Cycling in January

IMG_0653Cycling in the month of January can be a bit “variable” for me and I dare say many other cyclists as well.  In January 2013 I don’t think I cycled at all because the weather was so awful and yet things, so far, are better in January 2014.

Yesterday was a perfect example.  Clear skies with vivid views and colours.  Sure it was cold but not too bad.  The air was virtually still and I could hardly detect any wind at all. Perfect for my afternoon spin of 33 miles which as usual includes paying by Mother in Law a visit.  Nowadays she is very used to me turning up in my cycling gear.

Talking of cycling gear….

As I am taking my cycling clothing a bit more seriously, it is becoming quite a palarver in getting ready to go for a bike ride.  It is now a case of almost getting completely re-dressed from my socks and Y-fronts up.  Yesterday I realised how involved all this was:

  • Base layer.  Close fitting and synthetic material
  • Trousers.  I like my Aldi winter cycling trousers and I appreciate them even more as they were really cheap (from memory £15 to £20?)
  • Jacket.  I have a Bontrager close fitting jacket, which I like
  • Skull cap.  Mine is a Craft and it is thin under the helmet but boy does it keep my head warm!
  • Gloves.  I still have a problem here with my fingers getting quite cold
  • Cycling shoes.  Specialized Sonoma but I’m planning on getting some lighter ones for this year
  • Overshoes.  Yes even on dry days I wear my Endura shoes.  They look weird and my daughters say my feet appear enormous when I’m wearing them.  No matter, they keep my feet warm which I think means I have less cramp in my feet while cycling
  • iPhone for Strava, photos and wifely breakdown service

I don’t bother with shades (sunglasses, cycling glasses etc) and have teased my friend Jeremy about that a few times.  Yesterday I regretted that as I whizzed through a cloud of midges and caught one in my eye.  Never had that in January!

It’s as well to have all the usual sensible cycling things with you – spare inner tube(s), pump, self adhesive patches, levers, multi tool.  Don’t forget lights!

The joy of it!

Although those long, warm, sunny summer days are my favourite times for cycling, I think I’d get bored if it were like that all the time.  So I appreciate the different seasons in terms of the weather and the look of the countryside.  The colours change through the seasons here in England – and I do like that.

As conditions are sometimes hard in the winter, I appreciate those summer days even more!

Hanging on to my base fitness is important.  Last year I ran through the winter and although that kept my cardiovascular capacity in great shape and prevented me from putting on any weight, my “cycling’ muscles seemed to disappear.  So having a Sunday afternoon cycle ride, taking in a few hills, is a brilliant foundation to some more serious training as the weather becomes warmer and the days become longer.

Over the years I have cycled in some pretty awful weather and it’s this kind of thing that can make cycling such a joyful thing to do, storing up comical, precious memories.  I’ll never forget the times when I lived in Gloucester and cycled in some blizzards (crazy!), or by chance met my friend Wallie in the snowy Cotswold lanes, cycling through monsoon-like rain under a snug cape and so on…..  These are all brilliant things to do, precious memories for the future.

So cycling in January can bring some great rides, some unexpectedly nice like yesterday, some memorable for all kinds of other reasons.  With preparation (clothing, bike in good order, ability to do road side repairs) there are some great rides out there for the taking….


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2 Responses to Cycling in January

  1. Graham Lynch says:

    Yes. I can totally agree with that. It’s a two minute job getting the bike ready but getting the kit organised is another thing. Cycling gloves, arm warmers, socks, shorts in one drawer. Jersey and jacket in the wardrobe. Shoes, helmet elsewhere. Blame myself for having so much kit, but the kit works and does what its supposed to. I usually forget to take at least one item out with me. Really should come up with a summer, winter and autumn check list !!

    • doug says:

      Thanks Graham – I like the idea of a check list covering the different seasons, you’ve got me thinking there…


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