Monthly Archives: November 2015

Winter gloves #cycling

I tried (and failed) to buy winter gloves, the reviews were either very positive of very negative. What works for one person doesn’t for another. They are expensive and without knowing which are good and which are bad there is no way I can buy them verses my normal winter solution.

Normally I wear full finger cycling gloves from autumn to spring, when the weather drops below (5 – 8C) I reach for a cheap pair of (thinsulate style) gloves to wear over the top. The full fingers gloves have cost £13 – £24 in the past, but currently I tend to be paying around £16 per pair. The cheap gloves I wear over the top cost between £5 and £10 per pair.

I prefer to pay £5 – £10 for gloves that sort of work vs taking a risk on £25+ gloves, given the fact that I already own the long finger gloves.

I fully expect I’d be more than happy with any of the winter gloves, maybe I need to go shopping to a real cycle shop and get my hands on them in person. What works for you?

Blown it all #cycling

Though it is windy outside, I am not talking about the weather this time.

2015 was a controlled year so far, very little spending (buying my wife a cheap bike in the summer does not count), then… Black Friday happened.

Wiggle.co.uk had (still have at time of writing) £40 off when you spend £200 on clothing and helmets. I had no intention of buying:

  • 2 long sleeve jerseys
  • 2 pairs of long fingered gloves
  • 2 pairs of mitts
  • 2 summer jerseys
  • 3 pairs of shorts
  • cycle shoes and cleats

I did intend on buying

  • 1 long sleeve jersey (only if the price was right)
  • 1 pair of long fingered gloves
  • 1 pair of winter gloves

The long sleeve jerseys were half the price of my original, which I paid £45 for in January 2011. Sure I never bought a second because it wasn’t worth that money, I’ve been using a gilet and arm warmers when the jersey is in the wash. But at half the price I bought two and the gilet and arm warmer faff will be over.

The summer jerseys and shorts were cheap, my shorts are a bit hole-ridden (LOL) so I couldn’t turn them down.

Shoes? Yeah! I will be a proper cyclist now, no more tramp shoes for me baby! Sure, I used to look at tramps (who always wore better shoes than my cycling shoes) and wondered if they cycled.

So anyway, I easily spent over £200 and I never did get the winter gloves.

It has still been a free hobby (offset by commuting), cheaper than running a second car, cheaper than any other way of getting to work and good for my health. No, I won’t mention the dog poo fiasco of last week, I’m only going to blog about the good things, not about getting covered in it.

December weather #cycling

For me, December is the month of least enjoyable cycling. It’s normally cold, but too warm for winter tyres, often I can wake up to a frosty start and wish I had them fitted. Oddly enough, it’s the one month that I like the forecast to be rain, if it’s been raining then it isn’t frosty.

Last winter I often stayed at home on the bad frosty mornings, rather than risk the ride to work, fortunately with my job I could do some on the computer at home while the road thaws out. That isn’t ideal, the other options I have are:

  • swap to winter or normal tyres every time the weather changes. This requires a good weather forecast, for me to keep a close eye on it and also have time to change the tyres, which I rarely have.
  • fit the winter tyres when the temperature starts to drop and ride them all winter. This is the lazy option, it is more consistent but definitely more cycling effort. I’ve done this in the past and may do it this year.
  • fit the winter tyres onto a second bike and ride that on the bad days (I don’t have a second bike that I would enjoy riding)
  • fit the winter tyres on Bluebell and ride a normal bike on the warmer days (I don’t have a normal bike that I would enjoy riding)
Clearly the answer is to buy another bike that I would enjoy riding, unfortunately not this year, maybe next, until then I’ll be looking for warm weather, rain, or I’ll just fit the winter tyres and slog my way through winter instead.

Today was a day for breaking records #cycling

Sure, nobody except me will be proud of these, but…

  • Today I cleaned Bluebell for the second time this year! And yes, it was raining at the time, she didn’t mind though. I even cleaned her chain with the fancy chain cleaning gizmo that I never bother to use, I can see why I never bother with the faffy thing.
  • Today was only the second time I have bought anything cycling related this year (total spend on cycling this year is only £64)
I can definitely say that Bluebell is very low maintenance and cost, so long as you keep the Rohloff oil changes as they advise and also occasionally check oil levels to make sure you don’t run dry. The only semi-regular maintenance she needs is brake tweaks (as they wear), chain oil and eccentric bottom bracket tweaks (as the chain wears).
I sometimes dream of a super speedy road bike, but I know I’m too busy / lazy to maintain it, so I will keep Bluebell and not needlessly waste money on some fragile carbon money-pit.