Get it right and riding in the winter months can be a joy; get it wrong and you’ll have a perfectly rotten time on your bike. The good news is that it’s easy to prepare for the winter. We’ve compiled a few handy tips to help you choose the right gear to enjoy winter riding and minimise the effects of cold and wet weather.
With boots and gloves, the same rule applies as with other gear; they should be waterproof, breathable and warm enough to make winter riding fun. There are plenty of boots and gloves to choose from with many manufacturers offering winter-specific items.
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- Generally speaking, touring-style boots tend to be warmer than sports boots. They usually offer better water protection too as they’re designed for longer journeys with different weather conditions in mind.
- Most boots will keep your feet dry for a little while, but for properly waterproofed boots look for something with Gore-Tex or a similar breathable waterproof lining. Boots like this will be more expensive, but they will keep your feet dryer.
- A cheap option to help waterproof your boots is to go for waterproof boot covers (biking equivalent of galoshes). These offer weather protection on the outside of your boots which means that the boot will stay dry.
- The thickness of insulation (such as Thinsulate and H2OUT) determines how warm the gloves are, so if you want them warm, the thicker the better. But the thicker the gloves the less tactile feedback from the bars, switches and levers, so it’s a balancing act.
- A waterproof lining is essential if you ride in wet conditions. Read the small print and check what level of water protection the gloves offer; just because it says ‘waterproof’ on the product doesn’t mean it will keep you dry all day.
- Some winter gloves take a while to bed in, so if you have a new pair of winter gloves don’t abandon them straight away if they feel a bit stiff and clumsy – most gloves will mould to your hand shape after the first few rides.