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Spring is coming: Get dirty and stay dry

By Christopher Ashley

The ground is thawing, so there will be mud and dirt all over you and your bike. How will you cope with the change of seasons? By thinking about your wardrobe.

Reproof the waterproofs

Portrait of grandparents and granddaughter cycling on wet field against clear sky

It’s going to rain this spring, and the ground will get muddy. You’ve washed your favourite rain jacket, so you’ll need to reproof it. You reach for your reproofing aerosol only to find it’s run out. What’s your favourite product to waterproof your jacket with?

Keep your knees warm


You’re the engine of your vehicle, and you perform best when running warm. When the snow disappears and the ground thaws, you’ll be out on the trails and standing on your pedals. Look after your knees and keep them under a base layer. Use knee warmers – you don’t want a niggling injury to keep you from your ride.

Layers you can remove

Friends cycling on street

When you set out on a ride, you want to feel slightly cold. After a couple of miles you’ll be warm enough, and once warmed up you can give it some socks and dance on the pedals. It’s about layers – you can take off and stash a layer if you get too hot. You can’t put on a layer you don’t have.

How do you keep your shoes dry?

stacks of newspapers on a bicycle in Delhi, India

Old school cyclists will remember my dad’s trick of stuffing newspaper in cycling shoes after a ride. The paper absorbs moisture and stops bacteria stinking up your clothes. If your news is delivered by your mobile device, you probably don’t have any newspaper in the house. I solved the problem by buying an electric dehumidifier for my sports closet. Extravagant?

No life till leather

Leather is great for cycling. If you look after it, leather will mould to your body’s shape. When the spring rain comes your leather might crack when it dries out. Get some leather balm to keep your leather supple and moist, if you do, the leather will only look better with age.

You should only be dirty after your ride

Mountain Biker With Mud Splatter on Faces

Don’t turn up for a ride looking like The Thing From The Swamp. Your bike should be clean and so should you. Wash clothes after every good ride using Penguin or Halo sports wash. If you need your clothes to smell of moth-repelling cedar wood, use Rapha’s merino wash. Just remember not to use fabric conditioner on your sports clothes. The fabric will lose breathability and lycra can wear out quicker. Read your garment care instructions.

Tips for looking after your kit

Put your merino cycling clothes in pillow cases and tie the ends before sticking in the washing machine with the rest of your kit. This will stop zips catching, stretching, and pulling at the delicate merino wool.

What are your top tips for clothes maintenance? Also don’t forget to read our article about spring bicycle maintenance.