Dress for Success
Come rain or shine it’s important to dress appropriately for your ride. This may sound like common sense but it’s common sense that people often forget. A quick look at the weather forecast is always a must before heading out on your bike even if it’s a short ride and especially if you are using your bike to commute to and from work (you may be heading to work in lovely sunshine but may find yourself cycling home in the shower from hell). Winter riding obviously requires some extra consideration. Feet and hands need to be kept warm and dry as the extremities suffer the most, you don’t want to risk cold fingers failing to pull on the brakes when the roads are wet and icy. It’s also worth considering an under-helmet beanie hat as you’ll soon realise how cold it is when the wind whips through the air vents in your helmet.
The body will naturally warm up during a ride even in winter and even if you’re only riding a short commute to work, so how many layers you wear is down to personal choice. Some riders prefer to ‘dress light’ knowing that they’ll reach a comfortable temperature once they’ve warmed up. Others like myself may be happy to start off warm knowing that they are going to get warmer (possibly a little too warm) during the ride. It’s not always about looking the part, being streamlined or dressing like an Olympic athlete but purely down to each individuals comfort zone.
Britain’s weather, as we know, is very changeable and can alter dramatically in a short space of time. If you’re going for a long ride always ensure you’re prepared for a change in the weather. Either carry extra clothing or have an escape plan! This could mean stopping off at a friend’s house on route until the storm blows over or taking the opportunity to have a café break which may mean that you need to take along a good cycle lock.
You never know what is round the corner. My husband once went out on what appeared to be a pleasant morning ride, the sun was shining and conditions looked ideal for a cycle ride, but by the time he got home he was covered in ice and snow without any form of weatherproof clothing. Hypothermia was narrowly avoided and we were on standby to call the emergency services.
So the moral of this story is think ahead and be prepared. If the weather is good then dress casual, sporty, in lycra, suited and booted, whatever is your bag!