I generally get two BIG questions around this time of year. ONE is “How do I ride through winter?” And the SECOND is “What should I buy for my friend who is a cyclist?”
Well in the response to the first, please do check out the piece on 5 Riding Tips for Winter Cycling. As for the second, I know there are a ton of articles on gifts for cyclists but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite things, so much so that I can’t live without when talking bikes and bike rides!
At first, I was a ‘purist’ having never needed more than a normal saddlebag. NOW, the opposite is true! I never go on a ride without my Jango! What do I put in it you ask?: everything! You’d be surprised how much this little bag holds!
There are some things you should ALWAYS carry, and a lot of them fit in here: some extra CO2 cartridges (punctures a plenty at this time of the year!), a nut bar to keep me going in case, hand wipes, a face mask, a means of payment: either some cash, or a credit/debit card (for taxi fare, food/drink, spares etc), lip balm, a tampon.. the list goes on! Suffice to say, this little hold-all is like your handbag on your bike ride!
My ‘wellies’ as they’re fondly known in my group. The subject of major foot-warmth envy, these are the bomb dot com.
I’ve ALWAYS battled with cold hands and feet, and I finally found the ultimate pair or warm, dry and mud-proof overshoes. Fleece-lined neoprene, they keep you both warm and dry, which at this time in the UK, is no mean feet (spelling mistake intended!)
One of those items that is not the cheapest, but worth every penny! You won’t be sorry!
Little items of kit that make all the difference! A casquette (little under-helmet cap) is designed to wick sweat away from your head in the heat, as well as provide a little sun visor, or rain-stopper! It’s the cleverest little thing you’ll come across, and once you’ve worn one, you’ll battle to ride without it.
It’s also one of those classic cycling items that tells a little about you: do you wear it visor-up, visor down, or backwards?
I NEVER ride without my ICE ID. It speaks for you when you can’t and could save your life. A small silicone armband, or dog tag around your neck (I’m lucky enough to have both) that has your emergency contact details (ICE stands for In Case of Emergency, in case you didn’t know!). Should anything happen to you, the details of who emergency services should call are all on you, which saves time, and could ultimately save your life! NEVER leave home without it! If you’ve joined the club, you get a personalised club ICE ID.
Sunnies are such a difficult thing – no two of us in the world have the same face, so how are we expected to find sunnies that fit all of us!? Well, POC seem to have got that right! My POC Do-Half Blades are the most comfi cycling glasses I’ve worn in a long time. They fit the shape of my head perfectly, they don’t sit on my cheek bones, and they don’t slide down. The lenses are fab in most light, and for night-time or REALLY dull conditions I put the clear lens in. Highly recommended, and I never ride without them!
Hope this helps with what to buy yourself or your lycra-laden friends and spouses. Let me know if you love these things as much as I do!