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Wet n Wild cycling in Canberra winter

By Vonbare - 8 April 2009 42

Now that the days are shortening, and the winds are chilling, I’m preparing for my first cycling commutes in a Canberra autumn/winter. 

I don’t have any specialist cycling gear and am wondering if any local cyclists (and given previous posts, I know there are a few) could give advice on what sort of jacket to buy. 

Something that would suffice me for the 3 chilly seasons would be great.

muchos gracias


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42 Responses to
Wet n Wild cycling in Canberra winter
PURSUTE 12:32 pm 08 Apr 09

“Having a quiet chuckle over PURSUTE’s comment about rain! Are we expecting any?”

Just a bit of wishfull thinking. Considering how wet I got camped at the Mont 24 on Friday night, not entirely missplaced.

TheScientist 12:18 pm 08 Apr 09

thermal leggings + shorts, while not fashionable, are a much better alternative to long trousers for riding i find. and they dry quickly if it’s wet.

as for the top i just have a high vis windproof/showerproof (not really rainproof though) jacket, and usually end up wearing a thermal longsleeve top and thin fleece under it, even on the coldest mornings.

as soon as you ride about 500m-1k your legs will be plenty warm, and if you push it a bit the rest of you will be too.

p1 12:14 pm 08 Apr 09

I made some water proof shorts years ago. They keep my shorts dry on the rare occasions it rains (not bike shorts!), don’t take up much space in a bag, and legs can handle the cold.

That said, I’m pretty soft these days and haven’t ridden the pushie in the rain for a while.

Big fan of a thermal top with a vest over it for the top half.

Danman 10:57 am 08 Apr 09

I found out this morning that jumpers are a necessity.
I generally dont get cold but today was the first time this year.

Gloves are a necessity, my feet get cold but not uber cold – and I may invest in booties and a thermal top, but thats about it. I rode 16km, but dont really get *that* cold, just the start of the trip – and my hands.

First time I rode in to work was last year and arrived with frost on every forward facing surface – so anything less is not that bad.

johnny_the_knife 10:52 am 08 Apr 09

I use gear I purchased from Ground Effect in New Zealand ( for Winter riding. You’ll want a good jacket to keep the wind out, leggings to keep your legs from getting cold and good gloves and socks. Ground Effect make a glove and sock material called Wind Foil which I have used down to -7 without any problems.

You’ll also want something to keep your ears from freezing off, and some clear glasses to keep the cold wind out of your eyes when riding in the dark and cold.

Arm warmers are good this time of year because you can just push them down to oyur wrists if you get a bit warm.

If you’d prefer to purchase locally from a physical shop, 2XU at DFO are a good bet.

Qbn Gal 10:39 am 08 Apr 09

Having a quiet chuckle over PURSUTE’s comment about rain! Are we expecting any?

Postalgeek 9:59 am 08 Apr 09

I find cycle vests are great, over a long sleeve jersey. Keeps the worst of it off you while your body warms up without cooking you.

Flashduck 9:54 am 08 Apr 09

Cycling Specific clothing is fabulous for . . . . cycling. The cut is longer in the back to prevent riding up when hunched over, while still permitting ease of movement around your waist. Fabrics are designed to wick moisture that you generate away from your skin, and prevent water getting in.

For control of warmth first off, you can’t beat arm armers, they allow you to rollthem down or up as you need. Check the bike shops around Lonsdale Street, and on-line Ground Effect ( is a NZ company which ships from Australia and will have the gear with you the next day from my experience. Great stuff, highly recommended and likely to be seen on cyclists all around the ACT.

neanderthalsis 9:28 am 08 Apr 09

I’ll be cheeky and suggest you buy a car with a heater… Problem solved.

Other than that, make goretex your friend.

Special G 9:24 am 08 Apr 09

Get yourself a set of leggings, a windproof vest and I wear lightweight snowboarding gloves. Check out Torpedo7 for some bargains.

Danman 9:18 am 08 Apr 09

wet suit booties for your shoes – keeps the frost off your toes.

Apart from that I wear gloves, trackies, hoodie and high vis

daddy 9:05 am 08 Apr 09

My winter wear is all by Netti. Windproof vest, longsleeve fleece lined top, long pants with windproof panels on the front. I do nothing for the ears, they just get cold but my boys have fine polarfleece headbands from kathmandu. Windproof gloves are a must. You will learn what layers you need. I get really hot really quickly so find I go more for stopping the wind that thick layers. The windproof stuff is really lightweight as well.

johnboy 9:00 am 08 Apr 09

Agree with the first two, I find when I’m cycling I’m generating plenty of heat.

It’s keeping the wind and wet off that’s important.

niftydog 8:55 am 08 Apr 09

Haven’t needed any extra layers just yet, but it won’t be long before my ears are supporting icicles.

Yes, something thin but effective against rain and wind – it should also pack away in a small space for those sunny autumn afternoons. Cycling specific jackets will also be tailored to suit and won’t get in the way or flap around too much.

PURSUTE 8:35 am 08 Apr 09

My recomendation is something thin that will just block out the rain and the wind. That way you can taylor the layers you wear under it to the weather.

There are heaps of these sort of jackets available from outdoor/cycle/camping shops.

I also swear by a good set of long winter nicks as my legs are too scrawny to warm up on cold Canberra days.

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