Winter is coming…

What? Too late to the party?

We’ve not been going long enough to say “for those of you who know me” yet. So I’ll explain.

I get really, really cold hands and feet. As in, they turn blue and stop working. There is something known as Raynaud’s Syndrome/Phenomenon/Disease. Wikipedia says

Raynaud syndrome is a medical condition in which spasm of arteries cause episodes of reduced blood flow. The episodes result in the affected part turning white and then blue. Often, there is numbness or pain. As blood flow returns, the area turns red and burns.”

So, that sounds quite similar. Couple numbness with inability to even move the fingers. Undoing zips? No chance. Loosening Boa dials? Not even close! Undoing the buckle on my helmet? I can’t even manage that!

Not one to be deterred (see; stubborn) I wanted to keep riding come hell or high water, so I had to get a bit extreme.

I’m not going to add up how much I’ve spent due to this pig-headed decision, but suffice to say, it’e enough to make you wince.

So, the point of this blog was to share with you some excellent winter riding gear that has managed to keep even this cold-blooded cyclist warm!

At this point I have to stop so I won’t get into trouble with Claire for not having sorted out Amazon affiliate links…

…I’m back. “As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Aww don’t look at me like that, it’s not technically selling my soul. We are trying to run a business here! So i’ll continue, now with links….

Starting at the feet and working up.

gtx bootsNorthwave Extreme GTX Boots.

Waterproof, windproof, breathable, thermal, sealed, thick sole with fleecy footbed, 5 holes for either three bolt road cleats or two bolt mtb/normal cleats. These transformed my rides! My summer shoes are designed to be highly breathable with mesh everywhere and lightweight bla bla bla, which is great, for summer. Along comes winter and no amount of thick socks, layers of thin socks, neoprene booties, toe covers or all of the above would keep my feet warm. In part, the summer shoes are meant to be fairly snug, so you put on layers of socks and snug becomes tight, and tight restricts blood flow. For that reason, size up, then armed with some nice thick merino socks, coupled with the gore-tex and plenty of thermal goodness, say goodbye to freezing tootsies!

wooliesDeFeet Woolie Boolie 2 socks

Merino socks, mmmm, toastie! Enough said, I’m an advocate of all things merino. There are higher blends (48%) but these have worked well for me.

Extra cold? I team them up with a pair on On-One Thicky Merino socks from the guys in Sheffield! (I did say size up!)

pearlizPearl Izumi Elite AmFib Thermal Bib Tights

Not actually a big fan of bib tights, but I’ll make an exception here as they are so toasty! Unless you get really cold, these are not for you! My newest addition, and long overdue!

Prior to these I had some merino long johns (of course) and either thick Azonic mtb trousers, Endura paramedic trousers and/or dhb Roubaix tights. great for on the trails, less so on the road! Theses tights are great for both!

Merino base layer

It’s all about the layers. And Merino. Heart strap monitor, bib tights, base layer, in that order!

Dhb Roubaix top

Brushed fleece lining, sort of water resistant, generally a good fit, although the zip would have dug into my neck if I had it done up all the way. I blame a weird neck.

caneCrane Top

A surprise entry! Crane is made by Aldi! This bargain aisle cycling top has lovely long sleeves, deep pockets, a phone pocket on the front, reflective trims and is similar warmth to the Roubaix, when it’s extra cold this goes on over the Roubaix.

Montane Venture Jacket

They don’t seem to do it any more. e-vent fabric, very waterproof, quite thin, not streamlined in any way, at all. For when it’s properly chucking it down. I think the atomic might be similar?

alturaAltura Pocket Rocket Shell

Stash away waterproof shell, taped seems, packs into it’s own pocket, fairly naff thermal properties, but keeps the wind off a bit and crucially keeps the rain out. Breathes-ish.

Merino Buff

Snood-tastic. Probably the thing I wear the most. Merino. Red. Soft. Warm. Love. I wear this for everything, trails or road, track or touring, walking or pub crawl, down jacket or mankini. Pull it up under your helmet strap to keep your ears warm, over your face to keep your face warm, over your eyes to keep your eyes warm… seals the gap around the top of your jacket too.

hatsBeanie – only one of these fits under a helmet…

I have a selection, thin synthetic, medium merino (of course) and thick, long, novelty alpaca… Even though I currently still have hair, it’s a must in the winter.

helmetHelmet

You should wear a helmet. I’m not taking a diplomatic stance on this, I’ll lie and say it’s thermal if I have to. Those big vents trap air and act as insulating pockets. Yeah, i’ll go with that…

As for undoing the buckle – the gloves section should cover that, but when i’ve been caught out how do i get it undone? I cheat – I put a magnetic buckle on! Slide to release, genius! Lazer, LAS and Ekoi are the only helmets i’ve seen with these, truly excellent idea! Also really good for triathlons – one handed super quick release!

At this point you may be wondering if I’m ever going to get round to gloves.

Nah, I’ve waffled on long enough now, i’ve got to leave it on a cliff hanger so you’ll come back for more!! You’re on the edge of your seat, i can tell.

Chris out.

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