What kit to buy for dark nights & cold/wet days, which mudguards & lights are best VfM, your interactions with ‘friendly’ drivers. Stick it all here.
Love my sks raceblade pro xl mudguards, easiest thing in the world to setup, especially if moving between bikes, obviously not as good as full guards but do a very good job of keeping most off
It’s November. If you have invested in a Castelli RoS jacket; make sure you use it.
Any recommendations for a good but cheap rechargeable rear light? My Smart one is AAAs, and the Exposure Flare I inherited is battery only, and the connection is dodgy.
What sort of Lumen rating do I want for commuting in the dark, but also day-bright. 50?
Hang on…I’m just about to go out in my RoS jersey - debating Rapha wind gilet, or a more insulated Perfetto gilet?
Well, if the weather was like here, I would go RoS (I have the Alpha Light jacket). This time of year, when the temperature is low all day, I don’t see the need for layering with a Gilet. I generally use a gilet if I’m doing a very early spring/summer start, or commuting and won’t need it on the way home when the day has warmed-up.
My one ‘gripe’ with the Alpha jackets is lack of vents on the sides, which I believe the Perfetto L/S jackets had (not sure about the new RoS ones).
Lights wise I’ve used an Exposure joystick on the front and tracer on the rear.
Been faultless for many years although I’ve had the odd comment that the rear can be a touch on the bright side.
IMO for shoe covers Spatz are very good. Just started using them this year. The look ridiculous but do keep the shit out. I’ve found them warm too. First time I used them I found more sweat on the inside than crap on the outside!
They’re on & off my crosser/winter bike as required, comfortably going over my 30mm pothole busting Ritchey WCS Alpine JB Stronghold 30mm tyres.
I’m impressed with my Moon Alcor for the price.
Lights, keep this on the rear on low beam:
Then this on the seatpost on the mixed setting:
(They’re what I have - my Fizik saddle also has the special clippy light, plus a Lumaray - if you can find one!)
Mudguards: There is no other answer than fixed, with a full length flap front and rear. Front to protect your feet, rear for your clubmates. You can buy a very very good winter bike for £250 s/h, there is no excuse to not have one.
Shoes: Northwave Flash Artic GTX Winter Boots. They take an age to dry, but are amazing when coupled with a pair of Sealskins socks:
Bib Tights: Castelli Tutto Nano bib tight, or Rapha Core winter tight for club rides. Altura Nightvision for commuting (when I did it)
Jersey(s): Castelli Perfetto RoS, Rapha Pro Team Winter Jacket, Helly Hansen base layer. Just a Perfetto or Rapha Wind Gilet if it’s super cold. Or a very old Mavic see through one.
For commuting, I have a £15 Aldi Crane yellow reflective jacket and my old work made us wear a £5 Dunlop gilet jaune to enter the basement.
I also have a £15 BTwin Decathlon winter jacket that is far too warm and only good for sub 3 degrees.
Hands: Altura autumn gloves for milder days, or Sealskinz water/wind proof for days like today when it’s “feels like” minus 1.
Head: Cap, Castelli GTX RoS Skully, or Buff.
Neck: Castelli Thermothingy or Buff
Snacks: Aldi Paleo bars and Vale of Mowbray cheese and pickle “snack” pork pies.
My eureka moment over the last couple of years for longer rides is putting hot squash in Camelbak Podium Chill bottles. I figured if they’re dishwasher safe a hot drink should be ok.
I commute all year and am a rule 9 rider (hate the turbo). Cold is easy enough to deal with, just have to layer up and a thick socks and gloves. Only thing I have an issue with is bitterly cold mornings I put a scarf over my face but that causes my glasses to steam up.
Wet weather takes a bit more thought. Sealskin gloves are a must, the best and thickest gloves in the world are shite once soaked. Silk or merino liner gloves for when its cold and wet.
Full guards are very good. I use these:
£30. They are a bit of a faff to put on. Have to take the brake calipers off. Also you need a bike with eyelits. I just leave them on all year round. My road bike is my current commute bike and its easy to have them on always.
Feet you can either go sealskin socks, but I find those very sweaty. Overshoes are good but bike shoes tend have holes in the bottom. Winter boots are the way to go. Go Outdoors were selling the Northwave GTX winter boots for £75 back in the summer but didn’t have my size. Thick socks and liner socks also.
Lights up front I have a cheap creed LED from eBay which is good for flooding lots of brightness in the immediate area in front, but the lenses are shit and dont focus the beam well. in addition (and as backup) I have a Lezyne 400XL. This is good a focusing a bright patch so I have that pointed a bit further down the road. On the back a microdrive on the seat post. I also use a helmet light which has a flashing red rear and front white light.
My backpack has two bottle pockets on the side. They handily hold a bottle of wine each, but mostly I use them to keep a Rab windproof jacket in one and a fell running waterproof in the other. They are both really light and I always have them in case.
Going to have to change up some of my commute gear as I will be riding snotters to the train station and flat pedals. Anyone got some good flat pedal shoes to recommend?
Wow, that Moon light is only a tenner. Is it decent then?
I’ve got Lezyne KTVs on my bike, and a double sided Lezyne on my helmet.
The KTVs are USB rechargeable and you don’t need any wires, the whole light just plugs in. I’ve had a set on my Brompton for over 3 years in all weathers and they’ve never let me down. The battery life has diminished a bit, especially the front, so I’ve got a new set on stand-by but the old ones just won’t die.
Ps. In terms of mudguards, don’t underestimate the importance of a mudflap. They can make a massive difference to how much spray gets thrown up and pretty ease to cobble something together from waste plastic if you don’t have any.
I have some Sealskinz gloves, my hands usually get soaked in sweat in those bad boiz! Must dig them out. Sealskinz socks again great, except water just pools inside them on wet days!
I use full guards on my Boardman commuter, and they make such a difference when the road is wet, but it’s not raining. They’re Bontrager iirc, with 28mm Luganos. My Sunday bike is the Canyon, which I only use an ‘Ass saver’ with!
Oh yeah - Cateye Orbit Spoke Lights are great for commuting in towns too!
I use a Knog Blinder R70, really is a good light, can be picked up fairly cheaply, doesn’t need any extra cables as part of the mount is the USB connection
I find the liner gloves combat the sweat a little.
I saw some gaiters the other day which might work well with the sealskin socks. They are not full overshoes, just like a tight cuff over the sock and shoe top to stop water getting in the sock. Will see if I can find them
Planet X Lobster Gloves - cheap and really warm, I can only wear them if it’s sub-zero or they’re too hot. Should have put them on this morning but was too lazy to go back upstairs and fetch them.
Buffs are really handy too - I wear one under my helmet all winter and, if it’s really cold, another round my neck which I can pull up over my face bandido stylee when it’s proper parky.
Any particular type of sealskin gloves? My hands have been feeling it recently. I’ve been using some neoprene Castelli globes that are a few years old and past now I think.
Was bloody cold this morning too!
Moon Meteor Storm pro on the front. 1300Lm for 90 minutes. I ride on unlit country roads going to work. I used to have those Chinese Cree LED lights with the external power pack. really bright, but not reliable so invested in the Moon… I also have a Cats Eye as a backup on strobe setting.
I bought a Planet X 365 Lumin8 jacket which is pretty good for the money and super reflective.