How to layer up

You need to be ready for anything when you’re out on your bike in the UK weather. UK Youth pro rider Yanto Barker explains how to layer up like a pro.

Be prepared!

Get a detailed weather forecast for your route’s valleys and summits, then dress with versatility in mind for changeable conditions. I combine a rain cape, arm and leg warmers and caps and hats for different temperatures and weather, but the the common principle is that layers must be portable and easy to put on or take off during a ride. All these items will fit easily into a rear pocket, so you can adapt as you go along.

Limb warmers

Arm and leg warmers are particularly useful as they can be worn with so many other items and in so many different ways. Arm warmers can be worn with short-sleeved jerseys or under long-sleeved ones, and leg or knee warmers turn shorts into longs or three-quarters. Start with everything on for the cold mornings, then take layers off as the sun comes up. In the mountains, roll warmers down for hot climbs, then up again for descents.

Wind protection

One item I don’t use is a wind-stopper under-vest, because if it gets too hot you’d have to take everything off to remove it. Then you’d be riding without a wicking under-vest at all – which I wouldn’t advise unless it’s 30 degrees. I prefer to use an outer layer like a softshell gilet to do this wind-stopping job, as it’s relatively small – and therefore easy to stash in a pocket – and it’s a doddle to put on or take off.

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