Dark, cold, winter cycle commuting

Cycling in the winter is really tough!

I thought I wrapped up ok today. On the way home I was in 2 pairs of socks (one being knee-high, and folded over to add an extra layer), thick leggings, 4 layers on top, a hat, and a pair of gloves .. And I was STILL shivering! I wish I’d worn my glasses, just to keep the wind off, but it seemed a bit silly wearing sunglasses in the pitch black? How do people deal with the freezing cold wind problem!?

My new light arrived at the weekend, and I tried it out this evening. It was amazing! I could actually see where I was going! I tested it against the wall as I unlocked my bike:


It might not look like much there, but it was BRIGHT. Ignoring the main spot of light, it diffused out really nicely to a good couple of metres! I definitely felt a lot safer than with my last light, that’s for sure. This one also has a little notch on each side, meaning cars can see you from other angles! Win!

It’s quite different to my previous one. Whilst the front looks a lot smaller, it’s much more powerful. And the attachment is brilliant; it doesn’t move at all, even over the rough bits of road. It also feels (and looks) much more solid. It actually makes the old one look quite flimsy:


Honestly, the main problem I have with cycling in the dark is the cars. I’ve noticed that they give me more space when overtaking, now that I have the lights, but I was constantly blinded by the main beams of oncoming cars! The only time they ever switched down to dipped beam was when a car appeared behind me! Dude, I may not be driving, but I definitely still need to see where I’m going .. Sheesh!

I was supposed to go out for a 4-miler when I got home. But I was SOOO cold, once I took off my gloves and hat and a few layers all I wanted to do was snuggle up in my big slouchy jumper with a mug of this:


.. And Downton Abbey. Speaking of – blimey, drama, much!?

I do feel like a bit of a wuss skipping a run because of the cold and the dark. But after cycling 7 miles and nearly freezing, a ‘cuddle in a cup’ seemed like a much better idea.

I’m hoping I’ll manage to force myself out of bed for my run tomorrow morning; I have Japanese class in the evening, so if I don’t, I’ll be slacking until Wednesday. Sigh.

I did cycle pretty fast today though! And kept it in a tough gear up the hills. My thighs aren’t exactly thanking me right now 😀 But a hot shower and nice long stretch and I’m sure they’ll be back to normal! (I’m ignoring my foam roller. I’m not feeling quite that tough just yet).

I hope everyone else’s training is going well! 🙂

2 thoughts on “Dark, cold, winter cycle commuting

  1. Hi I think I can help you with the cold. I live in Providence, Rhode Island, USA, that is, “New England”, infamous for its cold weather. I bike commute about 14.6 mi (23.5km) every day regardless of rain & cold. Only snow and ice stop me. Looking at the weather on line over there (I used Guilford’s readings) for today (Nov. 5) I see 4deg. C which I’d call 39deg. F, not terribly cold by New England standards!
    It’s the wind that makes the difference and obviously on a bicycle you create your own wind. All those layers on top I don’t wear them just my trusty Novara waterproof/windproof jacket. After about 10 minutes I’ve warmed the inside up just fine. Same with legs I use a pair of rain pants which are also windproof. My standard is, if you are not cold for the first 10 minutes for your ride you have overdressed.
    Hands are the hardest part to keep warm. For gloves when it gets down to 2C I go with Pearl Izumi Lobster Claws. It has two “fingers” so the pairs of fingers warm each other. When it really gets cold like below -2C I get into battery powered glove liners along with the Lobster Claws.
    For the feet I put n wool socks over my others which enough most days.
    I wear glasses so I don’t start to get really bothered by the wind/eye thing until it is about -3C then I put on OTG ski goggles. The amber tint allows fine visibility day or night. I have attached a “Take-A-Look” rearview mirror to them because I normally have the same clipped to my glasses: I feel like I am blind without it.

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