We all know that getting out during the colder months can become a chore… a task that we don’t immediately feel thrilled by – though often, once out, the dread departs, and our body is submerged in the endorphins.
The thought of frozen extremities, ice fresh air weaving its way into our lungs and the potential of becoming a drowned rat, water skiing through the lanes.
The worst task is by far having to clean your bike after every ride, regardless of the time spent on the bike.
Even worse is suffering after your cafe stop and having to get further into your ride for a pit-stop, purely so you actually make it home without freezing to your bike, after a mid-ride stop.
Although, there is certainly something to be said for the correct kit – clothing made for the weather you’re dealing with, providing the warmest embrace on that dreadfully cold and overwhelming ride or lacing you like a stylish bin-bag to keep you dry and toasty, air doesn’t get in or out – but they’re breathable… or so they say.
Winter clothing tips
We all start our two-wheel journey somewhere, which means we all make the mistake of underestimating our first winter, no matter how many people warn us, or how vulnerable we are to the cold, it is one lesson we will never forget.
You know those shorts you’ve spent the summer in? Wash them and bag them up for another time because you will absolutely not be requiring them through winter – unless you venture to the turbo, in which case, don’t let them out of your sight…. Or you might just melt into a warm, salty puddle under your turbo.
Now, having appropriate clothing can be expensive and knowing which brands and which items of clothing are essential, or at least worth the money is another story.
Brands we’ve found a new respect for
Spatz – it’s magic, what else can we say. Apart from looking slightly like a robot in their Pro 2 Overshoes, your toes will be snug as a bug. They transport moisture and essentially warm it up to add heat to your feet – nobody likes cold toes.
Then there’s the base layers, people bang on about merino base layers and how cosy they are, but the Spatz layer is a revelation. They come in long or short sleeve – option to wear arm warmers if you so wish with the short sleeve – versatility is key. The long sleeve comes with a turtleneck, stopping your neck from losing heat – perfect if you’re asthmatic and struggle with cold air on your neck.
Among the rest of their line, we also like the; gloves – sent from heaven, socks of various lengths, jackets – perfect for autumn riding and you can mix it up with various other items for deep winter and finally the arm-warmers and leg-warmers.
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GOREWEAR – want to be dry rather than shower-proof? These are your guys and gals. There is honestly nothing worse than braving the rain, only to find out your ‘oh-so’ waterproof jacket is very much only shower-proof and then spending the remainder of your ride cold to the bone. We have all been there.
Gorewear uses Gore-Tex material, which is a patented waterproof fabric, made with a mixture of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) known as expanded PTFE (ePTFE) and was one of the first flexible waterproof materials invented. Being such a well-known fabric, it really lives up to its reputation.
They provide a variety of jackets on the market, from waterproof to insulated, for various adventures – not just cycling. One of their most popular jackets is the C7 WOMEN GORE-TEX SHAKEDRY™ JACKET – truly a bin-bag by nature, but a fashion statement by range.
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Rapha – providing heat so you can flex your legs in style. No, but really, their Pro Team Winter Tights are a game changer. The numbness of your leg muscles seizing up as you realise, you’re only halfway through your ride, is a nightmare scary enough to send you into hibernation.
Well, Rapha took note of this crime and invented their winter bib-tights – with thermoroubaix panels, water resistant fabric to the front and a soft inner. A bit on the spenny side, but well worth the pennies because warmth is key.
These are just some recommended items for your venture into the deep dark depths of winter because winter is coming.
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Realistically you need at least some of these, if not all
• Thick socks – or a couple of pairs!
• Bib-tights – preferably a winter pair, for maximum survival chances
• Insulated jacket or if you want to resemble the michelin man – a lot of long sleeve jerseys for layering
• Water-proof jacket
• Thick gloves
• A decent base-layer
• Maybe a couple of reusable hand-warmers… great for sticking in your gloves when icey hands settle in and a lovely warmth on your spine when in your middle pocket.
• A flask… that fits in your bottle cage – ride around with a cuppa or a hot Vimto for a balmy, summers feeling exploding around your taste buds, when you need a sugary refuel.
These products will help you survive the winter better than you expected. We learn from our mistakes, which is a hard one to swallow, so get your hands on a few winter items to make the learning process a little less painful, and the journey a little more enjoyable.
When you’re dressed and prepared well for winter, it can be a super fun experience – riding through beautiful towns and scenery in the dark is overwhelmingly warming, venturing through the fallen leaves and slushy mud – although annoying for creating a lot of dirt, it’s fun.
You could also use some of the above items of warmers to experience off-road riding, whether it be cyclo-cross or MTB – winter is the season to be joyously cold and filthy.
If you have spent some hard earned cash on new winter gear and are worried about it getting damaged as a result of a crash, don’t forget that you can include up to £2000 worth of clothing onto your policy. Just log in to your account here and ‘amend policy’ If you need more help or aren’t currently a customer, you can get a quote for bicycle insurance here, or just give us a call on 0333 003 0046