facing torso from windchill using a wind-resistant fabric; yet wicking sweat and moisture away from your back and shoulders through the technical fabric weave. For the transition seasons and the unpredictable mountain weather, this is my choice.
Premium Cycling Bib Shorts
Long days in the mountains demand a lot from a pair of bib shorts. You will often sit differently for those lengthy hours of climbing compared to your normal flatter profile rides; that means the pad, the fit, and the fabric of the cycling shorts needs to accommodate shifts in position and riding style.
The Gore Wear C7 Long Distance Bib Shorts are one of the best pairs of endurance cycling shorts that I have worn to date. The seatpad supplies superb pressure relief and the compression fabric feels supportive and reassuringly strong. Do not be tempted to skimp on your bib shorts, they are vital for comfort.
Endurance Cycling Jersey
My endurance riding jersey of choice is the Sportful Super Giara Jersey. This cycling jersey was designed with adventure riding in mind. It is composed of a unique blend of marl and mesh fabrics that give it great thermal regulation properties, and allow you to do long all-day rides in mixed temperatures without getting overheated or overcooled.
Windproof Cycling Gilet
One of the most valuable layers in your cycling wardrobe—a gilet is super packable, but offers vital protection for your core. Wear it on its own to keep the windchill at bay on a long alpine descent, or wear it under a jacket for added insulation.
The Gore Wear C7 Windstopper Gilet is a great example.
Waterproof Cycling Jacket
On my #5MaratonasChallenge there was one item of clothing that shone above them all—the Gore Bike Wear ONE 1985 Shakedry Jacket. This innovative jacket from Gore is both super-packable and highly-protective.
The constant-beading SHAKEDRY technology means that despite its featherweight feel, this cycling jacket will keep the mountain-top elements at bay, and keep you comfortable. It has certainly delivered for me on some challenging and stormy days in the Dolomites.
Protective Cycle Clothing Accessories
Waterproof cycling gloves, a cycling cap, and warm all-weather socks are three cycling accessories that I would never approach high altitudes without.
The GripGrab Cloudburst Gloves will keep dexterity in your digits on those long chilling descents—offering a waterproof and insulating shield for your hands. A GripGrab Cycling Cap protects your head from the wind, rain, sun, and even snow. Then, for your feet, the GripGrab Spring/Fall Wool Socks will keep your feet warmer and drier in the high mountain climate.
Riding in the mountains is a beautiful and rewarding experience. But, whether road cycling in the Dolomites on the #5MaratonasChallenge or bikepacking across the Alps on the #7Countries7Passes; the correct kit choices are vital to keep you comfortable and functioning whatever the mountains throws your way.
Pack light, but pack smart—you will ride further and feel stronger.
Go conquer the mountains.