How to Avoid Winter?
The dependable BOM radar said bleak. But filled with hope we zipped our jackets, tightened our ratchets to roll in search of sunshine. We found absolutely none. Our faces were quickly splattered by everything found wrong on a road (seriously, would you eat from tarmac? we did). On a diet of oil and grot, some of us continued our happy chat. We were the smug ones in toastie merino base layers and impenetrable rain jackets. Others were unable to speak. They sported a familiar look - chattering teeth, blue lips and general all-over shaking. They grabbed at their brakes with potato fingers and apparently their toes were left behind. Apparently they were later found in hot showers highlighting the fact chilblain season is here. Some of you were protected in your warm cocoon beds while we were out. We are not jealous. But it does show that, when you have the right kit, there's no excuse. Several Winter tips can keep you going through Winter... And here I my favourite three. How to Avoid Winter: 1. INVEST IN EXCELLENT KIT. Benefits? Good essential kit will last years AND being dry and warm will leave no excuse to miss a ride. So, to keep you motivated we've put together an Winter Essentials List. Its the basics we think you need to ride through various winter terrains and conditions. Initially the price of items may prove more than your everyday wear, but believe me, for the price of a couple of dinners you'll use them for years. Plus, you'll thank them every time the weather starts to freeze over. Plus consider this... You're descending Bobbin Head and the first signs of unexpected rain hits. Your fingers reach for the brakes but your gloves aren't wind proof and those fingers are so frozen you can hardly bend them. The cold has gotten under your neck and inside an ill-fit jacket thats flapping. Wind escapes under even the thicker fabric and now your jersey is soaked in sweat. Cold moisture sets your teeth chattering so bad your mouth cant form words. Actually, the region of your mouth is totally numb anyways. Don't start on your feet, because you no longer feel them. Thats what its like to ride unprepared. We've been there, and we do not want to go back. Chainsmith Essential Items list for Winter ... 2. Layer up - Cap/Beanie Gloves Neck Buff Base Layers Knee/Leg/Arm warmers Vest/jackets Booties Merino Woollen Socks These items are, in our view, absolutely the way to go. CAP/BEANIE Im sure you've heard advice on just how much warmth you can loose through your head. Apparently the head is particularly and thermostatically sensitive. With minor subcutaneous fat for insulation, and Blood vessels on the surface of the head constrict fractionally in response to cold, we need to wrap up. Some say we can loose up to 50% of warmth in extreme weather conditions. End of story is to cover that head! We're really enjoying the thicker Velocio Winter Caps for coffee rides which keep tips of ears under wraps. Or, if you only need a light cover for long or hard rides, we suggest ear warmers or a beanie by either Castelli or Q36.5 to do the trick. GLOVES Recommendation of gloves depends on how you feel the cold. They definitely join our Winter Essentials List, and when it gets chilly we know you'll agree. Being a first point of contact with wind, your hands tend to bare the brunt of chill. Our advice : Keep the extremities warm, including both fingers and toes. If you want versatility, choose a windproof glove and add a merino liner when the temperature drops below 5'. Otherwise, a glove like the Termica above by Q36.5 will sort out the cold days. NECK BUFF We are loving the latest Velocio Neck Warmer. You can wear it anywhere, including daywear. The neck buff is a small item that will save alot of pain on particularly crisp morning. The neck buff acts threefold. Firstly, on the neck (obviously!). Secondly, over the face when the air is particularly freezing. Thirdly, you can twist it and wear it as a beanie. As a totally versatile and awesome item, we've added it to our Winter Essentials List. BASE LAYERS Whats an item we wear year in and out, through every season? Yep, the base layer. For those unintiated, its an item to wear under the bib, and therefore under the jersey. Different seasons can require different materials or weaves and we've an array to suit every ride. But we choose carefully. No matter what they're made of, base layers must have one essential property. Wicking. Wicking is the ability to not only dry quick but to pull the wet away from your skin. In Winter, to stay warm, you must remain dry. If you're caught in a sweat you won't escape the chill. We absolutely recommend NexttoSkin. With Carbon infused within the fibres its both quick to dry and antibacterial so to avoid the smells from bacteria in your sweat. We've some profuse sweaters in our riding bunches (you know who you are), who swear by this item. Plus, its an all-year wearable item.