The "How to dress warm riding in Marin County this winter" Guide

Many clients ask us how to dress appropriately for the changing temperatures of Marin County.  From summer to winter, the cold and warm micro climates actually change from the coast to the valleys and vice a versa. In the winter, the coast can actually be warmer than the inland valleys, drawing in fog and quite cold temperatures from the central valley. Most of us know the opposite affect occurs in the summer: warm inland air pulls the cold and sometimes wet conditions (FOG) from the Pacific Ocean. 

During much of the winter season (November through March), riding comfortably can be particularly difficult with the amount of climbing one must do to get in the miles (LSD rides).   Climbing any one of the local climbs quickly heats ups the core/body, sometimes causing excessive sweating. Result: a wet body from top to bottom.  If you do a Stinson Loop, for example, you climb several long climbs, followed by a cold, shaded descent to the sea.  Heading north along the coast or in West Marin, the shady north-facing sloops can be so cold that ice can cover the roads all day long. These changing conditions can make your clothing selection quite difficult. It occurred to me yesterday, while I set off on a short Muir Woods loop, that it might be fun to share some of our personal ride experience to our loyal followers in this challenging area called "suiting up." 

So what's the key to riding in these conditions?  Not only is layering correctly imperative to riding comfortably, but layering with the right layers, (i.e. the right weight of clothing) is particularly important.

Here is my general routine this time of year.  Follow these general tips to feel relatively confident you are putting on the right gear for most of the weather conditions here in Marin County: 

Believe it or not, I generally take a very brief, but hot shower on cold days.  I warm up my muscles, dry off, and proceed to apply a healthy application of Winter Embrocation to my legs (quads and knees).  I sometimes wear Winter Embro when I am riding in the rain and may not wear knee or leg warmers; but many times I apply it and then cover my legs.  Chamois butter next (sorry no photos or advice on application for this one; you must learn on your own). One key distinction, don't confuse chamois butter with Winter Embro!).

Next, I pull on either 3/4 knickers or full-length tights.  However, I find full leg warmers are the appropriate weight for most training days; they also provide extra versatility that is required for the changing weather conditions. For the early-morning commuter, however, I find 3/4 or full length tights are the perfect choice for quick on-and-off dressing. My new favorite product in this category is the Rapha leg warmers. Fully articulated with flat-lock stitching, these leg warmers offer a nice balance of thickness and comfort and stay positioned very well throughout the ride.

Please keep in mind,  if I am caught mid dress at this point, my wife usually laughs and walks away, reminding me how silly I must look half naked with leg warmers covering my legs only and the smell of  embrocation wafting in the air. Imagine, heart rate strap intact, leg warmers pulled up all the way to the top of my thighs and nothing else but my bare skin.

I now pull on a next-to-skin wool & technical base layer, typically the Rapha merino wool shortsleeve or sleeveless version. I save the V-neck versions for casual outings. Once on, I pull on my favorite bibs, right now they are the Capo GS bib technology used to make the Studio Velo Custom GS Kit. Follow this step with a matching top (no one can see me in a matching top of course, but if I stop at The Station SF or Cibo, I need to look good on the way to and from the bathroom, right?) and you are almost ready. 

Next step, my most important outer layer for this time of year:  I usually select among one of the following, depending on the temperature  and the difficulty of my effort. 

If it's really cold, my go-to jacket is the Capo Padrone Thermal Jacket:  Made up of a windproof outer layer and a mid-level fleece lining, this is the perfect cold weather jacket due to extra moisture protection layer, Shark® and Windtex® wind proof membrane, with micro fleece back and Super Roubaix® Carbon lateral stretch panels. Temp range is near 30deg on the low end. 


If it's in the 40s, we really love the new Assos iJ. shaq Uno Jacket which looks so good on the road, that is, it makes everyone look fast; it also offers the same highly functional qualities that Assos is known for.  The fit is tight, however, so it's only for the slender riders. 



And if it's variable conditions, in the high 40s to low 50s, I will likely wear a Capo or Rapha vest, depending on what best matches my bottom side. Rapha is stylish and functional but for this time of year, the Capo Padrone vest, with the two-way zipper is handy beyond belief. 

Finally, and most importantly, I grab a good pair of winter gloves (we probably have the best selection from Rapha, Capo & Assos than in any past year), the Rapha Winter collar (probably the most incredible piece in my entire accessory quiver, many times overlooked but worn by the entire Studio Velo Master squad), along with a pair of Rudy Project photo-chromtic sunglasses which work well in the changing light conditions.  Some times I wear overshoes, some times I wear overstocks.  But I always wear a good pair of wool socks!


One important addition:  if it is really cold and I am planning on doing a hard interval or two, particularly up hill, I bring an extra base layer for the top, undress quickly, and put a fresh, dry base layer on for the descent. This is a "pro" move that was taught to me years ago. It has truly saved my bacon.  It's not like anyone will be standing at the top of Tam handing out newspaper for guys and girls like us. 

So, get prepared for our weekly Sunday's ride, 8am at Studio Velo,  and feel free to ask us how to be better prepared for these winter conditions. 


Studio Velo / dZi Foundation racer gets his first solo win

The following race report comes Dan Schrad, one of the dZi Foundation/ Studio Velo racers whose passion for racing MTB, road and now cross helps us continue to spread our message about racing for good.  Dan is a talented racer whose support of the dZi Foundation is making its mark in Colorado. 
By Dan Schrad
I started racing cyclocross in September because of the fitness I had from training for France and subsequently winning the Pro-Am Trois Etapes 4-day stage race. It seemed like something that would keep me focused throughout the fall when I typically start to tail off training. All of that is true, but I also found a strain of cycling that is 1) Fun (and hard) as hell 2) Laid back, and 3) Very family friendly. That 3rd item is a big one especially after training hard and spending time away from the family all year. It's a great way to get kids racing at a young age, and even the ones who are too young have an awesome day in the park. That's my pro-cross plug – you guys should try it if you can, especially if you have kids.
This was my 7th race of the season, and the course was probably the hardest of the year. Lots of elevation changes, and 2 serious run-ups meant it would be more of climber's course than typical. To add to the difficulty factor was a steady 20+ mph west wind coming off the mountains. In addition to that, the race was about 10 minutes outside of Boulder, and the closer you get to Boulder, the better the competition. So, it was going to be a hard "hour of power".
So lined up to the start in a field of 55 in the second row. This was the first timeI've started that close to the front, and in cross where the hole shot is everything, starting position matters. The start was a short grass 15 second sprint followed by a sharp left turn with a barrier, mud pit and run-up #1. I knew enough from pre-riding the course that you wanted to be on the left side of the sprint going into the left turn, so I lined up behind a fast starter on the left side. The whistle went, and I had a good start – was right where I wanted to be as I unclipped, jumped the barrier and ran up the hill. At the top, I was about 4th. A guy who I had battled the week before was in first 3 spots ahead of me, and we bunched tightly as we jumped back on and headed to a long downhill/straight away. I passed 2 during the straightaway, and then sat on the guy in first at about a minute into the race. Things were looking good so far.
We hit the second run-up and I sat in second to see how hard the guy was going to go. At the top of the runup we headed west into that wind I mentioned earlier, and we slowed. I shouted "let's get a gap going" and he hit the gas a little and we started to pull away from the field during a twisty section of the course. We turned back east and used the tailwind to drill it and opened the gap even wider. I was feeling good as we hit a long climb and a sand pit near the finish line. All the while, I was riding pretty comfortably in second as we completed the first of five laps. 
At the start of Lap 2 I hit him hard up the first run-up and passed him, but he hung on to my wheel to the second run-up. I hit that one hard too and got a 5 second gap going into the wind. I got in the drops, got low and went til I thought I would puke. By the time I turned around to head back with the tailwind, I had 10 seconds. I let the wind carry me for a bit to get my HR back down (I think it hit 194 during that section, and my LT is 177). And settled into a tempo for the rest of the second lap. 
For the remaining laps, I just tried to keep the pace high and ride within myself. I could see where everyone else was as the course winds back on itself, and the wind and climbs had broken everything up into single riders or twos and threes. Nobody was working together to pull me back – everything was strung out. I hit the climbs and the windy sections as hard as I could, and rested where I could. I could also hear the race announcer talking about the gap I had every time I went through the finish line – it kept growing.
Second to last lap, I crashed in the sand pit and ripped my Garmin off my bars. It freaked me out, but I didn't see anyone coming. I pocketed it and threw it to my kids as I went by the finish line for the last lap. I had 30 seconds of cushion at this point. I kept on the gas for the last lap, picked my way through lapped riders, and rolled across alone 35 seconds over second (the guy I had been racing with on the first lap), and almost a minute and half over third. I barely raised my arms at the finish I was so gassed. 
So that's it – kids finally got see a win. My middle son, who was disappointed that I just got a jersey and not a medal in France, took my medal before it even was handed to me and wore it the rest of the day. 

Riding in the rain & new product launch at Studio Velo

Riding in the rain should be safe & fun!
Let it rain!
Old man winter has finally hit the West Coast and we are loving it!  Don't let the rain retard your fitness, get the right gear, follow safe riding protocol and enjoy the quiet roads and trails of Marin.

We have all NEW items from Capo, Rapha, Assos, among other premier cycling brands that will help you prepare for the winter riding conditions.

In this week's email, we want to give you the best advise & product suggestions to ride safely and happily this winter.

Additionally,  we are excited to announce an exciting new product, for which we will do a launch event/ride this week. See below for details.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and 'Like' us on Facebook for our weekly updates and discount codes!
Winter Riding Gear!
We have new gear arriving daily!  From toe covers to winter caps, base layers to thermal jackets, wool socks to winter vests,  we have everything you need to stay protected from the harsh elements this winter.
Cliiiimb Product Launch & Ride
Are you looking for something fun to do this weekend?  Do you want to experience a fun, safe way to check your Strava segments, heart rate, cadence or power zones in real time without having to constantly watch your Garmin?  We have the answer.  Very exciting!!!
On November 22nd and 23rd, this Friday & Saturday,  Studio Velo will host the official Cliiiimb product launch right here at Studio Velo, using the local trails and roads to demonstrate its benefits to you!
4iiii Innovations announces Cliiiimb. Cliiiimb is an innovative combination of wearable technology and a compelling iPhone app that brings real-time KOM data to Strava users when they need it
most: during their segment, not after.

Check out this video link to learn more about the Cliiiimb real-time audio and visual feedback.

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Ride & Event details
Bring your bikes this Friday and Saturday, the 22nd & 23rd, and be some of the first to test drive the hardware!

Where: Studio Velo

When: Friday and Saturday from 10am-5pm 
(Studio Velo will do a ride on Friday at 3pm. 2-hour segment ride)
BONUS: Join us Friday after 5pm for pizza and beer at Studio Velo

Meet some of the 4iiii team and we also have some great prizes to giveaway!

divider2.gifWinter Riding Tips:
- Dress properly to stay warm & dry. More than ever, dressing in layers is the best defense. Start with a warm base layer (we highly recommend the Rapha Merino Wool (in store) or the Assos Skinfoil Long-Sleeve); follow with either lightweight tights or leg warmers, a lightweight  long-sleeve jersey or short-sleeve jersey with arm warmers; finish with a true, breathable rain jacket.

- Wear clear lenses. Visibility is paramount to your safety.  Use or purchase clear or Photochromic lenses, depending on your preference. Both Rudy & Assos make some of the best lenses on the market. Both in store now!

- Slow down & look for hazards. Two (2) of the biggest hazards on the road are rainbow patches and potholes (which this time of year are puddles!).  Slow down on the descents and corners, avoid puddles and oil on the road and think of the same common-sense practices you use in your car.  For you mountain bikers, enjoy the tacky terrain for the first time of the year, but try to avoid trails that hold considerable water. Preserving the trail conditions for great dry weather starts with avoiding some trails now.

- Use lights & stay visible. There is no excuse for not being seen. Your primary goal this time of year is to be seen by all.  Don't be fooled by the belief that if you can see the car, it can see you. A common mistake, many riders think they can get away with reflective pipping on their clothing for the end-of-day ride commute or late spin. Use front and rear lights, like those made by Light & Motion and high-vis gear from brands like Capo who recently launched some of the best visible riding gear on the market.
Get social with us!

ASSOS: Now at Studio Velo!

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ASSOS: Now at Studio Velo!
Anatomical, function-driven cycling apparel    
elisse black

SV offers the best!

ASSOS. The standard at which cycling clothing is measured.

It hasn't been easy keeping this to ourselves, but we couldn't be more excited to have Assos now at Studio Velo!

We pride ourselves in offering the best in cycling gear and accessories so it is only natural that we carry Assos in our store. Assos invented the first Lycra cycling shorts in 1976 and they haven't stopped making waves since.

Using performance-oriented fabrics to construct highly technical garments, Assos has set the bar for what we should expect out of our cycling gear.

To learn more about Assos or to buy online click here! Otherwise, come into Studio Velo to try on and take home some great gear today!
Jerseys, jackets & vests.
Assos produces highly technical garments that are light, low volume and sensitive. While other companies may advertise "bullet-proof" clothing, Assos is dedicated to producing functional, high-tech cycling gear that will increase your wellbeing and enjoyment when cycling, be it for fitness or competition.
divider2.gifBibs, shorts & knickers.
At Studio Velo we believe that a fit can change the way you view cycling, whether it be on your bike or your gear. From their specially-shaped panel at the front of the shorts, to reduce fabric bunching when in a tuck position to other well thought-out features, Assos garments contour your body, protecting it without applying pressure. Try a pair of Assos bibs, shorts or knickers today, but be warned, you may never want to take them off!
**We are currently only stocking women's shorts & knickers as the new men's S7 is coming soon!**
Each and every item Assos offers is conceived and designed to compliment other pieces in the range. From their skinfoil body insulators to their cycling-specific sunglasses, Assos understands cycling and focuses exclusively on cycling. They do not produce multi-sports items and by doing so they are able to perfect the items you want and need on the bike!
The award-winning Zegho sunglasses are a must see. To learn more about why we couldn't resist these additions to our eyewear line up, check out

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Been looking for mountain bike apparel and can't get the quality you are looking for? Look no further.

Introducing Kitsbow, the world's finest mountain bike clothing!


New at Studio Velo!

Kitsbow. Mountain bike clothing designed & constructed to the highest standards.

Born and raised in Mill Valley, Studio Velo has always been an advocate for local businesses like Taylor Stitch, Osmo and Osprey. Today we are proud to introduce Kitsbow, another Bay Area brand that meets the highest quality standards and styles you have come to know and love here at Studio Velo.

A very unique blend of craft, style and function, Kitsbow has embraced their obsession for perfection and show no signs of slowly down. In a world dominated by high-end road cycling gear it is nice to see Kitsbow laying its tracks in the mountain bike community.

Kitsbow sustainably sources their wool from Australia and New Zealand demanding the highest level of quality. From the other side of the world in Switzerland they source other technical fabrics and it all gets put together in British Colombia.

To learn more about Kitsbow or to buy online click here! Otherwise, come into Studio Velo to see nearly their entire collection.
Discover the Difference.
Beside your bike, your cycling apparel is key to making your ride comfortable. Kitsbow's materials are all of the highest quality and sustainably-sourced from around the world by the best in the business.
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Equipped with a silicone gripper bead along the back hem to ensure a snug fit; zippered side-access back pocket, mesh-lined ventilation panels, and a button-close chest pocket, which stows a tethered microfiber cleaning cloth for your shades, Kitsbow jerseys offer countless technical features you will love.

The use of softshell fabric in the construction of the shorts provides a highly abrasion-resistant outer, with a lightly-brushed inside panel for added moisture management and comfort. This eco-conscious and ever-versatile softshell ensures you are prepared for whatever your ride brings you.
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New mountain bike clothing meets mountain bike season.

Come to Studio Velo for all of your mountain bike needs, from night lights to hydration packs.

Light & Motion offers some great commuter and performance lights to help you see and been seen. Don't get caught in the dark, check out our great light selection her
e and stay hydrated while on-the-go with one of our great Osprey Packs!

Grab your bike and join us on one of our Thursday night MTB rides from the shop! Also, stop by the shop to check out all the sweet bikes we have and even take a few out for a test ride. Call (415) 380-1882 or email the shop at to demo some bikes today.

Pivot Cycles

Osprey Packs