In fact, you could probably ride with whatever waterproofs you have in the cupboard right now.
But it’s true that a few pounds spent on the correct cycle specific clothing will pay handsome rewards over the next winter and probably the winter after that.
The list isn’t huge, as I mentioned last week – it doesn’t get really cold here so a relatively thin waterproof will do the job. Couple that with a pair of waterproof trousers and some gloves and you should have the minimum to commute with.
This will simply go over your regular clothes and cost about £100. In the winter I normally carry mine in my panniers, ready for the next shower. I also use plastic bags over my trainers if I’m not wearing proper cycling shoes. It ruins my reputation as a style icon, but it’s cheap and it works!
The other school of thought works on the principle that you will change when you get to your final destination. This approach is good for people who cycle as a hobby, or who can shower at work if commuting. In some ways this is the best solution as you can be clad in cycle specific clothing from head to foot, which enables you to choose the most comfortable and waterproof garments.
The best choice in this field would be a breathable jacket, with a long tail, with cycling tights made of either waterproof material or something that dries quickly. The more serious who use cycling shoes would cover them with neoprene bootees. Though your feet will eventually get damp, they should at least keep warm. A pair of waterproof gloves that go over the cuffs of your jacket should be considered for when it really gets colder.
If you’re going out cycling for more than a short trip, put a thermal vest underneath next to the skin. This wicks sweat away from the body and transfers it to the next layer. Not only will you be more comfortable as you ride, but it keeps you warm and dry if you stop for a cup of tea along the way.
To equip yourself with clothing like this will cost from around £150. There are some terrific technical garments out there, but think of trebling the cost.
It also pays to wear something reflective. Nearly all winter clothing has a few reflective patches on it, but as there is no weight penalty to speak of, why not use a Sam Browne belt, or leg or arm bands as well. There are certain garments, tights and gloves I think, that have reflective patterns printed into the cloth, these work well and don’t look too geeky.
There is also a huge range of other reflective gadgets out there. One that we find popular is a reflective waterproof rucksack cover that sells for about £35. It is possible to buy it with flashing LED lights built in as well.
Finally don’t forget that it’s law that you have reflectors on your bike, and a bell!
Shimano steps up to the mark
In a ground breaking move, industry giant Shimano has taken an unprecedented step in the fight against drug use in cycle sport.
In a statement issued in the past few days, Shimano have said that any Shimano sponsored team found guilty of doping will have their sponsorship removed, and they will have to return any Shimano components that they are using.
As a major sponsor of pro cycling, Shimano plough thousands of dollars into cycle racing and are naturally very loath to be associated in any way with illegal drug taking.
Perhaps if other major sponsors would be brave enough to follow in Shimano’s footsteps, and the UCI would be brave enough to serve lifetime bans on riders found guilty of drug use, then finally cycling might be able to eradicate the stigma usually associated with it.
The BionX Man
Hot on the heels of last week’s blog, in which I suggested that Shimano had some exciting electric bike parts in the pipeline, comes the news that Canadian BionX, an associate of car parts giant Magna International, have produced an electric motor with a SRAM 3 speed hub gear integrated in it.
This long-awaited component was unveiled at Eurobike, in Friedrichshafen, a week or so ago. A very low profile launch meant that many in the bike trade overlooked it. BionX say that we should see this revolutionary hub on some Trek bikes next year.
London: a cycling paradise?
A dubious headline maybe? Not this weekend! The whole place is rocking, on Friday there is the regular Cycle Friday, which brings new cyclists together with more experienced riders to experience the joys of commuting to work. This week, any one taking part will be entered in a draw to win the opportunity to present a prize at the final stage of the Tour of Britain on Saturday.
On Saturday, 96 professional riders will race around London in the final event of this year’s Tour of Britain. Riders will complete 10 laps of a 8.6 kilometre circuit that will pass Big Ben, Cleopatra’s Needle and the Tower of London.
Then on Sunday, the streets of the capital are closed again for the Mayor of London’s Skyride. It’s expected that thousands of cyclists will take the opportunity to ride on traffic-free roads in London. The 15 kilometre route takes in Buckingham Palace, St.Pauls and the Tower of London, and for the first time the ride enters the City going up Canon Street, Bank and Cheapside.
It’s an old chestnut here in Jersey, but did you know that the Scottish Government is considering imposing a road tax on cyclists?
• Arthur Lamy is the manager of Boudins for Bikes, in Sand Street, and author of Jersey Cycles. He has spent 15 years as a tourist guide and writer, and is also a keen photographer.
• More information can be found on his website: www.arthurlamy.com