Last weekend (mid December) was the first time I would say it was definitely cold. Anyone who rode over this weekend won’t have failed to notice it. There was even some freezing fog knocking around which didn't want to lift. Wearing the right gear in these elements is really important. Two things my Sergeant Major said to me that really stuck from my time in the Army. Firstly, ‘any fool can be uncomfortable,’ and secondly, ‘there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad selection of clothing.’ This really applies to our sport.
Layering, particularly on the bike is the most obvious point to get right. You can get base layers at a whole range of prices but a great way to get some more value for money is to double up or use your running base layers. This will have a very similar effect. Think about versatile types of kit too like gilets, arm and leg warmers. Using a set of arm warmers and gilet can turn your medium weight winter jersey into a deep winter jersey capable of dealing with any temperatures or conditions.
On the bike your extremities take a battering. With regards to gloves, options are essential. There is no glove that copes with every condition over winter, I’ve bought ridiculous numbers of pairs over the years, so invest in some autumnal and some deep winter gloves ideally the lobster type which have the benefits of a mitten but the control of a glove.
For your feet layering on the outside of the shoe is your best bet. Most people only have one pair of cycling shoes which fit well within thinner socks in the Summer but with thicker socks they actually squeeze the blood out of your feet making them colder. I’d recommend using toe covers and overshoes. It’s a very rare day that your feet will be too hot in the winter and this really helps. For more protection use electrical tape to tape over the air vents in your shoe.
For running keeping your working muscles warm is really important as due to the extra stress on the body when running you’ll be more susceptible to injury if the muscles cool down rapidly. We’ll pretty much be living in running tights from now until the end of February.
Remember the quality and appropriateness of your kit is key to your enjoyment of your sport no more so during the colder, harsher weather. Enjoy!
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