I was a little bit late starting (some people have already finished it!) but with some responsibilities on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day now over with, it’s bicycle time.
Today I wore:
- Long sleeved base layer
- Country Jersey (France)
- Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts
- Leg Warmers
- Winter Socks
- Merino Hat
- Town Gloves.
- For Emergencies: Wind Jacket.
The ride started off pleasantly enough and, from my home in Leeds rode north towards Ilkely and onto Bolton Abbey. The temperature was 8 degrees C and there was no rain forecast…
From Bolton Abbey, I rode onwards towards Barden Bridge and the climb up New Road towards Appletreewick and onto the B6265. From there, it was a short section to the right turn onto Reddish Gate/Blake Gate. So far, I was perfectly comfortable and happy with all gear performing well.
This is where things got interesting. I suffered quite a severe bonk around here, it started to rain heavily, the wind picked up and the sun went down… Here comes the misery.
Out came the Wind Jacket and my emergency banana. So, with the weather getting bad and nothing in my legs, I decided it best to head straight for home. Unfortunately, this is at the point on the ride that’s furthest away from home anyway.
The Wind Jacket did a fantastic job – it kept out the rain for well over an hour and when I did get wet (which wasn’t much to speak of) it kept me comfortable. Whether wet or dry, cold or warm, the best I can ask from any item as that it keeps me comfortable. The Thermal Bib Shorts were another revelation. I’ve only been using them for dry rides but the worked very well indeed, keeping my thighs warm and my muscles (reasonably, considering the bonk) happy.
The town gloves were another item I hadn’t envisioned using for such extreme precipitation but they too performed well and kept my hands comfortable almost all the way home. Towards the end of the ride, my fingertips were numb but they outperformed any of my expectations, which, when it comes to Rapha, are always high.
The Merino hat was superb in the rain. It got wet, obviously, but continued to insulate and kept my ears and head happy. For such a small and inconsiderable item, it really is superb.
The only casualty was my toes. The oversocks are great and without the rain would have. been fine but for the torrential downpour I rode through, they just weren’t the right item.
But, from the start of the rain, down towards Otley and then onward to Leeds and home, I rode through some of the worst the British winter has for us and arrived in a pretty good state!
All in all, a good (if late) start despite the weather.