WINTER RIDING KIT
Here’s the kit I use in the months of October/November to March/April, including 2 of the worst winters in a generation. Not only did I survive I enjoyed it.
Let’s start with the feet, I suffer from cold toes, so I pay particular attention to these!
I brought these over a year ago from Aldi’s cycle sales, but any good quality sports sock would do, they get used on their own in the summer too.
Not only for wet weather protection but also for added warmth the next foot layer is these Sealskinz waterproof socks.
Cracking bit of kit these, only the most torrential downpour has defeated them.
Next up is my cycle shoes, these offerings from DHB have been in use a year now, good value and do the job. I only have 2 minor quibbles, the heel cup is a tad low, meaning my heel can move up down in them and the sole is too hard for walking on indoor surfaces without slipping! But other than that they’re bang on for the money.
The DHBs are not waterproof, so in the winter I use overshoes, again they give an extra layer of warmth.
I think a comment on sizing is in order here, weight loss cyclists are by defination not the target audience of bike kit manufacturers, I am not sleek and long, indeed no part of my body is. I’m prepared for the guffaws and nudge nudge wink wink comments, but everything on me is short and fat! We do struggle for good sizing and fit. The DHBs are made for “normal” people but overshoes are tricky, which is why after a few failed attempts with other overshoes I went for these with a velcro fastening, it allows for the more ample contour of a good size calf muscle!
Onto your trouser area.
Loads has been written about the importance of good quality cycle shorts, I won’t add to it here, except to say they’re right.
Here’s my shorts which I wear.
Over that when the temperature drops are my beloved Ron Hill Tracksters in the correct colour naturally. Any British Soldier from back in the day will know what I mean by that!
This bit of kit is quick drying, very comfortable and just the job for cycling, they do do cycle specific tracksters, but my nostalgia always makes me go for these!
When the barometer really does plunge -8 is my record low, or rain is treatened, then I put these on, waterproof overtrousers from my Rugby Club’s kit supplier Samurai, they do the job and more importantly as they’re designed for rugby players I can get a pair to fit!
Onto your body now.
I start with a Helly Hansen base layer, again mainly due to having good experiences with the kit in the military, it works!
Usually during the majority of an English winter, this base layer and my overjacket does the job, but when it does get a bit nippy I’ll stick a fleece on over the base layer. This one by Gilbert another Rugby Kit supplier.
Finally as an outer layer in winter I put this on, whatever the weather, it’s hi viz, waterproof and breathable, I’ll adjust my inner layer to control temperature. It’s by Speg, I’ll allow a few bastardised Red Dwarf jokes here.
On my head goes a Headover or Buff, this is an extremely versatile bit of kit. A simple tube of material that can become a hat, a scarf or a balaclaver!
If it does get really cold, I’ll use the Buff as a balaclaver and then put a wooly hat on to keep my ears extra warm.
Ontop of that goes my lid obviously.
And finally protecting your pinkies.
I use mitts in the summer, but in the winter I’ll use these, water resistant gloves. Even in the coldest weather they’ve kept me comfortable.
I hope that’s a help and given you food for thought. I appreciate that a lot of folk don’t commute by bike and all of this could be seen as overkill, but my aim was to let you see that you can bike in all weathers and still be comfortable. The only extra peice of kit you need is the will! Oh and a good set of mudguards (fenders)! That’s given me an idea for a blog about winterising your bike! Watch this space…