Since developing foot and knee problems a few years ago, and deciding to give up running, riding a bike has been my main way of maintaining fitness.
My bike of choice is a Trek 7.2FX, a hybrid bike that offers a fast ride for the commuter but with the versatility to tackle the bumpy paths of the park or canal when you fancy a change.
Have a look online and you will see it gets rave reviews, representing a great bike for your buck.
But despite an average speed of nearly 16mph on my commute (8 miles there, 8 miles back), some hilly bits, and a cumbersome 15 stone body to shift, keeping out the cold on very chilly, frosty mornings like today is always a challenge.
The fixed position of your feet means they quickly become chilled to the bone, likewise your hands, which bear the brunt of the windchill. I don’t have clip-in pedals either, which transfer extra cold from the cleat into the soles of your shoes!
As for the head, last year, when temperatures were dipping to -21C round our part of Cheshire, I experienced the most excruciating tooth and jaw ache after a few miles, that didn’t subside until I was showered and at my desk, supping hot tea.
So what’s the solution?
Well, let us start with the feet – there was an interesting article in the Guardian in 2010 about this – one tip was to wrap your feet in clingfilm, as per GB cyclist Bradley Wiggins. I tried, it didn’t work, but wearing multiple layers on my feet never does.
So I’ve settled on these fantastic Gore overshoes to keep the wind off. Combined with some SealSkinz mid light waterproof socks, it’s enough to ward off the worst of the cold for the 8 mile journey, especially if I go hard at it. I find having a fellow cyclist sitting on my back wheel, always helps in this respect! Must…. stay…. ahead. Standing up on your pedals for a bit, as you power off from the lights, also helps the circulation.
And the head? Well, again, it’s SealSkinz to the rescue. This waterproof beanie keeps my ears and jaw nice and snug, fighting off the worst of the windchill, especially on the big downhill bit (reaching around 25mph) two to three miles into my ride.