My Cold and Rainy Weather Layering System for the Bike

Donner Bridge

While it’s a month or so late, with a devastating fire season as a result, fall has finally arrived to the Bay Area. This time of year brings cooler temps– sometimes below freezing in the morning — and rain. Beautiful rain.

Every year around this time, I look forward to wearing more layers on the bike and not worrying so much about getting out first thing to avoid the heat. Here are the layers I am currently wearing in some combination each day depending on the weather.

Top Layers

On the top, I start with the Velocio PowerWool SL Base Layer to add a layer of core warmth that also works hard to wick away sweat thanks to the combination merino wool next to skin and polyester face that pulls moisture out to the next layer. Over that, I throw on the 7Mesh Callaghan Merino Jersey which is constructed similar to the base layer — an interior made from merino wool and an exterior of wear-resistant polyester. If it’s a nice fall day, this is generally enough.

But if it’s really windy or when the temps drop down below freezing in the morning like up in Tahoe where I escaped the smoke the other week, a jacket is required. For Tahoe, the Elite Escape Barrier Jacket from Pearl Izumi was perfect as not only did it block the cold morning wind, but also the bright orange color ensured I was seen by motorists on the mountain roads.

When the rain hits, I switch out jackets for the 7Mesh Oro Jacket. Weighing less than 80 grams, this waterproof cycling jacket is made from membrane-on-the-outside GORE-TEX Active SHAKEDRY fabric, meaning it will never wet out no matter how hard it rains. Pass-through vents at the back add ventilation and give you access to your jersey pockets. A note on sizing — if you are ample-chested, size up.

7Mesh Hollyburn

Bottom Layers

In cold weather I throw on the water-resistant 7Mesh Hollyburn tights over my bike shorts. These lightweight tights roll up small enough to store in your jersey pocket should it warm up during the day and are tailored to ensure no bunching. Super soft against the skin, I found that I appreciate the tights more than knee warmers or full leg warmers as the latter two always tend to fall down and worst of all, give me the stuffed sausage link look.


On my hands I wear the windproof Pearl Izumi Escape Softshell Gloves that are fleece-lined for warmth and best of all, touchscreen friendly. On my feet, I wear the high-vis DeFeet Slipstream shoe covers if it’s cold and dry, or the Pro Barrier WxB Shoe Covers from Pearl Izumi if it’s raining.

Both Pearl Izumi and 7Mesh are having great holiday sales at the moment so you can get great deals on some of the items listed above. And a percentage of all 7Mesh Cyber Monday sales are going to three non-profits.

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