Riding from October to March can be punishing for you and your bike, but with the right equipment you’ll be able to tackle whatever the British weather throws at you!
Just remember these 3 important things:
Stay warm, stay dry and make sure you're always visible.
Things you need:
- Hi-Viz waterproof jacket
- Full-finger gloves
- Waterproof backpack cover or Ortlieb panniers
- Base layer
- Degreaser and lube
- Neck warm
Keeping yourself dry
Riding in the wet can be miserable. Even if it’s just spitting, over the course of a 20-30 minute commute, you can get soaked. So it’s important to create a barrier between you and the elements. A good quality hi-viz waterproof jacket is a must. It’s worth spending a bit more to get something that repels a lot of water as well as being breathable. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re wearing a plastic bag as you cycle along!
The Proviz Reflect 360 (£79.99) and the Endura Luminite (£89.99) jackets are both great options. Each jacket is available in a women's cut and I've found they both sit nicely on my hips. The Luminite has an LED light unit integrated into the rear pocket and has 3 flash phase options. It’s fully seam-sealed and has great little details like the storm flap and handwarmer pockets. The Proviz Reflect 360 is the most reflective piece of clothing I have ever seen.
Full-finger gloves need to be warm and waterproof, but not to the extent that your hands overheat. You also don’t want your gloves to be bulky. You have the option of going for gloves that are windproof as opposed to waterproof. They keep out the cold and have some water resistance as long as it’s not chucking it down. Windproof gloves have the advantage of being more lightweight than many fully waterproof gloves. The ultimate combination is a fully waterproof and windproof pair that don’t feel as if you are wearing oven gloves! Our Endura Luminite Gloves (£32.99) do the trick wonderfully.
If you ride clip-less pedals and don’t have Endura Luminite II Overshoes (£25.99), get some! Cycling shoes are very well-ventilated (read: let a lot of cold air in!) so overshoes are not just about keeping you dry, but about keeping out that trans-Siberian wind that makes its way to London every Winter. They also have 360 reflective trims so great for commuting.
Keeping stuff dry
But what about keeping your stuff dry? There are a couple of options here. Firstly, with the addition of a Proviz Switch Backpack Cover (£39.99), you can turn any rucksack into a hi-viz cocoon of dryness. What’s great about the Switch is that during the day, you can use it on the hi-viz yellow side, and at night, on the insanely reflective silvery side.
The other option is to get a Bontrager BackRack (from £24.99) and some Ortlieb Backroller Classic Panniers (£110 pair). The main advantage of panniers is that you don’t have to carry the weight on your back. There's a reason Ortlieb panniers are a favourite with commuters; they are incredibly hard-wearing, waterproof, and easy to take on and off the rack!
We hope these essentials help you on your way to Happy Winter Riding! Part 2 of our guide will look at base layers, lights and how to look after your bike in cold weather.