How To Keep Warm Cycling
With this spring still like the depths of winter I’d thought I’d share my tips for staying toasty if you’re yearning to ditch the turbo for the outdoors.
LAYERS LAYERS LAYERS… It all boils down layers.
1 Pair of Thinsulated Socks. £5- £10 is such a small price to pay
2/3 pairs of very thick wool socks. You may need slightly large shoes.
1 pairs of plastic type commuter over shoes. These are not pretty, but keep the wind out!
1 pair of racing over shoe! These are 1) to be stylish and 2) they will prevent 80-90% of the wind getting to the 1st pair of over shoes
The main advantage over leggings is then can be pulled of quickly at any stops and popped into your back pocket. I’ve never had to take them off, just keep your legs covered whether legging or leg warmers. Another advantage of course you can add fashion by mixing shorts/leg warmers.
Cold days wear two pairs. You can always pull them off.
Forget base layers. My personal favourite is 3 cycling jerseys. The main advantage is 3 zips. On climbs you can undo all 3 and let air in. On cold days this air conditioning works so well. How far you unzip, how many tops you unzip you control how much air gets in and how cool you want to be. The second advantage is pockets. 3 tops = 9 pockets. Plenty of room for spares! Also if it hots up (in Perth the temperature would be 0 degrees Celsius at 6am, by 10am it was 20 degrees) you can take a top or even two off and pop them in your back pocket.
You didn’t really think you got dropped because your jerseys were thicker than theirs did you?
CYCLING NECK SCARF
Essential piece of kit! Can be worn around neck (keeping the cold from entering your top through the collar, pull up over face for the strong head winds and fast descents, and also over your ears if need be. I normally take two, especially if climbing. When you sweat, they will get wet. So having a spare dry one to swap over for the last hour of the ride is always good.
EAR WARMERS/HEAD BAND
These allow heat to escape from your head, cool breeze to flow through helmet while keeping your ears snug. Again if you’re stopping a spare one is a good idea. These and the neck scarves take up no space what so ever. You could get 5 of each in 1 pocket.
Don’t be a hero. Buy expensive winter cycling gloves! Ski gloves can also be very good for keeping your hands warm (£50), but Aldi also do fantastic ones for £5.. On very cold days, a spare pair in a pocket means after 2-3 hours of working and sweating, a clean dry pair for the ride home can help. Whatever you choose make sure you opt for ones that give you the movement you need.
COATS / JACKETS
I don’t like them. However you need them for the rain. I still prefer 3 tops when it comes to cold, but obvious if it’s raining you need to keep dry. Buy a good quality gillet or you will just sweat into the arms of the jacket. One solution is to cut a small hole at the elbow to allow the sweat to drip out
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Nancy & Anna Review the Ana Nichoola Snow Cat Jacket
Between us we use the full range of Ana Nichoola clothing and have been fans since the arrival of “Bo Peep” Gloves. We are both always at the front of the queue to purchase our next item. Ana Nichoola has now ventured into clothing with the Snow Cat Jacket and what a triumph it is. Below are our thoughts on it and links to our reviews of other products in the range we have purchased.
Cycling is a sport that’s dominated by men and all the equipment is made for them but with the new Ana Nichoola collection that will change! No more boring design, no more jackets and warmers that never fit… You can actually look girlie and stylish while riding your bike.
The brand is created by female bike rider Anna Glowinski, who better than a woman to understand the needs of women in the sport. Ana Nichoola has an innovating line of accessories with very cool designs; each piece has little details that make a simple item look extraordinary.
Apart from the good looks, the quality of the products is exceptionally high. Both of us agree we haven’t seen anything for female cyclists this good!
We agree our most favorite item is the “Snow Cat Jacket”, no other jacket on the market gets close to this one, it’s a warm jacket perfect for your cold winter rides, a great windstopper and like the arm warmers it fits amazingly well, tailored for a women’s body. The fabrics are of the best quality with a mix of reflective fabrics, sweat wicking, stretchy, soft and warm.
The collar is a double layer with a lovely soft polar fleece lining at the neck, the outer collar is a stand up mandarin style collar with a press stud fastening in a pale duck egg blue colour. The top sculpted part of the jacket and sleeves is made from a gorgeous white waffle textured fabric with tiny flecks of shiny thread woven into it (you can see the flecks in the blue collar too), it looks like snow glistening in the moonlight. The top lining is a lovely soft fleece. There’s a pair of embroidered circles on the shoulder in pastel pink and blue providing just enough embellishment to bring an elegant feel to the garment, this is repeated further down on the left hip. The top half is all about keeping your chest warm. The lines of the jacket are very sympathetic to the female form and rather than having a horizontal band or line between the two fabrics (as you find on most male or unisex cycling jerseys) it has a swooping blue stitched edge between the white of the top and the grey of the bottom. The bottom half of the jacket is a thinner fabric enabling more movement, it has a grey and dark charcoal horizontal stripe pattern. On the front at the left hip there’s the Ana Nichoola logo and just above it there’s an secure zipped pocket. On the back of the jacket there are two large pockets like all good cycling jerseys should have, but these pockets are again sympathetically styled to echo female curves. The pockets are stretchy and also have press-stud closures, there is a smaller pocket nestled inside the right pocket; ideal for a snack bar or a mini pump. Centre back of the jacket upper is a golden embroidered circle between your shoulder blades. The cuffs are finished with a matt silver reflective fabric. Running down the sides of the body and under the arms on the sleeves is a black lycra wicking fabric for a better contouring fit and to make your ride a comfortable one. Overall it provides an extremely flattering silhouette. You can tell a lot of thought and effort has gone in to designing this jacket.
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Click SL (slideshow) or FS (fullscreen)
This jacket has provided more protection from the wind and wintery weather than any other cycling jacket of it’s kind we’ve owned and it looks great off the bike too. We’ve both had loads of compliments and questions while out and about… plenty of jacket envy. It’s easy to clean. The price is premium but lets be clear this jacket is premium quality and there are many jackets in this price bracket that aren’t near this quality. The stitching and finishing is excellent along with the fabric quality. The sizing is quite accurate, we would say that buying your true size will give you a good fitting jacket, the size range is a UK6 to UK14, bustier ladies may be disappointed that larger sizes aren’t available, but maybe that will change when the brand grows. We’ve seen a sneak peek of the Spring/Summer collection and the clothing range is increasing, you won’t be disappointed no matter what type of bike you ride you’ll want to get your hands on something from the collection!
Ana Nichoola also has gloves, neck warmers and ear warmers in the range so you should take a look at the Ana Nichoola website and read our reviews of the rest of the product range.
Come on girls, what are you waiting for… Style Your Ride!
Nancy & Anna.
Available from www.ananichoola.co.uk
1st Snow Ride Of The Season By Will_Cyclist
Santa is coming with many gifts for all of those who have been good this year and I’m sure everyone is getting ready to have a nice dinner and spend time with their families this weekend. But how is Christmas in the life of a bike rider??
For road riders this is the off-season, they don’t have any races at this time of the year, its more about recovering and getting in shape for the next season. But for track riders and cyclocross riders this is where they need to be 100% and really focused on riding their bikes and pushing themselves further in races. Don’t ask me much about MTB, BMX and other cycling disciplines because to be honest I really don’t know much about those disciplines!
Lets start with road riders; I think the hardest thing for them is to stay in shape, at Christmas there’s a lot of good food and people tend to gain weight in the winter, that’s something that a bike rider and especially a road rider can’t allow themselves to do as weight does matter!
Drem Airfiled Snow Ride By Jason Liddell
There are usually training camps with their team to build up relationships with new and old teammates and to get a nice block of training for the next season under their belt, they need to stay focused to achieve their goals for the upcoming season and manage their time wisely to also be able to spend quality time with the family.
It’s harder when you live in one of those really cold countries in Europe where there is a lot of snow and rain during the winter and you need to go to other places to train, my boyfriend, Jetse Bol had to go to Fuerteaventura for training last year and couldn’t spend “Sinterklaas” (it’s what Dutchies celebrate over Christmas) with his family in Holland.
Things are a bit more complicated for the ‘cross and track riders, they are in the middle of the season right now and they do have to train and compete at the highest level in the World. The cross riders have a World Cup on December 26th and plenty of other races after that which means they probably won’t be out celebrating on New Year’s Eve!
The track riders don’t have big races close to Christmas but for example, the case of my sister Sofia; she is based in Mallorca during the winter because it’s better for training than Mexico and because it’s easier to travel to all the races but she was lucky that there was a World Cup in Colombia this month so she could come over to Mexico to spend Christmas at home but she is flying to Mallorca on the 26th in order to get ready for her next event in Beijing.
Sometimes you need to make some sacrifices and sometimes you are lucky enough to be able to do it all but in the end all that matters is achieving the goals set for the season, the Olympic year is coming!!!
Avoiding the DIY - Image ©Copyright John Steel Photography - www.johnsteelphotography.com
So the season is over, the racing bike is back in the shed and the long winter months are upon us, but what happens now? Where do all these riders go to? If you’re a ‘normal’ member of society no doubt this change doesn’t seem a big deal, maybe you will swop your summer stead for the trusty winter machine, find the lights you hung up last year and carry on your daily lives like nothing much has changed, but if you’re a full time cyclist this change is much bigger and more disturbing than you could ever imagine.
The easiest way to describe this is to split it into stages, so here goes I’m going to let you into the unknown world, give you an insight to where everyone of ITV4 fame (sort of?!?) goes.
Stage one is best described as ‘unsuccessful social season’, it’s the same every year, the racing bike goes away, the phone starts beeping and large groups of cyclists gather at charity events or show’s where after a meal and some speeches are taken care of, everyone forgets they haven’t drunk much in the last eight months and gets stuck into a session they really can’t back up. It all gets messy and everyone makes big statements of intent for next season. It’s ridiculous and tends to go on for a good month or so before the realisation that cyclists although capable of putting on a good party are rubbish drinkers! This problem is multiplied if you have to go to a non-cycling related party in which case you try to keep up with people who aren’t built out of nothing like us cyclist’s and can drink you under the table, stay away from these gatherings they are dangerous!
Stage two is a combination of DIY and too much coffee, after the ‘unsuccessful’ drinking season hasn’t gone down with your other half too well, you will promise to fix everything in the house that has broken over the last eight months of the racing season to repair the situation. Although the problem with that is when a cyclist is left at home all day, the majority of that day will be spent thinking about fixing things and not actually fixing them as the permanent state of ‘coffee bonk’ takes hold as the coffee machine takes the full brunt of a day at home, you will end up with an ‘unsuccessful’ DIY season at the end of this stage, much the same as the before mentioned drinking merry go round!
After being caught up in Ian Bibby's & Geraint Thomas's Tumble in The Tour of Britain
Into stage three and by now most cyclist’s will either have started to beat themselves up about been unfit, got bored of destroying the house through DIY or waking up in the morning after having been drunk under the table by a rugby player again. Now they will have begun to think about starting some sort of comeback. The main problem of this stage is that it involves getting the winter bike together and no matter how well you looked after it before you put it in the shed last year it isn’t going to work. My own personal list of problems this year involved a stuck seat pin (that was 2cm to short? Work that one out), and a distinct lack of working brakes. This is the time of year you are most likely to see domestic pro’s in their local bike shops as they attempt to head off on rides but lose bits of the winter stead on route and have to bail into the shops for help, if your after your favourite domestic pro’s autograph this is the best time of year to be creeper and hang around in bike shops.
The light at the end of the tunnel will start to show by now though, the realisation that a comeback to training is required or more that it’s easier hiding out on the bike than having to attempt DIY SOS LIVE at home has hit all cyclist, you will start to see them come out of the stages as you read about where they and their team have taken off on a training camp to get ready for the coming season. These training camps are where the demons of the winter are thrown off and cyclists become cyclists again, back to reality and the safety of the bike!
Important! No cyclists were hurt in the process of this blog!