When I woke this morning I noticed a definite chill in the air. I looked outside and saw the reason- the first proper frost of the autumn (or is it winter yet?). After yesterdays wind and rain I have accepted that the summer is definitely over. As I arrived at work yesterday, my crewmate got into work at the same time, driving his Porsche. he commented that only a dedicated loon would ride in the weather w were experiencing. That got me to thinking. Am I a dedicated loon or just someone who has experienced the full range of weather conditions England provides for me to ride in and has equipped himself to deal with?
My summer riding kit is basically a pair of bib shorts, a short sleeved jersey, ankle socks, mitts and sunglasses.
My autumn/ winter kit is any combination of the following-
For feet. Sports socks, GoreTex over socks, Sealskinz socks, touring shoes, GoreTex overshoes.
For lower body. Padded shorts, knee warmers, quick dry cycling trousers, Rainlegs.
For upper body. Short sleeved base layer, long sleeved base layer, arm warmers, windproof fleece cycling jacket, windproof fleece gilet, waterproof cycling jacket.
For head and neck. Windproof skull cap, micro fleece head and ear warmer band, Buff, motorcyclist neck tube, helmet.
For hands. Endura singletrack gloves, Specialized Equinox gloves (knackered but baggy enough to fit over-) coolmax inner gloves. Waterproof heavyweight gloves.
For eyes. Interchangeable sunglasses/ clears.
I have learned that the important thing is to get the layering right. Too much and I sweat so much that I am soaked at the end of the ride. not enough and I am still freezing at the end of the ride though I will have perspired slightly and the cold makes it worse.
The trick is to accept that you will be cold for the first 5 minutes or so after which your physical efforts warm you up just right.
I do wish however that I could find some shorts with a windproof gusset. The coldest bit of my body in any ride always seems to be my nethers. Getting to the end of a winter ride and needing the loo can be a bit of a problem with cold and withered nethers. You guys out there will know what I mean. You lasses don't know how lucky you are!