The autumn and winter months are closing in - but that's nothing to worry about when you know you can snuggle into a merino layer, pop a waterproof coat over it and head out in comfort, watching your warm breath hang in the air.
Women's urban cycling clothing has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, and there's now a fairly wide variety of options to suit individual tastes.
Most cycling specific kit that's been created with fashion as high on the agenda as function comes with a fairly high price tag attached. However, there are a few more practically priced items out there on the market.
We've rounded up some of our absolute favourites. Most of them are likely to be 'pay day treats', rather than spur of the moment buys, but there are a couple more sensibly priced items in there, too....
Rapha Merino Breton and Leggings
Merino wool is renowned for offering warmth and breathability combined, as well as its total inability to soak up whiffs - ideal if you know you might sweat a little but not so much a change of clothing is necessary.
Whilst 90 per cent of the fabric in this jumper is merino, the extra ten per cent is made up of nylon and elastane for a little extra strength and longevity. The sleeves roll back to reveal 'under-cuffs' that feature high viz and reflective yarns - ideal for signalling. At £100, it's not cheap, but it is an autumn/winter wardrobe staple.
The leggings at £60 are an absolute wonder to wear. I've got a pair from last year, and brought them back out of [inverse]hibernation as soon as the weather began to turn. They're still as good as new. Thick and snuggly, there's no danger of these going see-through. The waist is high, and fabric is double bonded so it's much more resilient. There's a reflective tab on the ankle too (though I nearly always wear these with boots..)
Rapha Merino Breton: £100, see it here
Rapha leggings: £60, see them here
Apres Velo COG-Legian Jacket and Cycle Culture Legging
Looking for clothing you can cycle in, that will show off your passion when you lock the bike up and head into the city/town/other, too?
Apres Velo have you covered with a wide range of options, but we chose these two as our favourites. The bomber style jacket features a full zip and a high neck to keep you warm when there's a chill in the air.
The leggings are made from a cotton and polyester mix and are silicone washed to ensure a soft texture. They waistband is wide to avoid any digging in and offers a mid-rise fit.
Apres Velo COG-Legian Jacket: £34.96, see it here
Apres Velo Cycle Culture Legging: £24.95, see them here
Giro Women's Ride Leggings with Pockets
Designed to be a 'versatile legging for any ride style' these come with flat lock seams to avoid any chance of chafing, plus handy pockets for keys and small items. These are made from a blend of nylon, Lycra and polyester, allowing total ease of movement, you can pedal in comfort, check into your favourite yoga class, or wear them into the office.
Giro Women's Ride Leggings with Pockets: £79.98, see them here
Howies Women's Llaeth LS Cycle Jersey, Shewaddywaddy Jacket and Fontana Jeans
Adventure brand Howies cater for cyclists, as well as mountain climbers - and we've been impressed by their kit in the past.
We've selected the Llaeth LS jersey because we know the circular knit used with a polyamide/elastane mix makes for a super comfortable garment that's soft and lovely to wear. The full zip, three rear pockets and close fit make this a traditional cycling jersey with a retro fit.
The 'Shewaddywaddy' jacket is a super lightweight wadded jacket with a windproof ripstop nylon outer. Windchill is countered by 'Slimline Primaloft fill' on the chest, whilst lighter back sections prevent overheating. This clever jacket packs down into the rear pocket, which acts as a carry case when zipped and will fit easily into your backpack.
The jeans are made from organic cotton with two percent elastane for the extra stretch you want on the bike and offer a straight fit that can be a little more 'cycle friendly' than skinny jeans.
Howies Women's Llaeth LS Cycle Jersey: £69, see it here
Howies Shewaddywaddy Jacket: £79, see it here
Howies Fontana Jeans: £59, see it here
Velocity Climbers Trousers
Velocity Urban Cyclewear is a London based brand, created by Carolyn Gaskell who aims to create stylish, functional cycling clothing. We reckon she's met all the criteria with these.
Made using a NanoSphere treated material, they're water and stain resistant. The fabric is largely cotton, with 2 per cent elastane for a little extra stretch.
Designed to be 'slim fitting but realistically sized', these are available in sizes 8 to 16. They've got several cycling specific details such as heavy duty belt loops, reflective pocket details and a rollable-cuff with chain link detail.
Velocity Climbers Trousers in Grey: £85, see them here
Vulpine Women's British Cycling Trenchcoat
This jacket has been made in Britain, using British Millerain bonded showerproof fabric. It's stunningly tailored so it'll look great about town but performs well on the bike thanks to pleated shoulders. A smart reflective tail will barely show off the bike and make a real difference on it.
We've not tried this one, but we have tested Vulpine's Harrington Women's jacket quite extensively, and can confidently say it's a long lasting product you can expect to get years of wear out of.
Ok - now we'll step aside and let you make what you will of the price tag...
Vulpine Women's British Cycling Trenchcoat: £395, see it here.
As Bold As Drench Coat
Founded by Joyce Brereton, As Bold As create some outspoken and stylish cycling kit - and the Drench jacket is a great example of functional but feminine design.
Three layer fabric has been used so create a fully waterproof, windproof and breathable jacket. The extra length keeps your bum covered from splashback and there's a stow away storm hood held in place by adjustable toggles when in use.
The lining is integrated and made from a soft fleece, whilst underarm vents will keep you cool and there are pockets at the front as well as 360 degree reflective detailing.
As Bold As Drench Coat: £148, see it here.
Cafe du Cycliste Women's Heidi Jacket
We found this jacket whilst ransacking the internet for a 'stylish commuter jacket that's not really expensive'. Well, we failed on the price point - but isn't it gorgeous?!
This jacket has been constructed from an advanced Italian high performance fabric and uses a polypropylene layer to keep you dry and a polyester micro face to quickly and effectively wick away any moisture build up. On the torso, shoulder and sleeve front, quilted panels act as a windshield for extra warmth.
The cut is quite close-to-skin, so there isn't too much flapping fabric to slow you down. Shoulder vents help to provide breathability, and these can be closed via zips on a very cold day. Two rear pockets can be used to store equipment and there are reflective details.
Cafe Du Cycliste Heidi Jacket: £175, see it here
Sportful Allure Thermal Jersey
Designed by roadie cycling brand, Sportful, this is the most 'lycra' item of this list. However, despite having all the stretch, breathability and cycle specific qualities you'd expect, the heathered fabric makes for a more relaxed aesthetic.
The key fabric is 'ThermoFlow' - which keeps you warm whilst allowing easy transfer of air to maintain a comfortable temperature. The cuffs and hem are elasticated and there are three rear pockets plus a full length zip.
Sportful Allure Thermal Jersey: £65, see it here.
dhb Aeron Merino Baselayer
We're back banging on about merino wool again! But it's such a great fabric and wearing a base layer like this underneath your civvies will genuinely help to keep you warm and as sweat free as possible.
The baselayer is made using dhb's brand new 37.5 technology. It's a new fabric that keeps your temperature at the 'perfect' level: 37.5 degrees.
This stretchy first layer of defence snaps nicely against your skin to create a comfortable fit that's super light and will sit well under most tops, t-shirts and jumpers.
dhb Aeron Merino Baselayer: £35, see it here
Kit Ace Tatum Gloves (or the version from Accessorize...)
Ok - they're not made specifically for cycling - but fingerless mitts can feel like a hug in a glove on a cold day. And they leave your fingers free to brake, change gear, and swap out a punctured tube should you have to.
If you're feeling flush, Kit Ace have a gorgeous pair of 100 per cent cashmere gloves. They are white - s0 won't suit a lot of riders - but they do look like a little dose of luxury.
If you're feeling a little bit more economically minded, we also love this acrylic pair from Accessorize (and there are LOADS more designs).
Kit Ace Tatum Gloves: £60, see them here
Accessorize Zig Zag Cut Off Gloves: £12, see them here
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