The Best Cycling Gear For Winter

Posted by on Nov 6, 2013 in Bicycle, Cycling | 0 comments

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If you’re a keen cyclist, you don’t want to let the changing seasons keep you from you passion, but it can’t be denied that the British Winter months are not exactly comfortable to ride in. Thankfully however, no matter how cold it might be outside, there are ways to circumvent the icy skids, the dreaded frozen knees, the chapped lips and the frostbitten toes, chief amongst them, using the right gears and wearing the right clobber.

Gear

Though there are bikes built specifically for winter usage, there’s no need to buy a whole new rig just so you can  continue riding through winter. Below we’ve listed a few essentials that no winter rider should be without.

Let there be light – During the winter months it gets darker much earlier so chances are, even if you don’t like riding at night, if you want to continue riding throughout the winter, you’re going to need to adapt to the darkness.

The right tyres – The one thing you might need to swap out on your rig are your tyres. During winter you’re going to need much better traction as riding on snow or ice with tyres not built to handle it can be incredibly dangerous. A pair of studded tyres with a wide tread pattern will not only help you stay on your line when things get a little wobbly, but will also keep snow and mud from being picked up by the tyres.

Bags – A good, high visibility bag or rucksack in which to store your gear or clothing will be especially necessary if you choose to ride your bike into work during the winter. Specially manufactured ‘garment bags’ will allow you to store any work clothes without fear of creasing or wrinkling and are supportive enough to provide safe passage for laptops, tablets, phones or any potentially valuable paper work.

Pedal assist – Whilst you might (rightly) look down on the e-peddling brigade, a motor enhanced bicycle could really help if you ever get stuck in a perilous situation or your legs freeze up in the middle of a ride. You don’t have to use the motor just because it’s there, in fact there are models that kick in automatically when you stop peddling. It might look ever so slightly ridiculous but it could save your bacon if you ever find yourself in a spot of bother.

Mount system – Again a device that could really help if you ever get stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere, these are system that allow cyclists to attach their phones and other accessories to the handlebars of their bikes. Cycling clobber has very little in the way of pockets and if you fall, your phone could be broken on impact. With a mount system, your phone should remain intact after a heavy crash of collision and if you’re ever in need of emergency assistance you’ll be glad you ‘made this call’ (pun very much intended).

Clobber

Cycling garments have come a long way since the PVC shorts and knackered trainers of old, with an entire industry built around producing clothing that keeps cyclists warm, without sacrificing form, function or aesthetic value. Wether you’re using your bike on the daily commute to the office or to let off some steam over the weekend, we advise all winter cyclists to use at least one of each of the items below.

Outer layers – Cycling jackets have been designed with cyclists in mind to keep heat in whilst also being breathable and weather resistant. For the winter months you might want to consider a thermo jersey or something similar to really help insulate you against the elements. For those on a budget however we recommend the ‘dHb’ Windslam Roubaix, which is not only affordable but incredibly lightweight and effective as well as being high visibility, which means is perfect for those who enjoy cycling at night.

Body– Always make sure you’re wearing a base layer, as it will not only keep you insulated but will lift the sweat away from your skin, keeping you (mostly) dry. Base layers will also be designed with fabrics that will prevent chafing (no small mercy for those of you out there with particularly sensitive nipples) and trap in warm air, providing you with comfort and security without restricting your movements. We recommend this Nike Pro ‘Hyperwarm Shield’ as it is not only comfortable and stylish but also incredibly cost effective.

Legs – Though you might be able to get away without wearing cycling tights throughout the rest of the year, during winter there is really no excuse. Cycling tights are designed much like base layers, to insulate whilst providing adequate ‘breathing room’ and keeping you dry and comfortable. These tights from dHb are incredibly flexible and have a close fit that will really appeal to cyclists who value comfort over style but still don’t want to get caught looking like an extra in a pantomime.

Hands – Good gloves are an absolute necessity as you need your hands to remain flexible to operate the brakes and the gears. We recommend ‘gore-tex’ gloves, which are fully waterproof and have a ware, inner fleecing that is as breathable and flexible as it is comfortable.

Feet – Over-socks are really helpful, especially if you’re going to be cycling in areas with deep snow where frostbite could be a serious issue. These ‘DeFeet’ Slipstream over-socks are cheap and cheerful but also incredibly snug.

Face – Before going out for a winter ride it’s suggested that you apply a thin layer of vaseline to any exposed, vulnerable areas of your face to avoid unpleasant chapping. For male cyclists a beard is always a good bet but we understand not all men feel comfortable with facial fuzz. Sunglasses are also a necessity as you really don’t want the cold wind ripping into your eyes when you’re ploughing down a mountain at 40 miles an hour. Specialist biking glasses built with high impact resistance such as the ‘XYZ Optics’ are available for more expert riders but for less experienced hobbyist, that pair you got from the pier last Summer for a fiver should do just fine. As far as the helmet goes, there is no reason why the helmet you have been using all year round shouldn’t be just as effective in winter.

This article was written by CJ. CJ is an avid cyclist and can be spotted out on his beloved Kalkhoff come rain, snow or shine! He blogs on behalf of www.50cycles.com  and loves nothing more than getting to take the new models for a spin!

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