Ah yes. Finally a decent dump of the white stuff. It had only been four hours since I trundled into work after a subzero commute in, before the office got closed in a mild panic.
“How are you getting home?” The boss asks…. “..that..” I reply with a grin, pointing at my singlespeed-ed Kona Kilauea
So there it was; the perfect opportunity to really test the winter kit and give you the initial impressions. 18 miles of backroads from Weston-under-Penyard, via Ross-on-Wye to Hereford – and boy was it fun.
I’ve put about 200 miles on both the bib tights and the overshoes and I’ve been chuffed with both purchases, yesterdays ride really did put them to the test so I wanted to give you the nitty gritty:
dhb Pace Roubaix bib tight 2011:
They are comfy. No doubt about that. I’ve been really impressed with dhb clothing to date and these are no exception. The pad was a little thinner than I expected after previous tights from dhb but has proven ample over 30 mile rides so far. In the icy mornings I they keep you warm and toasty, and it was only yesterday that I double-bagged with a pair of Madison under-shorts because of the extreme temperatures. But even in the snowy commute, my legs were kept warm and comfortable. Sizing; I plumped for a medium and at 6’1″ and a bit on the skinny-side they are a snug fit and maybe just a little short in the body for me.
My main niggle was the availability of colours; I’m not a fan of day-glo but a white, red or some other bright option for dark mornings and evenings would have been preferable – the small reflective dhb logo doesn’t inpire much confidence in helping being seen.
Pro New Classic SE Overshoe
These have been a revelation to me! I had spotted a couple of friends sporting overshoes recently and after chatting to them about their experiences and a little bit of investigation at my favourite kit websites, I thought them a damned worthwhile investment. With no regret; sporting only standard SPD shoes and a pair of merino socks these over-boots kept my feet warm and responsive over the 18-mile commute. I had risked going for the large size at 40-42 (I’m usually a 44) due to availability but honestly, the size is reasonably flexible as the neoprene does “give” enough to get away with it. Warmth – good, dryness? Just as good… after two or three snowy climbs during the ride home my shoes were still dry as a bone… maybe I’ll give you an update after a water splash. : D
In summary? Both items come recommended, particularly the dhb tights – and I’ll give you an update on the other side of winter on how the long-term testing has faired – I get a feeling there will be plenty of opportunity to use them!
Not a good day. An old back injury from motorcycle road racing a couple of years back flared up and fairly well seized it solid. Nae good. It had been one of those spectacular dismounts as I was first of all battered mid-corner and then vaulted from the saddle as the bikes coupled and the “batterer” panicked, sitting upright suddenly… the impact of touching down bum-first on the tarmac still brings a tear to the eye and a shiver from my coccyx.
I hold my hands up; these flare-ups are entirely self-inflicted usually brought on by anything from shifting a cast-iron bath (that really did make my back pop) to carelessly slouching whilst spending the day coding web stuff without a break – as was the case yesterday. Furthermore the back is a focal point for me with a family who have a history of back trouble. Whether this is hereditary or simply failings to look after their most precious asset I couldn’t really tell you. But it’s a reminder that I should always be aware of this potential weakness.
It was this awareness that I was mulling over this morning which inspired the blog entry, recounting school days, PT and how little awareness I personally, as a kid (through to late teens in fact) I had around physical well-being. Yes we all had the opportunity to kick, catch and whack balls around but in reflection PT at school seemed more about talent than self-awareness and how to look after your physical well-being… and ok, before you ask, yes I was one of those kids that on a bad day could be found kicking stones around the goal mouth. But I assure you I was only planning my next big adventure on my BMX Burner with my best mate down the road.
In recent years I’ve picked up various sets of simple exercises from mates and mountain biking mags to strengthen arms, knees and the core – none of which require the gym (although it’s a pleasant heated space to use in the sub zero temperatures of late!). I can’t help but wonder why we don’t introduce kids to this and generally try to increase an earlier awareness around their own physical well-being.
Moreso surely the potential early damage in this lack of awareness would support this idea? I squirm now at the memory of slinging bales of hay around on my Dad’s farm any-which-way-how…
Would kids listen?
Hell, if I thought that it would give me the edge in my next bmx-duel then my ears would have definitely pricked up…
…and it sure would’ve beat kicking stones around.
It’s a glorious wintry morning. I’ll confess that I’m feeling rather gutted at having not been able to ride the 25 mile commute this morning, worsened by the sight of the beautiful white landscape as I descended from the Malvern hills – there’s just not enough time to suck it all in when you’re behind the wheel of a car.
On the otherhand, it was probably a wise decision given that the outside temperature the toasty car was reporting was 10 degrees below and the winter riding kit I had ordered hadn’t arrived just yet. Yes, normally you would find me sporting shorts an’ all in most weathers, but maybe it’s hanging around with all these sensible riders (or more likely the fact that after a while I can’t feel my toes whilst riding in the recent drop in temperature) that I’ve invested in some essentials. Waterproof and windproof overboots from CRC, full-length DHB Roubaix bib tights and some damned good Bridgedale merino socks courtesy of Wiggle. It all turned up this morning, with the usual speedy free delivery from both Wiggle and CRC, so give me a couple of weeks commute and I’ll give you a verdict on what difference it’s made.
…and I am itching to get out there, gone is the summer of self-doubt; bring on the christmas hols, and a whole lot of fun trail-riding.
If you didn’t spot it on the FKK twitter feed, and your finding yourself out riding alot on the roads at the mo’ check out this useful winter riding sanity check from Bikeradar.com