This is a new feature where we tell you what we’ll be using, or what we’d buy, for the season ahead. This month the clocks just went back and we’re looking at riding in the dark so visibility is important, maybe some lights would be a good idea. It’s getting colder, but not quite Winter kit cold so adaptability is the key. It’s also damp and there’s lots of leaves on the ground so watch out for poor traction especially on corners and at junctions, are your tyres suitable? Do you like a black line up your back? Didn’t think so, maybe some mudguards will be useful?
Water Resistant Arm and Leg Warmers. Arm and leg warmers are very useful this time of year to cope with the big shifts in temperature during the day. Water resistant items offer slightly better protection. Even if they get a bit damp or wet they’ll still keep the chill out. They also tend to be a bit thicker with a fleece or roubaix lining material. The danger with going straight to bibtights and jackets is that once they’re on you’re stuck with them. Warmers can be taken off if it warms up, as can a gilet, lightweight windshell or a skullcap.
I’ve got a set of see.sense ICON and I love them to bits around town. Their ability to flash differently depending on speed and ambient lighting means you’ll catch the eye of most other road users, most of the time. They recently launched their new ACE light on Kickstarter and it smashed their goals within hours. It’s similar to the ICON but cheaper and it should be able to integrate with garmin head units.
For out of town, Exposure do some brilliant lights and they’re a very popular brand amongst friends that either ride off-road or live in the sticks. Their Axis MK5 and Diabolo MK9 lights give good bang for your buck if you need to see rather than be seen.The Strada range is designed for road riding and if you want eye watering brightness (and price!) then you need the Six Pack MK8.
The best mudguards are full fixed ones. They’ll protect your back and legs from most of the spray and there should be no rubbing or bits falling off. If, like me, none of your bikes have eyelets for ‘proper’ mudguards then you might like the Crud Roadracer MK3. SKS Raceblades are also very popular, and if you can get them to sit right they offer slightly better coverage for riders behind you if you care about that sort of thing.
This month we’re looking at IRC tyres. Their Aspite clinchers are said to have very good grip in the wet or dry thanks to a special compound developed from rice bran fibres. They should be quite resistant to punctures too. Whatever you do, please take off any lightweight race or summer tyres and put something with puncture protection on. You don’t want to spend all your winter rides fixing punctures, or watching your friend fix your punctures whilst he plots how to dispose of your body with his frostbitten hands.
Come back next month and see what you need once the winter proper starts to arrive. If you’ve already shut your bike away and got the indoor trainer out then we admire your commitment to your fitness but we think you’re missing out on the social side of riding at this time of the year when everyone’s winding down a bit. I think in Summer most social rides tend to be thinly disguised training rides, but in Winter everyone’s still considering their target rides for next year and enjoying a bit of a break from burning quads and glutes before the Spring training camps start.