Sometimes you want to scoot out during the cooler months without having to buy all the miscellaneous bells and whistles associated with cold weather riding. That's where an outfit formula like this comes into play. No heated gear necessary, just lightweight layering and some smart material choices like the ones I talk about can keep you comfortable commuting at speeds up to about 50 mph.
The clothing I put together for this winter ride was for a 40 degree Fahrenheit day and less than 20 minutes out on the road, but it can definitely keep you toasty in temperatures closer to freezing and below.
WINDCHILL AND PERCEIVED TEMPERATURE
It's important to note that your perceived temperature on the bike is a combination of the standing air temperature, the wind speed while you're stationary, and the added wind chill factor from your velocity on the bike. In order to understand how cold you'll really feel at different speeds, I've created this chart for you to compare outdoor temperature in degrees Fahrenheit against wind velocity in miles per hour:
See my video for more tips and tricks, as well as footage of the ride and how I put it all together. All products and gear mentioned are listed underneath the video (with alternatives).
PARTS & GEAR
I recommend thin layers that start skin tight but then have looser (but thin) layers on top of them. Heat is trapped in to the body by surrounding air, and by having a bit of billow in your middle layer, you can keep warm air around the body. Natural fibers insulate well, so I prefer cotton and wool beneath a leather jacket. To occupy the space between the jacket and the helmet, I wear a wool scarf or a balaclava.
Best of luck out there riding in the cold! If you're in a pinch and don't have winter riding gloves, try putting on a set of latex gloves underneath your regular gloves. These aren't porous like other materials and will really trap in the heat around your fingers. I don't recommend this for too long though, as it can get sweaty and uncomfortable.