Tuesday 30 November 2010

Moving House

About a week ago my wife and I moved house. We did live in Wimbledon in a fairly small flat.
We decided we wanted a bigger place. To keep to roughly the same budget that meant that we had to move further out.

My old commute was 12 miles so I didn’t want to make it too much longer than that. I started looking within a 15 mile radius of Canary Wharf.

In the end we found a great house near Epsom. My cycle ride is now about 18 miles in each direction. It’s basically the same route as I was doing but with 6 miles extra put on the end.

I’ve only done the whole route in both directions twice. At the moment it’s taking about an hour and twenty minutes to about an hour and thirty minutes.

I’m hoping that I’ll be able to get it down to about 1:15 eventually once I get used to the route and aren’t struggling against a head wind for an hour and a half.

My extra bit of the route is below.

View Larger Map

Winter Cycling Gear

Over the last few weeks the weather has been getting colder, wetter and generally more unpleasant. A few weeks back we had a very cold few days getting down to about 1°C. My T-Shirt and shorts were starting to feel a little inadequate – especially when it was raining.

One day when I was cycling home it was very hard rain and only about 2-3°C and I got very cold. My feet got soaking and so did my gloves.

At this point I invested in some more cycle gear.

Shoes / Gloves

Feet and hands are the areas that tend to get cold first and I find are the most important areas to keep warm. If you have cold hands or feet your cycle is not going to be fun.

Endura Road Overshoes

These are a neoprene type material much like a wet suit and really keep your feet warm and dry even if it is very cold and very wet. In fact my feet were getting too hot at anything over about 5°C.

Highly recommended: link

Gore Bike Wear Windstopper Gloves

These gloves are not waterproof but they are wind proof. They are quite water resistant though so are fine in light rain. They are very light weight and comfortable and do completely cut out any wind. When you are in medium to heavy rain for a long time your hands will get wet.
They are very comfortable and I recommend them for dry weather or light drizzle. When it is too cold or wet they won’t really do.


Shorts and Tops

Altura Reflex Long Sleeve Jersey

I wear this over the top of my T-shirt. I have 5 T-shirts so wear a clean one every day but as this goes over the top I can make it last a bit longer and don’t need to buy loads of them.
It is nice and warm and stretchy so if you have a less than ideal physique it’ll still zip up!
My only complaint would be that it could be a little bit longer at the back as I tend to get a gap between this and my shorts.


Gore Bike Wear Alp-X GT 3/4 Shorts

Before I got this kit I only had short shorts that left my knees exposed. I was once told that if the temperature gets below 10°C you should cover your knees. The knee joint does not feel cold very much but if it gets too cold you will damage it without realising. I wanted 3/4 length shorts to solve this problem.
These shorts are not particularly warm but they are fantastic in the wet. The water just runs off it and when you get home a quick shake and they are bone dry.
I am “big boned” (like Garfield) so find it difficult to get cycle clothing to fit me – especially shorts. Evans make this a bit easier as they have sizing charts for all the different makes of clothing that they sell. Looking at these Gore and Altura did the biggest sizes. As well as these Gore shorts I also ordered some Altura shorts. I chose the Gore and sent the Altura back as the Gore were a bit roomier and more comfortable. They are still a bit tight but manageable and hopefully I’ll lose more weight and they’ll fit better soon enough.


This kit worked pretty well for temperatures down to about 1-2°C for about an hour. My cycle has recently got longer though – up to about one hour and a half. This morning it was cold and wet and snowing and I was cycling into a headwind for about an hour and a half.
My hands got very wet and cold and my legs really were freezing. Oddly enough my thighs were colder than shins despite my thighs being covered and my skins being exposed.

I plan to carry on cycling throughout the winter pretty much whatever the weather so I thought it was worth investing in some more kit.

Gore Countdown Gloves

These gloves are 100% waterproof. They are quite a bit thicker than the other gloves so changing gear and doing up velcro and so on are trickier but on the way home today my hands were super warm and dry. I will still use my other gloves a lot but when it’s really cold or wet these are the gloves I’ll be using.


Gore Bike Wear Power Tights

I was trying to get though my cycling career without buying tights! I have succumbed though and bought these on the way home today. They feel really confortable and I think they will keep me nice and warm. They are not padded so I plan to wear these over my padded undershorts and then wear my other 3/4 length shorts over the top. 3 layers on my legs should keep them as warm as my top half.


I hope that this kit will be enough to keep me going through the winter. I have spent probably £200 - £300 on all this kit but I think it is worth it. I do cycle 36 miles a day and commute to work 3 days a week so I think good cycle gear is important and a worthwhile investment.

All I need now is some more knobbly tyres as I slipped over this morning. My current almost slick tyres really offer no grip at all on non-gritted cycle paths.