“Should we turn back, or keep going?”
I look between my friend and the sky as foreboding clouds blot out our sunny Sunday morning.
“I think it’s about the same distance either way…” she replies.
So we keep riding as the storm closes in. For the next hour, we get pounded by hail, rain and wind until we wearily roll up to the trailhead soaking wet, freezing cold, and wishing we’d planned a little better.
With all the ups and downs of weather, spring mountain biking has its own special challenges. Enjoying April showers and May flowers takes a little extra planning, but with the right women’s mountain biking clothing you’ll be out soaking it all in, without getting soaking wet.
Plan for unpredictable weather.
Don’t rely on the weather forecast, or clear blue skies when you set out. Small storms can roll in fast. We recommend always packing a water resistant or waterproof jacket and an insulating layer like a sweat wicking long sleeve top that can help you stay warm if the temperature drops quickly. It’s much easier to stay warm than to warm back up if you get cold, so put on your warmer layers as soon as you start to feel chilly. If you can’t fit an extra layer in your usual riding pack, this might be a time to opt for a larger backpack that can fit extra layers to ensure you’re prepared for variable conditions.
Dress in layers.
In addition to staying warm, it’s also important to avoid overheating. If you’re overheating you’ll be working harder (and feel less comfortable) than necessary and sweat more which can make you chill later. We like the mantra - “Be bold. Go cold.” to start off a ride. It may be difficult to feel the chill at first, but will keep you more comfortable over the course of your ride. Mountain bike clothing is designed to keep you comfortable in a wide range of temperatures, but layering different pieces together can give you more flexibility as conditions change.
We like to wear a close-fitting breathable base layer like our Cadence Tank. Then add or remove a warmer long sleeve or wind blocking layer like our jacket on top as needed to match how hard we’re working and what the weather is doing to stay comfortable.
Protect your hands from the elements.
Your hands are exposed to all the elements on the bike, sorry no stuffing them in your pockets if it gets blustery. A lightweight pair of mountain bike gloves will keep your hands warm, improve your grip on the brakes and also protect your palms if you take a spill.
Accessorize for maximum versatility.
Small accessories can add a lot of warmth without adding much bulk or weight to your pack. A thin neck gaiter is our secret weapon for a little extra cozy when it gets chilly. They fold up tiny and can be stashed in a pocket or pack and are easy to put on for descents and take off as you work harder and heat up on a climb. A low profile beanie that goes under a helmet can also add a lot of weather protection in a small package.
We’re all feeling the siren call of dry trails, blooming flowers and longer days this time of year. So layer up and pack for unforeseen weather, then get out there to enjoy spring in all her glory.
Top photo by @mtbcowgirl
Bottom photo by @natalierstarr