Friday, 19 October 2007

What to wear

Winter cycling will usually sometimes involve darkness, wet and cold, but not always. Anything goes, but most important is whatever you feel comfortable in. Consider visibility for the dark mornings and nights, some degree of waterproof/repellent shell for the wet and insulation for the cold.

Improving visibility is always a challenge. I use a high viz yellow top most of the time. The yellow stands out in low light conditions. However, in darkness, the colour becomes less relevant because unless the light is sufficient, such material doesn't stand out. This is where reflective clothing comes in. My winter jacket has Scotchlite reflective strips and shows up more than the yellow jacket. I also use reflective pants (see below).

The key is getting the balance right. This will depend on how you cycle. If you take a leisurely pace, more insulation and more waterproof is probably better than less. For more energetic cycling, balancing moisture outside your clothing with that generated inside will require some degree of breathability. Factor in the length of the ride and you have a wide range of requirements and solutions.

Personally I fall into the second category but with a short ride. My winter wear tends to be reasonably insulated (too hot for a long ride) but breathable. I find my extremities such as fingers, toes and ears need covering when the weather approaches freezing. My outer shell layer isn't particularly waterproof and has plenty of ventilation. I use two types of leg wear, both from Ron Hill. They are Ron Hill Traksters. One is quite thin, ideal for spring, autumn and moderate winter days, and the other one thicker, ideal for cold winter days. The thicker ones are the Trakster Treks and are particularly good when wet as the extra thickness retains heat remarkably well. The thin ones are based on the Trakster Classic but are a special edition called Trakster Reflect and are highly effective in the dark.
Flash from 10m (no bike)

They appear to be a discontinued line in the current Ron Hill catalogue. The nearest current equivalent for reflection is in their reflective clothing range and is the Vizion Tight. Ron Hill also have a cycling range and most garments are also available in a women's fit.

Other blogs have tips too.

1 comment:

Fritz said...

I haven't heard of the Ron Hill line, I don't think. I'll need to take a look.