I would never usually bike ride in the freezing temperatures that I experienced in Norway, but I am glad I did as I learnt interesting tricks for keeping warm. The winter training months on the bike can be quite special if you wear the right clothes and know how to keep warm. I know these are not relevant now that we are getting into the summer months but here are a few tips I learnt from my trip to Norway for keeping warm when the temperature really plummets (worth keeping note for next year)
1. Embrocation. Apply this to the feet, legs and lower back. Just make sure you wash your hands after use as the cream works everywhere you apply it. I also recommend putting on bib shorts first so your chamois does not rub up against your already embrocated legs……trust me this can be uncomfortable;)
IT WORKS!!!! I had a warm toasty glow all week and meant I could stay out in the worst conditions longer. I am actually thinking of testing this out on some of my cold skiing days next year.
2. Plastic bags…on the feet. The temperature of your feet can often define how much you are going to enjoy the ride and even determine how long you are able to stay out for. For me, cold feet often means I am thinking more about going home than actually enjoying the ride
This is a method that I have used before and (as long as it is not torrential rain) can usually keep the feet warm and dry on the bike for a good few hours. I put my bare foot into a plastic bag and then put my bike sock over the top. I have tried it the other way around too (Bag over my sock) and it works both ways for me. The advantage of having the bag next to your skin is that if water does get in it will heat up and your feet will still be warm (working a bit like a wetsuit)
3. Clingfilm. So this was a new one for me but I have to say it was the best thing for keeping my feet warm in the lowest temperatures. On the coldest days I had my foot in a plastic bag under my sock, after then putting my bike shoes on, I wrapped my whole shoe in Clingfilm. Try it – it really works.
4. And then overshoes. I normally have a cut off of 10 degrees for my bike rides. Any less than that and I know I am going to suffer. Between 6 and 10 degrees, just wearing the winter bike overshoe will normally do there magic. But if you have to get out for your miles in less than 6 degrees, do all of the above and then put your overshoe over the cling-film wrapped bike shoe. I was cycling in minus temperatures with snow and rain (Armageddon type conditions) in Norway and my feet were never cold.
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