by Ernest Freeland
The vest, an often overlooked piece of cycling clothing but in my opinion one of the most versatile pieces you can own. You can use the vest in the spring and the fall for those in between days. It’s like an extra layer that isn’t bulky like a full layer. It is the perfect piece to take the edge off on those chiller days. Then when you are done it stores away easily. Surprisingly a vest can be utilized when the weather is pretty cool, so don’t think the vest has a limited weather range.
The vest can be used in many different combinations. One of my favorites is to pair it with a short sleeve jersey and arm warmers usually in temps in the low sixties and certainly when the temps are in the upper 50’s. I used to be a fan of a light jacket for cool weather but grew tired of all the extra wind age it creates and flapping noise it makes. This combination offers you lots of flexibility depending on the conditions. You can pull off your arm warmers if you like or shed the vest and leave the arm warmers on. A benefit of both arm warmers and vests is that they don’t take up much room when you need to carry them with you.
Another great way to utilize the vest is with a long sleeve jersey. You can choose the weight of the jersey based on the weather, or even add a base layer under the jersey. In this set up the vest does a great job of keeping the chill off of your chest. If you become to warm just shed the vest to cool yourself down. Many of my cycling friends will still be wearing arm warmers when I have donned the long sleeve jersey. I find the long sleeve jersey to be more comfortable than arm warmers in many cases. If the weather is right for it I will always choose a long sleeve jersey over a short sleeve jersey and arm warmers. For me the weather certainly needs to be in the 50’s for this combination to be considered. Everyone has their own personal preferences. With a little trial and error you’ll figure out what works best for you. You won’t be disappointed if you choose to try out a vest. Just remember if you are warm when you first get on the bike you are over dressed.
Note: We will cover wind front base layers in an upcoming post which work well under a long sleeve jersey but doesn’t offer you the flexibility to shed if you get to warm like the vest does.