It’s the time of year when you’ve probably started to notice the cold on your rides, and as the temperature drops further, what measures can you take to stop your performance being affected?

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Get leggings for your base

It’s so much fun cycling in the sun that it’s easy to forget that warm muscles are less prone to injury, and more likely to function better.  Wearing a pair of leggings reduces risk of injury, and makes sure the most important mechanical parts of your body are running warm.

Icebreaker Everyday Leggings are the perfect base layer – made of merino wool, they’re breathable and won’t stink up like artificial fibres.  Priced at a very reasonable £50, these are one of the few items of clothing for which the word “investment” is appropriate.

You want those happy feet

Cycle-specific shoes are built for ventilation.  Great for your climb holiday in Corsica – but less fun in your 3°C winter commute.  Before the weather gets too cold, stick some toe covers on the front of your shoes to keep out the worst of the chill.

If you’re dealing with wet as well as cold, especially in slushy conditions, you should consider something like Santini Neo Blast Overshoes – they’re waterproof as well as windproof, and give the ankle and lower leg plenty of protection.

Fingers and static joints

Any part of your body that isn’t being used to propel your bike will feel the cold more, including your fingers and wrists.  Leather gloves can be pricy but effective in keeping the wind from your skin.

Try picking some up from a department store like John Lewis – they’re a fraction of the price and fitted enough to cope with changing gears on your winter Bianchi.

Forehead and ears

Buy cheap but twice – or cut to the chase and buy Rapha.  Their Merino Beanie is good value at £35, and the more traditional Belgian-style hat is only a tenner more at £45.  They offer a deep winter hat at a higher price point, with some reviewers recommending it as suitable for -20°C weather.

rapha-merin-cycling-cap

Alternatives to Rapha include the Turtle Fur Shellaclava, and although it’s made with synthetic fibre, its resulting price is low.  What it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in practicality – it can cover your mouth like a balaclava.  Just remember to take it off before walking into a bank…

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