I have been going on a bit about this lately in other writing, but I am loving it so much, that writing about it is a must. Riding on a cold crisp morning is fast becoming one of my ideas of fun. I live in Scotland and the first proper frost has just hit. I was out last week and put off cycling by how cold I got. I was cycling at a decent pace too, but sometimes its just too cold for a fair weather cyclist.
I didn't want to be a part time cyclist though. So got my hands on some gear from Rapha. Firstly I started with a base layer. Made from merino wool, it is really good at being odour resistant and it breathes. So you heat up, it helps keep you cool and vice versa. It is a very comfortable layer, and don't be put off by the wool either. It's not standard wool, it's really soft and actually feels like fabric.
I wear shorts, that go under my tights. These are incredibly comfy. With seams to prevent chafing, they were a winner for me. They have internal padding and they will sit comfortably mile after mile. On top of these I wore tights. Not ordinary tights, but ones from the winter range. Classic winter tights are really warm because they have a brushed fleece inner that is really smooth. Rapha really think of the detail in their clothing and use flat-lock stitching which just gives the feeling of finesse.
On top of that I wore a long sleeve jersey. This is a snug top made for autumn. Really warm and versatile. In fact I was so warm today I had to take this layer off, so know it will definitely stand up against the cooler months to come. All topped off with a rain jacket, winter gloves with merino liners. Most of Rapha's gear is breathable, stitched beautifully and you can see and feel the quality. The rain jacket is a really good bit of kit. It can be taken anywhere as it folds up really small, so if you are going on a long ride and it starts to rain, you can just whip it out and pop it on.
So there is no excuse for me not to get on my bike. I think no matter how cold it gets, I am now covered, literally. I know there are some people who think Rapha is overpriced. And I sort of agree. It is costly, there is no getting away from that. But you don't need your entire outfit from there, a couple of select bit will make all the difference, both in comfort and performance (or maybe thats a placebo effect, but it worked for me). Even if it isn't for you, layer up and keep riding anyway, its the pleasure that makes it worthwhile.