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Tricks & Treats
Autumn has already thrown some interesting weather our way. As temperatures plummet and the chance of rain keeps rising, it seems the ideal time to browse the latest Rapha collection for women and put together our favourite outfits for keeping dry, staying warm and being comfortable.
Cool and dry
For those days when there's sun in the sky but the air nips your cheeks, your enemy can actually be overdressing. You don't want to overheat and end up drenched in sweat because you'll freeze on descents and there won't be enough hot chocolate in the world to warm you up once you stop for a break. Your absolute essentials are 3/4 bibs with a short-sleeved baselayer. Add a Long Sleeve Jersey, Merino Socks and a neck warmer. Stick some mitts and a Wind Jacket in your back pockets, but think of them as back-up for when you need them. Chances are you'll be warm enough without. If there's a bit of spray on the roads, Oversocks will protect your shoes without the heat of their neoprene siblings.
No cyclist enjoys leaving home in the rain any more than the next person, but when we know it's going to happen, the only thing you can do is dress for it. In the rain, merino is your friend. A Long Sleeve Base Layer paired with a Long Sleeve Jersey and Rain Jacket should do the trick. Make sure the rain jacket is snug-fitting. As the warm air from your body pushes out through the material, it actually increases the water-proofing. A jacket that's either skin-tight or too baggy will significantly reduce the water resistance. Depending on the temperature, 3/4 bibs or Deep Winter Tights paired with Merino Socks and Overshoes will keep your legs warm, even if they get damp. Finally, sunglasses and a peaked cap to keep water and road grime out of your eyes.
Cold and dry
Don't let the freezing mark stop you from riding. The secret to comfortable deep winter riding is not wearing a jersey. Wear base layers and a lot of them. Worn with Deep Winter Tights, you can wear a short-sleeve and long-sleeve (or two long-sleeves if it's really cold) base layer, both tucked neatly into cosy bibs. They keep you warm but wick the sweat. Then top it off with a Softshell Jacket for wind and road-spray protection. A pair of Winter Socks, overshoes, mitts, a neckwarmer and a Merino Hat mean you keep your extremities toasty without over-heating your core.
Just because the sun has decided to head off to the southern hemisphere for the winter doesn't mean you have to. Most of us get our mid-week riding in after dark, so visibility is key. Of course we love the new high-vis gilet, but it's just one of many ways to get noticed. Almost every piece of outerwear comes with reflective detailing, but our favourite way to be seen and stay comfortable is to layer it up. High-vis oversocks can be an easy addition, and for drivers, the tapping feet of a cyclist are unmistakeable. We're big fans of the men's Pro Team Jacket, which when sized down, fits a treat, and can be worn alone with tights and a base layer. But if you're going for simple: throw a high-vis gilet over any jersey and base-layer combo and be instantly spotted.
No autumn is complete without an off-road adventure or three. Love the mud and embrace the chaos of cross with panache. Depending on the distance and speed you're riding at, you'll need to vary your kit. But the key is to keep your knees, feet and fingers warm, your core will take care of itself with the constant pounding of the trails. We prefer the 3/4 bibs, a short sleeved baselayer and Long Sleeve Jersey, Rain Jacket in a pocket or backpack, depending on the length of adventure. Wear a peaked cap and whatever you do, don't forget to pack a spare pair of socks for the ride home. Find some muddy bridleways and head out for a day, topped off with some tea and cake.
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