Question: This is my first winter on the bike. I’m confused about whether to wear leg warmers under or over shorts. And what about tights? Should I wear shorts underneath? — Robert M.
Coach Fred Matheny Replies: Wear leg warmers under your shorts legs. Put on your shorts and socks first, then roll back the shorts. Pull the warmers on so the rubber gripper band at the top is mid-thigh or slightly higher. Then roll the shorts back down. There should be plenty of overlap to help hold the warmers in place.
And note that grippers hold better to bare (non-hairy) skin, which is one of the reasons some cyclists shave their legs.
Arm warmers are worn the same way. Pull them to the top of your arms, then let your jersey sleeves overlap. If you’re wearing a short-sleeve base layer underneath, you can tuck it into the warmers to prevent cold air leaks.
As for tights, wear shorts underneath. Some tights come with a padded liner (chamois) and could be worn without shorts. But of course you have to wash these tights after every ride.
If you wear shorts inside tights with no chamois, you still need to wash the shorts, of course, but the tights won’t need cleaning for several rides unless they get wet or muddy.
This approach help tights last longer, which is good because they’re more expensive than shorts.