Get set for winter riding with our top accessories pickE-Venture
OK, so the temperatures have dipped and winter is well and truly closing in. The good news is you’re still getting out and about on your bike, albeit despite the days never really getting light and the chill winds seeping through your cold-weather garb.
There’s no point maoning, though, as it’s a long time till spring. The best thing you can do is to tog up and get moving!
A balaclava may be old school but it’ll keep your head – and by default, the rest of your body – as warm as toast, without compromising on your peripheral vision, unlike a hoodie or hat. You can spend next to nothing on a cheap knitted balaclava but if you want something that’s windproof and water-resistant, go for neoprene.
Give your fingers some (g)love
Don’t be tempted to persevere with fingerless gloves; you’ll only end up with frost-bitten fingers. Instead, plump for a pair of thermal cycling gloves. They’re grippy enough to let you perform your gear changes, while keeping your digits toasty.
Put your feet first
There’s nothing worse than cycling with soaking wet feet in cold conditions, as the chills will quickly set in and make feet feel numb. Shoe covers are designed to slip over your cycle shoe – even if you clip your feet into your pedals – helping feet remain dry throughout your ride.
It’s important to keep your core warm and dry in colder weather – and so easy to lose heat if you wear the wrong gear. A wicking base tee is a good start, followed by a thermal long-sleeved top, with a windproof and waterproof outer layer to help keep the warmth in and the wet out.
Turn the lights up
Often, lights that provide adequate service in the spring and summer months don’t quite make the grade in the perma-gloom of autumn and winter. Think about investing in a quality lamp that will cast a powerful beam on the road ahead, giving you better illumination and, at the same time, allowing other road users to see you more clearly.
Get tooled up
A flat tyre is a pain in the saddle on the best of days. But if you’re on a winter ride, you’ll want to be up and running after any mishap in short order. Make up a winter spare part kit with a replacement tube and anything else that will speed up a roadside repair – a cartridge-style tyre inflator, for instance – as well as a bit of Kendal mintcake for an energy boost.
Map your route
It sounds obvious but if you’re expecting bad weather, make sure you know where you’re going and give someone else the heads-up about your route – and maybe an idea of when you’re expecting to be back. Take a mobile phone – even if you don’t need to make an emergency call, you can take some great photos!