Following on from last week, it’s important to understand that it’s not just your bike that needs to be ready for the winter, equally as important is your clothing.
A wee mantra to live by in terms of your clothing in the winter is, stay dry, stay warm, stay seen. All of these things are going to make riding in the winter more enjoyable, and on a more serious note, more safe.
As mentioned in last weeks article, mudguards are a great way to keep some of the spray from the road off you. But save attaching a huge umbrella, or pod device, to your bike there’s no way to keep ALL the rain and surface water off you.
It’s worth investing in some proper waterproof gear. The obvious one is a waterproof jacket, keeping your core warm is a good place to start. However, it’s equally important to keep your extremities as dry as you can, gloves that have a decent waterproof lining can keep quite a lot of water out, and overshoes are arguably even better.
Common sense should prevail when picking clothes for the winter. Layering up is key, and doing some research on the materials you choose to wear is important. For base layers, merino wool is hard to beat. For mid and outer layers though you should think about something that is fast drying, has a warm lining, and most importantly has some sort of wind blocking technology.
But if you’re the hardiest of souls, then you’ve got to consider what happens when it’s so wet outside that you can’t keep dry. There’s a couple of options worth exploring in this instance. As previously mentioned, you want to keep your extremities warm, as getting a heat back in to your hands and feet is so difficult.
In these awful weather conditions, neoprene rules. Neoprene is what diver’s wetsuits are made out of, and it means that even if you’re wet you stay warm, neoprene socks and gloves are available on the market.
We spoke about lights last week, but if you want to be extra safe, you should think about using your clothing to your advantage. You can buy hi-vis just about anything these days, and there are plenty of products out there that combine the practicalities of hi-vis and good winter materials for keeping warm and dry.
Another tip that is particularly effective is to attach lights to your clothing where you can. We’ve seen light’s clipped to jackets, helmets and even light up cycle clips round peoples ankles. If you want to be seen, you have to get creative.
Staying safe is paramount in the winter, whether it’s making people know that you’re there by being visible on the road, or by making sure you stay warm to keep out of any dangerous situations that way. Also check out our piece on what to carry in your kit bag and on tyre choice the better prepared you are the less chance you have of getting stuck standing on a freezing cold roadside waiting to be rescued.