There is an immense sense of satisfaction to be had, suiting up and braving the wintery temperatures that November has to offer. Provided there is no strong wind and the rain holds off for long enough, a thoroughly pleasant ride can be had even in winter months in the Cotswolds, but you only have to get one thing wrong; one chink in your expensive Rapha armour and the cold lets you know that what you’re doing is against all sense and reason.
Didn’t put long finger windproof gloves on? Say hello to extreme finger pain and say goodbye to your ability to brake effectively. Thought that once you got pedalling your bare legs would warm themselves? You idiot, that’s going to be a really unpleasant and distracting burning sensation. Just put on your thickest socks and thought that would be enough? Fool. You need merino socks, covered with windproof socks, and then a good pair of neoprene overshoes if you want to be able to feel your feet by the end of the ride. Set off with just your helmet on your head? You can look forward to eye-wateringly cold air tearing at your delicate ears, especially on those descents.
Yesterday I ventured out for my first ride since throwing my back out spectacularly in early September, and forgetting my windproof fleece head band and my neck-warming Buff, I was reminded how unpleasant cycling can be in the winter.
But, it was my own fault really – not the weather’s. You need to carry out a kit checklist before a 4º ride.