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Fall Cycling: The Importance of a Windbreaker Vest

November 2014

When I purchased my vest two months ago, the owner of our shop said that I picked the most important article of cycling clothing one can buy for enjoying fall cycling.  He wasn’t kidding.  Vests can create and solve a lot of problems at the same time, though if you choose the right one you can win all the way around.

Mine is made by Louis Garneau and has a nylon, windproof front and a mesh back.  This may seem a little counterintuitive when you’re looking to stay warm but the truth is, all of the cold comes from the front.  With the mesh, a lot of moisture is let out the back so it keeps the sweating to a minimum, which in turn helps keep me warm.  If you’re reading this thinking, “yeah right”, you’re not alone.  That’s exactly what I thought when I was laying the cash down for mine.  I can tell you right now, arm warmers, a short-sleeved jersey, a light long-sleeved jersey and my vest and I’m good all the way down to the mid-30’s.  I lose the long-sleeve for 50+ degrees and the arm warmers too for 60-65 degrees.  The mesh back works.

With that out of the way, there’s one more important thing to look at when you’re buying a vest:  Pockets.  Mine has three deep pockets, so I’ve got the three from my jersey for things I probably won’t need (spare tube, pump, tire levers, etc.) and the three in the back for more important needs (food, phone, a spare pocket for gloves or my hat if it warms up…).  I’ve seen a lot of vests out there and after having one with pockets (and having several friends comment on how cool it is that my vest has them), I would never want one without.

If you want to ride comfortably in the cold, may I humbly suggest a decent vest. They’re worth every penny. Mine made this fall vastly more enjoyable than the last two – and spring will be a lot less daunting when it rolls around too.





  1. Jean says:

    A great fun vest there! I only started wearing such cycling vests in the last 5 years. They are convenient for weather that starts off cold to warm…in Calgary we often getting temperature differences in 1 day ranging from 10-15 degree C difference.

  2. Frank Burns says:

    Ha!…….roadies who stuff all 6 back pockets tend to look like speeding camels….especially when down on the drops… 🙂

  3. Vests are great. I agree with the pockets but think that the mesh back defeats the purpose of the vest, especially when a tailwind hits. You still sweat no matter what and I prefer to vent by unzipping a little.

  4. The cycling vest (gilet) is probably the most versatile piece of kit that I own. I have a club one. It doesn’t have the extra pockets, but has slits so you can reach into your jersey pockets still. Nice and aero too. Folds up small enough to stash in a jersey pocket and perfect for autumn/spring rides with variable temperatures and sporadic rain showers!

    • fastk9dad says:

      My vest has the access ports to get to the jersey pockets as well. It doesn’t have a full mesh back either but rather slits I can unzip on the back and sides to expose mesh and let the heat out if needed. This allows it to double as a rain vest when it’s all zipped shut.

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