Monday, 17 February 2014

Essential Winter Gear

Winter is nearly over right? Ok, so it probably isn't in reality but I am keen to see what people think is the most important piece of winter kit, and in truth I don't work very well in the cold, well my fingers don't at least!

I'm an active member of Bike Radar, so posted a thread up asking what other users think is the most important piece of winter kit actually is, and what bit of kit has helped them continue to ride through winter...

The answers were to be honest, as I expected, many people actually opting for Turbos and Rollers to ride in Winter as opposed to ride on the road. Now I've not got a turbo or rollers, I used to have rollers, but if i'm honest I didn't use them enough to really warrant keeping them, plus they are not what you would call quite.... I decided to opt for riding outside.

Another popular answer was mudguards and I 100% agree. I use SKS Chromoplastic Full Guards, they are secure, don't rattle, keep you dry, look good, fit well, cheap, tough. In fact I think they are brilliant. Obviously this does mean your bike needs to have mudguard eyelets however you can get small P clips to allow normal forks to take them, in my opinion well worth looking at. You'll stay dry as will the person behind you. Perhaps worth noting that in serious rain there is still some spray. To stop this you'll need a huge flap, often a homemade job...

Lots of recommendations for a Buff. I've got one (or 4) lying around and they are so flexible. Wear it on your head, around your neck, over your whole head... It keeps you warm, keeps the wind out and can be stuffed in a pocket when/if you get too hot.

Base Layers. SO important and an obvious piece of kit. For me, the Craft Active Zero Extreme is brilliant, light, comfortable and very warm, keeps the wind off you and there has been many a cold and frosty day when I have been very thankful for this.

GLOVES! This for me, is one of the most important aspects of winter cycling kit. I use Sealskinz Winter Gloves, warm and comfortable, although sometimes in very cold conditions the tips of the fingers will still be cold, overall very good and 100% waterproof! There are a lot of recommendations for Craft Thermal split lobsters, they make sense and keep your fingers warm (I would imagine) but I do question how user friendly they are a lobster claw fit... Maybe some I should try next (this) winter.

Other recommendations & Tips:
Gore Thermo Overshoes - Very warm apparently, although never used them.
Tin Foil over toes - Interesting - No idea if this works
Slime tubes - Not used, but a great idea and certainly helps stopping punctures and therefore standing at the wide of the road cold.

Most of the information above, is I guess, common sense, however I always find it very interesting to see what different riders use in terms of kit. There are obviously other important pieces of kit, one of which is Overshoes. Something which I am yet to actually wear. So other recommendations would be good.

For now, Spring must be around the corner, this may be optimistic, but sun, shorts and a jersey seemed a lot time ago now...

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