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