When you get your gear right, it’s easy to keep cycling through all seasons – even when it snows and the roads get a bit icy. I’m still a newbie when it comes to road cycling and am learning-on-the-bike about what’s best when it comes to kit, gear and equipment to cover all of the seasons. Whether your bike of choice belongs on smooth roads or beaten off road tracks, this infographic by Halfords summarises all the different essentials to help keep you riding all year round. No matter what the weather’s playing at.
It’s been a blessedly mild winter here in the UK this year. However the temperatures plummeted briefly the other week resulting in roads that were icy one day and covered in snow the next. Not that a little bit of snow stopped our cycling club from getting out and doing some miles on our bikes!
Unless the road is icy, cycling through snow (or slush) is a bit of fun. If not for the novelty factor alone. It’s never going to be the fastest or longest ride, but when you get the chance to throw snowballs at the slowest riders coming up the hill…. how could you resist getting out in the elements?!
When it comes to bike kit, all I can say is try on lots of different brands before committing to ensure that you get a perfect fit for you. This may (unfortunately) result in a bit of an investment being made – particularly if you’re looking at padded cycling shorts. The cheaper brands may seem more appealing (at least on the wallet), but if the fit isn’t right then ultimately you may be wasting your money or feeling like you’re wearing a nappy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
If there isn’t much selection in the shops near you, try buying online and returning it if it doesn’t fit right. Alternatively, if you meet someone who is a similar shape or build to you ask them what brands they wear. That’s how I ultimately discovered the brand of cycling shorts that suited me best!
When the temperature starts to cool, leg warmers and arm warmers might be enough to get you through during short or longer rides. But when it starts to get icy and there’s snow on the ground like last weekend? You definitely won’t regret putting on some thermal tights, a base layer and a thermal jacket. Don’t forget thermal gloves, a buff around your neck and some sort of hat/beanie either to keep the frostbite at bay.
Clipless pedals, cycling shoes and overshoes
Oh the irony. Being clipped into a clipless pedal… It’s inevitable that at some point you will fall over while still attached to your bike. The risk of this happening if you cycle on icy roads will increase massively. When venturing into the world of clipless pedals and cycling shoes, my advice is to try a few out at the shop, see how they feel, get a relatively cheapish pair and then upgrade later when you know more of what you’re on about.
I’ve been using a pair of mountain bike shoes & pedals with my road bike over the past year which have worked perfectly well for me. With a new TT bike soon to arrive on my doorstep I’m now looking at joining the world of ‘real’ road cyclists and getting some proper road shoes…
Overshoes are great for keeping your feel warm and dry, particularly when it’s prone to raining (or flooding). I bought a pair of SealSkinz overshoes when I was at the Kendal Mountain Festival last year which have been a really brilliant investment. It’s not quite my style, but insanely bright, fluro coloured overshoes are all the rage at the moment in the Sefton Velo cycling club!
Lights, camera, action
Staying visible should be top of any cyclists agenda. I love that there are now lots of options for rechargeable bike lights which saves you having to hunt down batteries every time they go flat. Personally I like to have two lights both front and back – one flashing and one static. Not really being one to wear fluro colours, my overshoes make me more visible to cars on the road with these little red LED lights on the heel to flash and attract attention as I spin the pedals.
As any good cyclist knows… if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen! Recording your cycling adventures is a fantastic way to see achievements, progress and is also entertaining watching your straggling fellow club members having snowballs thrown at them as they get to the top of the hill. One of these days I’ll cave and join in on the GoPro brigade action. Until then I’ll keep capturing my cycling adventures on my phone to share on Instagram and Strava!
Snowy Bike Ride #seftonvelo #bikeride #winterride
This blog post contains sponsored content. As always it’s 100% my own opinion. No affiliate links were used.