We all know that for many journeys a two-wheeled commute is the quickest, cheapest and most reliable way to get to work and back but we also know that for the next 3 months we’re also likely to wish we’d picked some ‘normal’ transport instead. Or at least we will if we’re not prepared for the cold.
Here’s a quick guide to some items that will make your commute much less of a chore this winter.
These are often the first item many riders will opt for and they are effective up to a point. If you suffer with cold hands then it’s going to cost you less than £100 to buy a pair of heated grips and have them fitted, even less if you fit them yourself. Although they work for the fingers they don’t help the rest of your body.
How many times do you see a young rider not wearing any gloves at all, or wearing cheap woollen gloves? A good pair of winter bike gloves are an essential piece of equipment. They’ll keep your hands dry, and to an extent warm. Put them on your Christmas list if you can’t afford a pair.
Fit a screen
Even a small screen will help to deflect some of the wind and rain away from you, it’s surprising just how cold it feels if you’re used to having one and you ride without it for some reason.
I was sceptical about these myself until I tried one recently. If you go to any major city you’re hard pressed to see a scooter without one. They not only keep your legs and the bottom half of your body warm and dry but they also protect your smart work wear so you can arrive at work dry, warm and ready for the day ahead. Tucano Urbano has just launched their updated Termoscud Pro but you can get the older one for as little as £99 at the minute.
These aren’t for everybody but if your street cred can handle them it’s money well spent. Muffs are one of the best ways to keep your hands warm in winter, I’ve never heard anybody who uses them say it was money wasted.
This is my own personal favourite item of winter riding kit. Imagine going out on a freezing winter’s morning and actually looking forward to the ride because you know you’ll be lovely and warm… That’s what you get with one of these; it’s like immersing yourself in a hot bath. It not only keeps your torso warm but also pumps pre-heated blood around your body to stop your extremities suffering. Buy one. I recommend the Oxford Inox/Keis and Alpinestars vests and jackets. The Oxford one is my favourite of those three, simply because it works really well, is thin enough to be worn as an extra layer and can be chucked easily in a bag or put under your seat.
Base layers come in all types and can cost just a few quid from the likes of Aldi/Lidl (they often have specials on motorcycle/cycling/walking gear) or Decathlon. Our advice is to go for what you can afford, if you can afford it go for a specific motorcycle layer rather than a generic walking/hiking top. Bike specific brands are often tailored specifically for us, Knox are the leaders in the layering up field. Their layers are stylish, work very well and will last for years. EDZ are another name to check out, both Knox and EDZ make base layers made from lovely warm and lightweight merino wool, as well as mid layers that are windproof and breathable.
If you use some of these winter tips you’ll not only feel smug as you filter past all those dreary car based commuters but you’ll also feel much warmer as well.