Winter is here!

So this is part two!

Before we carry on, I just want to say, if you’re a club rider, your fellow cyclists appreciate mudguards. Stipe of honour aside, do it for them! I’ve got SKS Raceblade Pros, 2 rubber straps per mudguard, so easy on, easy off. Super simple and secure. Just put a little tape under the back of the rubber (they come with tape). We can order them in and fit them for you!

Back on track…

Hands and arms!

If you didn’t read the first part, “Winter is coming…” It might be worth a quick re-visit so you know where we’re at!

But just a quick summary. I get really cold. This is how I stay warm.

sealskinz7Seal Skinz Winter Gloves

Mine are a bit dog eared, they probably aren’t waterproof any more, they never had touch screen fingers – but the newer ones do! The sweatwipe on the thumb has rotted away from continued abuse (niiiice…), They’ve had a really hard life, but still do fairly well. At 6 degrees I couldn’t feel my hands for 10 or so miles until we started to climb Sutton Bank… then they got a bit sweaty, which made them wet, which meant when we got to the top my hands got cold….never mind…good at 8 degrees though!


planetxPlanet X 365 Lobster gloves

It’s 2 degrees at the moment, and on my ride earlier I wore the lobstrocities.  The idea is that the two fingers together have less exposed surface area and share warmth. It works, my fingers were fully functional after a not particularly hard ride (But it wasn’t that long either!) These are also waterproof, the real problem comes when they get sweaty, as the inside pulls out and is reluctant to go back in!

Also might be worth pointing out that sweat doesn’t necessarily mean too hot. Low oxygen and low sugar can also cause sweating!


linersMerino liners

The trade off for thicker gloves is less bar and lever feel. Merino liners can help your hands stay that bit warmer, but the cost is huge loss of feel and dexterity.


balaclavaClearly not a merino arm warmer <

Merino arm warmers

This was a new experience for me. Like a base layer fr your arms. And Merino. Good at keeping your arms toasty, which might give your hands a fighting chance!







Sweat bands

Go on your wrists, cover that bit between your sleeves and your hand when you’re stretched out. Hopeless in the rain as you’re just keeping a soaking wet cold thing on your wrist.







A tube of fleece material with a hole for your thumb. An even better way of keeping that hand/sleeve interface nice and warm. Trying to use the thumb hole with gloves leads to the thumb hole getting a bit stretched, but still a good shout!


For when you don’t give a damn and your sick of freezing hands. Pogies for your bike! I like these a lot. Totally ridiculous. Invariably I try to put off using them for as long as possible, because i know once I’ve used them, they’ll stay on my bike until Spring has sproinged! I went and bought the “Arctic” ones. They are faux fur lined, waterproof shell, taped seems, water resistant zip pocket underneath and a water resistant zip to use on flat bars… They work brilliantly on the mountain bike, I can use all the controls, use summer gloves, get great bar feel and stay toasty and warm. When I come to stop my hands are dry, it’s the best of all worlds. They look daft, but who cares, you look daft trying to paw uselessly at a zip with non-functioning cold hands!

These guys get a plug because when mine eventually die I want another pair so they’d best still be in business! Check em’ out!

I don’t know exactly how long they do last, but mine are….many years old now and have been used in all weathers, commuting in London, mud and snow on Cannock Chase, at skateparks, on street sessions and even….

…On road rides! These are not designed for drop bars, but where there’s a will there’s a way! Slight downside is that on drop bars the zip won’t close, the gators are facing up and you suddenly have two sails attached to your handlebars… So rain can get in, but not much, there might be a draft, but not much and crosswinds require concentration, but not much more!

Also, to use the drops you need to go outside them. Far and away the best cold weather investment if you get cold hands – plus think if how much you’ll save in buying other gloves! (I have 16 pairs of gloves – it’s not a fetish, just trial and error!) These include Level Hand, Fox, Planet X, GripGrab, Craft, Raleigh, SealSkinz, Thinsulate, Pearl Izumi, Polaris, Specialized and strange generic white silk (don’t ask), so safe to say i’ve tried a few alternatives! …maybe I should try Dissent 133….?


Just a couple more things.

Q. Why don’t you just ride faster, that’ll get you warm.

A. No, you are wrong. Go away.

Q. Do you like my bike.

A. Yes, it is very nice.

Q. How do you wash your stuff.

A. In the washing machine, but not the shoes. Or the helmet. Or the bike (usually).

But to answer these sensibly.

On a road bike your feet are held in place, with a stiff sole that provides a platform, so they actually aren’t moving a great deal and are prone to getting cold. Your hands are at the front of the bike, meeting the air head on and they’re not really doing a great deal either. Blood is being diverted to the legs, which are doing a lot of work. As you go faster, the harder your legs are working, so the more blood gets diverted to the legs, and the air hitting your hands is faster and able to carry more heat away. Probably.

Yes, it is very nice.

Never use softener. Ever! It destroys DWR (Durable Water Repellent) coatings applied to fabrics to prevent them “wetting out”. That’s the bit where they are too waterlogged to remain breathable, then any sweat stays in the jacket and you get wet and cold. DWR causes rain hitting the surface to “bead up” into droplets and then run off, so the breathable (Gore-Tex/e-vent/Porelle) can keep breathing!

Also, wool gets clogged by softener. Wool fibres are tubes, part of why they are so good at wicking moisture and staying warm. If you clog the tubes it’s nearly as bad as cotton.

Cotton gets wet, stays wet, loses all thermal properties, is not great for cold/wet conditions.

Normal clothes detergent is not great for your wool or technical fabrics either. Pure soap or Nikwax tech wash is the best stuff to wash your gear in. Nikwax can get costly if you ride day in, day out! We use Dri Pak Liquid Soap, you can get 6 x750 ml bottles for about £20 if you shop around.

In the machine, normal wash, 30 or 40 degrees, drip dry. Job done.

If it’s waterproof gear, re-treating with Nikwax TX or similar, every now and then, will restore the DWR back to it’s water shedding best.

And finally…. if you have a mechanical, in the rain, and the cold, you’ll probably have to take your gloves off. You’re probably stood on the cold wet floor. It’s probably really exposed, with no shelter. It’s probably just started blowing a gale, the rain is driving sideways, the fog is closing in, the temperature drops, Godzilla appears… Not much fun. Best to avoid that, come and get your bike serviced, I know a place, just £25 for a service, free collection and delivery too! Spokey Dokey Bikes! Shameless plug, gotta be done!

Chris out.

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