If you've booked on a ride over the colder months, read on for some tips to make it a good one.
Don't be shy about bringing clothing for when we're not riding – have a look at my kit next time you're out. You'll cool down incredibly quickly so have a fleece, warm jacket, hat and gloves ready to chuck on. Riders should also have additional clothing with them when out riding. Should we be forced to stop for whatever reason, you will get cold very quickly. That can rapidly get dangerous.
Whilst they aren't so environmentally friendly, disposable toe warmers are bliss. Stick them on top of your socks and you'll have toastie toes all day.
Don't try riding in a big winter jacket. You'll melt within a few minutes Save that jacket for when you're not riding.
Layers are good. My standard is a merino wool vest with a snow-sports mid-layer on top. It's about the thickness of a school jumper with a brushed fleece inside. If it's windy or a bit cooler, I'll then have a thin windproof jacket as an outer layer (waterproof if it's raining of course). Windproofs are great at keeping the cold air off when riding fast.
A buff stops the cold air getting down from your neck.
Safety specs keeps the cold, dry air (and mud) off your eyes.
Waterproof socks for the win As there's 3 layers to them, they're also warm. I've even worn them on dry days because they're windproof. DexShell do kids socks.
Ski gloves are warm but not great for riding in. Look for a windproof softshell type glove. Something like the Madison Sprint glove or 100% Brisker glove. They're not too bulky nor too hot. You soon won't feel your fingers if you ride in your summer gloves. Your hands will soon boil in ski gloves though.
If we're out for 3 hours or more, bring a food flask with hot food. Soup, pasta (makes you go fasta), last night's leftovers – whatever! I'll have hot drinks but you're welcome to bring your own too.
Keep moving! Your clothing doesn't warm you – unless you've got a fancy heated jacket It only retains the heat you give it. Best way to do that? On yer bike!