Part 2: How to dress warmly in the San Francisco/Bay Area (lower body)

Part 1: How to dress warmly in SF (upper body)

Some of us have skin that can probably be categorized as leather at this point and can withstand the chilly, sharp air sweeping against their skin, to a certain degree. In other instances, it probably feels better to keep those knees and toes cozy. Below are some more items that’ll keep the rest of lower body covered:

  1. 4 types of leg coverings

  2. Shoe/Toe covers

  3. Wool Socks

4 Types of leg coverings

1. Long Bibs (aka tights)

Long bibs are a great addition for the colder seasons. Some have wind-proof and water resistant properties like this one. Some bibs have all kinds of features - this one includes a clasp that’s constructed in the strap so it’s easy to undress when nature calls, or a stretch waste band that makes it easy pull down without removing straps (this is more for women).

A. Machines for Freedom - Long Endurance Bib

B. Velocio - Women’s Signature Fly Free bibs

2. Just long cycling tights

There are also tights with chamois but no straps if this is your preferred style and comfort. A quick alternative are non-cycling, athletic compression pants that are worn over your shorts (or bib). This can be taken off and stowed away later once you warm up.


3. Capris

Want to feeling warm, but not too warm? Check out ¾ length pants for those in- between days.

4. Leg warmers

The benefit of having leg covers is that they are easily removable, lightweight, and easy to pack. If you know the weather is going to warm up or you run warm later in the day, this would be a nice add-on to your cycling attire. They are significantly cheaper than full on tights so this can be an alternative to mix with your existing bibs. Tip: find leg covers with grippers that are around the thigh area. This way, it’ll stay put better against the skin. The gripper on your bib/shorts would then lay OVER of the leg warmers.

Shoe/Toe Covers

Some cycling shoes are porous and in cold weather, your toes can get numb. Yes, your shoes are meant to cover your feet and having them breathable is a good thing! It serves as a cooling mechanism to wick away sweat and in the summer, can help your feet breathe. Not to mention, helps with aerating your shoes. However, if the shoes aren’t doing it for you, take a look at shoe/toe covers to help with insulation. That added layer makes a world of a difference allowing you to slice through the cold.

If you want to get real scrappy, people have converted their socks into shoe covers by just cutting holes at the bottom so accommodate the cleat.

Wool socks

Socks can get nuanced when you start to think about the material. Look for socks made for cycling. They are normally thinner and are made of a combination of materials that offer:

  • Insulation

  • Moisture wicking

  • Breathability

  • Compression

  • Comfort

Here’s a great article that gets into the specifics of cycling socks.


Riding while you’re warm can make a world of a difference. Figure out which of your body parts are hindered by the cold first and decide from there what you need next. Your cycling clothing collection will grow and start upgrading over time. These are just a handful of items that cyclists wear so their experience on the road is a pleasant one, year round. Even warmer, more insulating clothing exist which could be helpful if you prefer to be on the toasty side.

If you have any other items that you use that I have yet to list, do share them in the comments! Always eager to hear how others have fared in the chilly air and how you’ve combatted the cold. Stay warm and ride strong!

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