Theres is saying amongst people that work out-doors "theres no such thing as poor weather just poor equipment."
Invest in equipment.
We've all been there on a ride or a run freezing our nips off, almost crying with the cold when you look at the guy next to you and they seem perfectly comfortable.
They are either A, carrying considerable more bulk than you or B, they have better kit.
Lets be frank Grandma's knitted mits aren't going to cut it on a ride below 4 degrees. Oh and those jazzy shoes that looked great and kept your feet warm in Majorca aren't going to do the same on a damp ride down Cow Dung lane.
This is what you do your a cyclist. Invest in your kit and it will pay dividends back in comfortable riding miles regardless of the weather.
Keep your Kidneys warm.
The first thing your winter tights should do is look after your kidneys, If your kidneys get cold your brain will all blood from your extremities to try and warm them up. Cold kidneys always results in cold fingers and feet. Invest in some decent Roubaix tights.
Use your Head.
First of all lets debunk the urban myth that we lose 45% of our heat through our head. Its just not true, It's actually around 7 to 10 %. But if everything else is covered this can significant especially when we add in wind chill.
We lose heat from our bodies by convection, conduction and radiation.
When the wind blows it not only removes a boundary layer of warmth generated from convection, but conduction also comes into play from the wind blowing on our face continuing to reduce temperature. One of the best items you can use for restricting heat loss through your head is a buff.
If you are wet or sweaty then the cooling effect of evaporation will cause our temperature to fall further. As a lot of the effect is felt on bare skin, Covering exposed skin will help in preventing heat loss.
Make sure to pick warm and moisture wicking clothing, moving sweat away from your skin as efficiently as possible is essential in the heat battle.
Feet and Hands
Stiff soled cycling shoes attached to metal pedals act as heat sinks, effectively draining warmth from your feet. They’re also right in the firing line for spray off the road and, spinning around at a constant 90 RPM, are constantly generating their own wind chill effect.
Protect your feet by investing in a pair of Overshoes or better still winter boots. Wearing some M2O compression socks will aid massively also by increasing blood flow and therefore heat. Socks that come well up your calves or even up to your knees are a good idea. Your calves are not especially active when cycling and can easily become chilled and any sort of gap around your ankles will chill you rapidly.
Having a thin under glove is a great idea, it allows for better dexterity with zips or maintenance work and make a huge difference on the bike.
If you can stop your feet getting wet, half the battle against cold feet is won. Full mudguards make a massive difference to all round, as well as foot, comfort in the winter and your ride mates will thank you too.
Your muscle force production decreases in colder temperatures. Cold muscles contract with less force than warm muscles, and the neural recruitment pattern of muscle fibers changes, which results in less efficient contractions and further reduces muscle force.
So warm up before getting on the bike, Squts or jumps (or even a quick run on the spot).
Drinking too much cold liquid while running or cycling can lower your body temperature so invest in a few insulated bottles and take warm drinks ideally with Electrolytes in them.
Oh and that need to pee all the time is normal too (back to the kidneys) its is known as immersion diuresis. In cold temperatures, the body constricts blood vessels, which raises blood pressure. In response to that, the kidneys will try to eliminate fluid to reduce blood pressure.
The two final species to the jig saw
First you only have one pair of eyes, look after them and get some winter riding glass's.
It only takes one tiny stone at being flicked up to cause some long term damage or a at best discomfort. Modern Glasses enhance your ride immeasurably
Theres so many different fabrics out on the market, ask around and try things on. Many have the our opinion you can't beat Gore shake dry. Horrendously expensive but so much further ahead of the completion in terms of weight, breathability and actually being waterproof we really don't think there is anything else that comes close. Check out the Castelli Idro 3 Pro Cycling Jacket.
There are others though that perform equally well but our advice is always try them on ideally sat on a bike so you can check fit etc.
Once you've tried all this give up because lets face it Mat H has it nailed.