As summer drifts into the memory as a long since forgotten luxury we all burrow in and prepare for a long winter. Those beautiful summer days recalled with rose tinted glasses where it never rained and the sun always shone. And for training this weather utopia meaning that heading out for that ride was a quick change into your shorts and favourite cycling top with no need even for socks. The realities of our current season are far from this carefree existence and the topic of our blog this week.
Winter means the John Lewis advert for Christmas repeated on loop and visits to Halfords for exciting purchases such as new wiper blades or De-icer. Lets be fair for those that enjoy the outdoors it sucks and only eats into any precious time you may have had for training. Your beautiful carbon road bike ruined with mudguards, heavier tyres and countless spare inner tubes for the inevitable puncture. One of the main reasons for this erosion of your time as well as the post ride bike clean is the amount of clobber you need to wear in order to cope with what the elements may throw your way. Now I may sound overly dramatic and you like I live in deepest North of Canada but even in the heart of middle England when winter bites it screws up my time on the bike.
Starting from the ground up shoes switch to my MTB pair with the triathlon lightweight beauties discarded until the sun shines once more. Inside my chunky footwear comes at least one pair of serious duty socks ready for coping with feet fixed to pedals during my ride. To thermal wrap those winter boots comes a pair of overshoes to further improve the look and finish off the Herman Munster footwear. Nice. Definitely ready for that Strictly come dancing call up. Cycling shorts now replaced by tights with suitable reflective-ness and for those not too comfortable with your sexuality some serious questions if these are leggings or worse tights? Doesn’t your girlfriend wear stuff like this? Top half becomes a mission of how many layers can I find in the wardrobe from vests, base layers, tops, gilets, jackets, vests. Pile it on, the more the merrier. Once you have perfected the StayPuft marshmallow man look (Ghostbusters reference for those scratching the heads) you are ready to rock. Well not quite. You now need to consider gloves and forget those fingerless jobs for this you need something that you could also use for arc welding as your hands will be taking the worst of it and on a long ride leaving these behind will quickly become something not to be repeated. Not feeling your fingers properly when you are trying to break on a downhill in the rain isn’t top of my bucket list. Just your head to consider then with a headband, neck scarf and winter glasses. Awesome.
As you head out for your ride there is little for any other half to worry about on what you might be up to. Any pub wouldn’t sensibly let you if you had any misguided belief that you were appealing to the opposite sex no chance. Not even your Mum would give you a kiss on the forehead looking like that. Get out there and make the most of it marking the days off for Spring when you can resume your minimal wardrobe and enjoy spur of the moment cycling.
About the author – Billy in spite of being a Scot is not coloured blue and the first sign of winter layers up to the max. Not a lover of the cold and a signed up member of the Southern softee brigade.