Winter cycling essentials for commuting

With the cold arriving in London, it looks like autumn has lasted all of a couple of days. London Cyclist Blog has got their winter motivating in motion, so I thought it my civic duty to do likewise.

Mudguards

Wet feet, rainwater splash, grit and sundry other forms of road grim are the constant companions of cyclists between November and April. The single best solution to minimising their effect is a set of full-length mudguards.

They may not be sexy but they massively reduce the amount of damp spraying off the frame and onto the rider. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that they are a highly effective theft deterrent as well.

Clip-on guards will stop the worst of it hitting your back but as much water hits a rider when deflected off the seat and down tubes. I sometimes think that I probably get as wet from water coming up as down.

Cost: 20 pounds or so, plus a bit of labour if you get your local bike shop to fit them. It’s cheaper than a pair of overshoes and not much more than waterproof socks but probably just as effective as either overall.

Gloves



There’s plenty of cycle specific ones out there but the best pair of winter gloves I’ve got are some leather ones from M&S with a fleece lining.

I think they’re pretty similar to these leather gloves from M&S

Barring torrential rain or extreme cold, I think leather gloves represent the best value protection versus durability for everyday use and you can wear them other than for cycling.

Hat

Finding the right hat makes a world of difference. It needs to be the right balance between warm and comfortable. For me there’s one hat that has been fitting the bill for the last two winters: Rapha’s winter hat

Jacket

There is no “right” jacket. Some days you want to go slow and keep warm, others you’ll want to scream through the streets with the cold making your eyes stream as you get a good sweat on. Pick your jacket depending on the day and your mood.

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