Four seasons warm, waterproof, breathable gloves is essential. You also want warm socks, possibly waterproof ones, and either overshoes or a pair of winterproof boots or shoes (not trainers or summer bike shoes). For your head, a winter cycling cap or stretchy ‘Buff’ will cover your ears and can be worn under a helmet. A peaked cap has the advantage that it will keep rain, snow and sleet out of your eyes. (A helmet peak can do the same job.) Keeping your body warm is simple.
It’s best to be barely warm enough rather than snug when you step out of your house, so that you’ll be at the right temperature a mile down the road WINTER
It’s mostly about having a barrier to keep out cold wind and rain. The waterproof element is important: windchill is much worse when you or your clothing are wet. So your normal, uninsulated waterproof cycling jacket will be fine, with a couple of thin layers underneath it. Waterproof overtrousers are effective but can soon get very hot; only wear them when you really need them. All this rain gear will keep you dry as well as warm. If you’re commuting in bike gear, don’t worry about waterproofing your legs; winter cycling tights will generally keep your legs warm enough. Beware slippery roads in winter. If you can see your breath, you might encounter black ice on a shadowed corner. Sheet ice or compacted and refrozen snow can be equally dicey. If you’re going to commute in these conditions, ride slowly and avoid turning, leaning or braking the bike anywhere you suspect ice. Metalstudded tyres are available but UK winters are seldom cold enough for long enough to get much use from them. Maybe just miss that day’s cycle commuting if it’s icy? Tomorrow might be better – and spring is on its way.
Useful all year Full-length mudguards Frame-fitting mudguards like these SKS Chromoplastics will prevent dirty water from being sprayed over your feet, in your face, up your back, and all over your bike. They save misery, laundry, and maintenance. £36.99 |
Breathable waterproof jacket From winter windchill to summer rainstorms, a waterproof jacket is your first line of defence against the elements. Invest in a decent, breathable one like this Endura Luminite II so you don’t ‘boil in the bag’. (See page 35 for more.) £89.99 | £63.89 endurasport.com
Gloves with removable liners Winter gloves with removable liners like these Altura Night Vision Waterproof ones are versatile because they can be worn three ways: together; just the outer; or just the inner. And unlike stitched-in liners, there’s never a problem fitting your fingers in them. £39.99 | £28.39 altura.co.uk
Waterproof panniers It’s more comfortable to carry your commuting gear on your bike than your back, reducing the strain on your shoulders, backside, and hands. You sweat less too. A small pair of waterproof bags like these Ortlieb Front Roller City ones is all you need. (See page 50 for more.) £64.99 |