9 Creature Comforts To Make Winter Riding Better

by 17

I hate to be the one to say it, but winter is approaching. And in the time it took me to type that, it’s probably arrived. But let’s not see this as a negative – it’s cold, so layer up and get excited for a bubble bath after your ride. It’s wet, take some spare socks and look forward to a hot chocolate by the fire. I LOVE winter riding and all the rewards that follow. Yes, dry trails and not needing to wash your bike after every ride are nice, but sloppy mud turning the trail into a slip ‘n’ slide produces more smiles than dust in your eyes does – FACT.

So to share my love of the colder, darker, wetter months I have compiled a handy list of pre and post-ride comfort items. A little something to help get you out the door in the first place… and a little something more to welcome you back through it.

1. Drysure Active Shoe Dryers


These neat little shoe dryers are more of an aid than a cure, but let’s be honest, with a pair of wet FiveTens we need all the help we can get. Claiming to air dry shoes twelve times faster than normal air drying, using no heat or electricity, you’ve really got nothing to lose in trying them. The rigid outer shell houses a fabric worm filled with silica gel beads to absorb moisture. Not only that, they also help to reduce fungal growth (eww) and bacteria (eeewwwww) which in turn will reduce smells (yey).

drysure active shoe dryer
This was not a good day.

I feel that a UK mountain biker putting these to the test is quite unfair, however I can honestly say I notice a difference. If my shoes are just damp, they dry out quicker for sure. These have become a reflex after riding – if my shoes don’t have feet in them, they have these in. And for the niche market of people who are stupid enough to leave their brand new camera in a soggy backpack overnight, take the silica worms out and pop them in a bag with your camera to draw the condensation out.

2. ION Universal Utility Bag

Keep all the trail sludge in one place.

Upgrade your blue Ikea bags with this ION utility bag. A convenient ‘all-in’ bag with a zip to stop your slushy kit falling out in the car. The bag is made of 80% polyethylene to resist water, has two sets of handles (one short set, one longer set for over the shoulder), and a velcro pocket either side with padded material for your dry items, or scratchable ones. It’s a great size for throwing everything in to transport it home, and keeps all the muck away from your vehicle.

3. ION Universal Shoe Bag

Pulls both zips at once. What a time to be alive.

This is an item that I could live without, but I don’t want to. A neat waterproof bag that holds it’s shoebox shape quite well, includes a ventilation hole and zips either side that are held together with a handle for when your hands are too cold to function properly. Never again will you get back to the car, caked in mud, only to discover you forgot to take a carrier bag for your shoes. It wipes clean/dry and seems to be spacious enough for the bulkiest of riding shoes. My only issue with this bag is the lack of air flow, which has left me with some very damp stinky shoes after wet rides if I forget to take them out when I get home. Use it for transport, not for storage.


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Comments (17)

    Josie Dew (famous cycle explorer) once suggested that a bike poncho makes a great portaloo for women travellers. No doubt these changing robes could serve the same function . . .

    I’ve had a Dryrobe (the waterproof one) for 3 or 4 years now. Great bit if kit. Dont leave home (when the weather is pants) without it.
    I use it a lot for before and after open water swimming too. I’m pretty tall and its still ok for getting changed in – the arm holes / sleeves are well sized to allow you to get arms inside / outside without problem and without dislocating a shoulder.

    I’ve not tried it as a portaloo however.

    Been meaning to get a changing robe for ages. Finally ordered one now as the last couple of rides ended with me being pretty wet so needing to get changed in a busy carpark!
    Another thing I’d add to the list is a piece of karrimat or similar to stand on whilst getting changed.
    An Ikea bag or supermarket bag for life is great for chucking wet kit in and costs not a lot.
    Jetboil and an aeorpress / supply of teabags / hot chocolate is worth packing if a cafe visit isn’t on the cards too.

    Anyone else got any essentials not on the list?

    TBH I can’t see how you beat a totally standard doormat for standing on and changing.

    Campervan for hot lunch
    Eberspacher heater in campervan for drying yourself and shoes

    for me it has to be a 40Litre tub in winter, fits muddy cloths shoes, helmet and bag,,
    and a rubber matt

    Love my Booicore. Bought mine of that wonderful Ed Oxley chap in a car park many years ago. I received much ridicule from others including Mrs Wachowchow. None of which had found themselves B… naked in a car park before I guess. Anyway, many years on I still use it regularly, when I can wrestle it of Mrs W that is.

    Oh my, how can I get hold of Dry Sure shoe dryers before I leave work??? NEED!

    Even cheaper there is a £16 towel poncho thing from Decathlon.

    is that shoe bag a joke.. £39,

    and the shoe dryer, i’ve always used newspaper balls scrunched into the toe since my days in the gelpac snappies sunday junior football league with my footy boots, an overnight under the radiator, next day take out the wet paper, (reapply is neccesary) but usually leave them for another day and they are dry.

    I need one of those changing robes in my life. It got to be better than hiding behind the car door

    “Jetboil and an aeorpress / supply of teabags / hot chocolate is worth packing if a cafe visit isn’t on the cards too.”

    Or a thermos.

    +1 for stuffing your shoes with newspaper.

    20 quid for a polythene bag???
    Do people actually buy this kind of stuff, cos if they do I’m packing my job in and going into business!

    @augustuswindsock – I think it’s actually Polyethylene. 😉

    Although clothing and probably outside the spirit of this article, over knee sealskin socks were my big discovery last winter – having perviously tried the short version and not seen what the fuss was about, the knee length are in a whole different league – a pair of merino socks underneath for added warmth and no bother about whether your 5 10s have dried from the wet day before. Get back to the car, whip them off to reveal clean dry legs. Just remember to dry them inside out

    It is interesting to read your blog post and I am going to share it with my friends.republic

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