The archetypal grey, drizzly morning of a wintery weekend. It’s early and many are still in bed as the sun struggles to peek over the horizon, the temperatures slowly edging over freezing.
Whilst many of us pair our smart trainers and load up virtual worlds to ride in, some of us check over our winter hack, inspect our tyres for the flints and detritus that put an end to even the hardiest of winter rubber, and load the chain with heavy wet lube.
Smart trainers are becoming more ‘smart’, and riding in front of a laptop is becoming more and more akin to being out on the road. Winter riding divides us all, and sometimes, those virtual worlds can seem all-too appealing.
But let’s face it, the rewards are to be had outside.
We’re not going to revert to the passé metaphors of winter, the clear blue skies and falling leaves, the camaraderie of you and your crew huddling around warming americanos after racking up the miles in the crisp clear January air. Winter riding can be harsh, unpleasant, a chore.
But the satisfaction to be gained from getting out, whether it be into headwinds, drizzle, or temperatures more suited to skiers than the scrawniest of cyclists, is unbeatable. The glorious exhaustion that follows a ride in the cold is unparalleled. The cold air in our lungs and on our skin makes the sofa feel an even greater reward, the cushions deeper and more welcoming, the reviving stimulus and comfort of endless flat whites even greater.
We all know the pre-requisites of the winter bike; the sturdy tyres, the heavy old frame and the mudguards - the reinforcements for your trusty ride. But the winter warrior requires his own proper, solid armour. Your defences against the elements require building, layer by layer, and not a single area of the body can be neglected, left to fight its own battle against the seasons. You select your gloves, baselayer and jacket carefully; keep the core warm and the rest will look after itself.
But what about the feet? You may throw on some overshoes; a token gesture to keep the wind and water out, to keep those pristine white shoes clean. But just as you know the baselayer is equally important to warmth and temperature regulation as your all-singing technical jacket, how much thought do you pay to that first layer of protection for your feet? Sure, you have your overshoes, but unless you pair them with a quality winter cycling sock you’re leaving a chink in your winter armour for the ravages of the elements to exploit as it sees fit. KOMs/ QOMs are not conquered with cold toes. Numb, frozen feet do not win the town-sign sprint.
Put both your feet on the front foot with winter merino cycling socks. Just as new the technologies of Zwift and Wahoo will never trump the age-old outdoor elements, Merino has long been recognised as one of the best fabrics for warmth and temperature regulation. Our winter socks contain 70% fine Italian Merino, with padded toes and heels for improved comfort and added warmth in these key areas. Without overshoes on those transitional months of November and March, or with a sturdy bootie in the depths of winter, your feet will not only be warm, but sweat free. The luxurious comfort of the sock will allow you to knock off those winter base miles free of distraction and chafes. And of course, if the elements do defeat you, the socks are just as good in the frosty garage as you hit the turbo trainer as they are out in the snow-lined lanes.
With a quality winter cycling sock, the armour of the winter warrior is complete. You’ll be invincible. Go beat winter.
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