Posts Tagged ‘winter’

Early Eighties.

February 10, 2011

Peep the winter training on a brakeless fixed gear bike, tough guy! Seen over at Doug Siple’s super, awesome flickr spot.

I have posted on this guy’s photographs and scans before but honestly, he has so, so much good stuff, if you have the time, go trawl.

Trench Foot.

September 27, 2010

It took a few more strides before the realisation hit my frozen brain that I was now running without a left shoe. Attempting to retrieve it involved submerging in filthy, icy water, my neck craning to avoid drowning while hands aimlessly groped in the gloop. The prospect of Wiltshire County’s coronor having to hold an inquest into some damn fool kid dying because he so badly wanted a dog-eared leather shoe back was a distinct possibility at this point. I retired from cyclo-cross racing there and then.

Nice bit of writing to be found over at the Rapha blog about the pain and perils of cyclo-cross. Only Hard men need apply. Guess that’s me then.

Hills and Trenches. Go peep.
Scans from Blackbird.

Rapha Cross Gear.

September 27, 2010

The start of the cyclocross season is upon us and Rapha have refined and developed cross products to help you charge through the field quickly and comfortably. The Cross Jersey and 3/4 Bibs use performance fabrics and rider-specific features and sport the tricolour of the Rapha-Focus cyclocross team, who will do battle in North America this coming season.

Awesome cyclo cross collection here from Rapha and I must say I am completely loving the colour palette. If only I had the Umbrella today.

Ever since attending the National Cyclo cross Championships early this year in a windy, sodden Sutton Park I have been intrigued. That said, spending more money on yet another bike will not be permitted by the other half so I should stop thinking about it.


Severe Weather Warnings.

February 19, 2010

Not sure where I spotted this but it’s a damn good idea don’t you think?

Lessons in Winter Riding.

February 1, 2010

It was a crisp morning yesterday when we headed out for our regular sunday morning geared ride.

We had done no more than ten miles when that right hander reared it’s ugly head. You see that crispness equated to an awful lot of surface frost on the roads and up until that point we had done a good job of avoiding it but me at the time being ride leader found that no matter how good you think you are at dodging the ice you are never ‘that’ good.

My body took 99% of the brunt with a smashed face, cut knees, cut shoulder, sprained wrists, one day old overshoes ruined, ripped shorts and the thing that wounded me most of all is that in the spill my favourite pieces of cycling attire were destroyed. My Stowaway and my Swift jersey. Gutted.

So I learned another lesson yesterday: Yes winter training is important but not as important as my face so next time it looks icy out there I am staying in bed.


February 1, 2010

I love days like this.

Photograph taken by my pal Kevin Kafesu on a recent trip to Wales.


January 13, 2010

This is the worst I have ever seen it as an adult for sure!

My opening eyes this morning were met once again with a snow covered avenue and the commute into work was once again a slippery one to say the least so friends if you do choose to ride in this weather… Be very careful, use your lights and if you have one put on your helmet. It’s treacherous out there.

Winter Warmers.

December 1, 2009

So this morning was the first morning that a frost was there waiting for me as I wheeled my bike out of my house and onto the pavement and It was this very frost that prompted me to do my ‘Winter warmers’ list.

So here it is. A list of necessaries and maybe some unnecessaries that I and maybe you will need to get you through to next year’s sunshine warm, dry and safe.

Rapha long sleeve Merino Base layer.

Because I find that now the short sleeve base layer I have coupled with short sleeve jersey, armwarmers and stowaway just isn’t enough to keep mr frosty out.
£55 From Rapha.


Because that strip of muddy water that sprays it’s way up past my saddle and onto the complete rear of my person will be tolerated no more. Thing is: I hate guards, I think they look like rubbish BUT they are indeed needed so after a hunt I found these, SKS Race gaurds, The sleekest of them all.
£31.99 from Chain Reaction.

Rust Prevention.

If I cannot afford the next item on the list I will have to go down this route. Because steel as we know rots and rusts and the wintery salt and slush on our British roads may well cause the demise of my cherished Team Pro.
J.P Weigle’s framesaver £12 from 18 Bikes.

An Aluminium track frame.

Because simply put – I would not need to care about it. This material handles the winter very well in my experience and the clearance ( on the frame pictured ) is also good for bigger tyres ( see the next item on the list ). In my mind I currently have the Nelson track which has drillings for both brakes and the geometry is also very good – tall and short. The Dolan Pre cursa ( pictured ) is also a favourite. After having owned one of these last year I have hankered after another for months so… let the mental tussle begin!
Nelson £225 from Cyclebasket.
Dolan Pre cursa £270 from Italian Solutions.

Bigger Tyres.

Randonneurs, especially because every experience I have had with them have been nothing but good. Good grip, good puncture prevention ( there I said it! ) and now also available in 25c for those who want them fat… but not that fat.
£14.50 from Parker Int.

Good coffee.

To get the blood flowing through my veins just that little bit faster preparing me nicely for my daily commute into work. Damn I love a hot espresso in the morning!
Espresso Crema Coffee Beans £9.30 from Pumphrey’s

A Brake.

Because when riding in the wet and having to deal with drivers who like me ‘just want to get home’ a brake could mean the difference between me getting home safely and getting home with a bruised arm.
Campagnolo Veloce Skeleton £79.88 from Wiggle.

German Sausage.

Because my weekly trip to Birmingham’s Xmas German market with my woman and friends makes a week’s worth of commuting in the cold and wet just that little bit more worth it. I look forward to Friday nights in December because of this and especially that great big pile of wooden goodness that is the Bratwurst stand. BBQd loveliness full of god knows what but it tastes so, so good!
£3.00 from the German Market.

So there we have it… the list, if anyone has any other suggestions on how we can all get through the grim dark and wet time of year we lovingly call Winter please leave a comment. Let us know how you do it, what tricks do you have for fending off mr frost and his ice brothers?

The Ultimate.

October 7, 2009

This morning’s ride into work was different.

Different because it was the first morning I really felt the change in the air, that is to say that I had a certain chill run through my bones.

So it is at this time of year that I usually contemplate a ‘Winter Jacket’. Up until this point it would be fair to say that whatever it is be it shoes, coat, shirt, boots whatever… I always seem to just make do with what I have and generally suffer throughout the winter pilling on the layers to try and keep warm and dry.

Not this year. This year I am ‘investing’ in a real, proper cycling jacket that I can count on and one that I will not have to replace next year. That jacket ladies and gentlemen is the Rapha Classic Softshell.


“A thing of beauty,” according to The Times. “The best road jacket money can buy,” said Cycling Plus. This high-performance jacket is designed for tough winter riding.

I have read many, many reviews on jackets over the past few months and the only one that I can settle on and the one that keeps coming up for quality and function time and time again is this one.

Yes it may cost a little more than the rest at £240 but lets put that into context shall we ( if only to make me feel better about placing the order! ) I could quite easily spend that amount of money on a crank or a set of wheels or something similar, some folk spend that amount on a night out on bottles of ‘Cris’ and Moet for christs sake. What I am getting at here is that I can find it quite easy to throw my hard earned money at items that will make my bicycle ‘nicer’ or lighter but I won’t reach into my pocket to pay for an item that will make my winter just that little bit more bearable? Nonsense.

Sometimes it really is worth spending that little bit more on an item that you can truly rely on and more importantly for me an item that will stand the test of time and not look dated in the months and years to come.

There is also something about purchasing off a young company based in the U.K that really appeals to me and I might be talking complete trump here ( please tell me if I am ) but other cycling soft goods companies such as Endura, Altura and the like just don’t have the public ‘face’ that a brand like Rapha do. I know who Rapha are, I can call them up and speak to someone here in the U.K, I can go and watch their team Rapha Condor race professionally if I wish, I can leave a comment on their blogsite and it is all of those kinds of things that make me feel part of something. Something British.

When in france I rode almost exclusivley in Rapha products and I can say hand on heart that not one of the items I wore gave me an ounce of trouble. Every detail was perfect and well thought out, every pocket was where it should be, the fabrics used meant that my body temperature always maintained the right level, there are no garish graphics or logos and the fit is always, always on point. The only single item I wore that gave me a problem were my shorts and they were made by another company so there we have it, you really do get what you pay for.

The Rapha Classic Softshell available now at

Rapha winter goodness

January 11, 2009

I am a big fan of the wooly hat for winter riding but I love this.

Available now at Rapha

Perhaps the only time I hate riding.

December 12, 2008


I find myself hurling abuse at no-one, as if I had tourettes. Innocent people minding their own business perhaps waiting for a bus hear a world of profanities come out of my mouth… “F**k!”, “Bastard!” and sorry folks but sometimes even the ‘C’ bomb. I do not like using these words but at the time I cannot vent my frustration in any other way. “Why the swearing?” I hear you ask, well the answer to that my dear friends is this: WIND. I picture all the commuters out there nodding their heads in agreement, you work twice as hard to get half the distance… I liken it to the 50% off Boxing day sales that seem to be so popular these days. The poor sales assistants have to work twice as hard for half the price.

My commute is a mere 3 miles to my front door so my heart goes out to those who rode home tonight in the filthy wind out to Solihull, Aston, Sutton, Rubery, Acocks Green, Perry Barr all of you, wherever you go.

At this point I want to own up to something… On the final up-hill I seemed to notice my legs slowing down and suddenly they stop. My whole body appeared to reject the bike, almost as if my brain had said to my body “Look pal, enough is enough”.
Ok, Ok yes, I got off and walked a little bit! Let me tell you this though, if I had continued and completed the journey home I would have almost certainly layed a nice slab of vomit on my doorstep and the Lady she had dinner waiting so I am thinking Vomit is not the look I am going for.

Seriously it is a struggle. I have deep rims on my bicycle and let me tell you… not only is it a struggle to get anywhere without your energy being sapped away much like my bank account on payday but it is also a touch difficult to keep the damn thing in a straight line. I attempt to go around corners and it feels like at any second I am going to be lifted right up and onto the pavement, sans bicycle.
But wait… suddenly it becomes easier, is that a tailwind I have? Maybe for a few seconds, but friends don’t let it fool you, it is hiding down that side street waiting for YOU. Waiting for you as if you have angered it in some way and there it is again, smashing your face in.

That people is the wind and I hate it.
Wind, you may be the friend of the sailor but you sure aint no friend of mine.

%d bloggers like this: