So, it's January and the snowy forecast has got me thinking about winter cycling. May people push their bikes to the back of their shed as soon as the first dose of bad weather hits, however, there's no need! Cycling in the winter months can still be great, just pick the right day and the right gear. Just because the month begins with a O,N,D, J (Jan, I mean, not June or July!) or F doesn't mean you can't cycle. Nor does it put everyone off - on a club cycle last weekend, our group of 8-10 cyclists saw probably about 100 more fellow cycling freaks pedalling away furiously. Go on, you won't be alone! Get out there, you'll be happy you made the effort!
So, I might go cycling, what should I wear?
1. Lots of Light Layers
These are good this time of year as the temperature varies a lot in the sun and wind. Get too hot as you cycle uphill, just shed a layer or add a layer just before a downhill. Don't go for a cotton tshirt, there are plenty of cheap light fleece tops on the market these days. They'll keep you snug as well as allowing your body to breath.
Essential this time of year. As a commited non-glove wearer (in normal life), I wear a mid-weight glove which is supposed to be good for 3 seasons. If you're keeping a pace which is quick enough to keep you warm cycling, these should be good on all but the coldest of days.
3. A Buff
An essential outdoor item! Buffs are light enough to fit under your helmet (just pull it over your head and tuck it in at the back of your neck) keeping your head and ears nice and snug. Wear one around your neck to protect against unwanted breezes. In really cold weather, pull your neck buff over your nose and mouth to stop your lungs freezing!
4. Waterproof/Windproof layer
We've been blissfully free of showery days (down here in the south anyway), however, anyone who's ever even thought about going outside a house in Ireland, knows that a raincoat is an essential item of clothing! Wear a light one, it'll keep the wind off you even if it isn't raining. Cycling raincoats often come with a zip pocket on the back which is useful for a pump or an emergency banana.
I only wear these on the coldest of cold days! But on the right day, they'll keep a bit of life in your toes. In case your not sure, overshoes are covers which slip on over your regular shoes. They can be expensive, so keep an eye out for a bargain pair and if you find them, buy!
So, have I convinced you yet?
Ireland is pretty mild. Here, on the coast in Cork, we only get a few days of snow and an odd few weeks of freezing temperatures. So, have I convinced you yet? Go, on, close the door behind you. I don't want the cold air coming in!
Happy cycling! - Ruth
Having just welcomed in the new year, I'm looking back on the great times cycling part of the Wild Atlantic Way from Kinsale, Co. Cork to Kerry. It's a must do for 2017! Here's why.....
Myself and a friend are cycling it in one week stages and loving every minute - well, most minutes! Cycling the West Cork section - from Kinsale to Kenmare or even Killarney - is a great challenge for the fairly, but not very fit (it's quite do-able for someone who cycles now and then but has a reasonable level of fitness). Why not make your new years resolution be to cycle around the West Cork/Kerry section of the Wild Atlantic Way?
There are a number of pluses to this route, aside from the spectacular, coastal scenery, of course! The Wild Atlantic Way, although mainly marketed as a driving route, is amazing to cycle, and being a marked route, you're unlikely to lose your way! You are likely to find yourself sharing the road with some sheepish pedestrians like these!
Most days, you cycle 50-70km per day. However, the magic to this route is that you can add or subtract miles as you wish! As the Cork/Kerry route follows the coast around a series of peninsulas, if you are feeling tired one morning, and simply want to get to your next B&B, then cycle directly to the next main town, probably only 15-20km away.
Highlights of the Cork/Kerry section of the route:
Whatever you decide to do this year, include some fun adventures and see, experience and enjoy the Irish countryside by bike! If you want to know more about this route, just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Ruth H