Ah, the good old British weather, it’s always a topic for
conversation, especially if you spend your weekends on a mountain bike. Whatever the time of year, one thing you can
depend upon is the changeability of the British climate. So, what cycling
clothing should you be packing for that cross country ride?
The whole point of a mountain bike is to ascend then descend
steep and difficult terrain, a typical 300 metre climb, according to weather
experts, will see a typical reduction in the air temperature of 3 degrees centigrade.
This in theory is fine because as you climb your body temperature will also
rise a few degrees so in one should cancel out the other. If only!
In reality there are a multitude of things to consider
before you pack your clothing. Even in
the height of summer when there’s not could in the sky an early morning start
in the valley as the sun is low could start off fairly chilly but as it reaches
the afternoon it can become really hot. In winter the wind chill can really cutting,
especially as you leave the shelter of forests or reach the open summit. Autumn
and spring can bring a concoction of weather conditions with huge and sudden
variations of temperature. And let’s not forget the good old dependable British
There is no two ways about it; because you are burning
energy you are going to get hot on a ride. So does it not make sense to dress
so as to not feel the cold? There is really no right answer as to what to wear,
after all we all have our individual styles, but there are simple defences you
can apply cheaply. Leg warmers and arm warmers for example are great and
inexpensive additions to your kit, they are very easy to carry too. A waterproof
gilet can be purchased fairly cheaply, it will not only give you basic
protection from light rain it can save you from a uncomfortable soaking from mud
splashes thrown from your wheels after a storm. Even a basic cycling jacket can
be used as an additional layer as the evening sun sets.